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

 

#IBelieveHer and Justice?

March 28, 2018


Belfast Trial

At the time of writing there has been over 70,000 tweets using the Hashtag #IBelieveHer, with most of these expressing total outrage at the verdict in the alleged rape case against the rugby players in Belfast.

Being honest, I wasn’t surprised at all with the unanimous verdict by the jury as there seemed to me, to be lots of grey areas and inconsistencies throughout the case and in a scenario that must operate in the realm of “beyond reasonable doubt” .

I read the summation by the Judge as she passed the case over to the Jurors and she outlined the issues very carefully, including strong guidance about the inconsistencies in the evidence presented.

As I said, I wasn’t surprised at the unanimous verdict by the jury – rape could not be proved, beyond reasonable doubt..no doubt about it.

The court process, in arriving at that moment, is brutal with skilled, intelligent barristers going hell for leather at the respective sides in the case, fighting the corner for their clients – for anyone that has ever been involved in a court case (of any sort), it is not for the fainthearted, and even if you believe you are 100% right in a seemingly clearcut case it is never an easy process.

“Proving” anything, as is the requirement to win your case is really tough, and without conclusive evidence that a clever barrister can’t pull down you will rarely get a result that you want.

In a rape situation, in particular in a case like this one where there was lots of pre-engagement between the different parties in a “party” type environment, it would be very difficult to prove unless there were ironclad witnesses.

I am very concerned that most of the “outrage” that I am witnessing on social media and in conversations that I am listening to are down to the fact that there was a verdict of “Not Guilty”.

I know I will get my head sliced right off by at least 70,000 tweeters but I will say it anyway…if we can’t prove that these men are guilty then this verdict cannot be given against them – while the process is horrible and upsetting it will never be an easy one as the stakes are so high.

If finding someone guilty of rape was an “easy” process , this would be a very dangerous scenario.

In this case I do hope that the jury who lived with this case for so long were best placed to deliver a fair verdict.

While the verdict of the case is one thing, the facts that emerged are quite another.

Consent or no consent we saw professional, privileged and gifted men willingly sharing a young, vulnerable woman for sex, which is quite horrible and disgusting and it does tell the whole world an awful lot about their characters and how they view women.

I watched the statements being read out by (or on behalf of) the various “innocent” parties after the case and there seemed to be a lot of finger pointing but no acceptance at all that their behaviour was wrong in any way – I thought what was communicated was very poor and misguided.

There will be even more outrage if these men don’t lose their jobs with the IRFU, which will be very tricky for all concerned – if a jury found them not guilty, what can they do? – lets see.

I read one particular very sad tweet that went: “On days like this I am thankful I don’t have a daughter”.

I am so thankful everyday that I have a wonderful daughter.

Do #IBelieveHer ?

I wasn’t there so I can’t say and it is probably the same for you.

Do I think she was treated badly?

She was treated horribly and I think these boys will pay a heavy, deserved price for this.

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

 

 

 

 

The wisdom of Louis Copeland

March 25, 2018

Louis Copeland - Fuzion Win Happy Podcast

Sometime in 2004 I approached legendary Irish retailer, Louis Copeland to see if he was interested in coming on board with a high end fashion event called Catwalks that we were taking on tour around Ireland.

To be clear, I didn’t know him, I had never spoken to him before and after a quick ‘cold-call‘ (I can’t have been too bad a salesman!!) he asked would we call in to see him and tell him more about our event.

The following week we called in to see him and we were greeted by a warm, open, friendly Louis Copeland.

After about five minutes, when we were in full flight in the middle of our sales pitch he unexpectedly declared “I’ll do it” and then quickly changed the topic..”Tell me about you two?

We spent at least another hour with him and he showed a genuine interest in us, our project, why we were doing it and what else were we up to. When the meeting finished (more like a friendly chat really) I asked Dee if she thought he had actually agreed to come on board, because he had barely got details about the event.

This was the beginning of my great journey with King Louis, as I call him! (or King Louis 2nd – his dad was also Louis).

Since then he has come in and out of our lives at different times. He did the event on that occasion and supported us on many other things since. He seems to follow us with interest and he will always call out of the blue when he might read about us or hear something on the radio.

When the recession clouds gathered around all of us, I heard him being interviewed on the radio and he offered a powerful piece of advice as to how people should cope.

Get up earlier, work harder and work later” was his advice, and something that I embraced.

My own Monday morning social media mantra, inspired by Louis (for anyone who has seen my tweets for the last decade will confirm) is:

Roll those sleeves up, get stuck in and have a great week #Positivity”.

When I arrived to record the session for this podcast he probed and probed me to learn more about podcasts, the process, who is listening to them and why. His natural curiosity and openness is just one of the ways he always stays relevant and successful.

Louis is an inspiration, he is a mentor, who is always at the end of a phone to bounce things off and offer assistance or provide a helpful contact.

Fuzion Win Happy Podcast

In this podcast I’ve done my best to capture his story, the secret sauce behind the success of his great business, his approach to marketing, what he does to stay relevant, his approach to online and who his favourite celebrity customer is!

