Archive for the ‘PR’ Category

Incite or Insight?

April 19, 2017

Ena Kenny and Donald Trump, Patrick's Day

Enda Kenny’s St.Patrick Days trip to the U.S. costs the taxpayer €35,000” read the headline in this newspaper article I read at the weekend.

The article documented blow by blow how and where these costs were accumulated as well as the costs of the other Ministers who travelled overseas for our national festival, that day when the whole world acknowledges and celebrates our little country.

St.Patrick would be a great Marketing/PR trick for Ireland if we had planned it!!

The article was designed to incite the reader in a way that we are seeing all too frequently – It is supposed to get us thinking…

This is a total disgrace

What a waste of money

Typical politicians, on a jolly while the rest of us are paying for it

Why does it cost so much, you can fly to the States and back for €500?

Rage, rage and more rage – thanks for exposing this abomination!!

In my humble view, Enda Kenny’s U.S. trip was well worth every cent and much more as he flew a flag for illegal Irish immigrants and our continued trade in the very delicate Trump era. This simple visit will help to preserve our special relationship with an economy that is more than vital to us.

In terms of the cost of the trip do we really expect the leader of our country to travel Economy, take public transport and book into 3-star hotels?!!

Come on guys, less of the headlines that are designed to incite the typical anger and let’s focus on the insights.

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

United Airlines and the Costly Culture

April 16, 2017

United Airlines protests.

When you hear the company name “United Airlines” what comes to mind?

When you hear the company name “Volkswagen” what comes to mind?

In both cases, you probably think of the well publicised and very damaging situations that have occurred, which have caused untold damage to these monstrous brands.

At the time of writing United Airline shares had dropped significantly resulting in a market capitalisation collapse of $570 Million.

While United Airlines was a very specific incident and Volkswagen was a very deliberate campaign of deception what they both have in common is that what occurred was not something that you could blame on “a” culprit in each company.

With United Airlines could you point the finger at the security guards who removed the passenger?

With Volkswagen could you point the finger at the engineers who were able to rig the emissions performance?

In each case, the individuals involved knew that what they did was okay with their bosses – why would they do such a thing otherwise?

In each case, their bosses knew that this was what they were expected to instruct their subordinates to do – why else would they give guidance like this?

In each case, their bosses, bosses had jobs to do and targets to meet and the expectation was that these must be achieved as a priority beyond all other objectives.

And so on up the chain of command.

The huge problem in large organisations is that very often something rotten is allowed to creep into the culture resulting in management and employees behaving really badly and eventually it just bursts through and shows its ugly face in a way that is quite extraordinarily shocking to everyone.

Oscar Munoz - United Airlines

For example with United Airlines the initial reaction of Chairman Oscar Munoz was to apologise to other passengers for the “upsetting event” but went on to push the blame onto the 69-year-old victim Dr.Dao for being “disruptive and belligerent“!

If you ever wanted someone to confirm the rotten culture at the airline, Mr.Munoz did it in his next communication to his staff where he praised them and stood behind them:

Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this. While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right

In a strange way, he was 100% correct – they did what was expected of them in these situations and as a result, he applauded them!!

At this point in time, the airline’s reputation was in tatters and Oscar and his team started to frantically backpaddle and within three days their tone had changed and fresh press statements included grovelling apologies to Dr.Dao for the appalling treatment and a full refund to all passengers on the flight (what difference was this ridiculous gesture going to do for anyone?).

The best PR advice when something like this occurs is to come clean and apologise immediately with complete sincerity. The word “Sorry” if people genuinely believe those that are delivering the apology can go a long way to reducing the damage caused.

However, just like in the United Airlines scenario a genuine “sorry” was not possible because the culture was too rotten to even contemplate doing such a thing – the expression ‘not being able to see the wood from the trees‘ comes to mind here.

