Wishing your time away..

January 16, 2017

Monday Morning Blues

It’s Monday morning, we struggle out of bed and it’s off to work – the clouds are hovering over our heads. We have the Monday morning blues..

I wish it was the weekend.

I can’t wait for the weekend, I can’t wait until the bank holiday weekend, I can’t wait until the James Vincent McMorrow gig, I can’t wait until my summer holidays, I can’t wait until Christmas!

While it’s great to have things to look forward to it’s even more important to embrace each day and everything that we do.

Enjoy your Monday, enjoy your work, enjoy that time with your workmates and your clients and everyone that you interact with and then get yourself home, to the gym, to wherever you go and enjoy that.

Make a choice and look for that enjoyment in everything that you do.

Stop wishing your time away.. it’s way too precious for that. 

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

 

A Tale of Two Cities and The Cork Opportunity

January 7, 2017

One Albert Quay, Cork

With busy offices in both Dublin and Cork I am in the privileged position of witnessing both cities up close and personal and with the nature of our work we get close to many of the key issues and challenges.

In Dublin I am a Council member of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce and in Cork I have been working on various marketing initiatives for the region so I guess I have a unique perspective. The recent Connecting Cork initiative by Cork Chamber has the city proactively connecting with our business diaspora around the globe.

Undoubtedly, there are terrific opportunities but there are also big challenges that must be addressed if we wish to seize them and Cork can play a pivotal role in ensuring that these opportunities stay in Ireland.

We hear the fantastic headlines on the news everyday about the many companies announcing new jobs but we also hear about how much demand there is for housing and the limited supply of high quality office space in the locations that contemporary businesses and their talented employees want to be in – high quality, accessible urban destinations with an attractive lifestyle mix.

While unemployment levels are half what they were at the peak of the recession the headlines are dominated with news of sky rocketing rents and the resulting social issues due to the huge imbalance of supply and demand for housing. The brave ‘Home Sweet Home’ campaign with the occupation of Apollo House has just put a huge spotlight on the issue of homelessness, which is in part a consequence of an improving economy.

So, it doesn’t always quite feel that we are succeeding.

While I am hugely proud of Cork, my hometown it is vital that Ireland has a strong, effective capital city to rival any in Europe. As part of my role in Dublin Chamber of Commerce we regularly feed into briefing documents and housing has been clearly identified as the number one issue for Dublin followed by infrastructure.

At the moment, it feels to me that Dublin is “broken” and it needs radical fixing so that the opportunities that present themselves can be seized without causing further problems for those living and working in the city.

The government for obvious reasons were unable to prime the development context to support the housing, office and hotel development that urban Ireland really needed. It also failed to really get to grips with the major infrastructure deficit in Dublin and we are now in major catch up mode.

To complicate matters further the management of the city of Dublin is totally fragmented, which makes cohesive planning and effective action extremely difficult.

The private land and property sector can shoulder some of the blame but there are huge tracts of brownfield land and property owned by State Agencies in Dublin, which should have been primed for development in 2012,13 and 14 for delivery now.

We talk about the genuine opportunities for Ireland as a result of Brexit but you must question if we could honestly cope with them if they came to fruition. If we are struggling with major issues for those living here now, are we crazy to be still talking about attracting even more businesses and talent?

Getting the companies here and then trying to sort out homes, schools and transport for the people afterwards will not be that easy.

ireland

While we proudly proclaim that “Ireland is the best small country in which to do business” we are in real danger of this message changing to “Ireland is the worst small country in which to find a suitable home“.

We need to be really careful because this message will catch on and once it does it will be very difficult for us to change the it.

This is where I believe Cork can step up to the mark.

In my hometown, something exciting is happening. Cork, has been progressing well with office, hotel, retail, leisure and community projects completed or under construction and at the same time public realm improvements are helping to present Cork in a better light.

However, Cork is also facing housing and infrastructure challenges but like any smaller ‘entity’ we should be more agile and flexible with the capability of reacting quickly as long as we have the genuine will to do so.

If Cork is positive and works diligently, cleverly and cohesively we can position the Cork ‘Metro’ area of some 500,000 people as Ireland’s only genuine second tier European city region full of innovative and creative people who are hungry to succeed.

Cork would then be in an ideal position to provide solutions for Ireland that Dublin will be unable to provide.