You can listen by clicking here, or by subscribing on iTunesThe Fuzion Win Happy Podcast

A huge thanks once again to the retail legend, Louis Copeland for being a good friend and for taking part and being so open and generous.

Enjoy…

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

 

 

 

 

Tommy Doyle – How to be a winner?

March 19, 2018

Tommy Doyle celebrates with Mick O'Dwyer

In 1993 at the age of 28, I was appointed General Manager of a Guinness owned drinks company called Deasy & Co. We were a wholesaler, supplying beer and soft drinks to pubs, off licences and shops in Cork and Kerry as well as manufacturing our own soft drinks.

We had a distribution depot in Cork city and a distribution depot and manufacturing operation in Clonakilty in West Cork.

At this point in time I had been the Financial Controller for nearly four years and I’ll admit that I was starting to get very bored as I was just repeating myself each year and I needed a new challenge. When asked would I take on the role of General Manager it was huge for me and it opened up a new exciting career path for me.

One of my first big tasks as GM was to appoint a Sales Manager and I recruited from our own team of sales reps.

I appointed a guy called Tommy Doyle who was working with us for about a year at this stage. Tommy had moved from Tralee to Cork to work with us and he had a big reputation as a Kerry GAA football star.

Being quite honest, I never had much interest in GAA, so I didn’t quite appreciate that Tommy had won seven senior All-Ireland medals with Kerry and the depth of character that it takes for such a monumental achievement.

I quickly saw this when Tommy took on the sales manager role and watched his hard work, total commitment, drive, determination, incredible focus, teamwork and motivation transform the performance of our team of nine sales reps, which led to huge company performance.

Since those days in Deasy’s I worked with Tommy again in other roles and witnessed further success. He has since moved onto general management positions, and has with no surprise been successful in various industries.

He is now the General Manager of the Kinsale Bay Food Company, a successful business in the very competitive food sector in Ireland. The company, based in Cork produce a wide range of award winning, quality gluten free  products, which can be found in the multiples as well as artisan stores throughout Ireland.

Time and time again I have seen this very special, highly driven man achieve huge success in every role that he has taken on.

During the ‘Beast from the East‘ recently when we were all housebound I managed to grab Tommy (he lives close by!) for over an hour, with the help of a bottle of red wine (it had to be Michel Lynch for nostalgic reasons) to find out what you need to do to win your first All-Ireland medal, what it takes to win seven and how these winning attributes transfer so effectively to the business world.

Fuzion Win Happy Podcast

I captured this, some fascinating insights into the legendary Kerry manager, Mick O’Dwyer and much more in a special episode of the Fuzion Win Happy podcast.

If you have the time click the link above and enjoy.

A big thank you to my great buddy Tommy Doyle for his friendship and for some valuable lessons he has taught me since 1993!

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

 

 

Tommy has turned out to be one of my best buddies

Why Cheltenham?

March 19, 2018

Cheltenham

I was standing in the queue at the Spar on Mount Street in Dublin waiting to order a coffee to get me in shape for the day’s work in the office.

I spotted Dave, a buddy of mine from the drinks industry who I hadn’t seen for a few months collecting his coffee and he nodded across to me.

He made his way over and as jovial as ever he explained that he was exhausted after a few days at Cheltenham: “Jesus, I’m getting too old for this crack and I have a mountain of work to catch up on“.

When we both worked in the drinks industry these “junkets” were part and parcel of the job and while fantastic fun they invariably involved lots of travelling, late nights with more than a drink or two!

Dave is still working in the industry “The recovery time seems to be much longer these days” he told me.

The conversation went on and he asked that question: “How’s your dad doing?

He obviously hadn’t heard.

This is always tough because the answer always leads to some awkwardness and invariably warrants a much bigger conversation.

Dad, sadly passed away at the end of January” I replied and I started to give him some of the details including how he passed, how everyone was coping and both of us stood there holding our takeaway cups and we spoke about mortality and our different experiences.

Life is short” he said “and we never quite know how short it will be“.

We both stood there nodding and contemplating in silence.

That’s why we have to go to Cheltenham” he said and we both went on with our respective days.

He is right..

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

 

 

 

Stories you can only tell with Social Media

March 13, 2018

Orange Army

During the recent extreme weather when the whole country was effectively shut down, we all had plenty of time to check our social media updates to see how each pocket of the country was faring out.

The “stories” came thick and fast like the snowfall, and one story-line in particular that caught my attention came from Irish Rail.

The teams from the state rail service had clearly been told to take out their mobile phones and capture the different work that was being carried out, with these being quickly shared on their various social media channels along with a clever narrative.

These posts complete with the hashtag #OrangeArmy (a very clever way of referring to their team in the field donning their orange reflective jackets) painted their teams as heroes, braving the harshest elements to get the country on their journeys back home or wherever they needed to get to.

As expected there was lots of interaction with the general public who were checking the Irish Rail social media account to get updates about the rail service and were seeing these clever posts.

The media even picked up on this and wrote about the fantastic work that was done by the Irish Rail team at this time – it probably makes a pleasant change!

