Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

Sad songs, dirty lovers and technology abandoning consumers

March 26, 2017

Johnson & Perrott

The call came through that my new car was ready to be collected – as it was a weekday I didn’t want to spoil the very special occasion by collecting it, driving back to work, parking up and driving home later.

I asked if it was possible to collect the car on Saturday when I would have a chance to properly enjoy it. That was fine so a new plan was born.

On Saturday morning I woke up excited as a child on Christmas morning and the first thing I did was go through my CD’s to pick something suitably rocky to put the superb sound system through its paces. If you haven’t heard the album, “Sad songs for dirty lovers” by The National then check it out quick. There are a few hard, driving rock songs that will get you in the mood!

I thought my dad might like to come with me and enjoy the buzz so I collected him on the way to Johnson & Perrott in Mahonpoint.

I didn’t see the car parked outside as I was expecting

When we got there it’s as if they were waiting for us. They were treating the occasion of handing over a new car to a customer with the same reverence and sense of occasion as it was for the customer. I was however wondering where the new car was?

Ah Greg, we were waiting for you. Let’s get you your new car“.

In the middle of the showroom there was a car that was under a sexy black cloth cover. I was curious and wondered if a new model of a car was going to be unveiled later to the media or if there was some embargo whereby they weren’t allowed to show it to the public until a certain date and time.

The cloth created a sense of theatre and intrigue.

Dan O’Neill, the wonderful sales guy that I have been dealing with for many years caught my curiosity and asked me if I was ready to see my new car.

He brought me over and theatrically pulled the cloth away from the car and unveiled my new, gorgeous Jaguar XF to both me and my dad.

Jaguar XF

Oh my God, what a moment – buying a new car is special but this rewrote the rule book on how your new car should be presented to you.

The car was driven out of the showroom, I quickly completed some paperwork. Dan showed me some of the new features and the keys were finally handed over to me.

It was time to hit the road in this beauty that I was privileged to be driving (I work my socks off but I don’t for one second appreciate how lucky I am) except there was one last thing to do before I pressed on the accelerator.

Sad songs for dirty lovers” was removed from the case and ….

A moments confusion – where do I put the CD?

There was no slot where you would expect it. Was there a button to press somewhere that would slide open a panel on the dashboard where the CD would go? Was there a multi-CD option in the boot (I never liked that idea but okay if that was the case)? Was there some place in the console next to the driver where you placed the CD?

Feeling rather stupid that I wasn’t able to figure out this basic thing I went looking for Dan and asked him the embarrassing question, “Dan, where do I put the CD?

They’ve done away with a CD player in this new model, it’s all by bluetooth now” he explained.

I was staggered and disappointed. We switched on the radio and heard Bobby Kerr doing his business show, I flicked the channels to find some decent music but nothing was what I wanted to hear on my first journey in this fantastic machine. Instead we drove away and just listened to the gorgeous purr of the engine.

Someone somewhere made a decision on behalf of all new Jaguar XF drivers that any music listened to while driving would be on the radio or via something pre-loaded on a phone or an iPod.

I love my music more than most, I love my CD’s and I love the idea of being able to grab something from my collection or buy something in the music store and just play!

I probably sound like a dinosaur (the dinosaur who was buying the car!) but this boy is thinking that technology is now driving a lot of behaviour in a way that maybe the customer just doesn’t want?

Get your hands on that National album (CD or Vinyl) and put it in a decent sound system, crank it up as loud as you can bear and celebrate how things should be..

Note – I bought the car at the beginning of 2016 and a few irritations with technology recently have prompted me to finally write the piece.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service agencu that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you bring to work? – the Gospel according to The Boss

February 18, 2017

Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run

I always tell the fantastic team that work with me and Dee at Fuzion Communications, that they don’t work for an entity, they actually work for themselves.

Fuzion isn’t the place where they work, it is them, it is us.

Together we turn up, we ply our trade and we give of ourselves and the result of this is Fuzion.