Your reputation ultimately comes from what you do and how you behave and while good PR professionals can help to lessen the damage from a bad situation, it cannot change the culture, which can often be the reason why these things ended up happening in the first place.

Could your culture end up costing you?

Greg Canty 

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

The Magic of PR

April 6, 2017

PR Magic

Advertising is a way of promoting your business but it is you saying that “we are great, buy from us“.

PR is a way of promoting your business and it is more effective because it is someone else, a trusted third party saying “they are great, buy from them

Your PR makes your advertising more effective as now people believe what you are saying

Social media (when you do it right!) is a way of you promoting your business by interacting, engaging and gently saying “stop by, you might like what we have to offer

Your PR makes your social media more effective as now people believe it is worth stopping by and seeing what you have to offer.

Do all three and you have a powerful combination with PR the little piece of magic in the middle.

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

 

 

Building your Reputation Wall

December 28, 2015

awards wall

We were back at this point again with a client of ours.

We were being asked by the media if our client would do interviews as a result of some really great news that we had pushed out in a press release.

Of course we had advised our client that this would more than likely happen but she was adamant that she did not want to do newspaper and radio interviews “I hate to be seen as blowing my own trumpet” and “won’t the media be quick enough to cut the legs from you when things go wrong?“.

These were really ‘hard set‘ beliefs that she had and there was no shifting them. As her communications advisers we had to push her and explain that doing these interviews would be great for the business and would help to achieve the objectives that they had set for us.

Her last comment really struck a chord with me – “Won’t the media be quick enough to cut the legs from you when things go wrong?”

To be honest when things go wrong everyone will question what happened and this is the general public and the media. Mostly you can’t predict when these things happen but sometimes you can. In either case you should be prepared by having carefully built up your reputation wall.

Reputation Wall

Imagine all of the good things that you and your organisation does – these things will help to start building a “reputation wall” for you.

Great products, excellent customer service, paying your suppliers on time, being courteous in business, being a responsible corporate citizen, looking after your team and doing charitable work are all fantastic things that help to build that reputation wall with your various stakeholders.

They are a great company” is what you want people saying about you.

PR can help to accelerate your good news and with the help of some careful planning this reputation wall will be built even higher by reaching a much wider audience through the media and other communications channels such as social media.

Your reputation wall will hep you win business, get loans, get credit, get planning permission, get landlords wanting you as their tenant, attract great staff but this isn’t the only time it will help you.

In the event that something does go wrong (and it often does unless you are extremely lucky) your organisation will be seen as one that should be believed and trusted and as a result you will be forgiven for whatever has gone wrong. The higher and stronger your wall is the more it will protect you.

I explained all of this to my client and thankfully she did listen to me and agreed to do one of the radio interviews. I smiled as I listened to her doing her fantastic company proud.

How is your reputation wall?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion PR who offer PR and Crisis PR services in Ireland from our offices in Dublin and Cork

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

The “Vote for us” Awards

November 17, 2014

And the winner is

Should you enter your business for an industry award?

I received a “Vote for Us” on-line request by a really nice individual  from an organisation that we deal with regularly.

Their B2B initiative had been submitted for some European award and the mechanic for choosing the winner was the quantity of votes by the public.

A lot of competitions and award initiatives are now being operated in this way. In the last few months alone my email has been clogged with numerous requests to vote for different initiatives on-line.

With this particular initiative there was an extra twist to the voting as you can see explained below:

“Each person can cast ONE VOTE EVERY DAY (one per 24 hours) and it just takes a couple of seconds. We would be very grateful if you could VOTE for our initiative each day and/or on the various devices that you work on i.e. smart phone, PC, iPad, laptop etc. And it is legitimate to vote on each of the different browsers daily too, i.e. google chrome, internet explorer, safari, firefox etc.”

A major step too far – Not only was my vote requested but there was a further request to vote every single day on as many devices and browsers as possible!

With this particular initiative I received a number of emails, a number of times from various individuals in the organisation all asking me to vote.

