Archive for the ‘PR’ Category

Driving your Reputation

July 17, 2012


Sitting in traffic in the middle of town on a Monday morning my attention was drawn to the dirty branded van that had just cut in front of us.

The driver of the van seemed to be hanging his arm out the window and I noticed it was because he was smoking.

Two minutes later the cigarette butt went flying onto the road followed closely by a spit …lovely!

If you decide to brand your company vehicles make sure you let the driver know that it’s your reputation he’s driving around the place.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing & PR Company with offices in Cork and Dublin

“It’s a Long way to Tipperary”

July 14, 2012
Its a Long way to Tipperary festival

Everyone is Happy !

“Everyone is happy” we heard the old gentleman say to the person he was with as we walked past him on the street.

“Everyone is happy” he repeated, this time a little louder to make sure what he was saying registered with his buddy.

This was the main street in Tipperary town, and the “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” Festival that our client , Tipperary Co-op were sponsoring was in full swing.

We had just left the Tipperary Co-op Hardware store, or Top Creamery as the locals know it and there was a great buzz with threshing, old kids games, people enjoying the BBQ and of course plenty of banter. I spoke to a friendly gentleman from Rossmore called Liam O’Dwyer who was giving a blacksmith demonstration – he had an incredible display of old signs and as part of this was an old “Death Penny” from World War 1 (I’ll tell you about that in a separate blog!).

In our stroll down the town the locals were in full spirits, stopping to chat and enquiring where we were from. A old woman stopped me and I had to sign a book that apparently promised her a dance later! We popped into a small shop that had a full display of war memorabilia including war posters and a full history of the iconic song. Once again we were overwhelmed by the friendliness and warmth of the people there. The immortal song was made famous during World War 1 by the soldiers all over Europe.

Making the whole festival (which was celebrating 100 years of the iconic song) really special and great fun was that many people in the town were dressed in costume from that era.

It's a Long Way to Tipperary

Altogether now ….

(Imagine the anniversary of this famous song passing without marking it in any way – in Fuzion we refer to this as “Never Wasting a Good Story” – there is a huge PR tip for you!)

When we arrived in the town we had parked at the other side and walked all the way through. There were vintage cars, old tractors and motorbikes, people dressed up, everyone posing for photos, posters and banners and a fabulous, genuine “feel good atmosphere“.

Before we left the town we popped into the Tipperary Co-op owned SuperValu, which had its own exhibitions, competitions and the team there joined in the spirit of the festival wearing clothes from that era as well – all except for Pierce, the manager of course!

When we were there we were chatting to the guys from Tipperary Co-op, Richard, Pierce and Tom. They were thrilled with how their sponsorship of the festival had worked out but more than that they explained how the festival seemed to “unlock” a sense of spirit and fun in the town that seemed to have disappeared over the last few years through a mixture or recession, bad weather and general worries.

Maybe, everyone took a step back and grabbed onto some old values from a time when life was a little simpler.

As the old gentleman had said ..”Everyone is happy“.

It was worth repeating.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Do we all need to be a Circus Act?

July 13, 2012
Circus Trick - Fuzion PR

Round of applause please!

On the last night of our holidays in Cuba we found ourselves watching a “circus” show as part of the entertainment that the resort puts on every night to satisfy all of the holiday makers including, young couples, newly weds, young families and older couples.

It must be a tough gig entertaining such a mixed crowd but this troop did really well. There were two really acrobatic guys who were skilled, flexible and strong as they worked a number of different routines.

There was a very attractive young woman (of course!) who was equally skilled with a mixture of acrobatics, operating a unicycle, juggling and joining in on some of the routines with the guys.

There was a older guy who was skilled with a whip, who could remove an item from your mouth with one lash and of course there was a Charlie Chaplin type character in an oversized suit with extra large shoes who joked, tripped, fell over, participating in the different tricks, adding humour in equal measure with getting the crowd involved in the show.

All of the performers as well as being really skilled at what they did were all very competent “showmen” (or women!).. for each trick, there was a moment of deliberate tension, a pose, a smile or some other crucial, perfectly timed gesture that gave that important cue to the crowd to applaud and fully appreciate the feats that they had just witnessed.

