Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

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

 

 

Why there should be Election Posters!

January 28, 2020

Election Posters - General Election Ireland 2020

Where I live we are really lucky to have a talented, determined and really successful Tidy Towns organisation which means we get to enjoy a beautiful, well maintained place that people take huge pride in.

As part of the keep our town tidy the Tidy Towns folk seem to have made an agreement with the political hierarchy that it would be a  poster free zone for the General Elections.

You can totally buy into this arrangement in particular when you see other locations that are totally destroyed with a proliferation of posters, inevitably dominated by those candidates and political parties with the biggest budgets!

While many agree with the arrangement in our town, which without a doubt does help to keep the place tidy, I think it’s wrong.

I believe the election candidates should be entitled to allow the electorate to familiarise themselves with them and more importantly it hands a huge advantage to established, well known candidates who people are already familiar with and the very opposite to any less well known new faces.

Maybe a sensible quota of posters that each candidate is allowed in each location, relative to the size of that area is a better way to go with a strict regime about removing them post election.

Clearly posters aren’t the only way a candidate has to communicate to us, and they do have the options of literature through the letter box, social media, and the very best way of all to connect is by knocking on the door and chatting face to face.

While there is a tight election window, do we really want to hand anyone an unfair advantage, in particular to those who have been around the block already?

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

 

 

What’s your #Hashtag?

October 24, 2019

Hashtag

I really enjoyed the social media strategy session that I facilitated with a client group yesterday, who have quite a complicated proposition that isn’t the easiest to explain.

A really simple, but never the less a huge question that I always ask at these sessions helped to provide the group with a moment of clarity:

What hashtag can you use in your social media posts that captures the essence of what you do and who you are?

After a quick brainstorm and a run through all of their Key Messages we managed to produce a list of suggestions and then after further discussion we narrowed this down to just one.

Next time they are asked “What they do” they can start with their hashtag!

Well…

What’s yours?

When you know what it is, start to use it so frequently to the extent that the word or phrase becomes so synonymous with your brand that when someone sees or hears it they think of you immediately.

A hashtag is a powerful device, a powerful part of your branding and a simple mechanism for delivering a big message if you decide to use 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

 

 

Local Elections, old codgers and phone zapping…

May 21, 2019

Old codgers - Inniscarra Bar, Cork

We were in our local, the Inniscarra Bar, one of the most authentic old style pubs you will find in the country, part of that dying breed where the walls will talk warmly to you about everyone who has sat there before you and before them.

It was early on a Saturday evening and we were having a sneaky pint before heading home to cook some grub.

The two old codgers sitting at the bar sipped quietly on their  pints and every now and then there was some chit chat between them. One of the guys had a battle weary black dog with him who was busy going from one patron to the next, sniffing and being friendly.

For some strange reason there was a large election poster leaning up against the wall for one of the local candidates, Shane Fallon. I’m not really sure if this was a practical joke or if it was a serious election tactic by the candidate?!

Out of nowhere the two men got very animated and their conversation got louder and louder..

Those f##king posters are a f##king disgrace and they should be banned as they are ruining the environment

Wow….it went on..

Sure, don’t they have email and don’t they have the internet and..and don’t they have, you know yourself, can’t they just zap phones the way they do?

You are so right, a f##king disgrace!“, followed by lots of huffing and puffing and then back to their pints.

Were they right??  

It’s funny …just a few days beforehand I was standing in front of my Dublin Chamber Council colleagues presenting them an overview of our business sector.

To do this I reached out to many of the member companies, both large and small and looked for their feedback about trends in the sector.

A BIG MESSAGE was that there was a huge shift from traditional media to digital but this was loaded with a gentle warning that clients need to be very careful not to put all of their eggs into this one channel as you just won’t reach your audience in a way that your message will land.

As I walked back from the pub I noticed all of the election posters – who do I like the look of?

When I pushed opened the front door open I looked at the flyers that had been pushed through the letter box – who are you and what are you promising?

And if I believe you really care about the location I do expect you to knock on my door and chat to me.

