Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

Saying “let’s do it” when most of us just wouldn’t dare!

February 18, 2021

Ciara O'Toole - Going Solo on Lake Como

I’m sure we have all been away on holidays in a special place and you pass an auctioneers window and gaze at the houses for sale and think “what if“?

While it’s a nice dream, quickly after 60 seconds you rationalise and the dream is gone.

For me that place would definitely be Siena in Italy, and while I have had this idea for a while I can think quickly for a bunch of very logical and rational reasons why it just couldn’t work …maybe when I retire (isn’t that the easy way of dodging the thought? )

If Covid has taught us anything, it is that you can get your work done from anywhere, hasn’t it? Of course, there are other reasons why I can’t and it doesn’t take me long to list them in my head.

Ciara O’Toole, our very special friend and her husband gazed at that window in Lake Como and decided “lets do it“!!

She was just married, without a word of Italian, a house in Dublin with a big mortgage and a great career as a marketer…crazy idea Ciara!

What I love about her is her adventurous spirit, that ability to “go for it” without a strong safety net and hey, let’s see what happens!

In Ciara’s case lots happened, including a few nasty bumps and wonderful experiences but it has been and continues to be a great adventure!

Did I tell you she learnt how to fly a sea plane and wrote a book about the experience?

If you get a chance at all you might read her book “Going Solo on Lake Como” and maybe tune into the episode of the Win Happy podcast with this intelligent, funny, adventurer, marketeer, entrepreneur, author and pilot who tells her incredible story that is full of many twists and turns!

Let’s celebrate those who say “Let’s do it”, and maybe think about that being you next time you look at that window. 

Check out Ciara’s website by clicking on this link

Greg Canty 

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

Pushing out to the edges..

February 7, 2021

Dave Grohl

I was reading an interview in the Irish Times weekend Magazine with the singer/songwriter and guitarist of the Foo Fighters. Dave Grohl where he was chatting about their new album, ‘Medicine at Midnight‘.

The band are a few decades into their career and Dave had also been the drummer with Nirvana, and just 25 years old when that band finished due to the death of Kirk Cobain. I wonder did he play that famous gig in Sir Henry’s in Cork – were you there?

The Foo Fighters are a huge band and they have a big following and with each new album there must be a pressure to stick to the “winning formula” and style that has earned them so many loyal fans, or do they refresh, reinvent, reinvigorate and go down new paths, that could be quite risky musically and commercially.

In the interview Dave says “You have to feel comfortable and confident enough to push out to the edges a little bit every time you do it – otherwise it’s just not fun, it’s just not exciting

My question for you is – is this just the privilege of musicians, writers and artists to think like this?

Is it just these types of people that can have that luxury of “pushing what they do out to the edges” just because life gets boring and less fun, or can that thinking apply to all of us?

This life of ours isn’t a rehearsal. and we do owe it to ourselves to “push out to the edges” – of course we have to pay the bills, but we can also refresh, reinvent, reinvigorate and explore some new paths.

The opposite is just too big a price to pay..

Greg Canty 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Art and the things we are missing..

January 30, 2021

White Horse Ballincollig

I was chatting to Brendan, my son who is in the middle of his 14 day “luxury” stay at the ‘Holiday Inn’ in Auckland in New Zealand as part of their two week mandatory quarantine period.

The one thing that really struck me from that conversation was him describing the very surprising sense of overwhelming relief of being away from Ireland, from being away from restrictions, from being away from constant thoughts about hand sanitising, keeping our distance, mask wearing, not hugging, walking past our favourite establishments which are all closed, inevitably chatting about it with everyone and listening to the incessant dark news feed, and living each day under a very dark Covid cloud. 

He thought he was managing the whole thing fine, getting on with things as we all do BUT … it has been non stop and it has been creeping into all of us incrementally in a way that we I’m not sure that we will fully appreciate until it’s all well and truly behind us.

(You can hear this conversation on the Win Happy Podcast by clicking this link).

