MAGA and simple messages

September 28, 2016

Donald Trump

What in the name of God is MAGA?

Of course it is an acronym for “Make America Great Again” used for hashtag purposes by Donald Trump with his social media posts.

This phrase is that one thing, that tag line if you will, which his whole campaign is built around – it is that one message that he keeps pumping out over and over, in every speech and now in every social media post.

Functionally when he uses #MAGA or any hashtag it pops out at you as it appears in a different colour and when you click on it you will see a listing of all of the social media posts where that was used. This makes it easy to track all of the posts.

People are bewildered about the success of this brash, uncouth, abrasive and insulting man who is now dangerously within touching distance of being the “Leader of the Free World“.

How is this possible?

While it is unbelievable I have a simple theory that I think partly explains the Trump pheonomena.

Here goes …

In this fast paced internet age where we are being assaulted 24/7 by messages and news via many media platforms it is very difficult to focus one’s attention properly.

As a result our attention spans are tiny and if you have a message that you want people to grasp then you must have one simple, clear message that is memorable and used consistently over and over.

This can be really effective because most people do not have the time or the inclination to dig deeper, to do their own research and properly inform themselves of all the facts about issues that are important such as who becomes the next President of the United States.

This key message should become your tagline and if possible it should be capable of being used as a hashtag in your social media posts.

BREXIT - We want our country back

For example in the recent BREXIT campaign the ‘leave’ campaigners put out a consistent campaign about “getting our country back“.

This simple message was pumped out over and over resulting in a majority of voters opting for ‘leave‘. What was clear afterwards was that many of these voters admitted that they had no idea about the consequences of their vote.

The ‘stay’ campaign had no clarity about their message so they made it easy for the opposition.

A key learning for all of us in this ‘short attention span era‘ is that a simple clear message that connects with your audience used consistently will win.

Does Hillary Clinton have a clear message?

I’m worried ….

Greg Canty 

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

In Dublin’s “not so fair” city

September 25, 2016

Smithfield Dublin

We were just after leaving a really successful client event in the Smithfield area of inner city Dublin, just north of the River Liffey.

I love this quirky, eclectic area of Dublin with a mix of old and new, the large cobbled stone plaza, new apartment blocks and old houses surrounded by coffee shops, little stores, the old Jameson distillery with a buzz of young and old including plenty of ‘cool’ hipsters making this area their own.

On this occasion it was nearly 8pm on a dark dreary night and the heavens had opened. A taxi was nowhere to be seen so we made our way in the pouring rain to the Luas stop (part of the much used Red Line, which would have come all the way from Tallaght with a stop at Heuston Train station).

There seemed to be an edge to the atmosphere as we waited for the tram to arrive. A woman was asking us as well as others if we had “two tens“. You could see she wanted people to open their wallets or purses.

Sorry, we don’t” Deirdre responded politely. “That’s alright love” she replied.

After about 5 minutes the tram arrived and we embarked with many others as well as the woman who had been asking for change.

On the tram we were standing next to a middle aged guy wearing an old black tracksuit with runners that had seen better days and a laptop case slung over his shoulder.

Three lads in tracksuits (they weren’t on the way to or from the gym!) were making a racket and they started exchanging banter with the guy in the black tracksuit – it was hard to figure out if they were spoiling for a fight or just messing but you knew inctinctively not to make eye contact with any of them.

During their banter there was plenty of “colourful language” being used as well as statements about “getting a syringe and doing ya“. They were now shouting down the carriage at another group of young girls who were shouting back at them.

At this stage we were feeling very uncomfortable as I am sure were the others including some visitors to Dublin with their suitcases who would more than likely have boarded at the train station.

The three lads in tracksuits jumped off at the next stop along with the woman who had been looking to change money leaving the guy in the black tracksuit, who at this stage was talking loudly to himself.

The Spire, Dublin

Eventually we were glad to get off the tram at Abbey Street just off O’Connell Street – as we stepped off the tram a man and two women, all soaked to the skin passed us by. The woman who may have been in her forties was like a woman possessed with her dead hair, pale face, mad eyes and missing teeth. She was shouting and roaring at everyone she passed by as well as those with her.

