Archive for the ‘Passion’ Category

What do you bring to work? – the Gospel according to The Boss

February 18, 2017

Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run

I always tell the fantastic team that work with me and Dee at Fuzion Communications, that they don’t work for an entity, they actually work for themselves.

Fuzion isn’t the place where they work, it is them, it is us.

Together we turn up, we ply our trade and we give of ourselves and the result of this is Fuzion.

The place where we work is what we collectively make of it, and it is up to us together, to make it a special place that we can all enjoy.

When we get this right and we enjoy doing great work together for our clients we call it Win Happy.

When anyone new starts I explain our simple work philosophy to them and I am sure they think I am a total crackpot because sadly it doesn’t normally operate like this in the workplace.

I am in the middle of a fantastic book and the following powerful excerpt really resonated with me as it describes our philosophy better than I ever can:

There is love and respect in the centre of everything that we do together.

It’s not just business, it’s personal.

When you come to work with me, I had to be assured that you’d bring your heart

Heart sealed the deal.

We are more than an idea, an aesthetic. We are a philosophy, a collective, with a professional code of honour.

It is based on the principle that we bring our best, everything we have, to remind you of everything you have, your best.

That it’s a privilege to exchange smiles, soul and heart directly with the people in front of you.

That it’s an honour and great fun to join in concert with those whom you’ve invested so much of yourself in and they in you, your fans, the stars above, this moment, and apply your trade humbly (or not so!) as a piece of a long, spirited chain you’re thankful to be a small link in.  

Bruce Springsteen

Excerpt from his book ‘Born to Run’

#WinHappy

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service agencu that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Make a Playlist that makes you Smile!

December 18, 2016

Tinseltown in the Rain

I woke up this Sunday morning in good enough form.

I had remembered the tweet by Ken Sweeney of RTE last night about a documentary he had produced about one of my favourite bands, The Blue Nile. He was due to be interviewed by Dave Fanning at 9am this morning so I tuned in.

Very cleverly the documentary (which you can listen to on Sound Cloud) is called “In Search of The Blue Nile“. This captures the curiosity that most fans would have about this ‘cult’ band from Glasgow who produced just four deep thinking, emotionally, brilliant albums in their 20 year existence that connect with everyone who has been lucky to spend time with their special music.

Jim Carroll of the Irish Times also covered this in a piece last week.

Ken went to Glasgow to interview band members Paul Buchanan and PJ Moore, which takes the listener deep into the songs and where the band were physically and emotionally at each juncture. Listening to the gorgeous Scottish accents of these musical geniuses meant that all of my Blue Nile albums were taken out from my dusty CD racks and I pressed play.

Music has the power to take you back to special moments, it brings you on an emotional journey and today I was suddenly having the very best day ever – singing the songs, reflecting on the stories and messages behind the lyrics, playing my invisible guitar while I peeled the spuds!

What a simple thing..My Blue Nile albums and so much more of the music that I have needs to be played more often.

Make a playlist today that makes you smile and listen to it as often as you can!

Now ..listen to Tinseltown in the Rain  

Greg Canty 

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

 

A Stick to beat yourself with or a Value to promote?

October 24, 2016

Carlsberg - Probably

Organisations make claims about their products and services the whole time, proudly celebrating key attributes that they believe make them special. When these attributes are an integral part or a key essence of these brands these attributes might be incorporated consistently into their messaging.

A very effective way to express your most special attribute as part of your branding is to introduce a tagline, which can then be used the whole time in conjunction with the product/service brand name.

When we think about some of the popular car brands we can see how taglines can be used to express something special about the range of vehicles that carry the brand name:

JaguarThe Art of Performance

BMWThe Ultimate Driving Machine

ToyotaThe Best Built Cars in the World

These taglines are typically used in all communications including adverts, brochures, packaging and even press releases consistently so that over time they become so synonymous with the brand that a consumer can recite them when they hear the brand name.

When companies develop these taglines for their brands they are creating a clear “experience” expectation with the customer – they should only make these declarations if they believe they can live up to them.

If Toyota declare that their cars are the “best built cars in the world” then they must commit to manufacturing quality cars. If a customer has a bad experience Toyota must respond from a positive place and do everything with the customer to demonstrate their commitment to quality.

Taglines and #Hashtags

With social media communications I find a very effective way of reinforcing a key message is to incorporate them into the #Hashtags that might be used when posting. Even better, if there is a tagline for the brand this could be used in the #Hashtag – if the tagline is too long then maybe some keyword variation could be used.

In the examples we gave above Jaguar might use #ArtOfPerformance, BMW may use #Ultimate and Toyota could use #BestBuilt.