In tandem with this conversation, I was reading a very interesting piece in the New York Times by Melissa Kirsch about the huge role that art plays in our lives.

She wrote about “how we are all waiting for things to open up so we can resume what we think of as normal life” and the fact that this simple idea suddenly feels daunting.

She wrote about “the promise of going to a play, hearing live music or standing awed before a painting that much more exciting to anticipate

We have been missing so much, it is hurting in ways that we haven’t been able to fully process and the sooner we get back to all of those simple pleasures we can start to heal and living again.

I’m imagining a fantastic meal with friends in The White Horse in Ballincollig, before heading upstairs to their beautiful, intimate and very special venue to watch a gig. Maybe it’s THE 4 Of US, Mark Geary, John Spillane,  Jack O’Rourke, David Syme, the White Horse Guitar Club or Allman Brown. Whoever it is I’m imagining being back there, standing at the bar chatting to the barman and waiting for another feast of music to top up my soul.

I miss it.. 

Greg Canty 

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

 

 

Landing on the Zoom!

January 11, 2021

Landing on the moon

Happy New Year to you!!

As we start into a second full working week of the new year amidst a severe lockdown and an even more severe pandemic with outrageous Covid case numbers it looks like we need to remain on the Zoom for a while longer!

While we barely knew anything about this incredibly powerful communication tool this time last year and most likely had never used it, it’s amazing how quickly it has become a way of life.

Before this year I hated any visual meetings online, and part of that was the clunky software (I’m amazed how Skype never became more intuitive) and the unreliable performance.

I’m not sure if it was lucky timing, but when Covid sent us home in March it seemed to be Zoom or Microsoft Teams in pole position, and very quickly Zoom took a lead and became the standard, the easy one to use and before we knew it, the one most of us were using.

Even now, when I get an invite to a meeting or a webinar I find myself groaning when it is something other than Zoom, because now in this impatient age of ours we want to go click click click and we are in, 100% at ease and knowing what we are doing.

And since March, Zoom have been clever and we have seen better security and new features – I am now using it for meetings, and in Fuzion we have used it for events, training, webinars and workshops, complete with breakout rooms (another great feature), Q&A sessions and polls.

For training purposes alone it has been transformational – we quickly adapted and with a few little tricks of the trade (and humour) you can have a really engaging session with all participants.

I have also been using it for recording my podcasts and as long as the broadband is ok, it has been fantastic!

Making it work for you

Deirdre, the founder of Fuzion  wrote a really excellent blog post early on last year about online meeting etiquette, and it gives some great tips about how you present yourself online and since then I wanted to add a few more tips as we get into even more of the subtleties.

Your Name

When you join the online meeting make sure that your name is right (proper spelling, use capital first letter for first name and surname- even if you are using someone else’s account you can rename yourself on entry) and maybe even consider adding your company name.

If it is a meeting with people from a number of different organisations or departments then make it easy for the others.

Who is in the Spotlight?

When the numbers of participants are high during a meeting then “spotlight” the speaker/speakers as it makes it much easier to see who the speakers are and it makes the session more interesting – even when they are screen sharing you can see just them as they present, instead of everyone.

This is a great feature in Zoom.

Meeting Room message!

As part of the improved Zoom security measures most people will end up in a “meeting room” before being left into the session – there is a facility in your settings to customise the message people will see while waiting in your room. Why not customise and add a little humour!

Where are you on the screen?

My own team just throw their eyes up to heaven (or wherever they like to go!) when I start to ask them where I am on their screen, as part of a silly game we play to break the lockdown monotony. On a serious note I do believe that where you are on the screen can be important.

If you are on the top row (having followed all of the other tips about looking good etc) you are probably better off than being on the bottom row when it comes to being noticed and gaining attention.

The first on the Zoom call occupy that space, and as long as you don’t turn off your video during the session for some reason you will stay in pole position!

For all of the tips and tricks that we have spoken about, and for all of the Zoom learning that we should have on board at this stage I am still amazed how many presenters are still not set up properly and we end up looking up their nose for the duration of their presentation.