The man with her who was wearing a green tracksuit top and jeans, was pushing a tiny, quite old kids bicycle. Deirdre winced as he accidentally walloped the bicycle pedal off her leg as be brushed past her – he didn’t even notice.

Keeping our heads down we kept moving but then noticed the toothless woman had bumped into another weather beaten  woman with a hard face. Life had been hard for her, I’m sure. They clearly knew each other and now the other woman was crying and shouting something we couldn’t quite understand.

Lets get out of here quick we were thinking…

We passed them, pushed onto O’Connell Street and made our way as quick as possible towards O’Connell Bridge. Once you got to the other side of the river you could see and feel that it was a much safer area. We noticed that at no point along the way did we see anything resembling a police presence.

Dublin, our very popular capital city is a fantastic place but it has a dark, dangerous anti social edge to it in many central locations that are sadly witnessed by many visitors as well as natives.

While we can curse and detest these ‘louts’ for tainting our beloved capital we should first wonder how these desperately troubled and deprived people have ended up behaving and living like this and then begin to figure out the huge job of breaking these awful cycles of misery.

While the economy continues to improve we must figure out how we can leverage this opportunity and make our capital a safe and enjoyable place for everyone to work, live and visit.

Greg Canty 

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

 

 

 

 

Customer Loyalty – Who is rewarding who?

September 20, 2016

champagne

You can see it all starting to change – things are getting better and inevitably the prices are starting to creep up and the special deals are disappearing. The free glass of wine or soft drink with your lunch is gone – the bill has crept up €5 per person.

We use a particular hotel (our second home!!) on a regular basis in Dublin. In the depths of the recession they were glad of the business introducing keen rates for Corporate clients and a loyalty card system that rewarded you with free nights every time you stayed 10 times.

The room rate has crept up and 10 times has crept up to 13 times and the free upgrades to the better rooms don’t happen anymore – the reward for loyalty is less than it was because they don’t need this ‘loyalty’ as much anymore.

Recently we rang to make our usual booking and it happened to fall during the Dublin Horse Show week.

We have vacancies but we can’t give you the corporate rate. That rate doesn’t apply at busy times” the reservations person explained.

Excuse me. The hotel isn’t full, the event is happening and you have vacancies. We stay with you in the depths of winter when the place is half empty” Logic wasn’t winning as we tried to make our point.

Sorry, we have a new policy

We resorted to jumping over that person’s head and having a quiet word with the manager who we have got to know quite well and he negotiated a rate closer to what we normally pay. We shouldn’t have had to make any phone call but as I already said, things are changing.

Initially we were angry and frustrated. You think about finding a new place to stay but this hotel is close to the office and its convenient and in truth we all just have to ‘suck it up’ and realise that things improving means that your custom just won’t be as valued as it once was.

However, we now feel different about that place and if there was a better option we would definitely have switched to it at that point.

If you are increasing your prices and squeezing up those deals try to do it in such a way that doesn’t let your ‘loyal’ customers feel like their loyalty was pointless – you’ll want them in January!

Greg Canty 

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

 

 

 

A week off and the “not to be missed” opportunity 

September 19, 2016

Valentia , Co.Kerry

For once this year for a few reasons we still hadn’t taken a break and we planned a week off in beautiful Valentia, Co.Kerry.

Just before our time off a good opportunity came through to us. We were invited to pitch along with a number of other agencies on a really significant project – the deadline was really tight and of course the date for the pitch presentation to the client was …you guessed it!! 2 days into our “week off”.

Hmmm…it was a great opportunity, it would be really interesting and a nice one to win.

Despite the whole team being totally slammed I decided we’d go for it but this meant that our mini holiday would inevitably be affected. However, I could come back to work for just that one day and continue with the holiday after that – it’s just one day, isn’t it?

With the huge workload the work on the pitch started really late. We went to Kerry on Saturday morning to start our holiday and I was distracted – my head wasn’t in holiday mode because I knew I had to work on the pitch.