VW - Clean Diesel

Sticks and Values

I was chatting with a client and we were developing a strategic communications plan for them and as part of this work we were discussing their social media messaging and the use of #Hashtags.

While the client was using a tagline consistently on all of their branding they were strangely very reluctant to use it as their hashtag.

This really confused me and I pushed them on it.

It turns out that while they were happy to make this quality claim on all of their branding and communications they were unhappy using it on social media because their feeling was it would be a huge ‘stick to beat them with‘ if anything ever went wrong.

But, shouldn’t the tagline be the same whenever you use it?” I asked

Yes, but on social media it’s different” was the clear response. “Sometimes things can go wrong, often through no fault of our own and the customer will hammer you quoting your hashtag/key message. For this reason we don’t want to use it.”

My belief is that you shouldn’t make a proud claim if you can’t stand over it. If you can stand over it then online should be no different to any other form of communications.

Your special attributes should always be celebrated, they are never sticks!

Greg Canty 

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

 

Dreaming Big is banned in Ireland!

March 21, 2016

Conor McHregor, Budweiser advert banned by RTE

Our state broadcaster, RTE has just banned the Budweiser commercial featuring UFC fighter and Irish hero Conor McGregor.

The banning has already led to newspaper articles, much discussion and a huge curiosity and will inevitably have everyone googling just to see what this “offensive” advert was all about. I suspect they will be left scratching their heads wondering what the fuss was all about.

In many ways this could be deemed as a huge success for the brand because it will now achieve a level of visibility and notoriety that it previously didn’t have, without having to pay the advertising costs.

While it sends out a big message from RTE you would like to think that this is a good, sensible one because we do want there to be watchdogs to protect us from danger. It is important that ‘banning’ makes sense, that it is rational and that it is fair.

The advertising guidelines around alcohol are very strict in Ireland and all of these were followed carefully.

In the advert there isn’t a picture of a bottle of beer, there isn’t a pub in sight. There is just Conor tastefully captured in a scene walking around his home town, Crumlin in Dublin, which then transforms into a street in LA.

This 27 year old apprentice plumber has achieved huge success by dedication to his sport and the advert demonstrates this with the help of these scenes and the voice over by Conor:

Never give up on your dream

Be your own inspiration, a beacon of self belief

Keep proving others wrong

If your dream doesn’t scare you, then its not big enough

So dream, as big as you dare

Only at the very end of the advert do we see the Budweiser logo and the usual drink responsibly message at the bottom of the screen.

For me the message from the advert is a very inspirational one, delivering a powerful positive message. Yes, it does come from a beer brand, which I think is more than ok. It shows you how the guidelines are keeping alcohol brands in a very responsible place and forcing a communication about positive values.

The message coming from RTE in banning this advert?

According to the newspapers they issued a statement to the Sunday Business Post that the advert breached advertising guidelines because Conor McGregor is considered a “hero to the young“, which will in turn encourage them to drink alcohol.

I don’t get it..

In my view banning the advert will achieve the wrong thing (besides totally confusing an industry that is trying to be very responsible) – viewers will definitely seek out the inspirational advert and could instead conclude that we are living in a censorship state that in some way has an issue with people from working class backgrounds having and achieving their dreams.

Banning the advert is also bad for the RTE brand as in my view it shows them as being ultra conservative and this is not good when they are up against such stiff competition. Leaving the censorship to the advertising authorities might be a much better policy.

It’s a great thing that we are seeing extra vigilance about alcohol advertising but we need to make sure that the brands that are working really hard to get it right aren’t punished.

Greg Canty 

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

 

Jurgen Klopp and his Ten Management Tips

December 7, 2015

Jurgen Klopp

I’m writing this a little bit depressed after a very disappointing defeat away to struggling Newcastle but in general we have seen a transformation of Liverpool FC in the last two months since Jurgen Klopp, the manager has arrived.

The players have been transformed, the same squad that we thought were lousy purchases are now looking like great players and we have had a few very impressive results of late (except for Newcastle!) and it does seem to be wholly down to the charismatic manager (the self declared Normal One) who has previously enjoyed huge success in Germany with Borussia Dortmund.

Pretty much every Liverpool fan believes that success is around the next corner, which was certainly not the case before he joined the club.

How can a manager make such a difference and can the lessons we learn from him be applied to our own businesses?

What does Jurgen do that is so special?

1.”Belief” 

The first thing he did when he joined the club was he made a declaration to the fans “We need to change from doubters to believers

He gave every fan and player something to think about – we must believe if we want to achieve, which is a simple and yet powerful statement.

