Archive for the ‘Reputation’ Category

Trust and restoring broken reputations

February 11, 2017

Maurice McCabe

If things weren’t bad before, they became even worse this week for An Garda Síochána when it was revealed that an “incorrect” sexual abuse file was held against Maurice McCabe by Tusla, the family and child protection agency.

Everyone in the media is being extra careful to avoid stating the obvious conclusions as they risk getting into trouble legally. However, they have published the various statements by those parties involved and reported the facts as they came to light and they keep probing and probing for the truth in this sinister mess to reveal itself fully.

Incidents like this demonstrate once again why we need professional, intelligent journalism to bring us the truth as we can’t rely solely on social media to deliver this. Social media is fantastic as it gives us a powerful voice to demonstrate our dissatisfaction as loudly as we feel is appropriate.

We heard the statement by the Garda Commissioner, Nóirín O’Sullivan, the leader of the organisation who has claimed that she know nothing of the sexual abuse shenanigans with the whistleblower, Maurice McCabe.

Tusla in the meantime have issued their own statement claiming that their file against Maurice McCabe with the atrocious false claims against him were a ‘clerical error‘.

The comical little addition to the Tusla story was that their official apology to Maurice McCabe was sent to the wrong address!

The public are no fools and the generally held, unsurprising conclusion about this story is that senior members of the Gardaí who were unhappy with their whistle blowing colleague tried to smear his reputation in the worst possible way to punish him and protect themselves.

Even worse in this sorry saga, Tusla were obviously happy to play ball with their Garda acquaintances.

This stinks to high heaven and leaves all of us with two awful conclusions:

We cannot trust An Garda Síochána and we cannot trust Tusla.

When you consider the crucial role that both of these state bodies are paid to provide, ‘trust‘ is not a negotiable, nice to have attribute. Trust is everything.

What next?

To begin the long road of rebuilding trust in both organisations there can be no more fluffing about and decisive action and clear communication is required.

Our strong advice to those in charge would be to get ahead of the story, remove all doubts and demonstrate in no uncertain way how important regaining trust is.

This is the time for An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny or Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald to take decisive action and remove Nóirín O’Sullivan from her role and get the investigation started immediately.

This is the time for Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone to demand a 100% honest statement from the CEO of Tusla, Fred McBride as to what actually happened. If this is as farcical as the ‘clerical error’ statement, he should also be removed from his role.

The reputation of these two state organisations is not negotiable – start demonstrating it.

Greg Canty 

Fuzion provide Crisis PR services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland 

 

 

 

 

 

Time to Prioritise Caring

December 30, 2016

Caring

As we roll into another year we inevitably start thinking about the things we have achieved and the things we want and wish for in the new year.

If I was to express my wishes for next year in one word I would choose the word “Caring“.

I’m not sure if it is just now that I feel there is a real deficit of caring in the world, if it is just what I am seeing and reading or whether it is a reflection of my age and if I am starting to think and observe things differently?

I am worried that there is not enough caring in the world and I feel that this year has plummeted with awful incidents in Nice, Berlin, Aleppo and some of the horribleness that we witnessed in the United States by the President Elect, Donald Trump in his campaign.

Lessons in how to win elections were absorbed by a new generation and “caring” isn’t quite the word that comes to mind when you reflect on what we saw being played out for months and months in the lead up to the awful result.

Closer to home our year ended in Ireland with the homeless coming together under the simple ‘Home Sweet Home‘ banner and they occupied an unused office building, Apollo House to put much needed roofs over heads and put a public spotlight on this big issue, which is getting worse and worse. The homeless need this as they can’t go on strike to get attention.

We heard the involvement of high profile Irish musicians including Glen Hansard and Hozier being sadly criticised by some in the media as being a stunt by them to raise their popularity!

What has happened with the way we think about things?

The courts moved in double quick time (they can when they want to) incredibly to process an injunction against the occupants.

The very sad “win” was that the homeless were allowed stay in the disused office building until January 11th – Merry Christmas!!

When living in a disused office block over Christmas is considered a win for those poor temporary residents we have arrived at a very poor state of affairs. Unfortunately this was a win for them – can you imagine?