First thing on Sunday morning the laptop went on and before I knew it most of the day was gone. On Monday we finished the plan and we headed back to Cork and on Tuesday the work “glad rags” went on and I met the team and we went to the pitch.

The weather had turned nasty so we didn’t return to Kerry.

Working on this pitch turned out to be a huge sacrifice and in truth it totally and stupidly ruined my week off – I had no “head rest“, which I really needed. I came back to work the following Monday with a cloud over my head and I was really angry with myself for falling into this work “trap”.

But maybe it would be worth it?

What added salt to these wounds was not winning the account – according to the feedback we came within a whisker of winning as our plan was excellent. Thank you but not excellent enough!

If I had a cloud at the start of the week I certainly had storm warnings now ….I’m a big boy and I made the decision to go for this myself. No one to blame but me!

Win or lose you need to take your breaks and ignore these “opportunities”. There is always another one around the next corner.

You are the most important client of all and if you’re not fresh and rested you won’t win anything.

Lesson learned Greg? – I hope so!

Greg Canty 

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

Apple taxation and 1st World Problems

September 4, 2016

Apple - Irish Tax

What a bizarre scenario!

The EU want to charge Apple for back taxes to the tune of €13 billion – Ireland are supposed to get this money and we are all in a flap because this is an unlawful challenge to our tax system so we are appealing!!

Of course the giant have made colossal money and their tax gurus have used every possible loophole and structure to avoid paying the taxes that we get clobbered with.

Is this right and moral? – this is a great question but Ireland has had this fantastic “anchor tenant” in our country, which has no doubt helped us to attract other high profile foreign tenants.

Pierre Moscovici, the EU commissioner for economic and financial affairs, has said the commission is “certain” its decision to charge Apple €13 billion in back taxes is legally valid and he went on to say  “There will be no particular targets, and no particular indulgence. No one will escape. Nothing will stop this revolution of transparency.”

Pierre wants to start his own revolution!!

It’s all very strange timing from the EU coming on the heels of the Brexit vote – are they now walloping us for being so adamant and vocal about the importance of our relationship with the U.K.?

In the meantime our government aren’t taking this “attack” lying down as Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Finance Minister Michael Noonan have launched their own blistering attack on Europe over its ruling, accusing Brussels of using the scandal to create a “bridgehead” to target Ireland’s 12.5% corporation tax.

Our language got even stronger as they claimed the European Commission was “bullying” Ireland in the same way it did during the bailout.

The boxing gloves are well and truly on with the EU.

The Cabinet made a “unanimous” decision to appeal against the ruling but then the politicians started playing their usual games and two ministers undermined this stance when they said they still believe multinationals are not paying enough to the State. Doh!

It’s all very odd and confusing and it makes you wonder about the world we live in where the story of a genius company led by the true revolutionary, Steve Jobs comes crashing into the story of world politics and taxes or should we just say money.

These are very strange first world problems that other parts of the world would love to have right now..

Boy in ambulance in Syria

This is the recent photograph of five-year-old Omran Daqneesha who was sitting dazed and bloodied in the back of an ambulance after surviving a regime airstrike in Aleppo, highlighting the desperation of the Syrian civil war.

Greg Canty 

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

Tragedies and differences 

August 27, 2016

earthquake in Italy

In the way to work I saw the headline on the front page of one of our national newspapers “10 dead in earthquake in Italy

This was a shocking story – people dying in an earthquake in a location that is so familiar to us.

As we sadly know now that headline was out of date and the number is now 287 and even sadder again by the time I publish this post and you read it this figure will be higher.

When this tragic number increases it is incremental news and if it jumps by another 30 it will never be as shocking as the first headline we read about 10 perishing in the earthquake.

To the best of my knowledge no Irish people died but three from the UK are confirmed as dead. Sadly one of these was a young child.

If an Irish person died the shock to us would increase, when people from the UK are involved that does shock us because we feel they are more like us and when the awful news came through that one of those that died was a child the shock increased.

I asked the guys in work a question about numbers and differences.