I tweeted three of the candidates who had dropped in their literature and two responded. One just took herself out of the running!

It’s great that the old codgers got so animated about the environment (there probably should be a limit to how many they put up), but unfortunately a candidate who relies only on email (GDPR has that one squeezed to death!!) and zapping phones (I’m taking this to mean social media) will not be successful.

The candidates need to integrate their social media with their traditional media and however they manage it, they need to be recognised, liked and if possible connect in some real way with the voters.

Get out and vote this Friday!!

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

 

 

 

We have one brand, it’s called Cork!

October 25, 2018

Cork Brand Book

When the headlines in national papers about our thriving favourite place, read “Cork City Council slammed for spending €300k on rebranding design that’s similar to three other logos – and slogan has already been used too” you just get a little bit frustrated.

This same topic has been played out in local papers and on local radio as well as these national papers and it is really unfortunate as it comes from a great, positive, progressive decision from the various players in the region to come together and market our fantastic region as one.

The stark truth is we have to pool our resources and market as one, to avoid confusion, to achieve some consistency of message and to have any chance at all of making an impact in a competitive world where we are in the mix against much bigger regions with much bigger budgets!

Our work – The Cork Brand Book

I need to be very transparent here and tell you, the reader, that we were the local partner who worked with a talented team led by Roger Hobkinson from Colliers International in the first phase of this work, which delivered a ‘Cork Brand Book‘ for the region.

This really is a confusing area, and when I heard Pat Ledwidge from Cork City Council and Derry Cronin of Cronins Coaches trying to explain on mainstream radio about the investment in a ‘Place Brand‘ you have to forgive the respective DJs for not being able to understand what they were talking about and furthermore why all of this “stuff” seems to cost a large sum of money – to them and the general public, this just doesn’t make sense.

A strong communications strategy needs to be part of this work (that’s where we come in folks!!) to ensure that the work and investment is understood by everyone, but even with this it still is a little complicated as people just don’t and won’t get it.

Cork Brand Book 2

A brand is a logo….right?

During the course or our work we explained to all of our audiences that the brand book was not and would not be a logo. 

The brand book was the presentation of the “true story” about the region in a way that we felt would resonate with target audiences – for our work this audience was people who wanted to live in Cork, work in Cork, invest in Cork or start a business in Cork.

Our process was simple but yet very complex – we analysed the different audiences in the region to understand what were the attributes, the hard and soft things that they said made it a special place to live and do business in.

We researched the large FDI companies, the small start ups, the people from overseas who decided to make Cork their home – what was it about this special place that made them choose here and how could we weave this story to others in a way that made it a compelling proposition to them?

When our research was done we gathered all of those special attributes about the region and it was our role to collate and shape these so we could package them and ‘tell the story‘ in a way that would resonate.

When we had this ‘story‘ about the region drafted we tested it extensively with our audiences both in Ireland and internationally to see how it resonated.

Is the story we are telling about Cork compelling to you?

Would you invest or want to work and live in a place like this?

The result of this work was ‘The Cork Brand Book‘ which is still available to download and this outlines what we believe is special about the region and it is shaped in a way that is designed to resonate with our target audiences.

The simple idea once this work was done, was that all stakeholders when they are talking about Cork or describing it in their own marketing materials (website/brochures), would use this language – if all stakeholders talk about Cork in the same way then we will achieve synergy and a consistent message with audiences.

The process above took months with a team of us conducting research, facilitating workshops, meeting stakeholders, executing surveys, compiling findings and then writing, designing and testing along with many meetings with the client.

The process takes time to do it properly and this does cost money and we didn’t even get to design a logo!!

As a passionate Corkonian I was privileged to work on this project and for months there was an extra skip in my step in the realisation that we lived in a very special place and this was played back to us clearly by the many people, not from Cork but who chose to live and work here because they loved it.

Shaky Bridge

Next Steps

The controversy in the papers and on the radio about “expensive logos” and confusing brands was about Phase 2 of the Brand work.

