Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Snapchat and the schoolyard bully

August 7, 2016

Schoolyard bully

Let’s just copy exactly what they are doing

These must have been the crystal clear instructions to the programmers who work for Instagram as the new features on the platform are unashamedly and with no apology exactly the same as Snapchat.

Snapchat, the quirky social media platform has taken the world by storm and I guess recognising the imminent threat to their dominance Facebook instead of trying to buy them as they did with Instagram have just decided to try to blow them out of the online waters by “cogging” them.

Snapchat versus Facebook

I don’t like this, I think it is a poor and awful reflection of their business philosophy, their ethics and I’m starting to question their value system. This isn’t just any value system, this is the value system of Facebook, the clear dominant force in global social media.

Facebook aren’t just any other company they are a profitable giant who are without doubt the dominant force in social media. They gobbled up Instagram with their cheque book and we can see already how the two platforms are being worked for advertising purposes.

Then there is Twitter who are bravely hanging in there but they seem to be struggling to monetise their platform sufficiently to make any profit and their growth in user numbers has hit a plateau. As a serious competitor they are struggling.

Snapchat have kicked up a big storm and are challenging but the schoolyard bully has just landed a big heavy, powerful punch and they find themselves lying on the ground bewildered, battered and bruised.

For the sake of social media and the sector not being totally dominated quite dangerously by the schoolyard bully, keep tweeting and keep snapping!!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

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

Terry Prone and her 5 Business Tips for women

June 6, 2016

Terry Prone

Quite recently I had the pleasure of being in Terry Prone’s company at a Business Awards night for the Galway branch of Network Ireland.

Terry is one of those character’s that we have all heard and read about so it was really interesting to finally meet her in person. I’m not sure what or ‘who’ I was expecting but I met a really engaging, down to earth person who was very open about her fascinating life including tales from her days as an actress to the successful business woman and public speaker that we all know today.

She loved telling me that her son Anton, is now her boss!

She was at the very earliest days of media training and PR in Ireland, initially grabbing all of her acting tips and applying them to the business and political world. She set up Carr Communications with the well known Irish TV personality, Bunny Carr and her husband Tom Savage.

Terry was the guest speaker at the event and I watched as she diligently took notes during the evening in between our chats and listening to the other speakers. One of the things that impressed me most was that she was a great listener – she was as interested in my, not so interesting story as I was in hers. I hate when some people show no interest in you – I always think its a sign of a good person when they listen to you.

She finally took to the stage – actually she avoided the stage totally and took to the ‘floor‘ and immediately grabbed the attention of the audience with a humorous, down to earth, no messing talk and delivered her “5 Business Tips for Women”

  1. Tell your Story – Stories are powerful ways for people to remember you, so make sure you tell yours
  2. Forget about ‘tricks’ – Just be the honest you, and don’t rely on any gimmicks to grab attention
  3. Stop Multitasking – While women are supposed to be blessed with the ability to multitask, Terry advises to do the opposite. Stick to what you are great at and get others to do the other “stuff
  4. Keep the fight to yourself – This was a simple piece of advice about not washing your dirty laundry in public. Being right does not matter as people remember the fight and then always associate you with it
  5. Drive on, even when things go wrong – Terry shared a story about the Irish actress May Craig who she admired greatly. Her motto was “the show must go on“, and she did just that after personal tragedy in her life

Terry’s speech was perfect – not too short and not too long, designed expertly for the audience with a gorgeous blend of personal vulnerability and real stories that connected with everyone in the audience, even the few token males in attendance.

These were great tips but I think we could all use them, not just the gals!

Thank you Terry!

Terry Prone is the Chairman of Communications Clinic.

Note: Think Visual did a great post after a talk Terry did for the Network Cork branch with some gorgeous visuals and a few extra tips – well done guys!

Greg Canty 

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

Newspaper Therapy

May 21, 2016

Newspaper therapy

The newspaper came through the letter box as it does every Saturday morning compliments of a terrific service by Kelvin, the Burnely FC loving milkman (he must be thrilled with their promotion to the Premiership!).

