Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Without some “wow” its difficult to see how!

July 10, 2016

Products with nothing specialI arrived there in torrential rain and entered a premises that lacked personality, that lacked anything. No pictures, no branding, no product displays…nothing.

There was a display on the wall with Certificates of Incorporation and some certs confirming a legal change from one company name to another.

I was politely ushered into a room and three people joined the meeting.

The new product was produced and placed centre stage on the board room table. The bland, quite generic packaging was the first thing I noticed.

Where was the product made, what’s special about it, what has the journey been, what is the wow, what is the  “story“?

I probed, I dug deep and I asked this crew why they developed this product, why it was in front of me on the table and why they brought it to market?

I was hoping to discover a unique (I hate that word) insight, I was hoping to hear some personal story, I wanted something that would help us to bring this “thing” to life in a genuine and authentic way that would connect with their target audience.

What I got was very profound – “it’s just a product that we think we can make money from

This won’t work…

Greg Canty 

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

Raising your head above the Parapet

June 27, 2016

Head above the parapet

My buddy Jonathan tipped me off that a particular guy on Twitter was having a right ‘pop’ at the “Power You”, Advanced Social Media Programme that I had recently put together and was promoting.

This guy was careful enough not to name or mention me so I didn’t spot his post initially but eventually I found it as well as the reaction some of his followers had towards it and his interaction with them – he loves me!

My new “friend” was having great fun – he was obviously quite curious about the peer to peer advanced programme that I had put together, which is targeting ambitious individuals who don’t want another social media course but one that can potentially elevate them (they can do it with my help) to the point whereby they could become a ‘Digital Influencer‘ in their field.

Power You - Advanced Social Media ProgrammeThis guy took a pop about the price (it’s 10 sessions, one to one mentoring and delivered in a small group), he challenged my qualifications to deliver such a course (I have been delivering training and consultancy in this area since the earliest days of social), he claimed I was using words I didn’t even understand to an audience who would not understand either (I am trying to achieve something quite different through this programme), he wondered about what big clients and campaigns I had worked on to justify my ‘status’ to deliver such a programme (unlike him I’m guessing)…and there was lots more!

I obviously stood on a sore toe with this fella and Power You upset him for some big reason – was he sorry he wasn’t running a programme like this himself (he works in the area) or maybe he thought what I was doing was pure rubbish!!

I was hurt and angry to see someone having a right go at me and my creation. I put a lot of time and attention into this and from my experience there is a real training gap in the social media market, which no one is addressing.

I was about to put on the boxing gloves and jump into the ring ..come on, “lets be having ya, Mr Smart Ass“..bang, bang, wallop..take that!! I felt like it, I promise you..

Before pressing ‘fire‘ I took a deep breath..

Do I ever criticise things that I don’t agree with? ..Yes.

Do I ever criticise new initiatives that I think are silly..Probably?

Do I criticise in a personal, nasty way – I hope not, but any criticism of you ends up feeling personal.

I put my head above the parapet with Power You but I have to accept that when any of us do that it is fair game.

When you do something new it will be judged, it will be criticised, those who compete against you will take a “pop” but then again some will hopefully like it and buy into what you are trying to do. Some might even buy!

This “new thing” of yours may or may not work but it’s important that you keep trying, keep doing new things and let yourself open to that criticism – it’s all part of it so don’t be getting upset!

And most importantly keep “Raising your head above the Parapet

The Power You Programme is starting in Dublin in the middle of July – click here for details!

p.s. This blog is for Daragh – Instead of boxing gloves I tweeted him “Thanks for giving my programme a plug

Thank you for reading!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer Social Media Consultancy and Training from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

 

About us

June 2, 2016

About us -

I was working on a proposal for a prospect and I wanted to find out more about the people behind the business.

Who started the business, who is involved now, what are they like, what is their background, what is their journey that brought them to today, is this a passion or just a way to make money?

I looked for the “about us” section on their website and like so many other websites these days I got nothing other than some generic “blurb” about what they do, which was just a variation of their homepage.

Who you are. your “story”, is an essential part of your brand. If I don’t see it here I may never bother trying to find out more.