Unfortunately our team (pretty much the team that did Phase 1 with one or two others) narrowly lost out on the tender for this phase and I must admit I was disappointed at a business level but I was gutted as a Corkonian.

I’m passionate about this beautiful, diverse region and I was really sad to see the contract going to others.

The tender assessment committee had a tough job and had to apply their criteria and at that time they decided that someone else was more qualified or skilled to take on this contract than our group.

Effectively the job in this phase for the winning team was to:

  1. Bring the Place Brand Book to life in a website and marketing materials
  2. Gather and maintain relevant metrics for the region
  3. Devise a detailed marketing plan to promote the region
  4. Execute this marketing plan
  5. Manage the brand with stakeholders
  6. Liaise with relevant stakeholders

We haven’t been involved in any of the process (I did offer!!) since our phase was completed so I can’t really comment on the work that has been completed but I can comment on point 1 above, which was the bringing of the brand to life – this is the website and the ‘We Are Cork‘ campaign.

The website features some great photography (this should bring the authentic stories to life for the reader) and compelling copy, which should tell the story of the region in a convincing way – the Cork Brand Book that we produced should be a good reference point for the content.

I think the website does a good job at delivering the messages of the region.

The ‘We are Cork’ name and logo (Collectively, The Brand Identity) were also devices developed as part of the work, which seems to be the part that has attracted all of the controversy with the media and the public.

These should convey a modern, vibrant, welcoming place with a warm, original heart – ‘Quality of Life‘ was without doubt the number one attribute that people loved about the region and this is something that the brand identity should try to convey.

Design is a very subjective area so I am not going to comment about the work here and I will also pass on the name for the same reason – I’m sure the team did their research and were satisfied that of the options they developed these were right for the purpose they were intended.

However, I don’t believe that the Place Brand ‘We Are Cork’ is for general consumption (a consumer brand) so I feel that part of the confusion was caused by seeing this appearing on signage around the city – this should be reserved for the consumer facing, Visitor brand, which in this case is ‘Pure Cork‘.

Unfortunately when you are explaining you are losing, and while it is easy to understand the reason for the different brands it does confuse these audiences when they see both brands and not the one that was intended for them.

€300K for a logo!!

Of course a logo didn’t cost €300,000, but unfortunately when you can only show people a website and a logo as the tangible results of the work then the City and Country Councils are an easy target and it is difficult for them to start talking about the value of developing a ‘Place Brand‘ in a way that the regular reader or listener will understand as I have already mentioned.

Take me to the Church

Beyond the Logo..

The most important thing now is that the work continues and that the other aspects of this phase of the tender come to life with tangible initiatives that promote the region to the target audiences.

As someone involved in the tendering process for this promotional phase it was clear that the budgets were very challenging and the region would have to excel with online promotion (it’s feasible on a tight budget) and it would have to be very laser focused as to the activities that it could realistically engage with.

More phases will have to come and these will require significant budgets if the region stands any chance of making an impact with audiences overseas.

I sincerely hope that all of the stakeholders stay brave, stick with the course and continue to invest in the promotion of the region.

This will involve working together, pooling the limited resources, harnessing the passion and energy, choosing some clever, laser focused initiatives to invest in and then letting it all happen!

Cork is a very special place with a very special story and it is a great place to work, live and visit.

Do we have too many conflicting and confusing brands?

We have one brand, it is called Cork and I love it.

Cork….#BigOnLife

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Social Media Consultancy Services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

A dog called Bert and hard habits to break!

April 9, 2018

Bert

We headed off on our normal weekend walk, taking our usual route with the dogs towards Ballincollig Park.

As usual Bert has his regular spot where he decides to go for a poop!

He is so predictable, that dog, the very same spot each time and thankfully it is in a location where it is right next to a doggie poo disposal bin, so there is no carrying his little gift for half an hour!

I was giggling to myself as I thought about his little routine, his habit and then reflected on how we, as humans are exactly the same.