This time I was determined to actually read it as so many Saturdays drift by and despite my best intentions I never actually take the time to sit down and enjoy it.

Why is it so difficult to read the paper these days? – my truth is that I am so busy (or so I tell myself) with all of my different bits and as a result I never actually get around to it.

The really sensible thing might be to save a few bob and cancel my weekly delivery service but I know how much pleasure I get from just the possibility of being able to enjoy the paper.

So..kettle on, rustle up some pancakes drizzled with maple syrup (One of the few things I am good at in the kitchen!), make a good cup of coffee (Lavazza seems to work best for me) and we are ready!!

Today I robbed a precious hour for myself, enjoying the newspaper cover to cover, full with all sorts, from heavy news about murderers and whistle blowers to gorgeous inspirational personal stories with some sport (Brendan Rodgers to Celtic..really?) and history thrown into the mix.

I’ve learnt a few new things, I’ve jumped into a few issues (tweet tweet!), I’ve been inspired, I’ve decided on a restaurant to try out and a festival I must make sure I get to but most of all I’ve thoroughly enjoyed some precious time on my Saturday morning after another really busy week.

It’s not quite yoga but it could be just as good for you …buy a paper and enjoy!

#NewspaperTherapy

Greg Canty 

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

 

Facing the Music 

October 7, 2015

Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool

Week after week I watched the pre and post-match interviews.

As a lifelong Liverpool FC fan I’ve been concerned about the team’s loss of form and I am glued to each of those interviews to see what our manager, Brendan Rodgers had to say.

I was starting to feel a lot of sympathy for him as the line of questioning was unrelenting. At each interview it was the same thing “Are you under pressure?” “Are the players under pressure?” “Is the team suffering from a loss of confidence?” “Do you have the backing of the owners?

Then of course this becomes the topic with all of the pundits, the former players and it makes for headlines in the newspapers “Rodgers under pressure“..the screw is slowly but surely being turned.

Normally the interviews used to focus on the match, the tactics, the performance of players, the injury situation but most of the recent ones were all about his job security. It became the latest episode of an ongoing soap opera.

Interview after interview he batted these questions away, not getting frustrated and insisting that he and the team were not affected but instead they were concentrating on their jobs. He recently did speak about the ‘hysteria‘ around his job by the media and he did mention a ‘group’ who wanted him out.

He did have a point – it was a little over the top.

Match after match the manager of each team must ‘face the music’ – good result or bad result he has to face the media. This must be a tough and very punishing routine when things are not going your way.

I was impressed that the Liverpool team started so impressively in the local derby match against Everton. This was a huge game for him and the team – while the match wasn’t perfect the team were very focused despite the pressure.

Once again after the match he faced the music – it was the same story.

After the same repetitive line of questioning he stated that he didn’t need to look for reassurance from the owners and he hoped he would be the manager for years to come.

This was even more cruelty – the team had just earned a good result away to Everton and this was still the big topic of the questioning!

An hour later when he got off the team bus he was summoned to the office and relieved of his duties. The pressure valve was finally released.

The club confirmed the news by simply posting a press statement on the company website.

This was clearly prepared in advance, carefully crafted and just posted on the website and more than likely issued to the media by their press office.

Ironically no one in management had to sit in front of the media and ‘face the music‘. Their statement would suffice.

Football is a very cruel sport where the players and the managers are in the full glare of the media spotlight constantly and no matter how much they are trained to handle this pressure it must eventually wear them down.

Brendan Rodgers – thank you for the incredible highs of the 2013/2014 season where you had the team playing some of the most incredible and exciting football I have ever seen.

You very nearly did it!

Greg Canty 

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

 

A picture paints a 1,000 words ..

July 13, 2015

Homeless man

How many times have we used the expression that “a picture paints a 1,000 words?