My wish for the new year is that we start genuinely caring for each other, that we teach our children the importance of caring and let them witness it everyday, that we teach caring in our schools, that we make caring a priority in our workplaces, that caring becomes part of the values that companies live by and that we put caring for people in our communities, on our roads, in our cities and countries before any other criteria.

Let’s start caring.

Happy New Year and a big thank you to all the readers of my blog posts – see you next year!!

Greg

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

Donald Trump and Dublin Chamber of Commerce 

October 8, 2016

Donald Trump

At the beginning of this year I was voted onto the Dublin Chamber of Commerce Council – it’s like a big management team for the organisation, which plays a role in setting the direction for it and overseeing how it is run.

The Council is made up of 30 elected members and each year 10 must resign to be replaced by another 10, which can include the members who have resigned.

To get voted onto the Council you must put yourself forward for election and gather enough votes from members to make the grade.

It’s a tough and humbling thing putting yourself in the firing line, out there to be judged but that’s what you do to become a member!

If you don’t put in the work you won’t be elected and this means punching in sufficient effort so that members will recognise you and put their faith in you.

To rise to the pinnacle of the organisation and become President is another ballgame altogether and is testament to the very clever and robust set of rules that have been put in place to ultimately protect the Chamber.

Presidential Process

If you wish to become President you must first become Deputy Vice President (Number 3) and to achieve this you must first be a Council member and you must be voted in by the other members.

The very clever organisation rules only allow council members who are on their 3rd year to be eligible – quite simply you must be around council for over two years ensuring that you serve your time learning the ropes.

The Deputy Vice President normally becomes Vice President the next year and then President.

By the time this person takes on the role they will have at least 5 years under their belt and they will be fully immersed in the workings of the Chamber – this is a superb system for protecting the running of the organisation that plays such a significant role in the business of our capital city.

Now compare this to the role of President of the United States, possibly the most powerful and influential position in the world!!

Up steps Donald Trump. a loudmouth. brash, uncouth, moneybags who has enough balls and bravado to run and convince a lot of people that he is actually a valid candidate.

Would Donald be prepared to first punch in three years of meetings and learning the ropes with his peers before being able to run?

Would he put himself forward to be judged by his peers who have witnessed him in action close up for at least 2 years?

Would he then hang around for another two years of valuable learning, soaking up the ways of the organisation and the skills required to identify and tackle the real issues?

I doubt it …..

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

Do we have a hunger for bad guys?

August 24, 2016

Pat Hickey - Olympic Council of Ireland

At the moment we seem to have an insatiable appetite for the bad guys – this often seems to start with the media, with us happily jumping on the bandwagon, lapping up all of the attention grabbing and often sensationalist headlines accepting all of what is being said without question.

Maybe all of these ‘shameful characters‘ are as guilty as they are portrayed and maybe they deserve all of those rotten tomatoes and for their reputations to be destroyed irrevocably.

However, maybe we don’t know the full stories and maybe just maybe the process of delivering those shocking, sensationalist headlines isn’t always that robust?

In the course of our Crisis Communications work we have seen 100% incorrect situations being portrayed by the media in a particular way, which would have Mr and Mrs Everybody unfairly believing the worst and as a result solid reputations are destroyed forever.

It can happen easier that you may think..

  • someone with a gripe concocts a story about their target
  • they start a disingeneous “legal process” against their target
  • the legal documents get deliberately leaked to the media
  • a “hungry for a great story” journalist gratefully accepts the gift and starts to write their sensational story
  • the target is told there is a piece being written about them the next day including the detail from the legal document (bear in mind if you are explaining you are always losing) – any comment the journalist asks? – this is offering a right of reply (they did ask = technical fairness)
  • the flustered target (often not used to dealing with the media) might say “no comment” (solicitors often give this normally suicidal advice) or they might in the best possible way try to give responses to the accusations
  • the article appears in the newspaper complete with the sensationalist headline “Greg Canty (it could be you!) accused of embezzling funds
  • the radio stations pick up on the story and interview the person with the gripe who is more than happy to tell their story
  • the target is called by the radio station for interview to rebutt the claims – once again, when you are explaining you are losing!
  • the person with the gripe drops their legal process – it was never serious in the first place!