Jesus …. what is after happening to the business world whereby “awards” are being decided by such meaningless criteria.

In this case the award will ultimately go to the team who have expended the maximum energy in chasing the widest possible network of contacts – I doubt this process has any chance of finding a deserving winner.

The winner will be the organisation that have wasted a fortune of time lobbying for votes as well as the time wasted by those who did the voting.

To make matters worse the winner and the other contestants who took the challenge of winning seriously will have run the danger of damaging their own brand as a result of so much lobbying (and quite frankly annoying people). If they don’t lobby (annoy) they won’t win – simple!

Very few people will take the awards seriously once they realise how the winners were chosen, in particular those who did the voting.

I don’t for one second blame the organisation who contacted me – The fault lies with those running and setting the rules for these competitions.

Anyone who is operating an awards initiative should protect the integrity of the competition ensuring that the awards go to the worthy winners.

Winning an award is great for any organisation and in Fuzion we encourage all of our clients to enter credible competitions, which will demonstrate that they are best in class.

If the winning of an award is meaningless then don’t even bother entering.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

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

Crisis, What Crisis?

April 18, 2014

Supertramp - Crisis, What Crisis?

Little did I know that in 1977 when I was listening to ground breaking music with our very cool Spanish summer student that years later some of this would continue to make an impact.

I was just 12 years of age and I was listening to music by fabulous bands and artists such as ELO, Lou Reed, Supertramp and Bob Dylan.

That summer we listened to some incredible albums including Face the Music (ELO), Even in the Quietest Moments (Supertramp), Street Hassle (Lou Reed) and one that always stuck in my mind was Crisis, What Crisis? by Supertramp.

I loved the name of the album, the cover was really cool and the music lived up to the promise.

My passion for music kicked off that summer so much so that I ended up opening my own music stores (I reckon I made a lot of landlords wealthy!) in my twenties and now we find ourselves often operating in the Crisis business.

Crisis PR

Much of our normal PR work is planned out in advance with our clients having clear communication objectives – its our job to secure media coverage to achieve these objectives.

With Crisis PR work you can get a call on a Sunday, which requires you to drop everything that you are doing and jump into action for an organisation that requires immediate help to deal with a situation. These situations are always different, they require clever thinking on your feet and inevitably they are very fluid, often changing by the minute.

Sometimes an organisation has the benefit of some advance warning where they have prior knowledge of something that could happen, which they know may require careful handling with the media and other stakeholders.

Over the last number of years this seems to have been an area of our business, which has grown and grown. We have recruited deliberately to give a great service in this area as our team now includes ex-journalists, individuals with political communication experience, individuals who provide media training and others with significant TV experience.

We also find that our expertise in social media is vital in a crisis situation as you can track issues, mentions and sentiment about the issue. This helps greatly with our media communications as you can gauge the temperature of an issue and use this information to often correct misunderstandings.

Crisis Planning

Just like you take out an insurance policy to protect against risk it is a really good idea to have a plan in place to prepare your organisation for a crisis situation.

No organisation can afford to hide in a crisis as it has the potential to damage relationships with clients and stakeholders, wreak havoc with an organisation’s reputation, seriously effect revenue and in some cases lead to closure. Social media in particular can accelerate the speed and damage from a crisis situation.

We work with our clients in advance of any potential crisis, planning such things as:-

  • Reactive Statements
  • Preparing spokespeople, including Media Training
  • Monitoring traditional and online media
  • Devising a plan that will be put into place should a potential crisis become a reality
  • Developing an Internal Communications Strategy to include communications to relevant stakeholders
  • Crisis Social Media Strategy

Hopefully you will never need our Crisis PR services but if that ever happens you know we are ready…

Greg Canty

Fuzion with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland offer a full Crisis PR Service. Deirdre Waldron, (Partner) heads up the Crisis PR team, which includes former journalists, media training and social media expertise.

