Archive for the ‘Personal Marketing’ Category

Long hair and figuring out what “normal” should look like

July 5, 2020

Greg Canty - Long hair version

I had one of those rare, precious things in these very strange COVID19 times – an appointment at the hairdressers!

We are good friends with one of the owners so Dee made an appointment for me and being honest I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it.

I was sitting in the waiting area observing all of the safety procedure signage as the team looked after their clients, all carefully spread out in the salon and all with their face visors or masks on.

Since March, we were all forced to jump off our frantic never ending cycle of life and while we have been busy and have continued to work hard it’s been quite different.

There’s been no face to face meetings, there’s been no travelling and there’s been no wearing of blazers and constant work shirt ironing.

As we all know, simple things like haircuts have been impossible, so at this stage my hair has been longer and bigger (I’m a curly head!!) than it’s been since I was in secondary school. It’s been a bit of a joke with everyone how big it is and I must admit that there is something about it that’s been enjoyable as the circumstances have forced me to go back in time.

While this time has been so unusual, complete with so much worry, sadness and uncertainty it has forced a very different way of living on us and as the restrictions are lifting gradually step by step it starts to close a door on the enforced life and prise open a door to some return to normal, whatever that looks like.

In ways I feel many of the changes were great changes and it would be so good to hold onto the better parts as we move forward.

In my head my impending haircut was taking on some ridiculous and much bigger significance – it was closing the door to that strange time.

After a few moments they were ready for me and as part of their very careful process I had to put on a mask – this is the first time I’ve done this and I couldn’t believe how awful it felt having this covering over my face and nose. I totally get why it’s necessary in these close quarters where everyone must be extremely careful as we emerge from lockdown, but it really felt stifling.  They were saying how awful the masks were for sustained periods while working – god love our medical professionals!

So, what will we do with your hair?” was the question by Kelly.

In my head I just wanted to leave and postpone the haircut so I explained to her that there was something about the long hair that I had enjoyed.

After a chat with Darren they reckoned long was actually quite good, so a little “tidy up” was the order of the day and the big mop of hair will love on for another while at least.

I’m not quite ready to return to normal, at least not until I’ve figured out what I want that to look like.

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

 

 

 

Time for a (LinkedIn) Group Hug?

April 2, 2020

LinkedIn Groups - Social Media Training

From my experience most LinkedIn users are not using the very useful ‘Groups‘ facility on the platform.

For your industry or your business community there is more than likely a group set up with like minded individuals who have already joined.

These could provide you with the opportunity to interact with like minded people, discuss topical issues, solve problems, demonstrate your expertise, get information or these could easily help you to identify useful connections for your business or organisation.

If you do a search right now…Dublin Chamber, Cork Chamber. UCD Alumni, Marketing professionals, Hospitality professionals in Ireland – you are likely to find a group that matches your search.

Groups will have a filter process for members depending on how they have been created – you will need to request to join or be invited to join by an existing member and an administrator somewhere will decide whether to let you in or not.

If it is a group for a membership organisation it is very likely that they will not grant you access unless you are a member.

When you create a group you have a number of options including:

  • Name and description
  • Industry types (up to 3)
  • Stated rules for the group (how members should use and behave within the group)
  • Whether the group is visible or not: you could for example make it a “closed” group for your organisation so it won’t appear on searches
  • If you allow existing members to invite others to join
  • Approval setting for posts within the group.

New Feature: Messaging

The functionality is always changing so how you can use them is always changing. For example LinkedIn have just now given members within groups the ability to send a message to other members, without being connected to them (and without having the paid version of the platform).

These messages will come into you just like a normal message on LinkedIn.

So…look for a group today that could work for you and your business, click that ‘Join’ button and off you go!

Or…maybe you could be the one to create that group?

What are you waiting for?!!

Greg

Greg Canty heads up the Digital Marketing team at Fuzion Communications and as part of our suite of digital services we offer social media training and social media consultancy, both face to face and online

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

What have you got to say?

August 29, 2018

Donald Trump

Every day without fail he is at it.

He is on Twitter consistently pumping out his messages, over and over garnering our attention and fuelling the stories that the media grab onto.

His content is on message: Make America Great Again #MAGA, Witch hunt, Fake News, Crooked Hillary, Build a Wall, Jobs, the Economy, I’m Great and those before me were rubbish!!