..make sure that’s not you!

If you do land on the Zoom make sure you make a great impression!

Greg Canty 

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

 

 

 

Dangerous People!

December 14, 2020
Dangerous People !

Don’t you just hate those “dangerous people” who come to meetings because

– they ask the question you hope no one asks

– they don’t just go with the flow and nod their head politely at what is being said

– they are there to fulfil a role and not to be popular with the group

– through their actions they encourage others to speak their mind

– they provide another point of view and quite possibly an inconvenient one

– they can make you feel uncomfortable

– they might take the meeting in an unplanned direction

– they could cause the meeting to run over

– they might just result in making more work for everyone

Next time you have a meeting where you really want to trash out an issue, hold people accountable, get alternative views and maybe even arrive at a much better conclusion, make sure you have a dangerous person in the room..

Of course if you want an easy life..

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

Grrrrrr…..Great Presentation

May 31, 2020

Bert

This week in the middle of the Covid lockdown we found ourselves presenting to a really great prospect, one of those who was thankfully staying positive at this time and looking for ways to engage with their target audiences.

We had a briefing meeting with them before the lockdown, we got a really deep understanding of their business and the challenges, we brainstormed with the team and we had written a good solid plan with a mix of tactics and some new initiatives that would deliver their objectives.

As with all other meetings at this time we were presenting to the prospect via Zoom with me in my room (the kitchen!), Deirdre in hers (the music room), one of the other team members in their home and the prospect in theirs.

Little does anyone know, but when Dee starts work each day in this lockdown period the two dogs, Honey and Bert wait patiently and when she heads into the room to take her space on the couch, each of them follows suit and chooses a space at either side of her and relaxes for the day, not making a peep except for the intrusion of the postman or delivery man – little Bert lets them know in no uncertain terms that he is the “protector” of this house!

At this stage the two dogs have sat through numerous team meetings, webinars, client presentations and I believe they are the first dogs to attend the Cork Chamber board meeting – that took 200 years to happen!

Anyhow, we were presenting to this prospect and Dee with buckets of professionalism and enthusiasm led the charge through the very detailed proposal – the problem as we saw it, the tactics that we were recommending that should be employed and the “BIG Driving Idea” that we felt would really make this business stand out.

As Dee presented the “BIG idea” she was getting very enthusiastic and animated and as one does her hands were moving accordingly.

Just like the prospect, I and my other colleague were watching Dee on screen and listening to her but we could both hear a very definite “Grrrrrrrrr….. sound”, which was quite unusual.

It was Bert, our gorgeous rescue dog who without doubt was walloped badly in the early stages of his life and since then he gets very protective when he sees hands coming over him.

Dee, quite oblivious because she was lost in the presentation continued with her enthusiastic delivery and again we heard another very definite “Grrrrrr……“.

At this point I had to tell Dee to stop moving her hands around as poor Bert who was alongside her, out of screen shot, could be heard quite clearly pitching in!!

The prospect didn’t mind at all, and if anything it made everything a little more real and genuine.

This Covid lockdown time has been quite unusual and it has asked a lot from all of us. It has made us all very far apart, and in very strange ways it has also brought us very close together, maybe too close!

A big thanks to that prospect, to our team and to everyone else, who despite the awful circumstances made a decision to drive forward and still do positive things when the opposite could have been the easiest thing to do.

During the last recession I found myself using this word a lot….#Positivity

It’s time to get back to it!

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

 

 

 

Taking away the fear and Positive PR the KLM way

March 12, 2020

KLM Airlines - Coronavirus

I just received a very clever piece of personalised email correspondence from the President and CEO of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Pieter Elbers, which was designed to reassure anyone contemplating a flight with them that they are to be trusted during these worrying Coronavirus times.

It was really clever for a number of reasons..

It was Personalised

The email used my name…us customers love that!!

Really understanding the Customers Frame of Mind

The email understood my frame of mind perfectly and took me through a thought process step by step addressing my concerns and “What Ifs”.