Cork can and should complement Dublin, adding more depth to Ireland’s global offer, helping IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the private sector to attract and retain businesses and people in Ireland and helping all to grow and succeed.

We now have real critical mass in global growth business sectors including technology, agribusiness, bio-pharma, tourism plus business services so a person can enjoy a great career along with other benefits.

Living in Cork is unquestionably a fantastic alternative with cheaper housing, cheaper office space, superb education, little congestion, the amazing countryside and coastline plus you can access Dublin, the rest of the island plus the global hubs of London, Paris and Amsterdam along with 50 other European cities easily. Into the bargain, we will soon be able to fly direct to the US.

Our most precious asset is the very special quality of life that is second to none in Cork, which many clever people, domestic and foreign, have already figured out. So many people who locate to Cork just don’t leave!

We have this superb opportunity and it is within our grasp once we are proactive and accelerate the development, infrastructure and marketing of the Cork region. House building must be front of centre with this agenda to ensure that we can provide all of our current and new citizens with suitable homes.

While Cork is “Big on Life” it needs to be just as Big on Action if we are to seize the opportunities that are there, right now.

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 Art of Possibility – I had a great 2017 because..

January 1, 2017

Klopp - We believe

For the last few years I have been doing this simple little exercise at the start of the year to help me get focused around things that are important both personally and professionally.

I have found it to be really useful and it has made a big difference and as I look back at 2016 I can see the things that I have achieved as a result of this focus. In Fuzion we also ask all of the team to do this – it is important to us that everyone in the team achieves their personal and career goals.

Making plans and actually achieving them is always challenging and at the start of the year we find ourselves at the start of that loop all over again making promises that often will never materialise!

Benjamin Zander - The Art of PossibilityA few years ago I was inspired by a book about goal setting in a different way called “The Art of Possibility” by Benjamin and Rosamund Zander (a really interesting motivational book by the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and his wife who is an executive coach).

Benjamin Zander, the conductor has the task every year of bringing out the very best from a large group of very talented musicians for his orchestra.

His approach is rooted in the power of visualisation – the simple idea behind this is that if you visualise what you want to achieve then there is a much better chance of it actually happening (disbelievers ….stop reading now !!)

This is my application of his great idea to tap into all of Your Possibilities..

Take a quiet few moments so you can concentrate with a blank sheet of paper and a pen and I want you to do some visualisation – First take a few deep breaths and relax and close your eyes.

Now imagine the last working day of the year just before you head out the door to do some last minute shopping and enjoy a well-earned rest. You are feeling very satisfied as you reflect on your fantastic achievements during the year. Some of these were personal things and some of these were professional things – you are feeling great.

Now open your eyes and write at the top of the blank page the date:

Friday, 22nd December, 2017

Now write down this personal statement:

I had a great year because ….

Now off you go and list the things that will make 2017 a great year for you:.

Take your time and be as specific as you can including all of those business and personal goals that will give you that sense of satisfaction on that last work day.

Now you need to study this list and start figuring out how you can make this list come to life.

Put your piece of paper in a safe place so that you can refer to it throughout the year to make sure your wish list stays on track.

Enjoy realising all of your possibilities – it’s there waiting for you.

Happy 2017!!

This clip of Benjamin Zander is really motivational and well worth watching.

(the pic at the top of the post refers to the quote that Jurgen Klopp made when he was recruited as Liverpool Football Club manager. His message to the fans was that he wanted to change them from ‘doubters’ to ‘believers’. He gets visualisation! )

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

Time to Prioritise Caring

December 30, 2016

Caring

As we roll into another year we inevitably start thinking about the things we have achieved and the things we want and wish for in the new year.

If I was to express my wishes for next year in one word I would choose the word “Caring“.

I’m not sure if it is just now that I feel there is a real deficit of caring in the world, if it is just what I am seeing and reading or whether it is a reflection of my age and if I am starting to think and observe things differently?

I am worried that there is not enough caring in the world and I feel that this year has plummeted with awful incidents in Nice, Berlin, Aleppo and some of the horribleness that we witnessed in the United States by the President Elect, Donald Trump in his campaign.

Lessons in how to win elections were absorbed by a new generation and “caring” isn’t quite the word that comes to mind when you reflect on what we saw being played out for months and months in the lead up to the awful result.

Closer to home our year ended in Ireland with the homeless coming together under the simple ‘Home Sweet Home‘ banner and they occupied an unused office building, Apollo House to put much needed roofs over heads and put a public spotlight on this big issue, which is getting worse and worse. The homeless need this as they can’t go on strike to get attention.