I hate that – go on tell me about you and what makes you special.

I always get a little suspicious when people don’t. Is there something to hide? Do you not want people to know who is behind this enterprise?

The “about us” section of your website is one of the most important parts of the site. For me it is the “trust” section and the part of the site that convinces me why I should be comfortable dealing with you and explains why you are different to every other provider who offers similar products and services.

Go on, take the time today and fill out the “about us” section properly.

Share your genuine story with us, let that passion and authenticity for what you do shine through and please tell us about you and your fabulous team and the journey that brought you to today.

About us….

Greg Canty 

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

To whom it may concern…

March 29, 2016

Caysi Deviant Art

I’m busy clearing down a mountain of emails after a long weekend.

Each of these emails was sent with some purpose .. a work request, keeping me in the loop of something, providing me with valuable information or hoping that I will be prompted to do something.

Each of these emails was sent with a plan..someone decided on the content and the format and hit that ‘send’ button.

In the middle of all of this I get a “to whom it may concern” email from someone who is looking for Fuzion or one of our clients to sponsor their event in some way.

Technically they have done their job.. they compiled a list of people/companies to target, they gathered their email list, they worked on the ‘copy’ for their email and pressed ‘send‘.

When I get a ‘to whom it may concern‘ it makes it really easy to hit the ‘delete’ button.

Hi Greg‘ will work much better..go on… I’ve said it before, personalise – it” easy!

(the cool image I found online is by Caysi)

Greg Canty 

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

 

Invest in making your wheels turn

January 26, 2016

Flywheel

This is a really interesting client.

This company has been around for a few generations and have done absolutely everything to survive the recent tough times,

They employ nearly 100 people and insist on manufacturing their products themselves in Ireland to preserve the quality control and the ability to provide the best solutions for their customers at all times.

They have their own retail outlets and also sell through some stockists.

They purchased a similar business overseas for the sole purpose of acquiring more potential volume so that production levels are kept up and the production facility remains viable.

One of the survival tactics like so many businesses during the recession was to cut back on overheads and cut out ‘unnecessary’ costs.

Of course the first to get the chop was the Marketing budget… advertising gone, sponsorships gone, exhibitions gone, customer evenings gone and PR gone.

Despite chopping these budgets the wheels didn’t fall off the business (well not immediately) – of course it didn’t as the business had a long established reputation, good recognition in the sector and a big collection of legacy customers who knew all about them.

A few months went by and the sales dropped, a few more months passed and they dropped again and so on. While the sales did not plummet immediately the lack of promotional activity meant the business gradually disappeared from view.

An aggressive overseas competitor spotted the gap and entered the Irish market, got some fantastic deals on adverts and started to win significant business.

The client has a large business with big payroll costs, an expensive production facility and a retail network all requiring big sales volume to sustain and there is virtually nothing being spent on attracting new business.

This is the “priority trap“.

We were preparing a plan for them but we were warned in advance that the budgets for promotion were tiny – surely generating new business was essential?

If you don’t invest in ‘telling your story‘, promoting your products and getting those wheels turning you will eventually have no business.

Should the first priority for the business be promotion and not the last?

Greg Canty 

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

 

 

 

Mahatma Gandhi gives valuable advice about Branding

November 23, 2015

Mahatma-Gandhi

I read this simple piece by Mahatma Gandhi, which could easily be used to help you describe the “essence” of your brand:

Your beliefs become your thoughts…

Your thoughts become your words…

Your words become your actions…

Your actions become your values…

Your values become your destiny.

What are your beliefs?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design, who conduct brand workshops for clients from our offices in Dublin and Cork

 

Mickey Mouse

November 15, 2015

Mickey Mouse

Imagine he hands you his business card. You look at it and smile and say “You are Mickey Mouse

Imagine she hands you her brochure. You look at it and smile and say “Ye are a Mickey Mouse outfit

Imagine she asks you to check their website for more information. You look and say to her “Sorry, ye are Mickey Mouse

He pulls up in his van and hops out after travelling to meet you and you say “Ye are a bit too Mickey Mouse for me

You visit their showrooms and the enthusiastic sales person bounces over and asks if she can assist you in any way. “No thanks, you are Mickey Mouse” you reply

Did you receive our presentation they ask. “Sorry, but ye are too Mickey Mouse for us

Can you imagine being that rude to anyone?