He went on to say that he believed in the team at the club, which was why he joined in the first place – if you were a player listening to these words you would feel good about yourself.

Do you believe in your team?

Jurgen Klopp

2.Honesty, openness and no jargon

When he is asked a question by the media he gives a straight, honest and open answer. He talks in a simple way that we all understand and can relate to.

He tells us that football is a simple game ..he is right!

Can you be open and honest with your team?

Jurgen Klopp hugging

3.Don’t be afraid to hug!

We watch him going onto the pitch after the matches and playfully hugging the players. This seems to be a lot more than professionals doing their jobs!

Are people happier when they are treated like this?

4.Have fun

Jurgen loves to laugh, he has a huge smile and he seems to do it all of the time and it is infectious. At the press conferences the media laugh with him.

He tells the players to enjoy themselves on the pitch.

Can work be fun?

Jordan Henderson with Klopp

5.Don’t take it too seriously

Unlike Bill Shankly the legendary Liverpool manager who said football was “more important than life or death” Jurgen says it is just a game and that it should be enjoyed and not taken too seriously – you can see he lives this.

Are your team so stressed that they can’t function properly?

6.Work Hard

This is a key success factor with him. All of his teams are known for their ferocious work ethic – without hard work you won’t win.

This is totally non-negotiable with him.

Are your team prepared and motivated enough to give  you 110%?

7.Have a plan

Already he has managed a few historic victories against some of the big teams and he puts this down to hard work combined with good planning. In one of these matches he fielded a surprising team who played exceptionally and won – he explained after that he had time to plan and prepare with this group of players so there was no point using some of the bigger stars.

Are you planning carefully?

8,Things go wrong – that’s football!

He commented that with the Liverpool team he noticed that they would implode if they conceded in a match and as a result could not recover from this situation.

He has taught the team to accept that things will go wrong and that this is part and parcel of competing – just learn not to give up when it happens!

Do your team have resolve?

9.Mr Motivator

He does seem to have the gift of bringing the best out of each and every single player. He seems to know when a hug works, when a few positive mentions in press conferences will work and when helpful advice from the sideline works (he does scream and roar during the matches).

We clearly don’t see everything that goes on but the players have gone on record as to the huge difference he has made to them.

Do you feel motivating your team is important?

klopp celebrating

10.Passion

Take just one look at him when he celebrates a goal or even when he lives every kick and moment of the matches…he is incredibly passionate!

If you aren’t passionate can you expect your team to be?

What factors would you add to this list?

Greg Canty 

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

MTV VMA Awards – Anything is possible !

August 29, 2015

MTV VMA AwardsAre you here on business or pleasure?” Is the question we have been asked over and over since we arrived in LA.

Oh, we are here for the MTV VMA awards. My son has been nominated for two awards for the Hozier video, Take me to the Church” is my response, to the hotel staff, the taxi drivers, the barmen and even to the very serious airport security team!

These surreal words come out of my mouth and in ways I have to keep on saying them to believe them myself.

Invariably we get a “that’s fantastic” or “that’s incredible” or my personal favourite is “that’s awesome” which only the Americans can carry off properly!

LA is a much better place than I was expecting. It is a colossal mix of cultures with people on every end of the social spectrum. On the immaculate Santa Monica beach we passed all shapes and sizes of people, we were entertained by excellent buskers and we watched old fishermen on the pier.

We were passed by David and Victoria Beckham’s three children on their motorised devices while behind them a young woman rummaged through a bin. Sadly we saw plenty of that.

I heard Steven Gerrard remark recently that in LA he can go out in public without being disturbed – here they seem to take no notice of either the stars or the most organised of beggars that you will ever see.

Anything is Possible!

When asked we tell people about the Hozier video that was made in Cork for a budget that literally wouldn’t pay for our highly discounted ‘industry’ tickets for the awards ceremony.

Brendan Canty and Conal Thompson - Feel Good Lost

Brendan Canty, my son and his partner in Feel Good Lost, Conal Thomson produced a powerful video for a great song that had been in the public domain for quite a while. Like so many other great songs it had gone unnoticed. Within days of being uploaded on YouTube the video went viral and this great song finally got the attention it deserved.

Anything is possible!

Over 330 million views later, Hozier is an international phenomenon and while he always gives credit to Brendan and Con the MTV VMA awards is the first time that their work has been officially recognised.

On our second night in LA with Brendan and Con we got to meet the very talented singer songwriter Gavin James from Cabra in Dublin. I predict that this terrific guy who has been signed by Capital Records in the U.S. will be a huge success. This down to earth guy who has a voice from heaven has just done a tour with Sam Smith in the U.S.