While this was a clever way of demonstrating the hidden work that most of us never see it was also a brilliant way of involving their team and motivating them: “We appreciate what you do for us, it’s important

Orange Army - Irish Rail

All of this is a brilliant example of how best to use your social media platforms.

These are perfect behind the scenes stories, that while valuable for your “brand” are nearly impossible to share on your website, in an advert or on a newsletter.

Instead of using your social media as another place to repeat your promotional activity, try to use it to tell those other unseen stories and let people get to know you better, your personality, your ethos and your beliefs.

If Irish Rail never shared these “Orange Army” stories we would never know, but they did and now we think they are heroes…

Be clever with your social media, don’t be shy and let people get to know you better.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Social Media Consultancy and Training  from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Ok ….my first podcast is finally live!

February 28, 2018

Fuzion Win Happy Podcast

This podcast journey that we have been on started on holidays last year when Brendan, my son suggested that we listen to a podcast called S-Town.

Podcast?…I’ve never really listened to them and after all I prefer either listening to music or talk radio when traveling but why not, let’s give it a try.

When my son recommends anything to us we tend to listen as he has great taste and within the circles he moves, he is on trend and if anything cool and interesting is happening he will be on it.

S-Town

S-Town from American Life was a fascinating series of podcasts that told a really riveting story. We downloaded the whole series and queued it up on my phone to make a punishing four hour journey a little less painful!

In the blink of an eye we found ourselves in the car park of our destination hotel and even though we were in the car for four hours we sat there and listened to the end of the gripping episode.

Wow, the journey flew because we were engaged with interesting content, which we had curated ourselves.

Roll on eight months, and we are now regular podcast listeners, enjoying a wide range of content on a regular basis and quite intrigued by how this simple format is catching on with people.

Why are podcasts so good?

For me the biggest benefit is that it gives me the ability to listen to something that I have total control over when I am on a journey or exercising (nothing too extreme I promise!).

While I love my music there are times when I’d like to be entertained, informed or educated and I can do all of this with my selection of podcasts as I commute to work, travel or hop on my exercise bike.

I find podcast listening has changed my media routines quite a lot – I still listen to the radio for news and topical items, but now instead of waiting painfully through a boring topic or suffering through a news cycle that repeats frequently I switch to whatever podcast that I have in my queue.

My own listening is quite diverse and it includes things like Legends and Losers, a brilliant marketing show delivered by the engaging Christopher Lochhead, The Stand by Eamon Dunphy where he talks football and covers other issues such as U.S. politics and the Maurice McCabe saga, Pod Save America and the Axe Files, both covering American politics and delivered by ex senior members of the Obama administration, Blindboy (Rubberbandits fame) where he gives you a very strange version of how he views the world, Reply All, an American Show that investigates strange occurrences online, The Anfield Wrap, which discusses all things Liverpool and an assortment of other things including The Woman’s Podcast, which gives me another perspective on life!!

All in all, this mix of content keeps me entertained and informed about things that interest me. As you can see I’ve subscribed to a mix of business, marketing, politics, lifestyle, sports and entertainment and each week I discover some new gem that gets added to my lists (finding enough hours in the week to listen to all of these is the biggest challenge).

I don’t listen to everything, I quickly hit next if a podcast doesn’t hold my interest but just like Netflix, we have another format that allows you to curate your own content, when you are ready to tune in.

While Netflix competes with TV, I reckon podcasts are now competing with live radio and music.

I’m noticing an interesting trend with advertising on podcasts (these are often delivered in person by the podcast host) whereby the same companies keep popping up – ZipRecruiter are big advertisers on many of the American podcasts I listen to. Have they figured out that this is a great way to reach their target audience?

All of this change is leaving us with a big challenge – the more our audience have the ability to ‘curate’ their own content the more it is difficult for us to get through to them.

If you want to stay relevant you need to understand the dynamics about all media then maybe you should consider jumping in?

So…..I’ve done just that and produced the very first Fuzion ‘Win Happy’ podcast (woohoo!!!) which is available on iTunes and other formats.

For this first podcast I interviewed Brendan Foster, a senior partner of Grant Thornton in Dublin on his last day as President of Dublin Chamber. The role is a year long and he has passed on the “chain” to Anne O’Leary of Vodafone.

Brendan Foster - Dublin Chamber

He is a really nice guy, who I have got to know over the last few years as a fellow Dublin Chamber Council member.

He has witnessed the highs and lows of Celtic Tigers and recessions and is a very proud Dubliner who certainly wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth!

The whole podcast process has been a huge learning experience of buying and testing equipment, practicing interview/chat techniques, learning how to edit audio files, mix music, create intros, design artwork, hosting and putting all of this together into a final product and publishing!!!

My first effort is so far from perfect it’s not funny but at some point you have to stop deliberating and press “publish” and just accept the learning curve for what it is – I will get better !!

I’m really enjoying the whole experience, I’m having incredible conversations with great people and I can see the potential of the format for Fuzion and for our clients.

A huge thanks to Brendan Foster for jumping in and if you do fancy listening then tune in and please, please, just like that band who plays their first gig, excuse the imperfections!!!

Happy listening!!

Click here for a link to the Fuzion Podcast

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