Arthur Brisbane - New York Editor and JournalistArthur Brisbane a high profile journalist and editor in New York is first credited with an expression close to this “Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.”

This very clever quote appeared in a 1911 newspaper article discussing journalism and publicity.

In our very busy, frantic, no time to stop, no time to read or study anything properly world with multiple media coming at us non-stop does this expression this hold up?

The idea that a picture is a powerful way to convey a message certainly holds up. The idea of using a multiple of 1,000 words is interesting – already I have used 116 words in this piece.

When I read that Arthur Brisbane penned this quotation I wanted to know what he looked like for some reason. He looks like James Stewart in the ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ era. He looks like a wise man!

As an editor and a journalist Arthur probably had a very strong instinct about how many words it took to deliver a message and what job an equivalent image would do.

If you consider the likelihood of something grabbing our attention today and you think about the job an image can do and the equivalent article (or articles) to do the same job it makes you think about that multiple.

Is it more than 1,000? Is it 10,000? Is it 100,000.

Of course it all depends on the image and how well this is constructed to deliver the necessary message.

At Fuzion when we issue a press release to the media we will often insist that a strong photo accompanies the release – sometimes the picture will be the thing that will get the big space in the newspaper and sometimes we will get both the picture and the article.

For the reader if the image is strong enough it will convey the message or story that we wanted and it may be the hook that will make the reader stop and actually read the ‘words’.

Does a picture paint 1,000 words?

We guess it does and much more besides ..

The story of the photo (top of the blog post)

A family of a missing man spotted him in a photo taken of homeless men that appeared in a Sunday newspaper. Nicholas Simmons, 20, was in upstate New York on New Year’s Day, but he vanished leaving all his belongings behind, according to Fox News on Jan. 6.

Someone in his family spotted Nick in a picture that showed a group of homeless men. The men hovered around a steam grate trying to get warm on the streets of Washington D.C. recently. The homeless men looked destitute, including Nick, trying to get warm in the frigid temperatures. Nick’s parents called the police, who were able to locate their son.

The photographer who took the picture conveyed more than 1,000 words ..

For your website, brochures, posters, press releases get great photos that tell your story.

Greg Canty 

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

The difference between winning and “everyone is a winner”

June 26, 2015

PRII Awards 2015 - Fuzion PR

I am sitting on a beach just outside Rome and I am doing my best to relax and enjoy the sea breeze  and my book and I see my team tweeting about the PRII awards ceremony (PR Institute of Ireland) and the award that we have been nominated for – ‘National Award for Excellence in PR for the Best Public Campaign’.

These are a real big deal as they are the “Oscar’s” for our industry in Ireland and we are up against the biggest PR firms in the country.

We have been nominated for the work we did for our client Down Syndrome Ireland regarding the campaign to get the return of discretionary medical cards for people with Down syndrome.

Some of our team are at the awards ceremony and being honest I’m delighted I’m not there as I really hate going to them – it’s fantastic to be nominated for the awards but once it comes to the ceremony there is just one ultimate winner in each category.

Fuzion have been winners at these things before but we have also been nominees or runners-up, which is always painful no matter how you dress up the “everyone here is a winner” argument.

The feeling of being at the awards and winning is fantastic but the feeling of being there and not winning to me is not great and one I’m not too good at coping with if I am being honest.

I’m sure I’ll find out pretty soon how we did by keeping an eye on twitter – I’ll be over the moon if we win and will definitely celebrate in Rome later and if we are a glorious runner-up I’ll be glad I am on this beach and not in that room watching others celebrate!

Does this make me a bad loser? … probably!

Deirdre’s phone rings and she doesn’t answer it. A text comes through from Aoibhinn…. We won!!

I am over the moon and so proud of the recognition for our team and the work we did on this campaign (and all of the rest of the time).

It’s a pity I’m on a beach and not there to celebrate with my team!

(pic: Aisling White and Aoibhinn Twomey from Fuzion pictured with our client, Pat Clarke from Down Syndrome Ireland)

Greg Canty 

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

Pick the right maverick and get out of their way!

