The Right Hook needs a Left Hook

September 11, 2017

George Hook

Whoah ….another storm with another high profile media personality saying the wrong thing and BOOM, the backlash erupts.

This time (I’m referencing the Kevin Myers storm) it happened live on air and a filter was impossible.

George Hook, the successful and very popular 76 year old Newstalk broadcaster said way too much when he was discussing the ongoing case involving a 19 year woman in the UK who alleges she was raped by a former member of the British swim team.

While discussing this case he spoke about the ‘personal responsibility‘ of the rape victim, he spoke about “modern day social activity means that she goes back with him” and then he put his foot totally in the biggest bucket of crap when he said “But is there no blame now to the person who puts themselves in danger?”.

George ….oh my God what are you saying??

There was then some more insight from him when he spoke about parenting: “There is personal responsibility because it’s your daughter and it’s my daughter. And what determines the daughter who goes out, gets drunk, passes out and is with strangers in her room and the daughter that goes out, stays halfway sober and comes home, I don’t know. I wish I knew.

I wish I knew what the secret of parenting is. But there is a point of responsibility. The real issues nowadays and increasingly is the question of the personal responsibility that young girls are taking for their own safety.

Now George was trying to say something else and this point tells you a little more about his “lens” when he is discussing the topic.

Was there a simple message about being careful, that came out all wrong?

Quite rightly there was outcry from many quarters and this continues..

Colm O’Gorman, the director of Amnesty Ireland said on Twitter, “I get that @NewstalkFM wants to lead on ‘opinion led content’, but @ghook increasingly stupid, ignorant rants are grossly irresponsible.

Chris Donoghue, (who must know George quite well?) the group political editor at Communicorp, a media company that owns Newstalk, tweeted saying, “Someone needs to go to town on Hook. It’s disgusting.”

Needless to say George Hook has apologised and Patricia Station, Managing Editor said the comments made by Mr Hook were “totally wrong and inappropriate and should never have been made.”

On Twitter a poll has been set up to get George Hook off air and most of the tweets are calling for him to be fired.

One tweeter went as far as analysing all of the brands that advertised during the show and there was another group who were questioning Clayton Hotels for their sponsorship and suggesting that they should pull immediately.

Dalata Hotels (Clayton Hotels is one of the hotel brands) in the middle of all the twitter storm on Sunday tweeted “We will be engaging with Newstalk as soon as possible to terminate our commercial relationship.

While George was clearly wrong with what he said I wanted to discuss it with my folks, great people from the same generation just to test their perspective.

Not for one second did they absolve the rapist but they were very concerned about a 19 year old who would put herself in such a vulnerable situation. This generation do see things through a different lens in the same way that new generations will most likely see things differently to us. The word blame was not used once in their conversation and this is where George went totally wrong.

So……what should happen with the very popular, talented and opinionated 76 year old broadcaster (is this why he is so popular?)?

I don’t think he should be burnt at the stake and I don’t think he should be fired.

He made a big mistake and he should be given a big warning but I feel he should be allowed to continue as it is important to have valuable voices on air from this generation.

However, if George is to continue on air maybe the ‘Right Hook’ should be accompanied by a younger ‘Left Hook’  to maintain balance and help to keep that ‘lens’ always focused.

Update: 12th Sept

George Hook’s colleagues at Newstalk have written a letter to the station’s owners asking that he is removed from his position – this is not good.

Is this black and white that one cannot be forgiven for such a mistake or is there something else going on?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

Jenny, Oh Jenny – what have we done?

September 8, 2017

Gilabbey Park, Jenny Dennehy

Thank God it’s Friday we all think..

It’s been the end of another busy week as we all go about our thing.

In my case its been hectic, another week working between our Dublin and Cork offices, team meetings, lots of work, busy meeting clients and prospects.

Friday night means a trip to Dunnes Stores on our way home to do the shopping and to stock up on lots of nice goodies and tasty treats for the weekend as well as the basics. Yes, of course there will be bottles of nice wine, some beer and maybe even a bottle of gin, if we are running low.

The dogs are always thrilled to see us and they seem to sense that it’s Friday and they will see more of us in the next few days.