These crucial “show” elements transformed the demonstration of skills into a “wow” performance, which were the little pieces of magic that was needed to leave everyone knowing they had witnessed something extra special.

Art of the Pitch - Peter Coughter

Ready for the Show?

The circus reminded me of the simple lesson that Peter Coughter gave in his book “The Art of the Pitch

Often the best plans never see the light of day..

When you are presenting your proposal to a prospect that you have put huge work into, always remember that’s it’s not enough to show that you are competent, skilled and can deliver what’s required.

You must deliver a performance to win the business… in his excellent book he tells you how!

Remember …. It’s Showtime!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a PR firm with offices in Dublin and Cork that specialise in campaigns integrating traditional media with social media

Deirdre – When does a business start?

July 8, 2012
Deirdre Waldron - Fuzion PR

Deirdre Waldron – Fuzion PR

Deirdre Waldron or Dee as most of you know her, started the Fuzion journey many moons ago.

She will admit herself that the very last job she had before she started Fuzion was with a newspaper in Kerry and it was literally nearly killing her!

She will tell you quietly that there were days she was feeling so miserable that she wished for a small car crash that would put her out of action for a while (with only minor injuries of course!).

Can you imagine, someone that talented being that miserable in their job – whatever was going on in that newspaper they managed to squeeze the life out of her and she eventually quit.

Even though there was a lot going on in her life Dee decided it was time to try things on her own and Fuzion was borne.

When I met her first towards the end of 2000 I was well impressed by her determination, her tenacity and her willingness to get results for her first clients, which included the Kerryman newspaper and some other businesses in the Kerry region. Within no time she had taken on an assistant and I watched her close hand at events and dealing with the media.

I could see the results she was achieving for her clients as a result of her talent and this incredible work ethic that she had picked up in no small way from her formidable mother Joan, who was quite an able businesswoman herself.

As the Marketing Director of the Rose of Tralee I witnessed her skilfully dealing with the local and national press and I watched her protect the girls and the eventual winner with the media. She worked tirelessly on this project  – and this was a voluntary role!

I clearly remember one day en route to Limerick listening to her on the radio cleverly defending and promoting the merits of the Rose of Tralee to Ray D’Arcy on national radio (in later years he went on to present the event – I think she left a lasting impression on him!) . This Cork boy was very impressed with the Kerry girl who had no idea how good she was.

Deirdre Waldron and Greg Canty - Fuzion PR

Fuzion 10 Year Party!

After some persuasion I convinced Deirdre of the attributes of  Cork and the opportunities that would be available to her and in late 2001 she packed her bags and Fuzion HQ had moved!

Since then I packed up my full time job and joined Deirdre in Fuzion and gradually we went from working from home to opening an office in Cork city and in the last few years one in Dublin. We carefully added more members and skill-set to the team despite it being a tough time for business and each of them have benefited from working with Dee in the same way that I have.

I have had an incredible journey and absolutely love the work we do in Fuzion and for that I have to thank Deirdre for making that decision to go it alone a long time ago ..

Thanks Dee, you’re a star!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a PR firm with offices in Cork and Dublin

Are examples of Good Customer Service harder to remember than Bad Ones?

April 21, 2012
Bad customer service

Can you think of a good example?

What’s your example of good customer service?” ….. Silence

I can’t think of any” our PR course participant replied …

Ok, I’ll come back to you later, you’ll surely think of one example

As part of our PR courses for small business we always emphasise that PR is about “managing your reputation“.

Your PR firm can play a valuable part in that process but any efforts here are totally worthless if a business can’t create the right reputation building blocks by providing good customer service. We make this point on our courses and conduct a small exercise by asking the participants if they can give us examples of good customer service.

This exercise always surprises me as we often see some repetition with names of businesses that are mentioned – for example at two recent courses Apple were mentioned for their “no quibble” approach to problems. Nash19  always get a mention in courses that we run in Cork. The examples given are always intriguing and often they relate to how a problem or an issue was dealt with.