May 13, 2015

Young Wonder

Just a quick note to say thank you.  The video you created is really special; I’ve made videos for 15 years at a major label and hated nearly every single one of them…too many compromises, too many cooks….this is the treatment played out in front of us and its f**king brilliant… many many thanks

Brendan Canty, Feel Good LostThis is a fantastic email my son Brendan Canty (he has his own production company Feel Good Lost) received after completing a recent music video project.

He tells me it was one of the smoothest projects he has worked on and one with a fantastic outcome.

They loved his original idea and he delivered it without any interference.

He tells me this is often not the case. In many projects too many people get involved, there are too many opinions, too many opposing views, too many egos and too many comprises – he is not a compromiser but sometimes he tells me you end up doing what you need to do to get a job completed.

It tells us a very simple message about engaging with any creative talent including artists/designers/professionals.

Pick the right maverick, get out of the way and then let them do what they do best  ..

Brendan  has just finished a fantastic music video for a talented and ‘soon to be huge‘ Irish artist Gavin James.

The track is a beautiful song called “For You“.

You already know about this video by another Irish artist called Hozier, which he also happened to direct. At the time of writing this has been watched 247,000,000 times!

Greg Canty 

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

Career changing photographs

April 6, 2014

Tommy Doyle, High Court Case against Guinness

I walked out the door of the High Court with my good friend, Tommy Doyle and out jumped a photographer.

Before I knew it Tommy put his arm around me and “snap” the photo was taken, which appeared in national newspapers the following day as they covered Tommy’s high profile High Court case against Guinness, which had been settled on the day.

This court case was very high profile with the media as Tommy Doyle was a former Kerry GAA star with seven All-Ireland medals and here he was taking on the might of Guinness in a constructive dismissal case with strong suggestions of a price fixing cartel, which was a potential time bomb for the industry.

When I was General Manager of a Guinness subsidiary in Cork, Deasy & Co., Tommy was our very brilliant sales manager and a really great guy to work with. You could see all of those motivational traits and steely determination which brought him huge success on the field transferring to the business arena.

To this day Tommy is the very best sales/relationship manager I have come across.

After I left Deasy’s to take a senior role with Guinness things fell apart with the management of Deasy’s and Tommy. In my view the wrong person was put in charge of the company and instead of working with Tommy he put the boot in and they clashed immediately. I believe they tried to force Tommy out but they underestimated his steely determination to hang in there.

A super effort eventually broke him, which led to a serious bout of sickness and the court case, which was eventually heard the day of this photo.

Unfortunately for Tommy he became one of the most hated man in the drinks industry because of the court case.

On the day of the court case Tommy’s solicitor had summoned nearly every senior player in the drinks industry as witnesses around this price fixing issue. Needless to say this colossal time bomb was of huge concern to Guinness and all other industry players, which they would really want disarmed.

I was at the court case on the day because I was also summoned by Tommy’s solicitor. At the time I was doing well in my early days as General Manager of Nash Beverages, a subsidiary of Heineken. The nervousness was obvious with all of the industry heads who were there.

As the day progressed it was clear that Guinness were making a huge effort to kill this case and were prepared to settle. With my close relationship with Tommy and my good relationship with senior Guinness personnel I ended up being a go-between. Both sides were open to a settlement and this was quickly negotiated with everyone going home late in the afternoon.

This was a huge day for Tommy and when the settlement was agreed he asked would I stay in Dublin for a bite to eat and a chance to chill out.

I decided it was the right thing to do and felt it was ok not to attend a Heineken conference later that evening.

Out we walked and “snap“…that photograph.

The following day the picture appeared in the national newspapers who covered the case and I was politely told in a few quarters that appearing in “the photo” was a big mistake for me.

After that day I must admit I did feel a change of attitude towards me by senior management and a promising start seemed to turn cold despite my input that day, which resulted in a quick conclusion to a case that everyone was relieved with.