The story in my head is that getting on a plane in a confined space with other people at the moment is one of very worst possible things that you could do. How can planes be cleaned between flights efficiently, what about all the places that a person will touch on the plane and what about the air circulation?

As a frequent traveler with KLM, you trust us to not only take you where you need to go, but to do so safely, comfortably and responsibly. Today, as the world comes to terms with an unprecedented health scare in COVID-19 (Corona virus), these values are more important to us than ever

His email addressed my fear and it reassured me step by step what they are doing at KLM to make sure that it is a safe environment.

He spoke about Safety and Hygiene procedures in very specific detail

  • Thorough cleaning and disinfecting before each departure itemising
    • Cleaning of galleys, carpets and toilets
    • Cleaning of tray tables, armrests, headrests and seatbelt buckles
  • Continuous cleaning by cabin crew in the air
  • Cabin air is continually refreshed with outside air
  • Using hospital-grade HEPA filters that are 99.99% effective in preventing airborne bacterial and viral organisms such as COVID-19
  • All flights have special Corona-kits and the team are trained in containment measures
  • Hygiene extends to catering, ingredients are fresh and locally sourced, strict guidelines to preparation

There was a link in the email to a video, which provided more information about hygiene at the airline.

While I was reading this impressive list of hygiene steps I was thinking of course that KLM would say this because they are protecting their interests and spinning the risks in their favour.

This was addressed:

“I fully understand the hesitation many people feel at the moment when deciding whether to book a flight or not. But you can feel secure in the knowledge that KLM has taken every precaution necessary to protect your health and the health of your loved ones.

In this emotional time, you can be assured that we are guided and consistently act by fact-based, circumstance-driven decision making. On a daily basis, we work closely with the top experts at the World Health Organization and Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu (RIVM) in the Netherlands”

Beyond the Airline

And what about the other things that can go wrong about a journey that might have you unable to take the flight?

I also understand that your concern may not be about your journey with KLM, but about the many unknowns about the situation on the ground at your destination. That’s why you can book your KLM flight with the confidence of being able to change your booking without a change fee

It’s not exactly a refund but ..

Practical Information

The email provided practical information and demonstrated the professionalism of the airline

“We are in constant touch with all the relevant authorities to adjust our network as required. This means that we can immediately respond when new travel restrictions are announced. For the latest information on flight status, please visit our travel advisory page or use the KLM app and let us keep you posted 24/7 with push messages

Proud History and Customer Service Ethos

The email went on to highlight the history of the airline, the number of employees and the customer care ethos

“In 100 years of operations, KLM has faced many challenges and always emerged stronger. We were able to do so because we put you, our customer, at the heart of our operation. With that commitment in mind, I am confident that we will overcome this challenging time as well. As you know 33.000 KLM staff will go further to recognize your concerns and take care of you.”

We always preach to our clients that in their communications that they should weave in their ‘Key Messages’ – this was done here in a very clever, natural way.

Trust, Care, History, Customer Focus, Scale …. many boxes ticked!

Tone and Language 

All of the language used was appropriate, non-corporate and very down to earth and the tone was caring and inclusive, which was sealed in the email sign off

“Thank you for choosing KLM, and safe travels”

A Great Excuse to Communicate with Potential Customers!!

The most clever aspect of all with this email correspondence is that the Coronavirus, despite the horrible scenario, gave KLM a reason to reach out to all of their customers and remind them about their brand and prompt them to possibly think about them when booking flights in the future when things are hopefully back to normal.

It was a really long time since I flew KLM (I’m not sure what the GDPR police would be saying about this!!) but they have made me think about them in a really positive light which brings me to my very last point.

This is Positive PR

KLM have taken the opportunity (in awful circumstances) in a really nice, caring and soft way to reach out and tell a lot of people just how great they are!!

I’ve just told you about them..

So, a huge well done to KLM and their team for a really clever and well timed piece of correspondence that reminds us all about the power of great communications!

Can you do something similar with your customers today?

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

 

 

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