We heard the involvement of high profile Irish musicians including Glen Hansard and Hozier being sadly criticised by some in the media as being a stunt by them to raise their popularity!

What has happened with the way we think about things?

The courts moved in double quick time (they can when they want to) incredibly to process an injunction against the occupants.

The very sad “win” was that the homeless were allowed stay in the disused office building until January 11th – Merry Christmas!!

When living in a disused office block over Christmas is considered a win for those poor temporary residents we have arrived at a very poor state of affairs. Unfortunately this was a win for them – can you imagine?

My wish for the new year is that we start genuinely caring for each other, that we teach our children the importance of caring and let them witness it everyday, that we teach caring in our schools, that we make caring a priority in our workplaces, that caring becomes part of the values that companies live by and that we put caring for people in our communities, on our roads, in our cities and countries before any other criteria.

Let’s start caring.

Happy New Year and a big thank you to all the readers of my blog posts – see you next year!!

Greg

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

Make a Playlist that makes you Smile!

December 18, 2016

Tinseltown in the Rain

I woke up this Sunday morning in good enough form.

I had remembered the tweet by Ken Sweeney of RTE last night about a documentary he had produced about one of my favourite bands, The Blue Nile. He was due to be interviewed by Dave Fanning at 9am this morning so I tuned in.

Very cleverly the documentary (which you can listen to on Sound Cloud) is called “In Search of The Blue Nile“. This captures the curiosity that most fans would have about this ‘cult’ band from Glasgow who produced just four deep thinking, emotionally, brilliant albums in their 20 year existence that connect with everyone who has been lucky to spend time with their special music.

Jim Carroll of the Irish Times also covered this in a piece last week.

Ken went to Glasgow to interview band members Paul Buchanan and PJ Moore, which takes the listener deep into the songs and where the band were physically and emotionally at each juncture. Listening to the gorgeous Scottish accents of these musical geniuses meant that all of my Blue Nile albums were taken out from my dusty CD racks and I pressed play.

Music has the power to take you back to special moments, it brings you on an emotional journey and today I was suddenly having the very best day ever – singing the songs, reflecting on the stories and messages behind the lyrics, playing my invisible guitar while I peeled the spuds!

What a simple thing..My Blue Nile albums and so much more of the music that I have needs to be played more often.

Make a playlist today that makes you smile and listen to it as often as you can!

Now ..listen to Tinseltown in the Rain  

Greg Canty 

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

 

Microsoft, LinkedIn and the Personal Touch?

December 8, 2016

Microsoft buys LinkedIn

Today I received a really nice personalised email from Mike.

Mike is an important guy in LinkedIn (I’m guessing) and clearly he and his communications team felt it would be appropriate to reach out ‘personally’ to communicate some messages about some rather important news.

The problem is I don’t know Mike, I’ve never had correspondence from him and in truth he is attempting to communicate to an audience (me and God knows how many others) who are cynical and probably won’t connect with his message because we know it is a giant company who just don’t communicate like that to customers.

I totally get why the email was sent and all of the logic behind the “personal” touch BUT when you do this you must be tuned into your audience and what they are thinking so that your message will connect instead of having the opposite effect.

I’m not sure if you think like me about these things but I’ll try to share my thoughts (I’ll put these in brackets) to highlight what happens when you get the communication wrong..

Mikes email:

Dear Greg, (do I know you?)

Today, Microsoft completed its acquisition of LinkedIn.

This is a major milestone for the technology industry and for our two companies (good for you!), and I wanted to reach out to you, (that’s lovely!) a valued customer of LinkedIn, (quite honestly I’ve never quite felt like that) to reaffirm our commitment to you and your business. (Yeah right..)

As we said in June, when Microsoft announced its intent to acquire LinkedIn, LinkedIn’s vision — to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce (what workshop came up with his one – are you taking the p#ss?) — is not changing (I can now sleep at night).

Additionally, LinkedIn will retain its distinct brand, culture and autonomy as a company (how long will this last?).

Finally, we remain committed to innovating with our partners to ensure LinkedIn’s products work with the tools and systems you use every day, from Applicant Tracking Systems, to Customer Relationship Management platforms, to Learning Management Systems, and more. (I’m breaking out the champagne!)