We’ll put the shopping away and take them for a stroll and when we come back it’s on with the grub and either head to the local for a drink or three or get together with our great friends.

The weekend is full of possibilities, things to do, fun to be had, visits to my folks, catch up with my kids and watch some football.

Before we turn off the light we will probably watch something on Netflix until those eyelids get too heavy.

Eventually the light is turned off and we comfortably slip under the covers waiting on a blissful Saturday morning to greet us…

 

…Jenny was evicted from her flat.

Jenny managed to get a tent from Cork Simon and she found a nice spot in Gilabbey Park to pitch it.

Jenny turned in on this same Friday night but never saw Saturday morning.

Jenny – God knows why everything started to go wrong for you and God knows why no one was there to give you the help you needed.

Jennifer (Jenny) Dennehy was found dead in a tent in Gilabbey Park, in our city in the early hours of Saturday, 2nd September 2017. According to all the reports there were no “unusual circumstances” – if you think about it, this is the most ridiculous statement ever.

There were all the usual declarations of shock and horror by politicians and a family asks for us to respect their privacy.

For a few days we all talk about the shocking housing crisis (we can build commercial buildings efficiently and without a problem but when it comes to housing our “people”, well that’s just something we are not very good at, or  being very truthful it just isn’t lucrative enough) and then move onto another topic until we have another Jenny.

Jenny, we are all to blame.

Jenny, Rest In Peace

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

Podcasts and Super Powers

September 3, 2017

Super Powers

I was just after dropping my brother Colin and his family at Shannon Airport for their early flight back to the States.

I wasn’t quite in the mood for music as I faced that awful Limerick to Cork road so I searched some Podcasts that I had downloaded to pass the horrible journey.

First up was an interview with a former news anchor who has since specialised in Digital Marketing – I fully agree with the core theme of the conversation, which was all about discovering the passion behind the people and showing some personality and even a little vulnerability through genuine social media updates and storytelling via blogs.

The second podcast that took me all the way to my front door was an interview with a guy who worked as Head of Creative in an advertising agency.

The interviewer used a series of clever ‘quick fire’ questions to get to know this guy a little better and he asked a fantastic one, which I thought was really simple but also thought provoking and quite brilliant.

What is your work Super Power?” he asked this clearly successful Creative Director.

The answer he gave was one that I wasn’t expecting: “Resilience” he answered.

The interviewee went on to explain that in his career he received many knocks and push backs but he used all of these as ‘fuel’ to try harder and prove others wrong.

He also explained that in the course of his business he had lost many pitches to prospective clients – once again these just made him more determined to succeed next time.

He reckoned this try and try again  ‘Super Power‘ was his greatest asset that had led to career success.

Having someone on your team that is very resilient is definitely a huge advantage.

He also mentioned another ‘Super Power‘ which was his ability to survive on very little sleep, which he reckoned was also a big plus in the advertising industry!

The very unusual thing about these ‘Super Powers’ is that while they are clearly valuable they are things that you would never see listed in someone’s bio in a pitch document or on your website.

I really found this question to be a powerful one – as we are in the middle of updating the bios for our team I was struggling a little with descriptions that in some cases just weren’t capturing some of the special and most valuable attributes that our crew possess. I’m going to add a ‘Super Power’ description for everyone!

So…the valuable lessons that I learnt at 7am on a crappy Sunday morning – listen to Podcasts that might help you to learn something new and try to capture the ‘Super Powers’ of your team!

What is your Super Power?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

 

Barcelona – Be Tough or Be Gentle?

August 18, 2017

Barcelona Attacks

In the wake of another wave of awful terrorist attacks we sadly end up watching what seems like a repeat news cycle – how many dead, how many injured, any from Ireland, hunt for the terrorists, interviews of witnesses, speeches by politicians.

It goes on and on.

Social media is full of it with news items, pictures and videos by witnesses and news sites followed by the Tweets and Facebook posts from politicians and other key figures offering condolences and declarations of shock.

We all jump in with our own tuppence worth.

It feels like there is nothing really that can be done if someone ‘with enough intent‘ wants to jump in a car, van or truck and plough into innocent citizens going about their ordinary lives.

How can we combat this?

What makes this person hate so much or carry such a set of beliefs that this is something they are willing to die for?