How could anyone say such a thing and while I have come across plenty of rudeness in my time you just wouldn’t hear anyone saying something quite so blunt and I guess, hurtful.

However the truth is we do actually say these things the whole time except (unless we have an odd condition) we say them quietly to ourselves. Literally the second we see something we process it and if it is cheap and unprofessional looking we immediately dismiss it as being “Mickey Mouse“.

We can quickly get into an argument that says “looks aren’t everything” and the point will be made that professional looking material is no guarantee of quality and professionalism. Furthermore, isn’t the proof in the eating as the popular saying goes?

All of this is true but from my experience anything that has come across as “Mickey Mouse” has rarely pleasantly surprised me and has never ended up being successful with one big exception!

Walt Disney with Mickey MouseThat is Mickey Mouse himself who was created by Walt Disney in 1928 who knew a thing or two about creating fantastic brands.

If you are serious about what you are doing then don’t let your branding make you look Mickey Mouse!

Greg Canty 

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

 

But what if someone says something wrong?

October 29, 2015

old way

I was in the middle of a social media training session with the senior team of a client and Mick, who was one of the elder statesmen in the group asked a question.

This brand new world is a scary place for Mick who has been doing his own thing in his own way for a long time and now that day has come. The company believe that they are missing out by not fully embracing technologies that might deliver them business and LinkedIn is the platform they chose for me to run a training session for them.

I’m guessing that Mick and probably some of the other guys have been hoping that this day wouldn’t come but eventually it has arrived and I was the ‘scary monster‘ who was standing up at the top of the room talking about this dreaded LinkedIn, the thing that they feared could possibly render all of their skills, crafted over many years out of date and useless.

His body language, disguised with a little bit of humour screamed “I am choking, please let me out of here!“.

He sat there during the session saying very little.

At the beginning of these sessions I spend a lot of time with the team figuring out what ‘stories‘ they want to tell about their organisation.

We are an experienced team, we have our own R&D department, our technology is ahead of everything else in the marketplace, how the company came about is very compelling, we work with some of the biggest companies, we are successful, we are expanding, there is a genuine 24/7 service and the culture is very strong.”

This is a company you would want to do business with.

We explored how we could communicate some of these things on an ongoing basis with a combination of blog posts, published posts, company and personal status updates on LinkedIn.

I always stress that you must be clear what your objectives are and the messages that you want to communicate. I talk about developing a ‘message board‘ that is built into the organisation social media strategy for the company and this should be shared with all team members to ensure they understand what the content guidelines are.

Out of the blue Mick popped up with a question: “But what if someone says something wrong?“.

I think he had accepted that it was time to face his fear and now he threw out his real fear that in ways has been fuelled by media reports about damage that has been done to organisations by stupid things being posted by people working there.

What could we possibly do to prevent that from happening?

Ironically he made this comment right in the middle of that part of the training where I am setting the content guidelines with the team.

On the phone, chats with team members, meetings with clients, conversations at conferences… we all have the potential to say something stupid or damaging but we are trained and trusted to do our jobs and represent the places we work for properly.

Social media is no different and you do have to trust your teams but you must give them clear guidelines and explain what is expected of them.

Unfortunately those ‘stupid’ mistakes happen when this is not done and when someone inexperienced (typically when someone is “good” on Facebook) and lacking in knowledge about the organisation is given free rein to post for the organisation. It can also happen when an outside agency is appointed to post on behalf of the company without proper briefing and controls.

Mick, you are right but we will make sure this won’t happen here!

p.s. Mick knows his customers and his organisation better than anyone and will fly once he loses his fear.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer Social Media Consultancy and Training in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Be first or be different!

October 16, 2015

last man

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

differentiation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Greg Canty 

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

Promoting Cork in London and Leadership

September 26, 2015

Cork - BgOnLife

We were delighted to have won the tender with Cork City Council to support them with the sponsorship of and participation in the FDI Forum in London, which was run by the Financial Times.