As much as we might hate him, his (lack of) beliefs, policies and philosophy we do get to see who he is and yes, we do make up our minds about him.

He has a target audience that he seems to understand quite well and sadly, he knows what they want to hear and he fires them up relentlessly in his favour with his often dangerous rhetoric.

This social media stuff is powerful and you and your business can use it too:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What do you want them to know about you?
  • Start telling them
  • Start telling them often
  • Start telling them consistently

Donald…thanks for the social media tips!

Greg 

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

 

Stop playing politics

October 30, 2017

Jeff Flake speech

In the earlier part of my career as an accountant I used to hear people talk about “Being Political” and naively I never quite got what it meant.

Did it mean being sneaky, being dishonest, playing silly buggers instead of just doing your job?

I never quite got it, and I did think that, if it did exist it was something that happened in large organisations or literally in politics, where it sadly seemed to be a necessary part of that game.

As far as I was concerned. as long as I worked hard I would get ahead and there was no reason for me to believe that I needed to act otherwise.

I worked hard in a busy accountancy and management consultants office and progressed well. I worked hard in an American subsidiary of a multinational and progressed well. I worked hard in a subsidiary of Guinness and progressed well and I found myself promoted to the role of General Manager at the age of 28.

I could see “politics” happening externally around me but it was still a case of, work hard and you will always progress.

I then took up a role with the fantastic Guinness company in Dublin and six months later I discovered that my ‘hard work’ previously effective instrument was no longer sufficient to progress – I had to learn how to play politics to get on!

I never quite cracked this skill and while I had a fantastic time working at St.James Gate I can quite honestly admit that I never fulfilled my potential, even though I did learn a lot and make some contribution to the business.

I guess I was never the type that was suited to playing games and I guess this is why I was always suited to entrepreneurship, where you make your own bed and lie in it.

What does “being political” actually mean?

Being apolitical refers to situations in which people take an unbiased position in regard to a political matter.

I guess if you are being political it means you give up on your own views and principles, you take positions on things that are not yours to stay in some sort of favour with others, for some other benefit (a promotion, a raise maybe?).

Once this creeps in, as I saw in Guinness you never get to see all of the potential of the people there. Many will leave frustrated and those that stay will be the ones who are good at surviving in that environment. A lot of positive energy gets suppressed and the business never performs at the level that was possible.

At a certain point it is accepted that “this is the norm” and something bad creeps in forever.

Republican Senator Jeff Flake

I watched the speech last week given by Senator Jeff Flake of the Republican Party in the United States whereby he was declaring that he was ‘turning his back‘ on politics and not running again.

He used the words “the new normal” and how we must not let what is happening now become ‘the new normal‘.

If you listen to the content of his speech it is very interesting and quite sad with some very basic points, which illuminate how bad things have become when you ‘play politics‘ at the very highest level with the dangerous potential of affecting the whole world.

There are times when you must risk your career in favour of your principles” – the opposite is a scary place to be. Who are we if we don’t follow principles – do you want that person working with you?

We are all complicit when we don’t stand up when we know wrong things are happening” – this should be something basic you would want in everyone you work with.

The flagrant disregard for truth and decency“`- the new norm?

The reckless provocations, most often for the pettiest and most personal reasons” – the schoolyard bully?

Heaven help us if this is politics as usual” – this feels like a huge cry for help and something higher to intervene

Reckless, outrageous and undignified behaviour has become excused as telling it as it is” – politics in all its glory

When this come from the top it is something else, it is dangerous to democracy

Our strength comes from our values” – the most powerful statement of all.

It is often said that children are watching” – We are setting an awful example for the next generation

Remaining silent and failing to act in fear of making enemies is dishonouring our principles” – Yep!

I think you get the idea…

If you want your business to flourish then be proactive about creating a culture that brings out the very best of people. and one where no one is afraid of speaking their mind in fear of the consequences.

Stop playing politics…

Well done to Jeff Flake for standing up to the biggest bully of them all, potentially the most powerful and most dangerous man in the world today, Donald Trump.

Check out the full speech by Jeff Flake, which already many are considering to be one of the most important of our age.