The place where we work is what we collectively make of it, and it is up to us together, to make it a special place that we can all enjoy.

When we get this right and we enjoy doing great work together for our clients we call it Win Happy.

When anyone new starts I explain our simple work philosophy to them and I am sure they think I am a total crackpot because sadly it doesn’t normally operate like this in the workplace.

I am in the middle of a fantastic book and the following powerful excerpt really resonated with me as it describes our philosophy better than I ever can:

There is love and respect in the centre of everything that we do together.

It’s not just business, it’s personal.

When you come to work with me, I had to be assured that you’d bring your heart

Heart sealed the deal.

We are more than an idea, an aesthetic. We are a philosophy, a collective, with a professional code of honour.

It is based on the principle that we bring our best, everything we have, to remind you of everything you have, your best.

That it’s a privilege to exchange smiles, soul and heart directly with the people in front of you.

That it’s an honour and great fun to join in concert with those whom you’ve invested so much of yourself in and they in you, your fans, the stars above, this moment, and apply your trade humbly (or not so!) as a piece of a long, spirited chain you’re thankful to be a small link in.  

Bruce Springsteen

Excerpt from his book ‘Born to Run’

#WinHappy

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service agencu that offers Marketing, PR and 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

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

Young and Old Momentum

May 22, 2016

Rubyhorse pictured at the White Horse in Ballincollig, Cork

I had a really great, inspirational day at the Dublin Chamber, Momentum Summit, which was held at the Aviva Stadium last Friday.

This was the second year of this full day event, which featured a really nice mix of speakers, master classes and good, old fashioned networking during the many coffee breaks, lunch and drinks reception.

We had top class panelists from a variety of businesses big and small around topics such as “Differentiation“, “Scaling” and “Online Opportunities“, we had a fantastic speaker Jamil Qureshi who spoke about the importance of your Mindset and your Purpose and lastly we had a “Competitive Edge” sporting panel, which included Paul O’Connell (who incorrectly predicted an Ulster win!), Henry Shefflin and Jack McCaffrey.

This easy and relaxed Friday was superb and as Dublin Chamber of Commerce President, Derry Gray eloquently suggested at the beginning of the day, it was “time for you to think and quietly reflect“, which I certainly did.

Improper Butter -

The two young entrepreneurs, Elaine Lavery and Hannah O’Reilly who co-founded Improper Butter spoke really well about their exciting start-up journey and I think they gave me and many others cause for reflection!

Privately while I listened to the story of these two young entrepreneurs I wondered about my life, my career and the things that I have achieved along the way. I have worked in fabulous companies, I opened, closed and sold many different businesses and now I am dedicating most of my energy to Fuzion, which I love.

That voice in my head started: “Should I have done more with my career, have I achieved what I wanted to, have I been a success, do I have the same energy that I had when I was the same age as these young entrepreneurs and I am ready for new exciting opportunities when they come along?

Has it passed me and my generation by, I wondered and is it now up to a new generation to do these new things?

These thoughts were bothering me a little as I ate my lunch and the guy alongside me said loudly what I had been thinking. Some of the others I chatted to during the rest of the day were also saying the same.

While we were so clearly impressed by these young entrepreneurs we were at the same time feeling that our time had come and gone.

I hopped in the car and faced rush hour traffic (Luas strikers adding an extra layer of volume – thank you strikers and SIPTU!) as well as a trip to Cork to get to a long awaited comeback gig by Cork band, Rubyhorse.

Those thoughts about the “Momentum” of youth lingered with me on this longer than usual journey.

Eventually I got home, fed the dog and headed to the White HorseBrendan my son and his buddy Alan were at the gig as well as Alan’s dad Harry – I was chatting with Harry as we watched our two boys, who are now in their late twenties. Both are part of this younger, carefree generation, both with exciting careers. Brendan is flying as a music and advert director and Alan is a writer who is just back after participating in a documentary project in Columbia of all places!