Gavin James

We had great fun talking about releasing a cover version of the old song by Cork band, Sultans of Ping, “Where’s My Jumper?“. He knew the words !!

Anything is possible!

He told me he is living and loving the dream but does miss his family and friends. Feel Good Lost did the video for his last single “For You” and are planning his next one.

Despite doing his video Brendan and Gavin had never met or even spoken before now. This is sadly how it goes when you move up the success ladder – there are loads of intermediaries and handlers who get involved in the process, which is after all, big business.

We chatted with Gavin about this and we all agreed that this shouldn’t happen as the ‘magic‘ can easily get lost when too many get involved – simple lesson for all of us!

While we have been here Brendan had meetings …. wait for this, in Beverly Hills and in Hollywood no less! He is now represented worldwide by a London agency called Academy Films and they organised meetings for him here.

He made all of this happen for himself  – he approached his ‘dream‘ agencies with his show reel, organised follow meetings and was signed up. With the right will..

Anything is possible!

We received our instructions about collecting our show tickets. The MTV team had taken temporary office space in the Marriot hotel next to the Staples Centre, home of the LA Lakers, where the awards will take place.

The excitement is well and truly building as we collected our tickets and hospitality passes. Brendan and Con (and hopefully us at the after parties) will be rubbing shoulders with music heavyweights including Miley Cyrus (must ask her how Billy Ray is !), Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Kanye West (regards to the wife!) and Britney Spears.

Anything is Possible!

On Sunday Brendan and Con will be on the Red Carpet from 3:30pm (LA is 8 hours behind Ireland) with the ‘talent’. Unfortunately we have to go in another door!

The ‘show’ starts at 6pm,

This journey has been incredible and will continue to be I have no doubt.

When Brendan volunteered for ‘Seven brides for seven brothers‘ in transition year in secondary school it introduced him to a new circle of friends and ignited the possibility of a different career path. During the weekends and summer breaks Brendan and the guys filmed a few comedies, which were really quite good.

He chose the multimedia course in Cork Institute of Technology and then threw himself into bucket loads of projects including speculative pro-bono work, which eventually led to paying work.

There were many little steps and random projects that brought him to the Hozier video and a lot of exciting work since then including videos for Gavin James and even producing adverts for Gas Networks Ireland.

You might call him lucky to be in LA but in truth Brendan works incredibly hard, he constantly perfects his craft, he builds fantastic contacts and relationships and he is very careful (I always think too careful – you must make some money Brendan!) to only work on projects he believes in.

The most impressive aspect of LA that I have experienced is the attitude here.

Our friendly UBER taxi driver, Indy from Indonesia summed it up best for us.

In LA, no matter who you are – Anything is Possible

The MTV VMA awards are on the 30th August, 2015.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design 

Profit without Passion?

April 12, 2015

Passion

These two guys came into us, full of confidence about their new project.

They were introducing a new range of ready made meals to the Irish market, which they reckoned were going to be a huge success.

The market in Ireland was huge and growing and according to them poorly serviced with inferior products. They were going to bring restaurant quality meals with recipes designed by a high profile chef using the best of Irish ingredients.

These meals were going to be well packaged and would be ‘on shelf‘ at competitive products – this was their recipe for success!

By their reckoning they would conservatively capture a share of the market and even with moderate success they would make a fortune, it was guaranteed.

They had the listings with some of the multiples and our job was to launch the new range of products. They also had a good budget for the promotional campaign – success guaranteed?

I had a few nagging doubts ..

These guys had no history in food or experience in the industry. They had no passion for food – I tried and I tried to find it. I couldn’t see a genuine love for Irish ingredients and great food – this was just a way of making money and they reckoned they had all the necessary ingredients for success.

The high profile chef was equally unimpressive – I started to get the feeling that his ‘name was on the box‘ and that was about the extent of his passion for the project.

Of course he did the interviews and said all the right things but I just didn’t feel the passion for the project.

The launch date arrived, there seemed to be trouble with distribution, the products didn’t look well in the packaging and there was nothing special about the taste. It certainly wasn’t the superior restaurant quality ready-made meals that we were promised.

In no time at all the partners were fighting and the chef pulled back from the project. Effectively before the whole project got going they shut it down and many people including ourselves went without payment.

If there was genuine passion you would taste it in the end product, you would work hard to overcome any problems and you would dig deep and do everything to keep your dream alive.

Without passion you just give up ….that’s easier!

Passion is the single must important ingredient in your meal, your restaurant, your products, your service and your organisation.

Profit without passion? … I don’t think so 

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