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

 

 

 

 

Decency, Manners, Legends and Losers

October 19, 2017

Legends and Losers

I met him in a hotel in Dublin one morning to discuss the possibility of working together on a few projects – our service offerings didn’t overlap but they could be combined making a powerful package for clients.

When I got there he had already arrived and had his laptop open and was sipping on a water.

I ordered a coffee and another as we chatted for quite a while making sure that we both understood each other’s offerings so we could best explore how to package the combined service.

He seemed like an ok guy and besides the work we actually did, we spent some time chatting about our teams, what motivates us and our general philosophy about business.

All was going well and after about two hours of in-depth discussions it was time to wrap up our meeting.

I went to pay and I asked him what he had ordered so I could pay for him as well “Don’t worry about me he said, all I had was tap water” he said.

An alarm bell went off in my head and a thought struck me …You miserable thing, sitting in their premises for hours, using their WiFi, using their space and having the audacity to order something for free!!

You had no problem taking from them without giving anything back, not even a tip to the waiter.

I paid my bill shook his hand and thanked him for his time and made a flash decision that I never wanted to do business with him as instinctively something felt wrong to me. To this day I have never contacted him again.

Was this me being stupid, unreasonable and quite dumb, walking away from a business opportunity because of what I perceived as a gesture of meanness?

I always look for decency and common courtesy in people – do they hold a door, let someone else go first, acknowledge the waiter, behave respectively to the receptionist, offer to pay?

In business do the personal traits of the people you deal with matter, as long as they are good at what they do – isn’t this the most important thing?

Legends and Losers

I was listening to another brilliant podcast by Christopher Lockhead and in this particular episode he was chatting about decency and character and ‘purpose before profit‘. When I heard the conversation it made me think of the meeting I had with my ‘tap water’ friend.

In this show he spoke about a business contact that he had met for lunch and how he distrusted him because of the lousy tip that he had left for the staff even though there was no issue with the meal. For him this was an important warning sign.

He mentioned the importance of good character in people as he found from his vast experience that ‘these people’ would always end up leaving you down when the going got tough and you needed them most.

Always listen to the signs – they rarely let you down!

Check out the fantastic and inspirational podcast series Legends and Losers  where Chris has the most captivating dialogue with business leaders each week.

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

 

 

Simple Courtesies and your Reputation

August 8, 2017

thank youMany thanks Greg,

Thank you for your time today and for all of this information. I’ll discuss with a colleague early next week and will be back in touch afterwards.

Warm regards,

 

You are so nice and you must work for a great place I thought …

This was an email I received today from a prospect I had chatted to on the phone – after our chat I put a brief proposal together and emailed it to her.

You might think there was nothing special about her email that warranted me feeling so positive about it?

I did spend time assessing what their business needed and giving her advice and I did spend time working on a proposal – surely, this warranted some acknowledgement?

Of course it did!

Unfortunately, I find this basic level of courtesy has disappeared from business. In extreme cases we have met a client, spent a lot of time with them to get a firm grasp of their requirements, spent the best part of a day writing a plan, spent a few hours presenting to them and then….nothing.

It drives me bonkers – reply to my email, return a phone call. If you don’t want to want to work with us for whatever reason, that’s fine, but at least respect the amount of time, enthusiasm and work that we have done by replying and being courteous.

This speaks volumes about you and your organisation and it can be turned really easily with a tiny “thank you, we appreciated the effort but…

Your reputation can often be about the small things as much as the big things!

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

 

 

 

 

You look good!

July 31, 2017

I’ve just received a connection request from a person on LinkedIn.

I don’t recognise the person’s name and they describe themselves as being the General Manager of a company.

On the face of it, maybe a good person to connect with?

But….

..the person’s profile pic (not that young) is a selfie of them wearing shades and a baseball cap, pictured alongside another person. They are clearly having fun at some event and in their eternal wisdom have decided that this pic was a good one to use for their profile.

I am fascinated by LinkedIn and must admit that most users seem to have figured it out, and are quite good at putting their best foot forward.

However, I am still seeing oodles of accounts with typos, all lower case for their name, no description of what they do and really poorly chosen photos – holding a pint at a function does not make a great business photo!

LinkedIn is your personal, business website – it’s not Facebook!

Think carefully about the image you choose for yourself (and those in your team) as we all tend to judge each other by how we look.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

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

 

Expressing what you think of others..