Ultimately maybe friendship and loyalty is a better choice than keeping up appearances and other people happy?

Greg Canty

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

 

 

 

 

Twitter – Waste of time or a real Gem?

March 21, 2014

Jack Dorsey - Twitter

Happy Birthday Twitter..

On the 21st March 2006 founder Jack Dorsey sent the very first tweet and eight years on while it is growing in popularity it is still quite the most misunderstood of the popular social media platforms.

When we run our Social Media courses the results are nearly all the same, pretty much everyone is using Facebook at some level and just a very few are using twitter. I would safely guess that a maximum of  20% of social media users are actively using twitter.

Is this failure, is this most people deciding that it is irrelevant, is this most people not understanding how to use Twitter or is it an absolute gem that is yet to be discovered by the mainstream?

At Fuzion we take it really seriously because we see the value of it for us and for our clients but we do understand the difficulty that people have with it. By it’s nature it is looser than the other platforms with pretty much anyone being able to follow anyone, your messages are more public capable of being picked up by anyone searching and then there is the business of hash tags, re-tweeting and #FF, that’s Follow Friday, by the way!

Added to that everything is quite limited, how many characters (you have 15 characters in your twitter “handle”) in your unique identity, how many characters you are allowed in a post, how much information (literally describe yourself in 160 characters) you can include in your bio – it’s just different, different enough to scare users off initially before they get to experience the real magic.

The whole experience is very different and in many ways it is attracting quite a different type of user – often a curious individual who loves getting involved in discussions and who loves giving an opinion! Many of these users seem to leave Facebook behind as they find the Twitter experience more enriching.

This trend of choosing Twitter over Facebook is definitely happening – since Facebook went public two years ago the platform is now being dominated by advertising (any business user must advertise now for their efforts to be effective) and this is definitely accelerating the switch for many users.

In the last year we have seen the interface and some of the functionality improve, we have seen the introduction of user advertising and the numbers using the platform have continued to increase.

I won’t start giving a lesson on how to use twitter but I will share with you my Top 10 reasons why we think you should consider embracing it for you and your business –

1. Branded Chit Chat – on twitter you can choose an identity for yourself and every time you post, your “identity” carries with you, it’s like advertising in a subliminal way @prguru. Guess what service that person provides? Even if you are chatting about the latest Liverpool game your identity travels with you.

Oscar's Selfie2. Viral “ability” – of all the social media platforms twitter is the very best for passing on information. The retweet facility makes this possible. I pass the message to my followers, them to theirs and so on. Uninteresting posts will not be retweeted but interesting ones will be. The recent “selfie” from the Oscars caused quite a stir and reached more twitter users than any other tweet.

3. Innovators and Early AdoptorsSeth Godin in his famous book the Purple Cow talks about a typical product cycle and he stresses the importance of targeting people who love new things. These are the people who love to try new things out and then tell their friends, they are generally naturally curious and are often the ones who are vital for spreading the word – before you know it when enough people have heard about “that” new product it enters the mainstream, where volume starts kicking in.

If you have a new product or service you will find many of these innovators and early adoptors are already using twitter- makes sense if you think about it?

4. Avoiding the CrowdFacebook has the advantage of so many users and it is really powerful as a result. However it is a pretty crowded space with more businesses joining it the whole time competing for people’s attention. The chances are that your competitors are already up and running and competing with you in this space. Twitter on the other hand has not been fully explored to the same degree so you can steal a competitive advantage over your competitors and have more of those prospects to yourself.

5. Search – the search facility on twitter is incredible. You can use it to follow topics, to search on people discussing your business and your industry. We find it invaluable in our work with clients and in a “crisis” situation it is really useful. You can literally measure the temperature of a situation on twitter, which can be really useful if you are dealing with a tricky situation. In the last 12 months alone we have used it many times to assist us in our work with clients.