Question – what arresting officer in Rio would have taken the pic above of Pat Hickey of the Irish Olympic Council and tweet it? Why?

Mr and Mrs Everybody are shocked and horrified and they start tweeting about it, venting their anger and it goes on and on – the story gets bigger and bigger and then it grows arms and legs with further titbits being added as the hate momentum builds.

Maybe they did these terrible things but maybe they didn’t?

The next time we read these sensationalist headlines we should pause and carefully question everything we read before fully making up our minds about these “villains”.

Greg Canty 

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

 

 

Sick notes and morality

August 1, 2016

sicknote

Eventually the day of reckoning arrived and it looked like we were hours from the court case starting.

We were there just to support my buddy and unfortunately his wife and his son had also been dragged into it.

The previous week saw plenty of movement with offers coming through to my buddy to repay him the significant amount of money that was personally lent by him to his previous employers, his great “friends” to prop up their business.

This was big – they were now admitting they owed the money and there was no more mention of the crazy things they had been accusing him of. Unfortunately their offer to repay was in instalments over 10 years, which could never be acceptable as one could not trust that this would be executed without fuss.

For this reason my buddy couldn’t accept the offer and to add insult to injury they had subpoenaed his wife and son to attend court as their witnesses!! This was crazy and totally irrelevant and I’m guessing a simple, deliberate tactic to upset them by dragging them into the intimidating atmosphere of court.

The intimidation certainly did not work and my buddy, his wife and son were in determined mood to fight to get their money.

We sat in the pub across from the court while the wheels of the court process slowly turned and while the solicitors played their games. The pub was full of little groups of people all with their solicitors huddled over cups of coffee discussing their respective cases.

At least today, nearly two years on, the case would be heard and this nightmare might finally come to an end for them.

An unexpected call came through …”sick notes

Sorry??

My buddies ex employers, the “friends” had both tried to excuse themselves and adjourn the case due to sickness. One had a note saying he was unable to attend due to migraine and the other was unable to attend due to stress! The poor things getting sick on the same day – it wasn’t even first day back at school – what would their mum and dad have said if they pulled that excuse!

Both notes were coincidentally for a period of 5 days, which would happily take them past the end of the week by which time the courts would have closed for the summer recess.

This is a stupid, blatant game that is too easy to play and even a doctor, another professional was willing to play their part in the farce.

The presiding judge was having none of it and ordered that the “patients” would be present the next day to commence the case.

The next day arrived, other cases were heard before this one and the opposing side argued that there wasn’t enough time to hear the case before the end of the week so it should be adjourned.

Bingo, success, they did it!! Doctors notes, shenanigans etc etc and another four months have been bought.

It is far too easy in this country to play the game and for clever and devious people to work the system and dodge their basic commitments.

I watched my buddy and his family, I saw the strain that they were under and the cruel stress that they have been forced to endure and will have to endure for even longer. This was the sad reward for my buddy who helped these people that he believed, trusted wholeheartedly, people he considered were great friends.

I truly hope that justice will be served eventually and that my buddy and his family will get their hard earned retirement nest-egg fund back.

People talk about karma and I’d like to believe in it but sometimes I wonder..

I’ll keep you updated.

Check out my original post “Pillars of Society to be exposed” for more background.

Greg Canty 

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

Did you just press the “Accept” button?

July 14, 2016

I accept your connection request

I know, you are busy just like me.

You are burning through your emails and you see those ‘invitations to connect‘ on LinkedIn, emails.

You’ve decided that you are happy to ‘connect‘ so you press the ‘Accept’ button and you continue with your other work.

Pressing the ‘accept’ button is not connecting!!

Next time press ‘accept’ and send that person a message – You might: thank them and ask them how their business is going?

Oh my god ….people actually communicate on this platform, don’t faint!

It might even surprise you that they might reply to you and you find that you are well on the way to nurturing a new connection without even lifting your bum off the seat ..magic.

The worst that can happen as a result of that extra 20 seconds is that you have stood out and they might think that you are a nice person.

So..stop pressing those buttons online and start connecting!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

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

 

About us

June 2, 2016

About us -

I was working on a proposal for a prospect and I wanted to find out more about the people behind the business.

