Strategy – A good strong “why” will stop the arguments!

June 12, 2018

Strategy

I found myself in the middle of a big argument with a colleague about a decision that had been made around an initiative.

To cut a long story short, it was cancelled and I wasn’t at all happy about it as I believed this was a really poor decision according to all of the well thought criteria and rationale that I had in my head!

He thought it was the right thing to do to cancel it and I thought it was totally wrong and we both argued tooth and nail for our point of view. In the end we had to agree to disagree as it would soon be dark as there was no shifting of our respective opinions.

I reflected after on this argument and the potentially damaging heated disagreement and realised that the absence of a clear strategy that would have given the argument a clear focus was the main reason that had us in a battle of words that was going nowhere fast.

Why?

If the why (or the strategy) was clearly established, understood and agreed in advance of our “argument” then there would have been a good chance that we may have had no need for any conversation!

Armed with a good ‘Why’ a logical decision could have been made by answering a few basic questions:

– Who is our agreed target audience?

– Why are they important to us?

– What is our agreed objective for that audience?

– What are the best tactics for reaching that audience?

– How did this initiative work as a tactic that delivered the objective for this audience?

– What were the KPIs that were agreed to assess the success of the initiatives?

– What was the cost of the initiative?

– How did the initiative work in the past and how did it perform against the agreed KPIs?

– Could anything have been done to improve the performance of the initiative?

– Are there other alternative tactics that would deliver the same or better results?

With a strong and transparent assessment framework that is rooted in a clear strategy our conversation would have been very straightforward.

Have a strong why that everyone agrees with and your life will be much easier all round !

p.s. I know I was right!

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Embracing the Darkness with Jim Breen, founder of Cycle Against Suicide

June 6, 2018

Jim Breen

A number of years ago we bumped into successful businessman, Jim Breen (founder of PulseLearning) and star of the TV show ‘Secret Millionaire‘ at an event in Cork.

Jim was speaking at this event and he lit up the atmosphere with his dynamic, challenging, energetic style.

At the coffee break we ended up chatting to him and he “quietly” mentioned to us that he had an idea about a cycle event that he wanted to take on tour around Ireland to shine a light on mental illness.

Men in particular, are really bad at talking face to face with each other about their struggles, but ‘shoulder to shoulder’ they can be much more open” he explained.

This was why he felt a cycling event would be a great vehicle for his message.

We offered to help him and two weeks later ‘Cycle Against Suicide‘ had been born and Fuzion created the brand identity, website and communications campaign to go with his powerful concept.

Since then Cycle Against Suicide has been a huge success and thankfully there has been a reduction in the cruel statistics, which are still way too high.

Jim has become a very close friend and he agreed to jump in and do a podcast with us where he takes us on a deep trip into the darkness of mental illness.

In this very open and honest chat, Jim shares his successful and inspirational story as well as his personal struggles with his own darkness, how he copes with this everyday and how he has turned this darkness into a unique strength.

A sincere thank you to Jim for giving us this insight into what it is like to live with Mental Illness.

It’s ok not to be ok, and it’s absolutely ok to ask for help

Click here to listen to the show

Fuzion Win Happy Podcast

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

The Bravery of Loris Karius

May 27, 2018

Loris Karius

Like all Liverpool FC fans I am devastated today after our team lost the Champions League Final to Real Madrid in the most bizarre match, which saw us lose our most dangerous player Mo Salah to injury due to a cynical challenge after 30 minutes, witness a blunder in a million and a then a goal in a million and then another blunder.

Our charismatic manager Jurgen Klopp said after that you need luck to win a final – he was right, we experienced the exact opposite and lost 3-1.

While a lot of the focus afterwards was on the Gareth Bale wonder goal there was just as much attention on the two “blunders” by the Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius.

As usual social media erupted and some of the nicer comments (on the negative side of the fence) were that he would never recover from such a display and would certainly never wear a Liverpool shirt again.