If the same earthquake happened in Egypt what number of dead would be needed to shock you to the same level? – Its a horrible question to ask but everyone mentioned a much, much higher number.

If it was Africa? A much higher number.

USA? The answer was the sane as Italy because aren’t they the same as us?

Australia? Pretty much the same.

So, are we different or are we all the same?

Of course we are all the same and just one person dying in a tragedy is terrible, no matter where it is.

Isn’t it?

Greg Canty 

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

Do we have a hunger for bad guys?

August 24, 2016

Pat Hickey - Olympic Council of Ireland

At the moment we seem to have an insatiable appetite for the bad guys – this often seems to start with the media, with us happily jumping on the bandwagon, lapping up all of the attention grabbing and often sensationalist headlines accepting all of what is being said without question.

Maybe all of these ‘shameful characters‘ are as guilty as they are portrayed and maybe they deserve all of those rotten tomatoes and for their reputations to be destroyed irrevocably.

However, maybe we don’t know the full stories and maybe just maybe the process of delivering those shocking, sensationalist headlines isn’t always that robust?

In the course of our Crisis Communications work we have seen 100% incorrect situations being portrayed by the media in a particular way, which would have Mr and Mrs Everybody unfairly believing the worst and as a result solid reputations are destroyed forever.

It can happen easier that you may think..

  • someone with a gripe concocts a story about their target
  • they start a disingeneous “legal process” against their target
  • the legal documents get deliberately leaked to the media
  • a “hungry for a great story” journalist gratefully accepts the gift and starts to write their sensational story
  • the target is told there is a piece being written about them the next day including the detail from the legal document (bear in mind if you are explaining you are always losing) – any comment the journalist asks? – this is offering a right of reply (they did ask = technical fairness)
  • the flustered target (often not used to dealing with the media) might say “no comment” (solicitors often give this normally suicidal advice) or they might in the best possible way try to give responses to the accusations
  • the article appears in the newspaper complete with the sensationalist headline “Greg Canty (it could be you!) accused of embezzling funds
  • the radio stations pick up on the story and interview the person with the gripe who is more than happy to tell their story
  • the target is called by the radio station for interview to rebutt the claims – once again, when you are explaining you are losing!
  • the person with the gripe drops their legal process – it was never serious in the first place!

Question – what arresting officer in Rio would have taken the pic above of Pat Hickey of the Irish Olympic Council and tweet it? Why?

Mr and Mrs Everybody are shocked and horrified and they start tweeting about it, venting their anger and it goes on and on – the story gets bigger and bigger and then it grows arms and legs with further titbits being added as the hate momentum builds.

Maybe they did these terrible things but maybe they didn’t?

The next time we read these sensationalist headlines we should pause and carefully question everything we read before fully making up our minds about these “villains”.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Crisis Communications from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland 

 

 

Your most important customer 

August 12, 2016

Cakes - Fuzion

Last week our fantastic and very lovely graphic design intern, Marianne sent everyone in the team this mouthwatering email:

Morning, there are some home-made buns in the reception area should you fancy something sweet. They are cinnamon sugar and amaretto sugar buns (hope no one has nut allergies). Enjoy!

Enjoy?!!

They were absolutely delicious but more than that, this fantastic gesture by her was a brilliant way to make a connection with her fellow teammates on her first week.

This huge gesture blew me away and it got me thinking about customers and customer service.

The most important customers aren’t the crew out there that buy our goods and services, they are the people who work alongside us, day in and day out. Our bosses, our peers, our trainees, our interns – our relationship with these individuals is the most important one of all.

We spend most of our waking hours together and ultimately it is this group who will help to deliver your personal success, who will generate your income, who will make your days more enjoyable, who we need when we have problems and are under pressure.

Most of us can’t do it by ourselves and isn’t it much more fun when we do it together?

The most important customer is the person who works with you – look after them, treasure them.

Well done Marianne and thank you. You get it.

#WinHappy 

Greg Canty 

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

Snapchat and the schoolyard bully

August 7, 2016

Schoolyard bully

Let’s just copy exactly what they are doing

These must have been the crystal clear instructions to the programmers who work for Instagram as the new features on the platform are unashamedly and with no apology exactly the same as Snapchat.

Snapchat, the quirky social media platform has taken the world by storm and I guess recognising the imminent threat to their dominance Facebook instead of trying to buy them as they did with Instagram have just decided to try to blow them out of the online waters by “cogging” them.

Snapchat versus Facebook

I don’t like this, I think it is a poor and awful reflection of their business philosophy, their ethics and I’m starting to question their value system. This isn’t just any value system, this is the value system of Facebook, the clear dominant force in global social media.

Facebook aren’t just any other company they are a profitable giant who are without doubt the dominant force in social media. They gobbled up Instagram with their cheque book and we can see already how the two platforms are being worked for advertising purposes.

Then there is Twitter who are bravely hanging in there but they seem to be struggling to monetise their platform sufficiently to make any profit and their growth in user numbers has hit a plateau. As a serious competitor they are struggling.

Snapchat have kicked up a big storm and are challenging but the schoolyard bully has just landed a big heavy, powerful punch and they find themselves lying on the ground bewildered, battered and bruised.

For the sake of social media and the sector not being totally dominated quite dangerously by the schoolyard bully, keep tweeting and keep snapping!!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

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

Sick notes and morality

August 1, 2016

sicknote

Eventually the day of reckoning arrived and it looked like we were hours from the court case starting.

We were there just to support my buddy and unfortunately his wife and his son had also been dragged into it.

The previous week saw plenty of movement with offers coming through to my buddy to repay him the significant amount of money that was personally lent by him to his previous employers, his great “friends” to prop up their business.

This was big – they were now admitting they owed the money and there was no more mention of the crazy things they had been accusing him of. Unfortunately their offer to repay was in instalments over 10 years, which could never be acceptable as one could not trust that this would be executed without fuss.

For this reason my buddy couldn’t accept the offer and to add insult to injury they had subpoenaed his wife and son to attend court as their witnesses!! This was crazy and totally irrelevant and I’m guessing a simple, deliberate tactic to upset them by dragging them into the intimidating atmosphere of court.

The intimidation certainly did not work and my buddy, his wife and son were in determined mood to fight to get their money.

We sat in the pub across from the court while the wheels of the court process slowly turned and while the solicitors played their games. The pub was full of little groups of people all with their solicitors huddled over cups of coffee discussing their respective cases.

At least today, nearly two years on, the case would be heard and this nightmare might finally come to an end for them.

An unexpected call came through …”sick notes

Sorry??

My buddies ex employers, the “friends” had both tried to excuse themselves and adjourn the case due to sickness. One had a note saying he was unable to attend due to migraine and the other was unable to attend due to stress! The poor things getting sick on the same day – it wasn’t even first day back at school – what would their mum and dad have said if they pulled that excuse!

Both notes were coincidentally for a period of 5 days, which would happily take them past the end of the week by which time the courts would have closed for the summer recess.

This is a stupid, blatant game that is too easy to play and even a doctor, another professional was willing to play their part in the farce.

The presiding judge was having none of it and ordered that the “patients” would be present the next day to commence the case.

The next day arrived, other cases were heard before this one and the opposing side argued that there wasn’t enough time to hear the case before the end of the week so it should be adjourned.

Bingo, success, they did it!! Doctors notes, shenanigans etc etc and another four months have been bought.

It is far too easy in this country to play the game and for clever and devious people to work the system and dodge their basic commitments.

I watched my buddy and his family, I saw the strain that they were under and the cruel stress that they have been forced to endure and will have to endure for even longer. This was the sad reward for my buddy who helped these people that he believed, trusted wholeheartedly, people he considered were great friends.

I truly hope that justice will be served eventually and that my buddy and his family will get their hard earned retirement nest-egg fund back.

People talk about karma and I’d like to believe in it but sometimes I wonder..

I’ll keep you updated.

Check out my original post “Pillars of Society to be exposed” for more background.

Greg Canty 

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