Barack Obama (the most retweeted tweet ever) very recently reminded us of a very profound statement by Nelson Mandela.

Why was this retweeted so much?

Barack Obama Nelso Mandela tweet

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With the Barcelona attacks, United States President Donald Trump offers his condolences with some special advice, which reflects his particular personality and approach to life:

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Is being tough getting us anywhere?

Do we need to work a lot harder at understanding each other and being more gentle?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Consumer confidence stats and avoiding self fulfilling prophecies

August 14, 2017

Consumer Confidence

I just received an industry update from one of the key business sector publications in Ireland.

It led with a headline about “Consumer Confidence” statistics.

It went on explain:

In the last month, two key indicators of consumer confidence in Ireland and the UK have been released showing a decline in confidence since the first quarter of 2017

In went on to discuss Ireland: “In Ireland, the B&A consumer confidence tracker found that whilst consumers remain positive, the levels of this positivity have fallen from the optimism shown in the first quarter of the year. This was particularly true for consumers within Dublin, who showed a significant decline in this period

It then went on to discuss consumer sentiment the UK: “In the UK, market research firm Gfk’s consumer confidence index fell to -12 in July from -10 in June. According to Reuters despite low levels of unemployment, household’s assessment of the economic situation was a major component of the decline in confidence for this period

It then summarised both positions: “It is clear that the uncertainty around Brexit has continued to affect consumers and the B&A and Gfk trackers will be a good measure to keep an eye on as negotiations progress

While thankfully they avoided a negative headline the piece did leave me in a negative frame of mind.

While this information is valuable the way it was delivered only succeeds in making everyone who reads it pessimistic about the future and behaving conservatively.

Suddenly ‘negative consumer sentiment‘ becomes a self fulfilling prophecy with industry reacting negatively and so on and so on.

I am not for softening up bad news but when we deliver negative statistics we need to communicate a full story that is never as bad as the potential doomsday outcome in our heads, unless we want it to be.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Thank you Glen Campbell for the precious memories

August 8, 2017

Glen Campbell

Me and my sis, Laura would sit in the back of mum and dad’s car on our Sunday drives.

We would go to see Uncle Dinny and Aunty Mary in their farmhouse outside Fermoy (that was my all time favourite destination), we would see another uncle near Bunny’s in Myrtleville on a sunny day or we would head to Kinsale, Garretstown or Inchydoney beach.

One time it was me and Laura in the car as dad was driving us to Shannon Airport as we were flying out to the United States for the summer – that was some trip to be taking in 1971!

The one thing that all of these car rides had in common was music – mum and dad always had music playing and we sang along to  Perry Como, Johnny Mathis. Johnny Cash, Jose Feliciano (I adore him) and my favourite from that time, Glen Campbell.

We even went to see Glen Campbell in concert in Dublin and to this day mum still talks about the woman in the crowd who heckled Glen in a heavy Dublin accent: “I love yer boots, Glen“.

Glen sadly passed away yesterday at the fine age of 81, after a right battle with Alzheimer’s – there is a fantastic and touching documentary about this on Sky Arts called “I’ll be me” if you get a chance to see it. It gives a great insight into his personality, his talent, the support of his loving family and also the corrosive effect of this cruel disease.

Glen Campbell - I;ll be Me

Glen will be remembered for his catalogue of beautiful songs including the huge hit Rhinestone Cowboy, which are a fine legacy that will no doubt, be timeless.

I’ll remember him for the shiny cowboy boots, the Sunday drives and the most beautiful and quite unusual love song ‘Wichita Lineman‘ .

Glen, thank you for the precious memories and Rest in Peace

 

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Simple Courtesies and your Reputation

August 8, 2017

thank youMany thanks Greg,

Thank you for your time today and for all of this information. I’ll discuss with a colleague early next week and will be back in touch afterwards.

Warm regards,

 

You are so nice and you must work for a great place I thought …

This was an email I received today from a prospect I had chatted to on the phone – after our chat I put a brief proposal together and emailed it to her.

You might think there was nothing special about her email that warranted me feeling so positive about it?

I did spend time assessing what their business needed and giving her advice and I did spend time working on a proposal – surely, this warranted some acknowledgement?

Of course it did!