At a recent class we conducted this “good customer service” exercise and the first person to respond launched into a bad experience she had with a mobile broadband provider. I stopped her in her tracks and emphasised that it was examples of “good” customer service that we were actually looking for. She nodded politely as if she had grasped my point …. She then continued to tell the group in detail, blow by blow how lousy the service was! The whole group broke into laughter as we witnessed first hand how enthusiastic we are about sharing “bad” experiences.

In our most recent course I continued asking the other participants for their examples of good service and I was surprised to come to another person who again could not give me an example of good customer service … Not one!

You’ll think of one in a minute, I’ll come back to you” I said , giving them an extra few moments to think of an example.

Once again I continued asking the others for their examples.

My own example that I shared with the group happened quite recently in West Cork.

At the Celtic Ross Hotel recently I was running a Social Media course early in the morning. As I arrived a hotel staff member looked after me, took me to the well equipped and very comfortable conference room and then asked me if I wanted a coffee ….godsend!

On this gorgeous morning I found myself with a few minutes to spare so I vey briefly walked outside to take in the fabulous view. When I came back , Michal from the hotel brought me a cup of coffee but there was one already on my presentation table. Confused I pointed out that he had already brought me a cup ..”Oh yeah, I spotted that you had gone outside and I guessed your coffee would have been cold!

Wow ….that’s great service – I shared my story with the group.

To finish the customer service session I went back to the two ladies who earlier could not think of an example.

Sorry, I can’t think of anything” said the first. I turned to the other – “I’m really sorry” she said apologetically “I can’t think of an example either

This just amazed me ..

Is customer service so bad that some of us never have a good experience or is it that we just remember the bad?

PR starts with good customer service.

Can you think of an example?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Keeping your feet on the ground

April 3, 2012
Greg Canty & Kevin O'Shea, Fuzion at the DMA's 2012

Boys looking sharp at the DMA's

It was a big night for me and the Fuzion crew.

We just received our new business cards with our new brand revealed as we headed out the door to the Nokia Digital Marketing Awards in Dublin at the National Convention Centre where I was a judge and we were sponsors.

We put on the glad rags for this very glamourous and prestigious affair and I made an extra effort taking out the white dickie bow …. very dapper (very Downton Abbey as someone said to me)!

Over we marched to the event and arrived early so we could liaise with the event crew about the workings of the Fuzion twitter quiz, which was to run between courses during the night. We were greeted by the event signage where our new branding was on display alongside household names such as Nokia. Dee kindly jumped in and photographed me and our fab creative director Kevin O’Shea in front of the branding …. all done quickly before people arrived!

The night was a huge success and a very proud one for us and for me personally. Our brand was on display constantly as the quiz ran during the evening and then came the moment when I had to go on stage and present Blue Cube with an award for the Best Social Media campaign – this was the “real deal“, opening the envelope, cameras everywhere and posing for photos ..

When I was walking from the stage Barry Murphy, the MC from Aprez Match fame made a comment that I should win a smart dressed award … this night was getting better and better!

We had a cool crew at our table including the “boys about town” from B Scene, Brendan Scully and Sean Montague who whisked us off to Lillies Bordello – do you think we had to queue? No chance …. our boys were so well known that our crew were whisked quickly in past the queue and marched straight upstairs to the VIP room.

We sat around, ordered our Mojitos  and chit chatted as the fab hostess looked after her bunch of VIPs!

Unable to contain myself I was busy tweeting about my fabulous night of accomplishments and all of a sudden I misjudged my balance, the stool wobbled and I quickly tipped backwards and ended up with my two legs up in the air with the full VIP section of Lillies looking at me ….. “pathetic drunk” …. no one said that but I’m guessing that’s what some of them were thinking!

Red faced I finished my drink, put my twitter machine away and asked if anyone fancied a whopper in Burger King.

Guess I needed to get my feet back on the ground!

Thanks for reading ….. (it was a great night)

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

The three very “different” Wise Men

March 27, 2012
Three Wise Men

I don't know which gift is best!