However, another story has been just as powerful as we watched the heartbreaking tragedy of a young man making the biggest mistakes of his professional career in front of the biggest possible audience – we watched him weeping on the ground.

For me the most striking part of this story was his bravery.

Instead of disappearing from the pitch into the nearest and darkest cupboard he walked to the Liverpool fans weeping and gesturing as he sought forgiveness.

He didn’t avoid interviews, he apologised to the fans.

He went onto Instagram today and apologised, knowing he would probably get a barrage of abuse:

I know I messed up with the two mistakes and I let you all down

I hope he gets over this huge setback and that he fulfils all of his potential and becomes a legend at our club.

In this age of money, little loyalty and an abundance of cynicism in sport we need real characters with bravery.

Loris – I’m looking forward to seeing you back in a Liverpool shirt.

 

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Ordinary” voices speaking loudly

May 13, 2018

Vicky Phelan

I was driving across the city and listening passively to RTE 1 – it was Dee’s car so I didn’t have it set up to stream podcasts from my phone.

The presenter brought on a woman to talk about the utterly awful and totally depressing situation with the cervical cancer screening fiasco, brought to light by the very brave Vicky Phelan who had refused the insulting and inevitable “non-disclosure” clause in her settlement case with the HSE.

(can you even get your head around the callous thinking here? “We’ve practically killed you by not owning up to an error and we are now giving you some money to compensate you, but a condition must be that you keep your mouth shut about it!!)

This brave, “ordinary” woman had courage, refused this clause and used her voice to expose this awful crime on Irish citizens.

Margaret Murphy

The person who came on air was Margaret Murphy, who is a Patient Advocate for the World Health Organisation (WHO) Patients for Patient Safety Programme. I had never heard of her before and I never heard of this programme.

Margaret came to this position because of her eloquence and her unique ability to share the story of her son Kevin who died aged 21 years.  Margaret gives an insight into what it is like to be a patient, a family and a clinician when things go wrong in the healthcare system.

Margaret speaks all over the world addressing audiences on the topic of “things going wrong” within the medical world and advocates strongly for a regime of honesty, transparency and candour – she knows it works, she has the facts and she even makes the business case for being honest as it is proven to save money for the medical profession!

Once Margaret came on the airwaves she immediately grabbed my attention –  the most engaging thing about her was that she spoke in a down to earth accent (an “ordinary” person) and used down to earth language and she spoke with passion.

This is the time for all “ordinary” people to stand up and use their powerful voices and highlight the bullshit that is contaminating the most powerful institutions in the country.

Bring on the ordinary..

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Staying bright in a dark world – Eleanor O’Kelly Lynch

May 12, 2018

Eleanor O'Kelly Lynch with her daughter Lauren, CdLS awareness day

When you meet Eleanor you just have to be struck by the “brightness” around her.

Every time she walks into a room, every time you bump into her on the street you notice the bright clothes that she wears, the warm smile and the positive, happy glow that will always leave you feeling a little better about yourself.

Eleanor O’Kelly Lynch runs a successful company called Golden Apple Training, which specialises in Sales and Customer Service training.

I met her for coffee one day, prompted by something really nice that she had commented on a blog post that I had written about my dad who passed away in January of this year.

Other than the “brightness” and the training company I knew very little about Eleanor and this quick coffee turned into the most revealing of conversations.

I learnt about a fantastic, proactive career but I was also staggered to hear about a rare, debilitating and very cruel disease that her daughter, Lauren has called CdLS. (about 40 people suffer from this in Ireland)

I’ll be honest with you and admit that I fought back the tears hearing about the life struggle that Eleanor has had in coping with Lauren, who she adores.

I wondered how could you cope a single day with this life challenge and how could you cope for 25 years and still manage to have the brightest disposition ever?

We (Fuzion Communications) were more than happy to give Eleanor and the CdLS organisation in Ireland a small hand promoting their National CdLS Awareness Day (12th May) but I also asked her to sit down with me to do a podcast.

I wanted to figure out the secret to being so bright and positive when life is just unbelievably cruel and challenging each and every single day.