The boys are about to start work on a short film together based on the storyline from the music video that Brendan did for Gavin James “For You”.

We were chatting about this generation and how different they were to ours – at least that is what we feel. How many fathers and mothers have had this conversation about their children?

Harry told me about a young lad, who was a neighbour of his when he was growing up. This lad packed up school really early. As early as the age of 12 he used head to Croke Park from Cork on the train for big matches selling merchandise. At 17 he bought his first pub.

Harry met him recently and he is now working for someone else, happily punching out a weeks wage – we try things and some of these things fail. If enough things fail we retrench, we lose that will to try again and maybe that entrepreneurial spirit gets knocked out of us.

That question was back in my head – Do we lose that ‘Momentum’ as we get older?

The gig kicked off..

This gig is a really significant part of this blog post as there is a very special story behind it so bear with me just a little bit longer!

These guys came from my school in Cork – they formed a band and dreamed big!

Dave Farrell - RubyhorseThe superb lead singer, Dave Farrell (he was born to be a lead singer!) was once sent home from school for declaring he wanted to be a rock star! It was like that at that time – get a solid job was what we were all encouraged to do.

Dave and his band of merry men followed their dreams and their success came in the United States where a few years of hard work and great songs resulted in them hitting the Top 20 with appearances on the top TV shows such as The Letterman and the Conal O’Brien show.

In an interview with the Irish Emigrant in 2003 Dave spoke about the differences between Ireland and the U.S., which he summed up in one comment “Here, you have loads of freedom and opportunities. America grants you the opportunity to pursue a dream“. Things have changed in Ireland..

Rubyhorse

Unfortunately through a combination of burnout, geography and young families these special, very talented school friends called it a day on Rubyhorse and settled in to ‘ordinary’ lives in different parts of the world.

Through a quirk of circumstances (a charity reunion last year) these older and wiser guys are now back with a vengeance and a very privileged audience were treated to a proper Rubyhorse gig full of old classics and some sparking new material from a new album that will come later this year. (Well done Dave, Joe and Deccie and a few new faces!)

After a superb gig and a few beers I walked home and thought – We are older, we have experienced the highs and lows that life throws us but we still have it and we are going to “Sparkle” just like this new generation.

It’s all about our Mindset and Purpose!

If we want it …we have Momentum

Check out “Sparkle” the track that broke Rubyhorse in the U.S.

Greg Canty 

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

 

 

 

Leap of faith 

April 17, 2016

Brendan Canty - Feel Good Lost

I’m sitting on a plane heading to the UK with Brendan my son for a huge Liverpool FC match versus Borussia Dortmund. How he managed to get tickets for such a match I have no idea but then again he has always managed to do things like this with his interesting network of friends and connections.

He is absolutely buzzing as he has just won another role directing a major advert for a huge international brand. After the Budweiser, Conor McGregor “Dream Big” advert this kind of work was going to come.

His enthusiasm is infectious and I listen to his plans, how he wants to shoot the advert, who he wants to cast in it and I watch him as he quickly and seamlessly sketches out the storyboard for the advert on his notebook.

He was chatting to me about the costume girl for the advert and he has opted for Sarah who was the costume girl in one of his fantastic music videos. The problem with Sarah is that she hasn’t done commercial work before but the great thing about Sarah is that she is raw, beautiful, authentic, pure and a gorgeous fresh face that Brendan knows will deliver something very special.

Adverts are big business and the process is expensive so you need people who know what they are doing so using an unknown, unproven person is a risk so the safe thing to do is to hire someone who has done it before.

He has told me she is already proving to be a star as she has gone away and researched the role so she can immerse herself in it and she has even unearthed material that will help the overall project.

Sometimes being safe is risky and if you want something special, something that will make a real difference then take a leap of faith and go with that unproven star who could just bring you some magic.

Go on, take a leap of faith..

Greg Canty 

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

Be first or be different!

October 16, 2015

last man

Most of the accountancy firms have it down to a fine art at this stage.

