Archive for the ‘Teamwork’ Category

Your most important customer 

August 12, 2016

Cakes - Fuzion

Last week our fantastic and very lovely graphic design intern, Marianne sent everyone in the team this mouthwatering email:

Morning, there are some home-made buns in the reception area should you fancy something sweet. They are cinnamon sugar and amaretto sugar buns (hope no one has nut allergies). Enjoy!

Enjoy?!!

They were absolutely delicious but more than that, this fantastic gesture by her was a brilliant way to make a connection with her fellow teammates on her first week.

This huge gesture blew me away and it got me thinking about customers and customer service.

The most important customers aren’t the crew out there that buy our goods and services, they are the people who work alongside us, day in and day out. Our bosses, our peers, our trainees, our interns – our relationship with these individuals is the most important one of all.

We spend most of our waking hours together and ultimately it is this group who will help to deliver your personal success, who will generate your income, who will make your days more enjoyable, who we need when we have problems and are under pressure.

Most of us can’t do it by ourselves and isn’t it much more fun when we do it together?

The most important customer is the person who works with you – look after them, treasure them.

Well done Marianne and thank you. You get it.

#WinHappy 

Greg Canty 

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

Relentless – Secrets of Success

August 1, 2016

Relentless - Mary White

Relentless is a powerful word and you can picture something that never stops, wave after wave, determination, a powerful, unstoppable force.

For some reason the book “Relentless” by Mary White about the Cork ladies GAA team caught my attention.

This wasn’t a book about the success of a glamorous Premiership team, a World Cup team, a famous boxer or even a high profile GAA team – it was the incredible, largely under the radar, success story of the Cork ladies GAA team.

I think what grabbed me about this story is that there had been a huge transformation from decades of virtually zero success to an 11 year period whereby 29 titles were won including 10 All Ireland finals, nine Division One titles and 10 Munster titles.

Relentless - Mary White

Without a doubt Cork always had huge potential with a large selection of talented players to choose from, many who had enjoyed success at Club level but for some reason this never transformed itself into a successful county team.

Surely there was some magic behind this transformation, one thing that we could point to, one secret that we might all learn from that could help us in all aspects of our lives?

I eagerly turned the pages to search for the secret..

Instead of one “thing” I discovered lots of factors that contributed to this incredible achievement:

Pride in the Jersey

There was a really interesting incident after another miserable defeat against Kerry, which could have been a turning point. After the match the players one by one were throwing their jerseys on the dressing room floor and a leader appeared.

Mary O’Connor, the only player to have won a medal with Cork ‘lost it’ at this point “We don’t throw the Cork jersey on the ground any more. We earn those jerseys and we need to respect that. Fold them and put them back into the bag for the person kind enough to wash them for us. Our attitude needs to change, and it changes now!

Step up a leader – well done Mary O’Connor.

The right people on the bus

Some of the key individuals who were involved from the previous era had to be removed as they were identified as part of the problem – there had to be changes and even though this was a painful process it had to happen in order for real change to occur.

The need for this change to occur was identified as being necessary.

Belief

An unwavering belief was instilled in this group – while this seems like an obvious one it was a huge achievement to make a team of disbelievers actually believe that success was possible.

How do you change this mindset?

Clear vision and goals

This group of players were given a clear vision and goals by the manager. The manager produced a paper, which was distributed to the group, which outlined clearly what  his vision was for the group.

This is what I want – who is with me?

Hard work/Training

This Cork team trained more than any of the other teams. This training improved the team. Lets repeat this – they trained more than any of the other teams. Train more, win more – that’s a big lesson!

While this is a very simple factor this group of players were inspired and motivated to want to give so much of themselves. Cork is a big county and many of the players were travelling huge distances on a regular basis just to get to training.

How do you get a group to want to do this?

Commitment

Over this 11 year period this large group of players were inspired to give total commitment to the team – this wasn’t a glamorous ‘premiership’ project whereby stardom would be guaranteed. It was about something totally different.

How do you change a group to suddenly make them want to give absolutely everything?

Comradery not Rivalry

In the early days these individual talents used come together and stick to their own club cliques, sitting together and not mixing. It’s simple to see how this behaviour would not lead to a successful formula.

This changed and in time this bunch of individuals and cliques were playing for each other – how did this change occur?

Dealing with disagreements

Disagreements used happen as you could imagine but instead of these leading to divisions and a disjointed group a fair mechanism of dealing with these occurred and the group got tighter with problems being solved without festering resentments.

This was a big achievement that cannot be underestimated.

Cork ladies GAA team

Coping with disappointment

Success was not immediate and there were some early disappointments that could easily have meant that heads would drop and the rebuilding project would derail.

This was not allowed to happen and instead valuable learning’s were banked from every disappointment to help towards future success.

Later on there were further setbacks, which could easily have demoralised the team and end the run of success. This team always rebounded from every single setback.