For me it was a great opportunity as we had been a key part of the work on the Cork Brand Marketing team, which involved literally all of the Cork stakeholders who wanted to market Cork with one consistent voice. This forum was the first expression of this work where we were able to use findings and language from the Cork brand book that we helped to develop.

#BigOnLife

With all marketing you need to do your very best to deliver a clear message that helps you to stand out in some way. From our work it was clear that Cork is very attractive for business as it works Economically, there is a strong, well educated Talent Pool, it has an abundance of great things to see and do (locals and tourist offering) and the Quality of Life is second to none in our fantastic region.

This is a ‘perfect mix for business and personal success‘ with a special emphasis on the person. You can achieve your career and business goals in Cork and at the same time enjoy a fantastic quality of life. This for us was the extra special, stand out ingredient that Cork has to offer and even though our region is relatively ‘small‘ we have quality of life in abundance.

If you were to use a tagline to highlight this most special characteristic about the Cork region then ‘Big On Life‘ might just be it!

Brochures and other marketing materials had to be prepared and printed so it was first time we could give our ‘Big On Life‘ message a test run.

FDI Forum - London

London

A strong contingent left for London including senior people from Cork City Council, Cork Chamber, Cork Airport, Developers, and significant businesses all with the intention of flying the flag for Cork and attracting foreign direct investment to our special place.

Cork Chamber organised a dinner in London to bring this team together and to invite some key members of the Cork business community in London (the IIBN network) as well as officials from the IDA.

Cork Chamber president Barrie O’Connell made sure that everyone introduced themselves to the group and then quite cleverly sparked off a conversation about Cork by asking a few people to speak on a topic. This generated a huge and very fascinating ‘Cork‘ conversation about a wide range of topics and issues and helped for all of us to hear different perspectives and to learn.

Michelle Conaghan of the IDA gave us an insight about how they work and their challenges and how competitive the market is. She spoke about the importance of sector clusters, which is important for a talent pool but she also mentioned that the ‘life‘ package is important.

We learnt from the Irish guys working in London about how expensive it is and how global businesses must look at other locations.

Donal Sullivan of Tyco spoke about evolution. Years ago they reduced their numbers in Cork for cost reasons but now the nature of their work is different so Cork is relevant again. He is on a huge recruitment drive and he says the talent pool in Cork and Munster is great but most interesting is the ease of getting people to relocate from Dublin.

The Cork operation is the best performing one globally from a staff retention point of view – I wonder why?!

Cork Chamber president Barrie O’Connell spoke about tax advantages nearly being gone and it is the other factors that must now come into play to attract investment to Cork.

Cork Chamber CEO Conor Healy spoke about the need for ‘ambassadors‘ who will spread the word about Cork and that we should focus on the positives with Cork Airport, the good news and the potential. He is right.

Niall Sheehan, Head of Property from Dairygold who have a huge office development about to start in Cork spoke about the compelling facts about Cork and that we should be more confident about the strength of our offer.

Roger Hobkinson (the adopted Corkman!) from Colliers International who led the Cork Brand Marketing project spoke glowingly about participating in activities such as the FDI forum as a vehicle to promote Cork and bring the brand book to life. He also spoke about the importance of urban locations as being key when promoting a region.

Jonathan Grey (who is very excited as he has bought a house in Cork) of the IIBN who is working and living in London spoke of competition for FDI from regions in Scotland, England and Wales. The new London flights to Cork will be an advantage. He coined a fantastic phrase “you can live in Cork and do business with the world” – I love it!

We heard from John Cleary of JCD about the key messages that he uses when he is attracting American IT companies to Ireland. Lower cost is a big advantage in Cork but quality of life means that staff retention rates can be a lot higher, which is another big selling point. From his conversations connectivity to the U.S. is a big deal so the recent announcements about Cork Airport are very welcomed. He also stated the obvious about Ireland – “people will look at Dublin first”. Cork is a very viable and compelling alternative.