Unfortunately, I find this basic level of courtesy has disappeared from business. In extreme cases we have met a client, spent a lot of time with them to get a firm grasp of their requirements, spent the best part of a day writing a plan, spent a few hours presenting to them and then….nothing.

It drives me bonkers – reply to my email, return a phone call. If you don’t want to want to work with us for whatever reason, that’s fine, but at least respect the amount of time, enthusiasm and work that we have done by replying and being courteous.

This speaks volumes about you and your organisation and it can be turned really easily with a tiny “thank you, we appreciated the effort but…

Your reputation can often be about the small things as much as the big things!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

 

Making sure that ‘Great Taste’ is never lost

August 3, 2017

The Great Taste awards, described as the ‘Oscars’ of the food world are organised by the Guild of Fine Food.

They are the acknowledged benchmark for fine food and drink, and when a consumer sees the Great Taste logo on an item it is a sign that they will be buying a great tasting product.

This year (2017) Food and drink producers entered 12,300 products with 4,347 earning 3, 2 and 1 star ratings of which 444 originated from Ireland.

Overall just 165 products earned a 3 Star rating and 1,011 a 2 star rating with Irish products well represented in both of these categories.

PatWhelan, james Whelan Butchers - Great Taste Awards

The Golden Forks (the big winners) will be announced at a celebration dinner at the International Park Lane Hotel, London on the 4 September.

Great Taste, values taste above all else, with no regard for branding or packaging. Whether it is gin, biscuits, sausages or coffee being judged, all products are removed from their packaging, wrapper, jar, box or bottle before being tasted. Furthermore the judges have no idea the price that these products normally retail at.

It’s all about the taste!

The judges then savour, confer and re-taste to decide which products are worthy of a 1, 2, or 3 star award.

As you can imagine the judging panel is very illustrious and this year it included; chef, food writer and author, Gill Meller, MasterChef judge and restaurant critic, Charles Campion, author and Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen chef, Zoe Adjonyoh, baker, Tom Herbert, and food writer and baking columnist, Martha Collison, as well as food buyers from Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges, and Harvey Nichols.

These esteemed palates have together tasted and re-judged the 3-star winners and will finally agree on the 2017 Top 50 Foods, which will be announced in August, with the Golden Fork Trophy winners and the Great Taste 2017 Supreme Champion unveiled on the 4th September.

Just Taste!

Judging the food and drink products on their taste seems very fair and as you would expect – the packaging and branding is removed so that the judges are able to experience the products in their pure, true state, without any interference or bias.

Sunnes Stores - Sticky Toffee Pudding

When do we ever, truly taste anything?

The minute that award winning cake goes into a wrapper, it changes the taste for the consumer.

  • Once we see the packaging, the colours, the type of paper and the visuals, it changes the taste.
  • Once we see the brand name, it changes the taste.
  • Once we read where the product is made and we see the ingredients, it changes the taste.
  • Once the product is placed in a retail outlet, it changes the taste.
  • Once we see where it is placed in the store, it changes the taste.
  • Once we see some POS and the product displayed on a promotional stand, it changes the taste.
  • Once a price is put on the product, it changes the taste.
  • When the product is on special offer, it changes the taste.
  • When a well dressed sampling person invites you to taste a thumbnail of the product, it changes the taste.
  • When we see that the brand is endorsed by a well known personality, it changes the taste.
  • When we see adverts for the product in a newspaper, it changes the taste.
  • When we see adverts for the product in a glossy magazine, it changes the taste
  • When a respected food journalist tells you the product is superb, it changes the taste.
  • When we open the pack at home and we are in a great mood, it changes the taste.

Today’s consumer is influenced by everything they see, hear and taste. We are also influenced by a lifetime of experiences, good and bad, by our peers and we all carry with us a lorry load of biases.

With great products our job and the job of everyone else in the chain that brings the product to the consumer, is to make sure that person can actually ‘taste’ the product.

The Great Taste Awards and that big round logo that you will see on products will also help!

Congratulations to two of our clients, James Whelan Butchers and Simply Better by Dunnes Stores who scooped up Great Taste Awards, once again this year.