Oscar Pistorius and the Paddy Power PR Win

March 4, 2014

Oscar Pistorius Paddy Power advert

One thing is for sure – it has us all talking!

Was this the obvious objective when Paddy Power cobbled together their latest advertising stunt?

Just in case you have missed it, Paddy Power are taking bets on the Oscar Pistorius murder trail against his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. They caused outrage initially by offering odds on the outcome of the premeditated murder trial – 7/4 for a guilty verdict and 2/5 for not guilty.

Not only does this stunt interfere and shape public opinion about the verdict of the court case, there was also an immediate public reaction with many Twitter users branding the gimmick ‘vile’ and ‘disgusting’.

Paddy Power then took things even further, by offering losing bets a refund if the 27-year-old is found not guilty. This “no lose” offer for customers was featured heavily on newspaper adverts adding even further fuel to this controversial fire, demonstrating that Paddy Power didn’t really care about the negative public and media reaction.

Not only has Twitter been on fire about the issue but newspapers and radio have given the “bet” extra momentum through extensive negative coverage.

On national radio, RTE Liveline, Paddy Power defended the move to take bets on the trial: “This is the biggest profile trial that has ever been. It’s the only topic of conversation around the world. It’s to provide customers with the opportunity to bet on something that everyone is talking to.”

It sounds as if they are doing us all a huge favour by allowing us to take bets on such an event – are we that desperate?

The Advertising Standards Authority in the UK have already reacted though their official Twitter account: “We’re fast tracking a formal investigation into the Paddy PowerOscar Pistorius‘ ad. No need to lodge a complaint, we’re looking into it” .

There is also a campaign running on change.co with 117,000 people already (at the time of writing) who have signed a petition to Patrick Kennedy, MD of Paddy Power to “please remove your offensive betting on the outcome of the Oscar Pistorius trial and donate any profits so far to a women’s charity fighting violence against women

Despite all of this the Paddy Power adverts continue to run and the company defends them under the heading of “customer service”.

Oscar Pistorius

The horrible truth is this is a huge awareness victory for Paddy Power, way beyond the cost of the adverts or any payouts for winning bets. Sadly the bigger a storm we make of the issue the more attention we draw to Paddy Power and the more traffic will be pushed towards their website.

If this negative publicity was deemed to be damaging to the Paddy Power reputation you can be assured it would be retracted immediately but I am guessing that the view from within the company is that the publicity is good because the belief is that the target betting audience isn’t that bothered.

The women’s groups and the general public can be outraged all they want but as long as the campaign helps the company to attract the betting fraternity this is one of those times when any publicity is good publicity.

However, while the campaign appears as a clever win for Paddy Power it does leave a bitter after-taste, which in the long run could undermine the brand alongside the flawed Olympic star who at one point could do no wrong.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

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

Make sharing easy

November 24, 2013

Cork City Ballet

We were lucky enough to be at the Saturday night finale of the Ballet Spectacular Gala at Cork Opera House celebrating  21 years of the Cork City Ballet Company.

I’m not a ballet fanatic by any stretch of the imagination – if anything I’ve been more than a little bit ignorant about ballet and I was pleasantly surprised by such a fantastic night of fabulous music and dancing. Watching such incredible athletes perform gracefully on stage in such a polished production at a fabulous venue was a real treat.

Playboy of the Western World - Cork Ballet Company

To hear “Ride On” by Christy Moore being played in a dance scene during the Playboy of the Western World segment was very special.

In truth I ended up going to the ballet as a result of some random interactions on Twitter with the Cork City Ballet company (@corkcityballet) – I had so much fun and banter back and forth with them online that I just couldn’t possibly miss it!

Ballerina Erina Takahashi from English National Ballet and her partner Yosvani RamosThose attending Alan Foley’s production were also treated to two special segments delivered by some of the world stars of ballet including Prima Ballerina Lucia Lacarra and her partner Marlon Dino and another world-class Ballerina Erina Takahashi from the English National Ballet and her partner Yosvani Ramos.