The same route to the park, the same food in the shopping trolley, the same brands, the same hairdresser, the same shaving blades, the same songs at a party, the same pub, the same beer, the same jeans, the same TV shows, the same radio station, the same political party, the same the same, the same..

When it comes to marketing your products or your brand, more often than not, you are trying to get someone to change a habit – how easy is this?

You need to run a well researched, cohesive marketing campaign with a mix of advertising, PR, social media, direct marketing, events and activities. It’s important that the campaign is long enough and consistent enough to give people a chance to change and that there are some elements of the plan that will help to create that big shift of those habits.

Of course, after a short while in, everyone will be pushing to see early results – why are the results not showing yet, why, why, why?

When this happens, you need to have faith in your plan, stay consistent, keep evaluating, avoid any temptation to flip flop and tell everyone about a dog called Bert!

Greg Canty 

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

 

The wisdom of Louis Copeland

March 25, 2018

Louis Copeland - Fuzion Win Happy Podcast

Sometime in 2004 I approached legendary Irish retailer, Louis Copeland to see if he was interested in coming on board with a high end fashion event called Catwalks that we were taking on tour around Ireland.

To be clear, I didn’t know him, I had never spoken to him before and after a quick ‘cold-call‘ (I can’t have been too bad a salesman!!) he asked would we call in to see him and tell him more about our event.

The following week we called in to see him and we were greeted by a warm, open, friendly Louis Copeland.

After about five minutes, when we were in full flight in the middle of our sales pitch he unexpectedly declared “I’ll do it” and then quickly changed the topic..”Tell me about you two?

We spent at least another hour with him and he showed a genuine interest in us, our project, why we were doing it and what else were we up to. When the meeting finished (more like a friendly chat really) I asked Dee if she thought he had actually agreed to come on board, because he had barely got details about the event.

This was the beginning of my great journey with King Louis, as I call him! (or King Louis 2nd – his dad was also Louis).

Since then he has come in and out of our lives at different times. He did the event on that occasion and supported us on many other things since. He seems to follow us with interest and he will always call out of the blue when he might read about us or hear something on the radio.

When the recession clouds gathered around all of us, I heard him being interviewed on the radio and he offered a powerful piece of advice as to how people should cope.

Get up earlier, work harder and work later” was his advice, and something that I embraced.

My own Monday morning social media mantra, inspired by Louis (for anyone who has seen my tweets for the last decade will confirm) is:

Roll those sleeves up, get stuck in and have a great week #Positivity”.

When I arrived to record the session for this podcast he probed and probed me to learn more about podcasts, the process, who is listening to them and why. His natural curiosity and openness is just one of the ways he always stays relevant and successful.

Louis is an inspiration, he is a mentor, who is always at the end of a phone to bounce things off and offer assistance or provide a helpful contact.

Fuzion Win Happy Podcast

In this podcast I’ve done my best to capture his story, the secret sauce behind the success of his great business, his approach to marketing, what he does to stay relevant, his approach to online and who his favourite celebrity customer is!

You can listen by clicking here, or by subscribing on iTunesThe Fuzion Win Happy Podcast

A huge thanks once again to the retail legend, Louis Copeland for being a good friend and for taking part and being so open and generous.

Enjoy…

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

 

 

 

 

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

Christmas Tips for Retailers

December 13, 2017

Tips for Retailing at Christmas

Writing a piece about retailing at Christmas should be quite straight forward you would imagine, but writing a piece that it is really helpful for retailers that have been through so many of them at this stage is a little daunting I must admit!

With a backdrop of online shopping deals, getting customers parting with their hard earned cash will be more challenging than ever but presents must be bought so let’s roll up our sleeves.

As part of the preparation for this article I decided I should ask my good buddy Mr Google for a little help and see what extra nuggets I could find that would definitely impress the experienced retailers out there.

If you Google “Tips for retailing at Christmas” you will be quite surprised with what you will find!

My search actually took me to a website called www.christmastipsforretailers.com – can you imagine a website designated to just that topic!