With the completion of this acquisition, you can continue to expect the great products and service to which you’re accustomed from LinkedIn. (if you say so yourself!)

You can find more details about today’s news here. If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your account team or a representative here at LinkedIn. (Seeing as you emailed me Mike maybe I could email you directly? …nah, I know it doesn’t work like that)

We sincerely appreciate our partnership (hmmm- when did that happen?) with you and look forward to the successes we will share in the future. (this makes no sense whatsoever – even more champagne?)

Thanks,
Mike (from one first name to another)
Mike Gamson
Senior Vice President, Global Solutions (I bet you have a nice car!!)

Communication Breakdown..

I apologise for the sarcasm and maybe its just my mood today but was that email a whole pile of self serving me, me me rubbish?

You have to wonder if there is any point when communicating trying to pretend you have a relationship that you clearly don’t have and then smother this with cliche, marketing jargon that has been spat out of meaningless workshops where there wasn’t a genuine ‘customer’ in sight.

The purchase price was supposed to be in the region of $26 Billion – what happened with the communications plan?

Maybe just keep it easy? – issue a simple press release that says the sale has gone through

Greg Canty 

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

 

 

Social Media after Death

December 1, 2016

Social Media after death

I spotted a post that a friend of mine had pushed out on Facebook of her and her husband on holidays somewhere.

I hadn’t seen her for years so I innocently posted “I hope the two love birds are doing great – must get together one of these days“.

Another mutual friend sent me a ‘panic‘ message “Delete the post, her husband died last year and she was just posting a memory as it is a year since his death“.

Oh no ….. how did I not know this awful news?

I sent my friend a private message on Facebook apologising for my colossal gaffe and offered my sincere condolences – thankfully she came back to me, was totally understanding and we actually ended up chatting on the phone.

It turns out she was happy to chat about her husband and in a strange way she was glad that someone behaved as if he was still alive..

The Last Will and Testament

I’ve been asked to go on air to chat about a newspaper article that discusses the trend of people leaving very specific instructions in their wills about keeping their social media accounts “alive” once they leave this life (or do they?).

The article claims that according to lawyers one in five people are now leaving specific social media instructions in their wills – I guess if you factor in that not all people in that supposedly older demographic have participated in social media, then it would suggest that most avid users see it as being really important.

People are nominating a social media ‘guardian’ in their wills who have the job of executing their instructions, which according to the survey are quite varied:

  • some are going as far as specifying how often their account should be updated and the type of content they want posted
  • some are requesting that a post goes from their account every single day!
  • some wish that once or twice a year some memories are posted for the person to keep their memory alive
  • the majority just wish for their guardian to reply to comments

More than half of social media users want their Facebook account maintained, which shows us that no one wishes to face the idea of someone hitting that “delete” button.

What is all of this interesting research telling us about social media and about life?

The first big observation is that it tells us that social media users while they can’t stay alive forever they do wish that their ‘digital footprints‘ stay alive…Greg is still here with us!

It also shows us that our social media presence has become our modern day ‘scrap book‘ conveniently collecting the memories that we choose to capture in our lives and this is much too precious to just ‘delete’.

These memories are a precious collection of that person’s life not only for them to enjoy but also their loved ones – maybe we should do a survey asking people if they would like if the social media accounts of their loved ones who have passed away are preserved?

When you look at the very different social media platforms it does put Facebook and possibly Instagram at the top of the charts for collecting ‘memories’ from your life.

Do people who survive me really want to see my rants on Twitter about Donald Trump or Irish Water preserved for eternity? – then again all of this is part of who I am (or was!).

My last observation about this whole cheery topic is that the social media platforms need specific ways of dealing with accounts of users who have passed away.

For example on both Facebook and LinkedIn recently I have seen the platforms suggesting that I might like to ‘be friends’ or ‘connect’ with someone that I know is dead – the last thing that you would want to happen is getting a message from the social media guardian “I’m really sorry, Greg has passed away”. That would be more than awkward.

Facebook do have a process whereby the account of the person who has died is classified as ‘Memorialised‘. It is up to the loved ones to contact Facebook and invoke this process.

This means that friends and family can leave messages and memories abut that person – the word ‘Remembering’ appears before their name on that account – these accounts will not appear in public places such as ‘people you may know’ or ‘birthday reminders’.

I’m guessing that some of those who have been researched about their wills may not want their accounts classified like this?

