Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

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

The most important person to health in Ireland is an IT man!

May 21, 2017

Richard Corbridge, HSE, EHealth Ireland

There was huge interest in the Dublin Chamber, morning event hosted by solicitors Mason Hayes Curran because the speaker was Englishman, Richard Corbridge who is the Chief Information Officer with the HSE and CEO of eHealth Ireland.

The very public hacking of the computers of the NHS in the UK brought the Cyber Security topic into focus and this fed an even greater interest than usual in this Dublin Chamber event.

While I was expecting a big talk about Cyber Security from the affable and very engaging Richard I ended up hearing something much more important, I heard about ‘First Dates‘.

Richard used this fantastic ‘first dates‘ analogy to describe how essential it is that the health system in Ireland needs to wake up in 2017 because quite frankly, first dates are no longer acceptable.

This simple point struck a huge chord with me.

Very recently I attended a ‘huge’ and incredibly serious consultation with a senior doctor with a close relative. At this consultation, the topic was of the gravest nature and literally half of the session was spent with the doctor flicking through various papers and asking the most basic of questions in an attempt to bring himself fully up to speed so he could deliver the best medical advice.

As I sat there I couldn’t help thinking that not only was a lot of valuable time wasted by this ‘paper’ system but the margin for error is just colossal.

When you meet a doctor for the first time (when you are born?) this should be the only first date you ever have to experience. Everyone else along the way should have your full medical history at their fingertips so that they have the full story and all of their valuable time and energy should go into the best possible diagnosis.

Richard spoke about many things including the huge positive changes that have been experienced in some of the maternity hospitals where this IT vision has begun and also some incredible improvements with certain medical conditions such as Epilepsy directly as a result of technology.

He also spoke about his committed team, who pulled out all stops to make sure we didn’t suffer the same fate as the NHS. He needs to bring this team with him and expand it to achieve what is needed.

Richard’s enthusiasm for his vision is infectious but it is clear that he is trying to achieve this vision in a mammoth, understandably slow-moving public sector organisation. My sincere hope is that he receives all the support that he needs and that he digs deep and stays the course because it will be frustrating.

To achieve this vision Richard needs to communicate it over and over as eloquently as he did last week both internally and externally and he must not stop until his vision has been achieved.

The irony in all of this is that the health of Ireland rests in the hands of an Englishman who isn’t even a medical doctor!

Richard…thank you, but please, please, don’t give up, we won’t allow you to!

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

Writing cheques to make yourself look bad

May 14, 2017

James Bond Museum

I was doing a review of the marketing activities with a new home improvement client a few years back.

In the previous year, they had spent €15,000 on Google Adwords in the UK bringing the right search traffic to the website of their UK operation.

They weren’t convinced about how successful this investment was and they asked me to review the campaign.

The lack of success was simple to figure out because the €15,000 was being used to drive traffic to their website, which was outdated and made them look like an old fashioned, backwards operation. You could easily understand how this traffic was not converting because, like me, I am fairly sure that the people who looked at the website were not inclined to do business.

Not only were they wasting money but they were damaging their brand – an important and very simple SEO tip is to make sure you have a website that makes people want to do business with you!

My simple recommendation to them was to stop the campaign immediately, upgrade the website and then, and only then, start up the Google campaign again.

I was told that there was no budget for a new website and instead they decided to increase their Google Adwords budget in the hope that bringing, even more traffic would somehow improve the results they were getting from the previous campaign.

Whether it is..

– Advertising when your store is a mess
– Putting a cheap sign over your premises
– Paying for an advert and not designing it properly
– Getting cheap business cards
– Bringing traffic to an outdated website

..the message is always the same.

Never, ever, write a cheque to make yourself look bad.

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

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