6. Read all about it! – the problem is that it is now impossible to “Read all about it” . With so many newspapers, magazines, radio and tv channels how is it possible? With twitter by following the correct media profiles on twitter you can create your own customised news feed. Everything from your favourite team (have I mentioned this is Liverpool!) to breaking news.

7. Journalists – Most journalists are using twitter – the search function makes it really useful for them to stay up to date on issues. If you start using it you can quite easily follow journalists who may be interested in your sector and if used correctly you will be able to learn what they are interested in and what they are writing about. Use the platform to try to build a relationship with them and then pitch your stories – make sure you build trust before you start pitching!

8. Audience – if you use twitter proactively we believe you have a good chance of building “followers” or an audience for your message very quickly, much quicker than Facebook. However, it’s up to you how you use these relationships once you gather them.

9. Relationships – we have found that the nature of the conversations is quite different and at times they are more of a “community” type – the conversations can happen between groups of people. As a result you can have quite different relationships with people. Once you are capable of holding your own on an issue or topic you will build a good reputation and also quality relationships with relevant people.

10. Fun – there can be quite a good sense of humour around using Twitter and even though your topics might be heavy you can build good relationships around lighter issues, which can ultimately lead to a listening for your key messages. My key message is don’t take yourself too seriously on twitter, have fun, build trust and build relationships – after that spread your message.

I heard a great quote by someone who attended one of my social media courses in Dublin, when comparing Facebook and Twitter – “Facebook is for interacting with people you were in school with, Twitter is for interacting with people you wish you were in school with!”  – This is a big generalisation but it does capture a little bit of the unique spirit that exists on twitter.

Twitter is a load of rubbish, the stuff people tweet is totally useless.. who cares what people have for breakfast

I often hear this type of argument about using twitter so I will leave you with my closing thoughts ..

Twitter is like a radio station, you tune it in by following who you want – find the channels that you like. If someone is annoying you, don’t follow them, block them, change the channel – you are the controller!

So Jack, thank you for Twitter .. I’d miss you if you weren’t there, Happy Birthday!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer Social Media Consultancy and Training in Dublin and Cork

Neil Prendeville – Game Changer for Who?

February 24, 2014

Neil Prendeville - 96FM, Redfm

When your main rival steals your prize asset it will no doubt be a Game Changer – for who depends on yourself.

This week we saw Cork’s Red FM, the second most popular radio station in the city make a bold, brave move by securing the services of popular and often controversial DJ Neil Prendeville from their local dominant rival, 96FM.

Neil is extremely popular because he is a brave DJ who isn’t afraid to take on issues and give his opinion. Many love him, many will tell you they hate him but most importantly for Red FM, many many listen to him. In terms of radio shows it is by far the most popular outside of  some shows on the national radio stations.

This was a huge move as Neil Prendeville, who has been with the station for 25 years has a large and loyal following, 116,000 listeners according to the latest JNLR figures.

While the move is an obvious game changer I wonder is it a game winner?

The listener profile of RedFM is much younger than it’s local rival and this move will certainly bring an audience that are not a natural fit for the current profile of the station.

Stevie G - Red FM Stephen GraingerUnfortunately this move meant that some great and very popular DJs in RedFM lost their contracts including the Cork music legend Stephen Grainger or Stevie G as he is known. Stevie G would have had a good following but unfortunately for him, nothing to match the pulling power of Neil’s show.

While the change will bring new listeners who will “move the dial”?- will it work overall for the station?

It is understood that Neil will operate his usual morning time slot, which will attract his loyal listeners but where will the younger RedFM listeners go to? I can’t really see them staying with the station as Neil’s show is quite different.

Ironically the success of this game changer depends on how 96FM react – will they try to find a like for like replacement, who I doubt will be able to compete with Neil or should they grab the opportunity to do something new, challenging and totally different and inject fresh energy to morning radio in Cork?

When a competitor grabs your prize asset it’s up to you to make sure the change works in your favour and not the other way around.

96FM, it’s up to you!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency in Ireland with offices in Cork and Dublin