For me I do believe that the people we love never ever leave us and I would want all of their memories to stay alive so yes, appoint that social media guardian and never delete their accounts.

As for posting on a regular basis – maybe leave that one to the people who are left behind but …everyone to their own!

I feel the sudden urge to take a photo of something nice and post “It’s great to be alive“!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

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

 

 

 

Happy New Year!

December 1, 2016

happy-new-year-banner-2016-15Before you think I have totally lost my mind (maybe I have!) I do actually consider the 1st December to be the start of the new year when it comes to business.

I know December is a crazy month when we are all in ‘wind down’ mode, seeing out the year. For some businesses in the retail sector it is even more crazy but nearly all of the hard work has been done already purchasing stock for sale and planning the various promotional campaigns.

We typically don’t start anything new in December, we don’t commit to any new projects, we don’t take on new people, we don’t change jobs, we avoid major decisions and we instead let the year wind down, we merrily fall into the round of Christmas functions, Christmas shopping and happily embrace a well earned rest.

Before we know it January is here, we take a week or two to get up to speed and we start planning for the new year with our team.

Why not start the new year today and get a head start?

Greg Canty 

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

 

Can you tie your shoelaces in Pakistan?

November 28, 2016

shoelaces

Can you give us three examples of where you have done this work in our sector?

I saw where they were going with the question but in a way and quite respectfully it was a nonsensical one.

To make the point I started to talk about shoelaces!

Are you able to tie your shoelaces in Pakistan?” I asked.

If you’ve never been to Pakistan then you probably can’t answer this question for certain but the truth is that if you can tie your shoelaces where you are right now then there is a 99% chance that you will be able to do it there.

Once you have developed a skill, you have the skill!

When we look for “evidence” that someone has the ability to do a particular task (as in tender situations where it is often a requirement) we need to be sure that we do not use criteria that may quite possibly eliminate the very best people to do the job!

Greg Canty 

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

4.5% APR on a new BMW and the ‘Rough Sleepers’ team

November 21, 2016

Rough Sleepers - Dublin Simon

I was tired and cranky on this bitterly cold Monday morning.

Bert, one of our four legged ones woke at 1 am thinking it was “get up time” and made sure that we knew all about it so we had a lousy nights sleep.

The heat was on but it didn’t really feel like it as we got ready for work. I checked my iPhone for any relevant updates and I jumped in the shower allowing the hot water to wake me up.

We had the radio on as we got ready and I listened to the news items on Newstalk including Donald Trump and Hamilton, the on-going saga of strikes and the adverts came on.

Order your 171 BMW now and enjoy an APR of 4.5%

The new Five Series BMW is due out early in the new year – hmmm, I wonder what will that be like?

I jumped on my exercise bike in the cold spare room and even though I wasn’t really in the mood I peddled like hell for 20 minutes, while I watched a documentary about the musician Moby. I stared out the window at the frost on the ground and on the top of the cars including my darling, 161 car as I peddled and peddled…phew, 20 minutes went slower than usual but I got there!

The painful getting ready for work process continued as I pulled out a shirt to iron – I hate ironing, but it has to be done.

Before heading to work we wrapped up and walked both Honey and Bert around the housing estate. I made an angry gesture to the car driver who felt he had the right of way as he swung right into us as we crossed over the entrance to one of the housing estates – jerk! I wanted to chase after him and give him a bit of my mind … (that would really get my day started well!)

We walked carefully avoiding the icy patches on the footpaths and with both hands numb we eventually got back home. I let the engine in the car running so it wouldn’t be cold when we sat into it.

We fed the dogs and put them outside, feeling really guilty as it was so cold. We opened the door to the shed so they would have a place to snuggle up if they felt like it.

Just as we were heading out the door I spotted the fantastic book, ‘Looking at the Stars’ that Martina Bergin from Dublin Simon gave me last week.

looking-at-the-stars-dublin-simon

Martina heads up the ‘Rough Sleepers’ team at Dublin Simon who basically look after those who are literally sleeping rough in Dublin. I thought about all of the rough sleepers and the homeless last night and how cold they must have felt. Can you imagine?

I quickly read one of the fantastic pieces in the book, written by a person who simply went by the name ‘Donal’ which put my ‘rough night’ into perspective.

I hope the office is warm today…it’s easy to forget how lucky we are.

Say hello to the Rough Sleepers when you pass them today – they had a very rough night.

Greg Canty 

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