Who started the business, who is involved now, what are they like, what is their background, what is their journey that brought them to today, is this a passion or just a way to make money?

I looked for the “about us” section on their website and like so many other websites these days I got nothing other than some generic “blurb” about what they do, which was just a variation of their homepage.

Who you are. your “story”, is an essential part of your brand. If I don’t see it here I may never bother trying to find out more.

I hate that – go on tell me about you and what makes you special.

I always get a little suspicious when people don’t. Is there something to hide? Do you not want people to know who is behind this enterprise?

The “about us” section of your website is one of the most important parts of the site. For me it is the “trust” section and the part of the site that convinces me why I should be comfortable dealing with you and explains why you are different to every other provider who offers similar products and services.

Go on, take the time today and fill out the “about us” section properly.

Share your genuine story with us, let that passion and authenticity for what you do shine through and please tell us about you and your fabulous team and the journey that brought you to today.

About us….

Greg Canty 

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

Honesty and Truth in business

February 14, 2016

Jack O'Rourke - Smarter Egg

I attended a really interesting event recently hosted by Aodán Enright as part of his Smarter Egg series at the White Horse in Ballincollig, Cork.

This well attended event was all about the “Music Business” and Aodán had assembled an interesting collection of speakers to chat about various aspects of the business. All of this was after a delicious bowl of curry and a craft beer of course!

The speakers dealt with the impact of emerging technology on music, music PR, the life of an emerging artist and the lucrative business of concert promoting.

The young and enthusiastic Cork singer/songwriter Jack O’Rourke totally engaged with the audience with his presentation. He took the stage and admitted he felt very nervous, awkward and unqualified talking about the music ‘business‘.

He felt he lacked the skills and experience in this area but he did present his simple philosophy about business:

You should be honest and truthful in everything that you do

This pure and simple advice was delivered with personal stories including a very powerful story about the importance of being ‘true to your self‘, which was captured beautifully in his song ‘Silence‘ which he performed for the privileged crowd.

Make sure you check out Jack performing this powerful song on the Late Late Show at the end of this post.

Aodan Enright and Peter Aiken

This was followed by an interview with successful music promoter Peter Aiken who engaged us with many interesting stories about his early career, his dad, Rory Gallagher, the Marquee gigs and the Garth Brooks fiasco.

He spoke about the nuggets of wisdom that his father had engrained in him – you should honour all of your agreements as your good name was a precious commodity when you are in business. This would ensure that you did good business in the long run and not just short term wins.

He shared a story about how one of the bands he had booked actually returned significant money to him as they knew the gig was not a success and Peter would have lost heavily on it.

Honesty, truth and the importance of acting honourable at all times – these are simple and yet powerful pieces of advice for everyone in business to follow.

Gladly from my experience I feel these things are mostly present in business but I am still quite amazed as I unfortunately see the total opposite and in a few cases disappointingly from people I would have totally trusted. Sadly, nothing surprises me.

Honesty and truth in business …what do you think?

Greg Canty 

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

The difference between Leadership and a “Spokesperson said”

December 8, 2015

Councillor Joe Queenan

Last night Fianna Fail issued a statement after the resignation of disgraced Councillor Joe Queenan (don’t you love the camera hidden in the box of tissues!)

The statement was as expected:

Following the Primetime Investigates Standards in Public Office programme, a Spokesperson for Fianna Fáil commented, “Tonight the Party has accepted the resignation of Cllr Joe Queenan. Some of the behaviour displayed in tonight’s programme was shocking and completely unacceptable. The instances where there appear to be clear breaches of the law need to be fully investigated by the Gardaí and prosecutions brought where appropriate.”

Click to view the full Fianna Fail Joe Quennan statement.

It was an appropriate statement and it was very important that Fianna Fail issued it quickly but I do have a big question – why a Spokesperson?

Why do organisations like this choose to go this anonymous, nothing ‘spokesperson‘ route instead of grabbing the opportunity and demonstrating clear leadership, authority and direction?

We don’t want a ‘Spokesperson‘!!

Instead we want a leader, someone who speaks out, someone who is willing to take responsibility and put their name behind the statement and show clearly what is expected of their organisation.