At the end of the performance, Artistic Director of Cork City Ballet, Alan Foley spoke passionately to the audience about the challenge of operating a ballet for 21 years in a relatively small and unknown city (from a ballet perspective) and on a shoe string budget – well done Alan!

While we were sitting in the fabulous theatre waiting on the curtains to open I was wondering how I hadn’t seen people sharing pictures from the Thursday and Friday night performances on Facebook and Twitter.

All was revealed when the public announcer stated that the performance was about to begin and added “the taking of photo’s and recordings of the performance is strictly forbidden“.

Was this a Cork Opera House rule, a Cork City Ballet rule, some restriction that the star performers insist on or does the taking of photos genuinely interfere with the performers? (I did take a sneaky pic at the very end, which is at the top of this piece).

While many won’t like it and will tut tut (that nearly read like a tutu!) all of this social media stuff, many of us do like to share our life experiences and maybe instead of prohibiting photo’s they should be doing the exact opposite and encouraging them.

Maybe on the intro screen before the show starts show the hashtag #CorkBallet, gently reminding and even encouraging the audience to share their experience of the show online and help it to trend bringing it to the attention of so many others.

If that doesn’t work during the show either allow photos at the end of each segment or let the performers present themselves after the show for photos with guests – can you imagine the excitement of people getting their photos with the gorgeous stars. These would proudly appear on so many Facebook and Twitter accounts and at the same time promote the shows.

The lucky Thursday audience would have shared their experience encouraging their friends and online followers to buy tickets for the Friday and Saturday performances. The Friday audience would encouraged ticket sales for Saturday and the Saturday audience will have their friends and online followers saying “damn, we should have gone – next year we’ll definitely go“.

The Cork City Ballet Spectacular was indeed quite spectacular but should it be made easier for even more people to find out about it? – they would have loved it and Alan and his team might have a few more quid in the coffers for next year!

If you have a great place or a great event …make sharing easy!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion with offices in Cork and Dublin in Ireland offer social media training and consultancy services

Balancing those debits and credits!

November 11, 2013

Work, Life Balance

Where did that time go?

31 years ago this boy was a raw, innocent 18 year old working as a junior accountant in a mid sized accountancy practice on the South Mall in Cork. At this stage I was two months into my apprentice and I was learning the basics.

Ironically, I had done Economics and Business Organisation in secondary school so Accounting was brand new to me!

For every debit there had to be a corresponding credit was the golden rule – if you got that, your accounts would always balance. If they didn’t balance something was wrong and you had to search for your mistake.

It’s probably easier for everyone now with the computers and the accountancy packages – we had to do it all manually with ledgers in my day. Imagine trying to dig through that lot to find where you went wrong..

I was in practice for 6 years and then went onto industry and eventually swapped the accountancy role for a general management one and that was the official end of my debits and credits (except for my own projects at least).

That debits and credits discipline always stood to me and I do think accountancy and the privilege of working with so many businesses at at a young age was the best business degree anyone I could ever hope for.

You listen and learn from clients, you understand the drivers of their businesses and you use your expertise to help them. In many ways I do exactly the same now except the expertise is quite different and I don’t have to worry about those debits and credits.

The strange thing is that life is full of debits and credits and it too must balance and if it doesn’t something is wrong.

I’ve been working hard all morning …. head out for a nice coffee

My crew work their socks off ….  take them for lunch on Friday

I’ve been stuck in that proposal for hours …. time for a stroll and fresh air

We’ve been working hard all year …. where will we go for our Christmas party?

Work, work, work …. spend time with friends, meet the kids, visit the folks

Busy doing stuff for everyone else …. get tickets for that gig

I’ve been working my socks off all year …. maybe a new car at the start of the year?

Whatever you do today make sure you balance your books!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

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