Theo Cullinane of BAM (a Cork sports star with some unique achievements as we discovered!) also spoke enthusiastically about the super quick work they are doing at One Albert Quay for JCD. This will be an office development with the best specification in the country, which is what new companies are looking for.

Pat Ledwidge from Cork City Council who led the participation in the FDI Forum spoke about how Cork, now has “product to sell” so it must gear up its marketing efforts abroad.

Ann Doherty, Chief Executive of Cork City Council emphasised the cost advantages of Cork as well as the quality of life aspects.

Of course I had to get my few words in..

Dublin is a fantastic city with lots of advantages but it is heating up and it is starting to get quite costly. Cork presents a different and very compelling offer “The Cork offer makes the Ireland offer a lot stronger“.

The engaging conversation bounced from one side of the table to the other with each person talking enthusiastically about our ‘favourite place‘ until the restaurant staff politely gestured that it was getting late … it was past midnight!

Goodie Bags

Reader ..bear with me for a few minutes as I talk about goodie bags – this is leading somewhere!

We wanted to leave delegates at the FDI  forum with something different than the usual flyers and brochures. We decided that we would place a ‘Cork – Big On Life‘ box in each of the delegate packs instead of the normal so they would remember us!

We had handmade sweets from Cork, postcards and a few other little bits and pieces all to go in our ‘Cork Big On Life box‘. While this was a great idea it did however mean ‘Big on Hassle‘  as the boxes had to be assembled in London (no short cuts I’m afraid!) and filled.

Elmarie McCarthy from Cork City Council selflessly took responsibility for this monumental task along with everything else that she had to coordinate and her bedroom became a mini production line in the early hours of the morning (there was no access to the conference venue beforehand).

After the meal and the networking the Cork team that were staying in the same hotel took responsibility and pitched in and assembled and filled these boxes until 1:30 am. Well done to Ann Doherty, Pat Ledwidge, Conor Healy and Barrie O’Connell for jumping in, simply because a job had to be done.

The next morning there was a repeat performance – the Cork ‘Big On Life’ boxes weren’t going to magic their way into the delegate packs in the short window of time that was available before the event started  – there was no standing on ceremony and our leaders took responsibility once again, got to the venue early, jumped in once again and quickly did the job that was needed. I did help along with Roger from Colliers.

The FDI Forum

This was a fascinating day with a huge array of speakers and panelists as well as fantastic networking opportunity. Cork were there in force joined by Denis Collins of Smarter Dynamics, Kevin Cullinane of Cork Airport, Malcolm Allan from Place Matters (our destination branding guru who was fantastic to work with on the Cork Marketing project) and Doug Howlett from Munster Rugby all chatting to delegates and spreading the word.

Delegates

Cork was there proudly promoting ourselves along with other places such as Essex, Tblisi, Cyprus, Jersey, Melbourne, Lousiana, Singapore and Qatar.

I had an interesting chat with a delegation from Essex – they have a team of five people working for them proactively in the marketplace seeking opportunities as well as a Marketing/PR team supporting the communications of their message. They take a sector by sector approach and have identified four different ones to target. Promotion of your region is now sophisticated, big business and if we want these opportunities to come to Cork we need to gear up.

Ann Doherty - Chief Executive Cork City Council

Ann Doherty represented Cork superbly on a fascinating panel discussion and I am convinced that she must have worked in sales at some point because she didn’t let one opportunity to slip by to highlight what we have to offer here!

A lot of tired and weary Cork folk made there way to Heathrow airport to take the last flight home. 20 minutes after landing I was at home and I reflected on our little excursion (our airport is so incredibly fast and convenient).

As a proud Corkman I was privileged to have been part of this work and if this FDI community hadn’t heard of Cork before they certainly did now. Cork did itself proud in London and all of our various stakeholders need to do much more of this together. Individually we are all ambassadors for Cork and familiarising ourselves with our Cork brand book is a great starting point to stay on message with what our region has to offer.

The most impressive aspect of the London trip for me was the huge sense of pride and togetherness demonstrated by everyone, including our leaders and that willingness to take responsibility and do what was needed.

Cork .. #BigOnLife

Greg Canty 

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

 


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