As soon as the budget is finalised the newsletters are prepared and issued, mostly by email. Years ago it would be the newspaper the following morning that we relied on.

This year it was no different and very shortly after Michael Noonan finished his budget speech the first e-newsletter hit my inbox with the main highlights.

Nothing too insightful – a summary of the main changes with a token commentary. As you would expect some of the information was relevant to me and some of it was totally irrelevant.

An hour later another e-newsletter hits my inbox from another firm – obviously the same info with nothing extra in terms of commentary or insights.

And then came another and another and after a while it felt like a long distance race where the winners were on their way home and a few well intentioned stragglers came struggling past the finish line.

I had a peep at all of them and except for style differences the content was as expected – virtually identical.

differentiation

Differentiating your business is really difficult in particular when there are many players doing pretty much the same thing. The first firm to produce a e-newsletter on the same day as the budget broke the mould.

When this happened they were seen as unique, very progressive and it was a great way of differentiating themselves – now many others have caught up so this advantage is gone.

The only way to stand out now is to either win the race (Quintas in Cork were the first to hit my email this year) or to do something totally different.

Next year how about getting all of the team ready, each with a list of their clients and prospects. Segment these by type and instead of winning the race why not take a little bit of time and where possible prepare a personalised, customised, more relevant email to each recipient.

This might seem like a huge challenge but with a few versions of the email (each with an emphasis on different topics) and with carefully segmented email lists every recipient could get something very relevant and more useful to them.

Maybe this is something just possible with 20% of the email database – one could send the 80% the generic email.

That’s something I have received from no one and definitely something I would consider to be really valuable and yes, it would make the sender standout…

No matter what you do if you can’t be first try to be different!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design, with offices in Dublin and Cork

MTV VMA Awards – Anything is possible !

August 29, 2015

MTV VMA AwardsAre you here on business or pleasure?” Is the question we have been asked over and over since we arrived in LA.

Oh, we are here for the MTV VMA awards. My son has been nominated for two awards for the Hozier video, Take me to the Church” is my response, to the hotel staff, the taxi drivers, the barmen and even to the very serious airport security team!

These surreal words come out of my mouth and in ways I have to keep on saying them to believe them myself.

Invariably we get a “that’s fantastic” or “that’s incredible” or my personal favourite is “that’s awesome” which only the Americans can carry off properly!

LA is a much better place than I was expecting. It is a colossal mix of cultures with people on every end of the social spectrum. On the immaculate Santa Monica beach we passed all shapes and sizes of people, we were entertained by excellent buskers and we watched old fishermen on the pier.

We were passed by David and Victoria Beckham’s three children on their motorised devices while behind them a young woman rummaged through a bin. Sadly we saw plenty of that.

I heard Steven Gerrard remark recently that in LA he can go out in public without being disturbed – here they seem to take no notice of either the stars or the most organised of beggars that you will ever see.

Anything is Possible!

When asked we tell people about the Hozier video that was made in Cork for a budget that literally wouldn’t pay for our highly discounted ‘industry’ tickets for the awards ceremony.

Brendan Canty and Conal Thompson - Feel Good Lost

Brendan Canty, my son and his partner in Feel Good Lost, Conal Thomson produced a powerful video for a great song that had been in the public domain for quite a while. Like so many other great songs it had gone unnoticed. Within days of being uploaded on YouTube the video went viral and this great song finally got the attention it deserved.

Anything is possible!

Over 330 million views later, Hozier is an international phenomenon and while he always gives credit to Brendan and Con the MTV VMA awards is the first time that their work has been officially recognised.

On our second night in LA with Brendan and Con we got to meet the very talented singer songwriter Gavin James from Cabra in Dublin. I predict that this terrific guy who has been signed by Capital Records in the U.S. will be a huge success. This down to earth guy who has a voice from heaven has just done a tour with Sam Smith in the U.S.

Gavin James

We had great fun talking about releasing a cover version of the old song by Cork band, Sultans of Ping, “Where’s My Jumper?“. He knew the words !!

Anything is possible!

He told me he is living and loving the dream but does miss his family and friends. Feel Good Lost did the video for his last single “For You” and are planning his next one.

Despite doing his video Brendan and Gavin had never met or even spoken before now. This is sadly how it goes when you move up the success ladder – there are loads of intermediaries and handlers who get involved in the process, which is after all, big business.

We chatted with Gavin about this and we all agreed that this shouldn’t happen as the ‘magic‘ can easily get lost when too many get involved – simple lesson for all of us!

While we have been here Brendan had meetings …. wait for this, in Beverly Hills and in Hollywood no less! He is now represented worldwide by a London agency called Academy Films and they organised meetings for him here.

He made all of this happen for himself  – he approached his ‘dream‘ agencies with his show reel, organised follow meetings and was signed up. With the right will..

Anything is possible!

We received our instructions about collecting our show tickets. The MTV team had taken temporary office space in the Marriot hotel next to the Staples Centre, home of the LA Lakers, where the awards will take place.

The excitement is well and truly building as we collected our tickets and hospitality passes. Brendan and Con (and hopefully us at the after parties) will be rubbing shoulders with music heavyweights including Miley Cyrus (must ask her how Billy Ray is !), Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Kanye West (regards to the wife!) and Britney Spears.

Anything is Possible!

On Sunday Brendan and Con will be on the Red Carpet from 3:30pm (LA is 8 hours behind Ireland) with the ‘talent’. Unfortunately we have to go in another door!

The ‘show’ starts at 6pm,

This journey has been incredible and will continue to be I have no doubt.

When Brendan volunteered for ‘Seven brides for seven brothers‘ in transition year in secondary school it introduced him to a new circle of friends and ignited the possibility of a different career path. During the weekends and summer breaks Brendan and the guys filmed a few comedies, which were really quite good.

He chose the multimedia course in Cork Institute of Technology and then threw himself into bucket loads of projects including speculative pro-bono work, which eventually led to paying work.

There were many little steps and random projects that brought him to the Hozier video and a lot of exciting work since then including videos for Gavin James and even producing adverts for Gas Networks Ireland.

You might call him lucky to be in LA but in truth Brendan works incredibly hard, he constantly perfects his craft, he builds fantastic contacts and relationships and he is very careful (I always think too careful – you must make some money Brendan!) to only work on projects he believes in.

The most impressive aspect of LA that I have experienced is the attitude here.

Our friendly UBER taxi driver, Indy from Indonesia summed it up best for us.

In LA, no matter who you are – Anything is Possible

The MTV VMA awards are on the 30th August, 2015.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design 

Pick the right maverick and get out of their way!

May 13, 2015

Young Wonder

Just a quick note to say thank you.  The video you created is really special; I’ve made videos for 15 years at a major label and hated nearly every single one of them…too many compromises, too many cooks….this is the treatment played out in front of us and its f**king brilliant… many many thanks

Brendan Canty, Feel Good LostThis is a fantastic email my son Brendan Canty (he has his own production company Feel Good Lost) received after completing a recent music video project.

He tells me it was one of the smoothest projects he has worked on and one with a fantastic outcome.

They loved his original idea and he delivered it without any interference.

He tells me this is often not the case. In many projects too many people get involved, there are too many opinions, too many opposing views, too many egos and too many comprises – he is not a compromiser but sometimes he tells me you end up doing what you need to do to get a job completed.

It tells us a very simple message about engaging with any creative talent including artists/designers/professionals.

Pick the right maverick, get out of the way and then let them do what they do best  ..

Brendan  has just finished a fantastic music video for a talented and ‘soon to be huge‘ Irish artist Gavin James.

The track is a beautiful song called “For You“.

You already know about this video by another Irish artist called Hozier, which he also happened to direct. At the time of writing this has been watched 247,000,000 times!

Greg Canty 

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