In we went all three of us, armed with our presentation slides, our printed copies to leave behind and mock-ups  of  possible adverts and a clear idea of who was going to cover each of the different sections. At this stage we had been through a detailed briefing meeting and spent days working to bring it to this point.

This was quite a complex pitch as there were a few different businesses all under the one operation and our proposal had to incorporate all of them. We felt really confident as we had a lot of unique experience in the different aspects of  their business, which we felt would be a huge asset in working with them.

Our presentation was very detailed, demonstrating an understanding of their proposition, an understanding of the communication challenges and objectives, and outlining clearly our approach including some clever initiatives that would drive media coverage and most importantly increase business.

We were pitching to the “Three Wise Men“, the key decision makers including our main point of contact, the Marketing Director. The presentation went well, there was a good level of engagement and discussion around some of the proposed initiatives. Our allocated time ran well over due to the level of interaction, which is always a good thing as long as it is constructive.

The presentation came to an end and as we left we could see one of our competitors waiting  outside ready to make their pitch. Apparently in total the Three Wise Men were taking proposals from three different agencies.

About a week later I received a call from the Marketing Director to pop down to have a “finalisation” chat – it looked like we were in!! I had been quietly confident but in this world nothing surprises me so I never get carried away with it.

I met with him and sure enough Fuzion were chosen and now it was all about getting the whole plan going. As we relaxed over lunch I asked the Marketing Director how he would have summarised each of the different pitches – I would never ask for copies but I must admit I was curious as to how each of us was different. We are never really in a position to find this out so I was bursting to get a fresh perspective on content, substance, style and delivery.

He opened up …. “Well, each of the presentations were quite different. One was very fancy, with bells and whistles and a little gimmicky, another was nod nod, wink wink, we know everyone, we will promise you great coverage and yours was somewhere in between!” …. what a summary!

He wasn’t finished, and this was the part that totally blew me away .. “Each of the three of us preferred a different presentation so in the end they left it up to me to decide and I chose Fuzion as for me you were clearly what we were looking for” … there wasn’t even a consensus!

There was a big lesson for me in all of this – we are all different and have different styles, likes and dislikes, we have different backgrounds and different collective experiences, we come from different places and carry different viewpoints and prejudices and even when you have broken your back on a proposal and think you are in prime position it often doesn’t matter – sometimes they just like the other guy!

A week later we got a call to say that the arrangement had to be cancelled as the place went into receivership..

Great win for Fuzion!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

No, not yet and nothing at all

March 15, 2012
American Idol Judges

"Not Yet"

Another young hopeful prepares for their huge moment in front of the judges … will they get to Hollywood?

Of course the scene is set with their touching interviews ..this is what they have always dreamt of and if this doesn’t come through for them, their life will be over!

The big performance happens and then they wait for the judges verdict… The scene is set as the music plays in the background to heighten the drama and tension of this make or break moment.

This is American Idol…one by one, Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler give their verdicts.

Expecting to hear a simple “yes” or “no” as we have come to expect from these shows I am surprised to hear Steven Tyler, the Aerosmith legend say “not yet” to the young hopeful.

Not yet” …I hadn’t heard that language used before on the show and it struck me that it was a really great way of rejecting the young singer in a positive manner, dealing them that dreaded news but in a way that left them feeling encouraged and that the world hadn’t ended.

I guess in the show someone had reflected on the whole Yes/No scenario and decided that there was an option and some sense of responsibility around the cold delivery of rejection – why not do it differently so that it might actually leave people feel ok about themselves and willing to possibly try again next time?

With young vulnerable people there is a particular responsibility to show encouragement even in a negative situation.

In business we all face rejection and at times we also have to do the rejecting …


I’m not interested”

“No, it’s not for me”

“Thank you for all your efforts but unfortunately not at this time”

“Sorry, it’s not exactly what we are looking for”

“Unfortunately our budget won’t stretch that far

– there are so many ways to say no and while it is always tough hearing it ,”not yet” or some sign of appreciation or encouragement always softens the blow.

Worse than “no” has to be the Nothing ..