July 3, 2017

Trump

Sometimes when you make your feelings known about others it can end up saying even more about you than it does about them:

Trump tweets

Be careful what you say online..

Greg Canty 

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

 

Business Social Media – What should you be doing?

March 9, 2017

Twitter for business

Social media continues to evolve with users switching from one platform to another, so where does that leave us today for anyone personally using it for a Business to Business audience?

If anything this has become more straightforward than it was before as Google+ has become irrelevant and most of the new social media activity has happened with the “youth” platforms, which can be ignored for now.

For anyone in business I would recommend the following:

The Basics
You should at a minimum maintain a ‘sparkling’ LinkedIn account that puts your best foot forward at all times. You should treat this as your personal website ensuring that all details are up to date, that you have a professional photograph, that you try to get meaningful recommendations and that you use it proactively for connecting with other people in business.

A big health warning here is that if you are not going to maintain your LinkedIn account properly then it might be wise to delete it – anything that does not paint you in the best possible light should not be allowed.

For example I had one client who was ignoring connection requests for over a year – he nearly had a heart attack when he realised that many of those looking to connect with him were his clients!!

Basics with more ambition
For someone with a little more ambition I would encourage them to add Twitter into their social media mix and I would advise posting on both LinkedIn and Twitter to “make some noise” and let the right people know what they are all about. When posting try to use visuals where possible as nice pictures help posts to get more attention!

Twitter as a platform seemed to be fading away a little but our good friend, Mr.Trump seems to have reversed this trend!

As part of this “making some noise” strategy I would recommend following and interacting with relevant accounts on Twitter and doing the same with LinkedIn including relevant groups – try to pick groups where you will find prospects, not other people in your industry.

Trump loves twitter

The Avid User
If you really want to embrace social media you need to incorporate it into your working day, everyday.

A regular piece of advice that I give to clients is that social media is not a full time activity but it is a full time mentality – effectively, you are always “on” looking for natural opportunities to connect, start or join a discussion that demonstrates who you are and what you do.

You will have succeeded here if people in your sector recognise you as a prominent social media user. Even more evidence of success, is when journalists who are prolific online recognise you and contact you for commentary on topics relevant to your sector.

Pro Tip– When you are posting try to use a few relevant #Hashtags frequently so that after a while they become synonymous with you.

The Publisher
The real social media “guru” is the person who publishes their own material online.

Basically I am talking about those who are writing articles and opinion pieces frequently that are relevant to the sector that they work in. These pieces would demonstrate their expertise and personality and they can be hosted on their own blog or else published within their LinkedIn account (or both). These pieces can then be used as social media posts – if posts are not time sensitive they can even be recycled over time.

For those who are excellent in front of a camera or engaging into a microphone, then video (open your own YouTube account) or podcasts are others ways to capture their expertise and personality and these can also be shared as social media posts or incorporated into their blog posts.

What about Facebook and the new social media platforms?
You might be wondering why there has been no mention of the other social media platforms – in truth I don’t think that they are relevant for the B2B audience BUT …there is always a but…

..all of your social media activity demonstrates to the outside world who you are so you must be careful that you don’t do anything detrimental to your self image by what you post and how you behave online.

While I consider the above platforms to be the ones relevant for business you will often get a business contact sending you a ‘friend request‘ on Facebook or following you on Instagram or Snapchat.

In many cases you may feel obliged to accept that ‘friend request‘ but once this happens you do need to realise that all of your “personal” posts will contribute to others forming an opinion of you.

Other developments
One of things that I have observed in the last while is that the ‘reach‘ of posts (how many people get to see the posts) across all platforms has disintegrated in favour of sponsored or promoted posts so you have to work even harder than before to get noticed and create an impact.

The other trend to note is “live” video which is becoming a big feature on both Facebook and Twitter – while you can probably ignore the feature on Facebook (for the B2B audience) it can be quite relevant for Twitter, as long as the content is clever and interesting.

Facebook have threatened developing their own B2B type platform for a while as they want to dominate all social media but we haven’t see any evidence of this yet.

To summarise I would advise everyone in business to jump in at some level and try to push it to the next level over time, I will guarantee you that you will see results but like everything else in life you must stick with it.

For the naysayers who still think that social media is a big waste of time, I would like to say a big thanks for leaving an even bigger opportunity for the rest of us!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

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