Listen to the latest episode of the Fuzion Win Happy podcast to discover her secret….

Fuzion Win Happy PodcastGreg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

The importance of music and culture with legendary DJ Stevie G

April 29, 2018

Stevie G

It was important for me to grab legendary DJ, Stevie G (Stevie Grainger) and sit down with him and record a conversation for our Fuzion Win Happy podcast series.

Fuzion Win Happy Podcast

While Stevie G is a really talented, successful DJ, Producer and Promoter he is also one of those unique individuals who selflessly gives of himself, helping others in the music industry by encouraging them and giving them opportunities to experiment.

When you praise him for working with young newcomers he just tells you that it helps to invigorate him…typical Stevie!

In the podcast, I chat with this passionate Corkman about his special relationship with the city, the important role of music to your own identity and to the culture of “your place”.

We chat about how important it is to be proactive about the things you want in your life, about running a large venue during the recession and ultimately, coping with its closure.

Stevie also shares what it was like breaking through as a DJ in the iconic, world renowned club venue, Sir Henry’s in Cork and what life was like in those heady club days.

Stevie G is a music legend….click here to listen to the show

Click here to listen to his track “Deep Down South

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Nice dreams and bad jokes..

April 19, 2018

Dad and me

We were sitting at the dinner table and the conversation was flowing.

Mum had told us about some friend of hers who was suffering badly with arthritis.

When I hear that word I just can’t help it, and I cracked one of my woeful jokes ….

That fella Arthur should get a life and leave people alone

Dad just cracked up at my poor joke and was in convulsions..

I looked over at him, grabbed him and gave him the biggest hug and told him that I loved him.

Then, I woke up and realised it was just a dream, a nice dream – He was there, for just a beautiful moment.

Miss you Pops … 

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Positive Work Environments with Frank Scott-Lennon

April 14, 2018

Frank Scott-Lennon

Frank Scott-Lennon of HR for SMEs is a good friend, a mentor and a terrific IR specialist and someone that I was really interested in sitting down with as part of our Fuzion Win Happy podcast series.

It’s quite amazing when you sit down with someone and have a big, deep conversation, how much you discover about them and how their rich life experiences contribute so much to the person that they are today.

Frank is a brilliant IR specialist (which is no surprise when you look at his CV) and on occasions I have gone to him for advice and he always listens intently and has a wonderful skill of identifying the real issues for you and outlining a clear strategy for dealing with them.

One of the many reasons that I love Frank is his passion for people and creating the best work environments and this can be seen by him founding in another business, Well Being For Work,which focuses on just that.

In this episode with this special man, I heard about early heartbreak with the death of his father, which literally changed his early life and there are many other twists and turns, which I will leave for you to discover for yourself.

If you ever need some brilliant HR advice or some great mentorship you will be in the safest hands with Frank.

A huge thanks to Frank for his friendship, his great advice and for agreeing to sit down with me.

Click here to listen!

I hope you enjoy it..

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Should Bank of Ireland have made a braver statement about their Ulster Rugby sponsorship?

April 12, 2018

Ulster Rugby

Today, Bank of Ireland issued a statement to the media concerning their sponsorship of Ulster Rugby.

They have said that it is ‘highly concerned‘ and is reviewing its partnership with the province following the Belfast rape trial.

In their statement the bank confirmed that it has conveyed concerns to Ulster CEO Shane Logan following the high-profile trial.

As a sponsor of Ulster Rugby, Bank of Ireland is highly concerned regarding the serious behaviour and conduct issues which have emerged as a result of the recent high profile trial,” read a Bank of Ireland statement.

The Bank has formally conveyed these concerns to the CEO of Ulster Rugby.

It is of paramount importance to Bank of Ireland that our sponsorship activity aligns with and supports our core values, and reflects positively on Bank of Ireland through association.

We understand that an internal review is underway. We expect this review to be robust, to fully address the issues raised, and that decisions will be taken – and policies and protocols be put in place – that fully address the issues that have arisen.