Feel Good LostMy son, Brendan Canty who is new to the business world and doing really well with his music and film production company, Feel Good Lost shared some of his recent frustrations with me.

He spoke about a recent situation where he had put a fortune of work into a pitch, mocked up sample footage, presented and received encouraging feedback and then hears “nothing” back from the prospect.

He waits, he emails, he texts, he calls and despite his considerable efforts ….nothing. Then you tread a line between being pushy and just wanting some feedback. It drives him nuts, not receiving any feedback. As he says himself, he would prefer to get a clearcut “no” rather than the dreaded “nothing” treatment.

This experience bothered him so he came to me looking for some inspiration or advice … “Brendan, welcome to my world!“.

This happens in business and unfortunately it is just something that you have to live with as some people are either being rude or they just have a huge problem with saying “no”.

Is “No” better than nothing ?

Greg Canty is partner of Fuzion

Grey matters

March 4, 2012

Grey or brown with grey flecks?How will I recognise Deirdre and Greg?” , Gina’s mum asked. Gina is one of the Fuzion crew and her mum does some work at Manor West Retail Park in Tralee. We were attending an event at the centre and her mum wanted to introduce herself.

Greg is tall with grey curly hair and Dee will more than likely be with him” … That’s a reasonable explanation but it came to me like a devastating bolt from the blue and nearly knocked me over when I heard it..

Grey, are you kidding? ….. my hair is brown with some flecks of grey” I seriously questioned Gina’s explanation of my hair colour … “No Greg, your hair is grey” she reassured me with a definite sense of authority but I was still convinced that she was just winding me up.

The truth is I wasn’t kidding – surely I know better than anyone else what colour my hair is? I look at it everyday in the mirror and without giving it a lot of thought I truly believed my mop of hair was brown with grey flecks !

This little “realisation moment” occurred towards the end of last year and it did knock me back … The boy is officially getting (looking at least) old!

This does tell you a lot about how we see ourselves and how differently others see us …. It does tell you how everything is constantly changing and we need to realise that our assumptions and beliefs need flexibility to match ….. It does tell you that you can be wrong about things that are under or over your nose!

It does tell me that sadly eyesight might also be an issue!!

I could pretend that when I had brown hair people underestimated my incredible “wisdom” because I looked so young – as a result I decided to dye it grey so I looked older!!!

Would I get away with that one do you think?

Because after all …. Grey matters!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion PR

“Live” Testimonials – Who thinks you are great?

February 25, 2012

I think you're great !

My poor laptop was starting to fall apart, left mouse button a bit wobbly, battery life of about 2 minutes and a regular dose of crashing and ctrl alt deleting required ..

I just wasn’t up to the trauma of changing, mail system not working, transfer of files and program’s, a few days of frustration …. too busy for all of that!

In the end I was forced to bite the bullet so I rang my buddy Sean Ware from TSG who gave me a really good price on a well spec’d machine and promised to do a painless changeover.

Hmmmm … I wasn’t convinced, it never works out that way!

To be fair to Sean he had convinced us earlier in the year to move to Google Apps for our email service, which not only protected our emails but also made and changeover a lot easier.

A few days after ordering Sean arrived with the new laptop, software installed and even my email was set up. An hour later we were 100% up and running after transferring files and re-installing a few random pieces of software that I use.

I must hand it to him – the transfer was incredibly painless.

I paid him and sincerely thanked him for the great service.

Going out the door Sean winked at me and suggested that if I was really happy with the service I might “tweet” out that I was happy. To be honest he didn’t need to suggest it as I would have done it in any case! I was more than happy to oblige of course.

“Live” Testimonials

This is where social media is absolutely brilliant – you can capture “live testimonials” for you and your business for all to see.

Word of mouth was always the best form of referral and the traditional face to face method was the only way this really travelled. Now with your Facebook page, Twitter account and LinkedIn presence (of these LinkedIn personal recommendations are the most permanent and  powerful) you have an opportunity for anyone that is happy with you and your business to post that positive feedback “live” – what better way to capture that your customers are satisfied with you?

Next time someone tells you that you are great you know what to say to them!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion PR