In a way it’s not at all surprising seeing as the Christmas period accounts for a huge % of peoples revenue as well as a huge % of footfall. Even more important the festive period will bring a large number of “new” visitors who could well be trying out your store for the first time – what an incredible opportunity if you really think about it.

I will look at the tips under four broad headings:

Attract the customers into your store

Customer loyalty is as a result of the good work you have done throughout the year and will determine where customers will do their shopping when it comes to Christmas. However you have to do your utmost to attract them in and compete for their attention.

Database Promotions – this is where you use your databases, your invite lists, and your Facebook page for special offers, special customer nights and even Christmas cards as gentle reminders that you are open for business.

Wow Window displays – Christmas windows are really special and if possible push the boat out and really build attractive displays that grab customer attention. (I always get blown away by the window displays in London at this time)

While having an attractive window display is critical, remember that people need complete “solutions” with either their outfits or their gifts – be sure to put your best foot forward at all times with your most attractive and available stock.

Fresh – Have new merchandise arrive throughout the whole festive period keeping your store fresh and if not refresh and rotate the key displays so that the store feels new and vibrant.

Offers – Make sure your promotions are well displayed but in a tasteful way and in keeping with the overall store look and feel.

Clean and tidy store – Allow extra staff time each evening for cleaning, tidying and rearranging so that the store is looking the best as much as possible.

Look after the customer really well when they get there

Research has shown that at Christmas 60% of purchasing decisions are made within the store – once they come in your door make sure that happens.

Christmas is a Floor Show – One of the sites I visited referred to retailing at Christmas as being a “Floor Show”.

The game is won and lost on the sales floor and this is where the staff and managers should be spending their time looking after customers, making sure that the part time staff knows what they are doing, spotting trends and sorting out issues – plenty time for the office work in the New Year!

Happy Team – Keep your team motivated and upbeat. Christmas is a happy time and cheery staff are vital for the business. It is your responsibility to keep them happy, plan a Christmas party, bring them coffee and treats and make sure you rotate them so that they don’t get too jaded as this will result in lost business.

Happy Customers – Make sure there is a good atmosphere in the store with nice scents and festive but not “too” typical music. Offering a festive drink or some sweets or treats can put the shopper in a very good mood.

Give yourself every chance of selling to customers and as much as possible

Once you have done the hard job of attracting people into your store you want them to do a lot more than browse and say thank you!

Make it easy – Shoppers want to maximise their time and minimise their decision making so make it easy for them by bundling and coordinating products, labelling them clearly and having relevant accessories within easy access.

Have a Top 10 or Favourites rail – Display the popular lines prominently making it easy for the customer to purchase with confidence.

Show people what to buy – Create displays with the specific solutions in mind such as mother’s gifts, party wear etc

The right staff – You need the right quantity of good staff to maximise your income at this time. Bring part-time staff in during the lead up to Christmas in plenty of time so they are sufficiently up to speed for the rush.

Speedy Gonzales – Have your quickest people on the tills and on wrapping duty – remember Rowan Atkinson (Mr Bean) in the store in the movie Love Actually!

Exchange policy and vouchers – make it as easy as possible for customers to buy by removing obstacles such as “What if they don’t like it?” objections.

Gift wrap – for the guys this is an absolute must as long as it doesn’t take too long and interferes with sales. Pre-wrap fast selling items where possible.

Entice them to return in the New Year

This is the one area that for some reason wasn’t covered in any of the websites, which really surprised me.

Accepting that many new customers visit your store in the Christmas period and many of the other shoppers may just be customers for special occasions, give them a special reason for returning earlier than expected.

New Year Initiatives such as invitations to a special VIP Customer “sale day” or a unique voucher that can be redeemed with purchases in the New Year might achieve this. Brainstorm ideas with your staff to encourage early New Year visits for customers.

Running competitions can be another clever way of building a fresh customer database at this time as long as it doesn’t create delays at the till!

I hope the Christmas tips have been helpful and serve you well into next year when we have to do it all over again, Merry Christmas!

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