“Given that a review is underway, we won’t comment further on this issue at this time.

What do you think of what Bank of Ireland have done here?

Let’s look at what they have said first..

They are highly concerned regarding the serious behaviour and conduct issues..

At least this shows their position about what emerged during the court case – in truth, while “highly concerned” is strong language it is probably not going far enough considering what did emerge during the trial.

During the trial the court heard about a series of WhatsApp messages in which Mr Olding said “we are all top shaggers”

Mr Jackson wrote: “There was a lot of spit roasting last night.”

Olding told the WhatsApp group: “It was like a merry-go-round at a carnival.”

The Bank has formally conveyed these concerns to the CEO of Ulster Rugby..

They are letting us know in advance of any decision by Ulster Rugby their position with this issue.

It is of paramount importance to Bank of Ireland that our sponsorship activity aligns with and supports our core values..

The reason any brand sponsors anything is to associate with the brand values and gain something positive from this – the bank are saying clearly here that what has happened here does not align with the core values.

The sponsorship is of huge importance to the sport and if it was pulled, without doubt this would have an impact on many.

Given that a review is underway, we won’t comment further on this issue at this time..

By acknowledging the review by Ulster Rugby (they mention the robust process) they are sort of saying “lets wait and see and we’ll decide what to do next“.

OK…

Let’s be clear – the statement issued to the media was written for the public’s benefit – they want us, their target audience to know that they have core values, that they aren’t happy with what happened and how this may impact on them and that they have conveyed this to Ulster Rugby.

While the statement from them has come a little bit too late (they could be accused of reacting now because of the public backlash) it is clever to a point as it gives them advance “wiggle room” around any decision coming from Ulster Rugby.

If Ulster Rugby go light on the two rugby players Bank of Ireland can kill their sponsorship (potentially damaging to the sport) and they are off the hook. They would possibly have to consider the possible backlash of avid sporting fans.

If Ulster Rugby go heavy and fire the players then the bank have already made their position clear in advance and can count this as a “core values” win.

Our advice..

Their blatant disrespect for a young woman, as demonstrated through their deplorable messaging to each other,  cannot be tolerated under any circumstances.

People, young and old look up to their sports-stars and they must be held to very high standards.  We expect that of our heroes.

If Bank Of Ireland are really concerned about their brand (for legal reasons they may have to go easy) they should state categorically and with no uncertainty that they will pull their sponsorship if these players are allowed to play for the team again.

These men demonstrated without question the most horrible behaviour and disrespect to women and this should be called out plain and simple, for all our sake.

Bank of Ireland must really think of their brand and not wait in the wings to see what action Ulster Rugby will take.

Be brave Bank of Ireland..

Greg Canty 

A dog called Bert and hard habits to break!

April 9, 2018

Bert

We headed off on our normal weekend walk, taking our usual route with the dogs towards Ballincollig Park.

As usual Bert has his regular spot where he decides to go for a poop!

He is so predictable, that dog, the very same spot each time and thankfully it is in a location where it is right next to a doggie poo disposal bin, so there is no carrying his little gift for half an hour!

I was giggling to myself as I thought about his little routine, his habit and then reflected on how we, as humans are exactly the same.

The same route to the park, the same food in the shopping trolley, the same brands, the same hairdresser, the same shaving blades, the same songs at a party, the same pub, the same beer, the same jeans, the same TV shows, the same radio station, the same political party, the same the same, the same..

When it comes to marketing your products or your brand, more often than not, you are trying to get someone to change a habit – how easy is this?

You need to run a well researched, cohesive marketing campaign with a mix of advertising, PR, social media, direct marketing, events and activities. It’s important that the campaign is long enough and consistent enough to give people a chance to change and that there are some elements of the plan that will help to create that big shift of those habits.

Of course, after a short while in, everyone will be pushing to see early results – why are the results not showing yet, why, why, why?

When this happens, you need to have faith in your plan, stay consistent, keep evaluating, avoid any temptation to flip flop and tell everyone about a dog called Bert!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland