A Stick to beat yourself with or a Value to promote?

October 24, 2016

Carlsberg - Probably

Organisations make claims about their products and services the whole time, proudly celebrating key attributes that they believe make them special. When these attributes are an integral part or a key essence of these brands these attributes might be incorporated consistently into their messaging.

A very effective way to express your most special attribute as part of your branding is to introduce a tagline, which can then be used the whole time in conjunction with the product/service brand name.

When we think about some of the popular car brands we can see how taglines can be used to express something special about the range of vehicles that carry the brand name:

JaguarThe Art of Performance

BMWThe Ultimate Driving Machine

ToyotaThe Best Built Cars in the World

These taglines are typically used in all communications including adverts, brochures, packaging and even press releases consistently so that over time they become so synonymous with the brand that a consumer can recite them when they hear the brand name.

When companies develop these taglines for their brands they are creating a clear “experience” expectation with the customer – they should only make these declarations if they believe they can live up to them.

If Toyota declare that their cars are the “best built cars in the world” then they must commit to manufacturing quality cars. If a customer has a bad experience Toyota must respond from a positive place and do everything with the customer to demonstrate their commitment to quality.

Taglines and #Hashtags

With social media communications I find a very effective way of reinforcing a key message is to incorporate them into the #Hashtags that might be used when posting. Even better, if there is a tagline for the brand this could be used in the #Hashtag – if the tagline is too long then maybe some keyword variation could be used.

In the examples we gave above Jaguar might use #ArtOfPerformance, BMW may use #Ultimate and Toyota could use #BestBuilt.

VW - Clean Diesel

Sticks and Values

I was chatting with a client and we were developing a strategic communications plan for them and as part of this work we were discussing their social media messaging and the use of #Hashtags.

While the client was using a tagline consistently on all of their branding they were strangely very reluctant to use it as their hashtag.

This really confused me and I pushed them on it.

It turns out that while they were happy to make this quality claim on all of their branding and communications they were unhappy using it on social media because their feeling was it would be a huge ‘stick to beat them with‘ if anything ever went wrong.

But, shouldn’t the tagline be the same whenever you use it?” I asked

Yes, but on social media it’s different” was the clear response. “Sometimes things can go wrong, often through no fault of our own and the customer will hammer you quoting your hashtag/key message. For this reason we don’t want to use it.”

My belief is that you shouldn’t make a proud claim if you can’t stand over it. If you can stand over it then online should be no different to any other form of communications.

Your special attributes should always be celebrated, they are never sticks!

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


Your past biting you in the ass

October 10, 2016

Can you imagine Hillary Clinton in her car heading to the airport having left the Presidential debate with Donald Trump. This was one of the biggest moments in her whole life as it was his.

Many of the reviewers of the debate criticised her as she failed to land the killer blow over the comments he was caught making on his famous bus ride.

The truth was she couldn’t land the killer blow because of what her husband Bill got caught doing when he was President, which Donald correctly stated was one of the worst incidents ever for a US President!

Sitting in her car she knew it and of course Bill also sitting in the car knew it. What was she thinking, what did she say?

“Love you dear” 

“Love you too”

Both Donald and Hillary are both caught in a horrible loop because of their past but at least in her case it wasn’t her who did the particular deed.

While it’s easy for all of us to stand in our glass houses we are being reminded of the valuable lesson that crazy stuff we might do today could easily bite us in the ass just when it matters most.

P.S. We don’t all talk like that in the locker room.

Greg Canty 

Head turned ..

October 10, 2016

I’ve been really good this holiday break, managing to give my head a much needed rest from work.

To avoid the mountain of emails and little issues and tasks when I return I’ve tried to briefly check emails every second day for an hour (it always ends up being two hours!) and quickly deal with the few things as required.

Today I’ve let my head get turned back to work stuff so the warning alarm bell has gone off.


Mojito please ….

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

Attracting the first customers 

October 6, 2016

Marina at Vilamoura

The shoulder season must be a big challenge for those working in the hospitality industry as there are customers out there but not quite as many as in high season.

We walked along the marina in Vilamoura, which is a beautiful town on the the Algarve in Portugal and most of the restaurants had their “sales people” out front trying to encourage you to choose their place as your restaurant for this night. We didn’t feel like Chinese or Indian so it was easy to walk by these restaurants but when it came to the rest how do you quickly judge them?

Does a place look well, are the prices right, is there a special offer to attract you, is there something different about the place, do customers there look like they are enjoying themselves, does it feel right?

If they look empty then what does everyone know that you don’t so you walk by, if they are too busy then you might also walk by.

With so many couples on holidays I wondered why the restaurants did not bother with candies? – an empty restaurant can transform quickly into an intimate, romantic spot when a special atmosphere has been created.

Eventually we stopped at the restaurant alongside the waterfront that had a good number of customers eating but it wasn’t so busy so we were able to get a seat with a good view.

The waiter cleverly guided us to a spot that helped spread the customers even more throughout the restaurant making it look a little busier than it actually was – he understood the “optics” that a place looking busy would attract more customers.

My lasagna was gorgeous but Dee’s gorgonzola and spinach pasta was strangely missing gorgonsola – we probably wouldn’t be back.

To the front of the restaurant there was a stand selling ice cream and crepes to passing pedestrians strolling on the marina. During the course of our meal the woman looking after the stand didn’t serve a single customer until suddenly one man stopped and ordered a crepe.

Her hot plate was fired up, the deliciously smelling mix was poured over it and the whole area carried the tantalising aroma of crepes being made. Suddenly I so badly wanted a crepe as did most people who walked by – while the guy waited for his crepe more people stopped and queued and then more and more.

The woman within 10 minutes went from having nothing to do to not being able to cope!

People are simple creatures and we often look to others to see what they are doing before we are prepared to commit.

What are you doing to attract your first customers?

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

A great customer ethos

October 1, 2016


It was just another day and just another cafe and I ordered just another cup of coffee.

How many times have I done this in my lifetime? How many times have all of us done this and it’s just one of those many “customer transactions” that we do over and over.

While I was waiting for my coffee to arrive I inevitably lost myself in my phone checking emails and my twitter feed when a smartly dressed waiter appeared with my coffee.

With a big smile he placed the coffee in front of me and with full eye contact said “enjoy your coffee” in a way that made you feel he really meant it.

Oh, thanks a million” he surprised me with his genuineness and I did exactly what he asked and took the time to enjoy my coffee.

While serving a customer a cup of coffee is quite a routine task there are many ways that this could be done and my waiter made a decision to do this in the best possible way.

In the course of all our work there is a good chance that we end up doing the same thing over and over for our customers or for the internal customers that we work with everyday.

Try to do these routine tasks in the best possible way!

Note: The cafe/eatery is called Eathos and it can be found on Baggot Street in Dublin. They seem to hire a team with a great ethos!

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

(pic by Maura Hickey)


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


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