We want a person who will take the interviews, face the music and show some conviction.

Next time you are writing a press release try to avoid the bland, cop out of the “Spokesperson said” if you want to show leadership and authority and you want people to take you more seriously.

Well done to the Primetime Investigates team at RTE!

Greg Canty 

Fuzion PR Services – Cork and Dublin, Ireland 

 

Defamation and your reputation

August 8, 2015

Defamation

This week we had to deal with a potential defamation scenario for a client because of some of their online activity.

In this case they had received a solicitors letter accusing them of defamation because of something that they had posted in a personal blog post. This whole area is very interesting because it deals with the most valuable of assets,”your reputation” and it also had the element of online, which makes it even more intriguing.

Your Reputation

Your good reputation is one of the most precious assets that you have and it is in your interest to protect it at all costs. A good reputation is built up over time and it comes about from how you conduct all aspects of your business including the delivery of your products and services, how you treat your customers, your suppliers and your team and how you interact with the general public.

A good reputation will win you business, it will attract customers who will want to do business with you and it will give suppliers, banks, investors and landlords that necessary trust so they are happy to deal with you. If something does go wrong, as things often do then a good reputation will protect you because people will know that you are to be trusted and that whatever has happened you will sort it out.

A lot of the work we do with clients can be described as reputation management. We work hard to ensure that all the great things that our clients do are publicised and if potentially damaging incidents occur then we make sure that these situations are carefully managed so that any damage is limited.

A reputation often takes many years to build, but this can be destroyed easily in just moments by circumstances.

Defamation

Because your reputation is such a precious asset it is only right that their is legal protection available to you, should anyone ever defame you.

We have found that defamation can be quite a misunderstood term as many feel that it applies whenever someone ‘says something bad about you‘  which is certainly not the case.

A few elements must normally be in place for something to be deemed as ‘defamation’:

Precise information – You must know exactly what has been said or publicised about you and be able to demonstrate this.

Clearly identified – The parties claiming to be defamed must be clearly identified in the offending publication.

False statements – It can only be deemed as defamation if what has been said is largely untrue. You might not like what is being said about you but if it is true this is not defamation!

Publication – It is only deemed as defamation if the publication of the remarks was relatively wide. Being overheard by a few people would not be enough.

Defamation

Online dimension

The online environment makes this whole area even more complicated.

Does a post on a blog or on someone’s social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn carry as much weight as an article in a newspaper, some other publication or a comment on radio or TV? If I have 6,000 followers on twitter and someone else has 100 is a false statement by me a bigger misdemeanour?

It’s all a question of distribution and how many people may have seen or heard the false statements and then someone has the tricky job of assessing how much potential damage has been done by the false statement.

Another tricky dimension with the online environment is that if others make defamatory comments about someone on your ‘platform’ (blog/discussion board) then you could be liable as you did not remove the offending posts.

Defamation is a notoriously difficult area of law so even when all the elements are in place anyone considering a case in this area must have deep pockets and lots of time on their hands before considering legal action. (Check out some of the cases that have been tried in Ireland).

Our client

With the scenario that we had to deal with this week none of the critical elements were in place so our client had nothing to worry about and certainly nothing that would damage their own reputation – in fact it was quite the opposite.

In this case one of the people involved had written a blog post about the personal impact of an incident whereby they had been seriously wronged. They never once mentioned who the offending party were in their post and they were 100% truthful in what they had said.

Ironically the offending party ‘recognised’ themselves in the post and cried ‘foul’ and immediately ran to their solicitors who were happy to claim defamation, which it clearly was not. In this case the solicitor should have known better than to make such an incorrect and unprofessional accusation – is this a defamatory comment?

I’m always amused to see how it’s nearly always the ‘offenders’ who get most vigorous about protecting their rights!

Your good reputation is hard earned and it is a precious asset of huge value to your business. The best advice is to manage your reputation carefully so no one ever has a reason to say something bad about you.

If someone is making false, damaging accusations about you then you do have a legal mechanism but make sure that all the right elements are in place before going down this potentially costly and distracting road.

Your good reputation is everything.

Greg Canty 

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