James Whelan Butchers are Great Taste 3-star winners with their Pork Lard, a natural and clear lard made from slowly rendered back fat, with a “fabulous long lasting and clean pork flavour” – it’s all about taste!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

You look good!

July 31, 2017

I’ve just received a connection request from a person on LinkedIn.

I don’t recognise the person’s name and they describe themselves as being the General Manager of a company.

On the face of it, maybe a good person to connect with?

But….

..the person’s profile pic (not that young) is a selfie of them wearing shades and a baseball cap, pictured alongside another person. They are clearly having fun at some event and in their eternal wisdom have decided that this pic was a good one to use for their profile.

I am fascinated by LinkedIn and must admit that most users seem to have figured it out, and are quite good at putting their best foot forward.

However, I am still seeing oodles of accounts with typos, all lower case for their name, no description of what they do and really poorly chosen photos – holding a pint at a function does not make a great business photo!

LinkedIn is your personal, business website – it’s not Facebook!

Think carefully about the image you choose for yourself (and those in your team) as we all tend to judge each other by how we look.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion Communications offer Social Media Consultancy and Training from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Did you hear the one about the “Kerry” man?

July 24, 2017

Kerry

Did you hear the one about the ‘Kerry’ man?” was the joke that we heard often years ago.

We don’t hear that joke being told too much these days and maybe, that’s because “Kerry” has become worthy of respect for so many reasons including prowess on the sporting field, the most beautiful of places, links golf courses, fantastic hospitality, success in business with huge companies such as Kerry Group and FEXCO and even politicians that should never be underestimated!

There is something very special about Kerry and this is recognised in Ireland and internationally.

There is something so special about ‘Kerry’ that a huge legal dispute has been rumbling for the last few years between the food giants, Kerry Group and Ornua.

Kerry Group introduced their Kerrymaid butter product into the Spanish market a few years back and Ornua, the makers of Kerrygold have legally challenged their right to do so.

While this case is complex it looks like Kerry Group have won this battle (according to the European Court of Justice) as:

  • both have been selling in the EU already, for quite a while alongside each other (in Ireland and the UK) and
  • the word ‘Kerry’ is okay to use as it is an indication of geographical origin as long as this is true and honest

I read the legal jargon about the case and there are many subtleties to each of these points but this was the gist of it (please read the case in detail if this is an important issue for you).

Kerry!

In a way this opens up a huge can of worms for both of these brands as it implies that if you are in Kerry and you produce a product then you can use the word ‘Kerry’ as part of the name.

Kerry is obviously a fantastic brand right now with many positive attributes – there are no right or wrong answers here as the brand attributes are what each of us believes them to be.

When I think of Kerry I think of positive things such as nature, beauty, the coast, agriculture, hospitality, quality, sport, literature, music, business success, resilience but I also do think of negative things such as poor roads, too many American tourists, cute politicians and a few rough towns.

This is my version of  ‘Kerry’ but for others it will be quite different and we all carry things in our heads that make up what the brand is for us.

If Kerry suffered from a major incident such as a gigantic oil spill that contaminated the whole coastline then maybe the use of the name on products may not be as positive as it is today – while this is hard to imagine, having your brand attached to name that is largely out of your control could be risky.

Kerry – is it good for the butter?

While Kerrygold is a very successful brand, is it because it carries the name ‘Kerry’ or is it because it is a great product with great packaging and marketed really well? – I’m sure all of these elements contribute to the success.

Kerrygold and KerrymaidIn the case of the ‘butter wars’ I suspect that one part of the argument is about the ability to use the word ‘Kerry’ as it borrows all of the positive attributes of the place but for others who may not be as familiar with the place, a different argument could be that they are borrowing the positive attributes of the other product.

Would the Spanish know enough about the Kerry region to now the attributes of the location?

The Reverse Argument

In this particular case one could make a strong case against any company being able to use the name of a place in their brand and not actually producing it in that location – is this an even more serious issue for another day?

Place of Origin Branding

When we incorporate the name of a place in our brand or company name, we do automatically benefit from the positive attributes but, most importantly, if we are to use that place name, we also have a responsibility to uphold that name and not damage it in any way.

Did you hear the one about the Kerryman who thought he could sell his butter in Spain – he was right!  

If you need to chat about your brand, give us a call!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland