Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

2020 – Time to Experience the “real thing”

January 1, 2020

Ardsallagh Cheese

When it comes to trends in Marketing to look out for in 2020 and beyond I think it will be all about ‘Experiential’ getting closer to the customer allowing them to touch and feel the products and services and to meet the people behind them.

We see ourselves that the noisy, over crowded, algorithm choked social media space, which not so long ago provided a fantastic opportunity to “get close” to customers is proving very challenging without substantial advertising budgets.

The social media “influencers” in the main who had a short moment in the sun, over cooked the magic by quickly switching from being genuinely passionate about their sectors to being “show me the money” merchants.

The cynical and very savvy consumer is seeing through all of this “BS” and is slowing returning to more trusted and reliable traditional media, which is really interesting as they are craving something authentic, something that does not leave them cold.

An interesting medium that we see doing well is podcasts, which if executed carefully is a very special way for your customer to get to know you better while they are commuting or in the gym.

I was judging the podcast category again this year for the Digital Marketing Awards and I could see some really great examples of companies using the medium to great effect.

I noticed with interest last November, Amazon the leaders in online retail, promoting their ‘Black Friday‘ sale with full page adverts in the national newspapers, billboards around the city and even customer events.

For the third year running in London they had a free four day “pop-up” event, ‘The Home of Black Friday‘ whereby customers were treated to all sorts of entertainment and demonstrations as well as being able to ‘touch and feel’ some of the special Black Friday deals.

As well as checking out the huge range of epic deals on offer throughout Black Friday and Cyber Monday, visitors to the Home of Black Friday had the chance to try out the latest must-have products from beauty to tech and preview the latest screenings from Prime Video.

They ticked the boxes on all of the customer demographics with complimentary workshops and experiences including, DJs, Rappers, yoga, cocktail masterclasses, beauty makeovers and Christmas workshops.

It turns out that clicking on images of items on our screens isn’t the “be-all and end-all” after all!

We witnessed it ourselves before Christmas with the weekend events that we ran for Dunnes Stores in some of their leading stores in Cork, Dublin, Galway and Limerick, whereby customers could meet the food producers, taste the food, meet the designers and see the fashion on models and watch some demonstrations by experts.

Dunnes Stores

I am now buying the Ardsallagh Cranberry Roulade Goat Cheese and Himalayan Salt Aged Beef on a regular basis after chatting with the cheese maker and the butcher from James Whelan Butchers, I’m wearing SPF skin cream protection for the first time after meeting Darren Kennedy and I am wearing a cashmere jumper from Paul Costelloe!

I also, as well as having more belief in the wine selection at Dunnes Stores, I have some new favourite wine brands after listening to the wine buyer talking about his favourite wines and the vineyards they come from.

In truth, no advert or social media posts would have had the same habit changing effect on me and there is a lot of money in our habits!

So for 2020 and beyond, I can see us all working really hard to create those new opportunities to get closer to the customer through real life experiences.

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

When ‘How About’ and ‘Why Not’ come together

December 21, 2019

Emerald Ivory at The White Horse

A really talented musician said “How about” to a bunch of talented musicians who answered “Why not” to an idea about performing classic Irish songs together

Someone said “How about” doing a gig before Christmas at the venue Upstairs at the The White Horse Bar and Restaurant in Ballincollig, Cork and someone said “Why not“.

I saw the gig listing when trying to figure out something special to do belatedly for our wedding anniversary (too busy with client events!) and asked Dee “How about” and she said “Why not“.

Needless to say the debut gig of Emerald Ivory was really special and we had a great night.

To do anything new and discover magic in life we need two essential ingredients:

Someone to ask “How about

and someone to say “Why not“.

Are you one of those people?

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

430 Goats and running a charity with CEO of Bóthar, Dave Moloney

August 20, 2019

Dave Molney and Bothar

On our latest episode of the Win Happy podcast I sat down with Dave Moloney, the CEO of Bóthar and had an honest chat, as always about his life and his role with the charity, that literally grew from a community initiative in Limerick to celebrate Treaty 300, 28 years ago.

The charity that helps communities to be sustainable by sending them livestock has been making a real difference, year in year out and Dave explains how that happens.

His career was interesting, a Limerick city boy who landed a part-time job milking cows, ended up managing bars and restaurants in New York and eventually he got a call from his cow milking buddies to return and help with an initiative that had literally grown legs, called Bóthar.

They needed someone to accompany some livestock to deepest Africa!   

While this charity continues to be a huge success it struck me that Dave, who has been involved at different levels in the charity for 24 years is jaded.

Between the high profile scandals in charities that tarnished everyone bursting a gut with their respective causes, to the extreme regime of corporate governance and scrutiny that each charity must live under now, to the never ending cause of starving people overseas that he feels has taken a very sad back seat to so many other causes that are closer to home.

His big challenge is connecting his cause with a young demographic, which he feels is getting harder and harder.

Somehow getting 430 goats off a plane with no lift seems to be a much easier and energising task….

Click here to listen to his story and the story of Bóthar.

Enjoy the show!

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

More beautiful music please..

May 14, 2019

Cork Youth Orchestra

It was another magical night in Cork as we watched the superb Cork Youth Orchestra perform with Altan and the Lee Singers at the majestic City Hall.

The performance by the orchestra was just spell bounding as we watched 128 talented young musicians play together, powerfully and passionately conducted by Tomás McCarthy.

It was moving, watching the different sections of the orchestra playing together, creating powerful, beautiful, uplifting music and I was reflecting on the huge feat that we were witnessing, the seamless coordination of so many young talented musicians.

Cork Youth Orchestra

There is huge credit to the conductor, the musicians and the proud parents who all played their role and while we just turned up to experience the special performance on the night, I can only imagine the amount of hard work and countless hours that must have gone into what we were witnessing.

You could feel the huge sense of togetherness on the night and you knew this was the magic ingredient, because without this togetherness the uplifting performance would not have happened.

It made me think about how much we can create and how much we can achieve when we come together with a beautiful, common goal.

I took a photo during the performance and at the interval I opened up Twitter to tweet about the magical evening.

As I was about to post I spotted a jarring tweet about a bombing in Pakistan, where gunmen had forced their way into a hotel and started shooting indiscriminately, leaving four hotel employees and a Pakistan Navy soldier dead. Six others were injured.

How can we come together and achieve such beautiful things and how can we be consumed by so much hatred that we can kill others?

More music please…

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Sumud and jumping off the busy “Wheel of Life” with Mick Hannigan, Co-Director of the Indie Cork Film Festival

August 19, 2018

Mick Hannigan

When I sat down to record an episode of the Fuzion Win Happy podcast, with Mick Hannigan, Co-Director of the Indie Cork Film Festival the conversation turned up many surprises, as these chats always do!

Sumud

The first thing that I learnt was that Mick was just after returning from a three month stint volunteering in the West Bank, organised by The Quakers.

He was more than surprised to find himself up a mountain in a place called Yatta (Hebron) herding a small flock sheep with a shepherd – this was just one of his duties as an international monitor in this troubled area.

He witnessed many things in his time there, including many experiences that would leave him with hope, or Sumud as they would say in Arabic.

Since I took a job in an accountancy office in the South Mall, in 1982 as a seventeen year old I have never stepped off that wheel of working – Would you step off your busy ‘Wheel of Life’ and volunteer for three months and really make a difference?

Listen to Mick’s experience in the West Bank by clicking here.

Fuzion Win Happy Podcast

30 Years Talent Spotting

Mick grew up in Blackpool in Cork, had a fun childhood but didn’t like seeing his classmates getting beaten in school.

His colourful life took him to a punk era London in the seventies and then with a few more years under his belt and more maturity he returned to Cork to complete his education in UCC.

Voluntary roles in the Quay Co-op and the Triskel, eventually led to a role as Director of the Cork Film Festival, which he held for 27 years.

His acrimonious removal from this role that he was passionate about, hurt deeply, but eventually he picked himself up, he dug deep and was instrumental in creating the Indie Cork Film Festival, which is now in it’s 6th year.

He carefully followed the ownership model of Cork City FC to ensure that some of the “politics” that he feels affected his previous organisation would not be allowed to reoccur at the Indie Cork Film Festival.

For Mick both of these roles allow his passion for spotting Irish film talent to flourish, and allow a Cork and Irish audience the chance to enjoy something special every year – thank you Mick!

When you get kicked do you have the resilience to pick yourself up and stay on your chosen course?

Click here to listen to Part 2 of our chat with the very special Mick Hannigan.

Greg 

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

 

 

 

The importance of music and culture with legendary DJ Stevie G

April 29, 2018

Stevie G

It was important for me to grab legendary DJ, Stevie G (Stevie Grainger) and sit down with him and record a conversation for our Fuzion Win Happy podcast series.

Fuzion Win Happy Podcast

While Stevie G is a really talented, successful DJ, Producer and Promoter he is also one of those unique individuals who selflessly gives of himself, helping others in the music industry by encouraging them and giving them opportunities to experiment.

When you praise him for working with young newcomers he just tells you that it helps to invigorate him…typical Stevie!

In the podcast, I chat with this passionate Corkman about his special relationship with the city, the important role of music to your own identity and to the culture of “your place”.

We chat about how important it is to be proactive about the things you want in your life, about running a large venue during the recession and ultimately, coping with its closure.

Stevie also shares what it was like breaking through as a DJ in the iconic, world renowned club venue, Sir Henry’s in Cork and what life was like in those heady club days.

Stevie G is a music legend….click here to listen to the show

Click here to listen to his track “Deep Down South

Greg 

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

 

Ok ….my first podcast is finally live!

February 28, 2018

Fuzion Win Happy Podcast

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

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

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

S-Town

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

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

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

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

Why are podcasts so good?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brendan Foster - Dublin Chamber

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy listening!!

Click here for a link to the Fuzion Podcast

Greg Canty 

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

Podcasts and Super Powers

September 3, 2017

Super Powers

I was just after dropping my brother Colin and his family at Shannon Airport for their early flight back to the States.

I wasn’t quite in the mood for music as I faced that awful Limerick to Cork road so I searched some Podcasts that I had downloaded to pass the horrible journey.

First up was an interview with a former news anchor who has since specialised in Digital Marketing – I fully agree with the core theme of the conversation, which was all about discovering the passion behind the people and showing some personality and even a little vulnerability through genuine social media updates and storytelling via blogs.

The second podcast that took me all the way to my front door was an interview with a guy who worked as Head of Creative in an advertising agency.

The interviewer used a series of clever ‘quick fire’ questions to get to know this guy a little better and he asked a fantastic one, which I thought was really simple but also thought provoking and quite brilliant.

What is your work Super Power?” he asked this clearly successful Creative Director.

The answer he gave was one that I wasn’t expecting: “Resilience” he answered.

The interviewee went on to explain that in his career he received many knocks and push backs but he used all of these as ‘fuel’ to try harder and prove others wrong.

He also explained that in the course of his business he had lost many pitches to prospective clients – once again these just made him more determined to succeed next time.

He reckoned this try and try again  ‘Super Power‘ was his greatest asset that had led to career success.

Having someone on your team that is very resilient is definitely a huge advantage.

He also mentioned another ‘Super Power‘ which was his ability to survive on very little sleep, which he reckoned was also a big plus in the advertising industry!

The very unusual thing about these ‘Super Powers’ is that while they are clearly valuable they are things that you would never see listed in someone’s bio in a pitch document or on your website.

I really found this question to be a powerful one – as we are in the middle of updating the bios for our team I was struggling a little with descriptions that in some cases just weren’t capturing some of the special and most valuable attributes that our crew possess. I’m going to add a ‘Super Power’ description for everyone!

So…the valuable lessons that I learnt at 7am on a crappy Sunday morning – listen to Podcasts that might help you to learn something new and try to capture the ‘Super Powers’ of your team!

What is your Super Power?

Greg Canty 

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

 

 

 

 

Making sure that ‘Great Taste’ is never lost

August 3, 2017

The Great Taste awards, described as the ‘Oscars’ of the food world are organised by the Guild of Fine Food.

They are the acknowledged benchmark for fine food and drink, and when a consumer sees the Great Taste logo on an item it is a sign that they will be buying a great tasting product.

This year (2017) Food and drink producers entered 12,300 products with 4,347 earning 3, 2 and 1 star ratings of which 444 originated from Ireland.

Overall just 165 products earned a 3 Star rating and 1,011 a 2 star rating with Irish products well represented in both of these categories.

PatWhelan, james Whelan Butchers - Great Taste Awards

The Golden Forks (the big winners) will be announced at a celebration dinner at the International Park Lane Hotel, London on the 4 September.

Great Taste, values taste above all else, with no regard for branding or packaging. Whether it is gin, biscuits, sausages or coffee being judged, all products are removed from their packaging, wrapper, jar, box or bottle before being tasted. Furthermore the judges have no idea the price that these products normally retail at.

It’s all about the taste!

The judges then savour, confer and re-taste to decide which products are worthy of a 1, 2, or 3 star award.

As you can imagine the judging panel is very illustrious and this year it included; chef, food writer and author, Gill Meller, MasterChef judge and restaurant critic, Charles Campion, author and Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen chef, Zoe Adjonyoh, baker, Tom Herbert, and food writer and baking columnist, Martha Collison, as well as food buyers from Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges, and Harvey Nichols.

These esteemed palates have together tasted and re-judged the 3-star winners and will finally agree on the 2017 Top 50 Foods, which will be announced in August, with the Golden Fork Trophy winners and the Great Taste 2017 Supreme Champion unveiled on the 4th September.

Just Taste!

Judging the food and drink products on their taste seems very fair and as you would expect – the packaging and branding is removed so that the judges are able to experience the products in their pure, true state, without any interference or bias.

Sunnes Stores - Sticky Toffee Pudding

When do we ever, truly taste anything?

The minute that award winning cake goes into a wrapper, it changes the taste for the consumer.

  • Once we see the packaging, the colours, the type of paper and the visuals, it changes the taste.
  • Once we see the brand name, it changes the taste.
  • Once we read where the product is made and we see the ingredients, it changes the taste.
  • Once the product is placed in a retail outlet, it changes the taste.
  • Once we see where it is placed in the store, it changes the taste.
  • Once we see some POS and the product displayed on a promotional stand, it changes the taste.
  • Once a price is put on the product, it changes the taste.
  • When the product is on special offer, it changes the taste.
  • When a well dressed sampling person invites you to taste a thumbnail of the product, it changes the taste.
  • When we see that the brand is endorsed by a well known personality, it changes the taste.
  • When we see adverts for the product in a newspaper, it changes the taste.
  • When we see adverts for the product in a glossy magazine, it changes the taste
  • When a respected food journalist tells you the product is superb, it changes the taste.
  • When we open the pack at home and we are in a great mood, it changes the taste.

Today’s consumer is influenced by everything they see, hear and taste. We are also influenced by a lifetime of experiences, good and bad, by our peers and we all carry with us a lorry load of biases.

With great products our job and the job of everyone else in the chain that brings the product to the consumer, is to make sure that person can actually ‘taste’ the product.

The Great Taste Awards and that big round logo that you will see on products will also help!

Congratulations to two of our clients, James Whelan Butchers and Simply Better by Dunnes Stores who scooped up Great Taste Awards, once again this year.

James Whelan Butchers are Great Taste 3-star winners with their Pork Lard, a natural and clear lard made from slowly rendered back fat, with a “fabulous long lasting and clean pork flavour” – it’s all about taste!

Greg Canty 

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

 

Are you one of them yet?

June 5, 2017

Us and Them

I met a good friend of mine who has just started a new job and has swapped from the private sector to the public sector.

The particular job he has taken is with an organisation that is renowned as being very political, slow-moving and cautious. As an added bonus the organisation is known to have some “dangerous” ultra political characters within in that have burnt many an enthusiastic person who dared to try something new that might upset the status quo.

We met before he started his new role and while the challenge was clearly exciting, there was huge opportunity to really make a difference but he was also very realistic about the difficulties the culture could pose for him.

We had great fun chatting about “them”, how he would fit in with them, how frustrated he would become with them, who would try to manipulate him and who would genuinely befriend him and act as a valuable ally.

We made a pact that he would text or call whenever he has the “I want to run away” moments and a coffee or a pint after work might be useful medication in those circumstances.

I’m sure that he will survive because he has many gears and is flexible enough to make it work but I am also sure that if he stays the course, there will come a point when “them” becomes “us”.

The most valuable time for him and the organisation is right now and the time in between the “them” and the “us” when he has clear eyes, a fresh perspective and he can bring huge value to his new role.

Eventually, we all become “them” and that special perspective is gone forever!

Greg Canty 

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