Evolution and Experience 

The management team had a lot of experience and a very clever thing they seemed to achieve was a powerful blend of experience and youth at all times in the team. Over 11 years this balance always seemed to be there with new faces, youth and energy carefully and constantly being introduced to an experienced group producing a winning formula.

Judging the need for fresh faces and getting the timing of their introduction right is a huge skill.

Playing for each other – friends?

At the Dublin Momentum Summit I heard Munster and Irish rugby legend Paul O’Connell speaking about the importance of ‘playing for each other‘.

This element was abundantly clear in Relentless. This team made up of club rivals who initially wouldn’t sit together would end up doing anything for each other.

A spirit and togetherness was instilled in this group that made them virtually unbeatable – this was demonstrated time after time throughout the 11 years, most often during times of sadness and loss.

This team had trips away in the sun, half of them ended up with food poisoning on one of these trips – did someone decide that going away together was good for team bonding?

Never say die attitude

From the outside you imagine a team that was invincible, one that blew all opposition out of the way. While there was plenty of evidence of this during the 11 years there were also many times when this team were beaten, dead on their feet and staring at certain defeat.

This team won these matches – it always seemed to find something at these moments, there was a belief deep inside enough of the team or the management to turn things around and change certain defeat to success.

At times it was the experienced players, at times it was inspired substitutions – at all times there was enough belief in the team to lift everyone. 10 points down with 15 minutes to go and being played off the park in the 2014 All Ireland final – this Cork team won these matches.

Who instilled this in this Cork team?

All players count and no stars

While this team did have its top performers and it’s “stars” there were times when matches were won by the young guns, by the unsung heroes by the solid defenders who knew how to close games out.

This was a team, not a group of talented individuals.

Injuries and comebacks

I was really shocked by the amount of injuries endured by members of the team. For some stupid reason I was thinking with ladies there wouldn’t be as many (stupid me!) – the book is littered with stories of initial despondency, motivation, resilience, hard work, incredible recoveries and determination by those who were injured and there were the teammates who wanted to win for them.

This team had steel in abundance.

Complacency

When you win a big trophy for the first time do you take the foot off the gas? When you win a second time – do you notch down a gear and maybe not work quite as hard the next year, because after all, you are the best?

Managing complacency and guarding against it must have been one of the greatest achievements of this team – who was responsible for making sure this did not happen?

Brave decisions

Someone has to make the tough decisions and have the intelligence and gut to know when the time is right to make them. Choosing who is in the squad and who isn’t, who is in the team and who isn’t, dropping big players and introducing unproven, young players. At key moments in matches knowing when changes were needed and making the right changes.

Someone made a lot of very brave decisions over and over.

Simplicity

These 11 years had no extraordinary factors – there were no fancy methods, definitely no fancy facilities, no fancy perks. Deliberately keeping it simple and with no frills seemed to work perfectly.

Psychology

Knowing the right thing to do at the right time and knowing the right thing to say at the right time to ensure this team were always in the right frame of mind to win over and over was pure genius.

At times the team thought that the methods of their coach, former teacher, father of six, grandfather Eamonn Ryan were a little strange but ultimately they trusted him implicitly and would run through brick walls for him.

The book has many examples of inspirational things he did and said to individuals and the team such as the ‘flying V formation of geese flying‘ analogy:

By flying in V formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.

People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily because they are travelling on the trust of one another.  

Humility

Finally one of the most impressive success factors evidenced in the book is the humility of the team and the management. No one was allowed get ahead of themselves and everyone treated everyone with the utmost respect.

Their rivals held the Cork team in the highest regard because of how they behaved themselves and how they ‘wore’ their considerable success.

This humility is best captured by coach Eamonn Ryan when he was asked about this incredible success story, the team and his role in it:

I’m grateful for their cooperation, for no recriminations when I made a mess of things, and I’m grateful for their patience when things didn’t go well.

They did their best, I did my best, and we all had a great time

I spent the whole book looking for that one thing, that one factor that could explain all of this success and it seems to be …

Eamonn Ryan - Cork Ladies GAA

The Coach – Eamonn Ryan

He created a family situation where everybody relied on everybody else, and we all new we needed each other

He took over this team in 2004 while he was coming to the end of treatment for prostate cancer.

This former teacher had a fantastic, simple, positive way of training and motivating the team: “Whatever we did, he was praising us loads. Praise meant so much to us, particularly the older girls. When it came to Cork we had no confidence in ourselves or in the set-up and brick by brick, Eamonn built it back up. He kept telling us we were great footballers

It seemed to work!

Mary White - Relentless

I highly recommend this fantastic book by Mary White which is available online and in all good bookstores!

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tiny thing, huge thing

June 1, 2016

Team bonding

This was a tiny thing..

It was a busy day and I just finished a great social media session with a client. As per usual it went on longer than planned as we really got deep into the strategy and explored exactly how far we could change the public perception of their company by using social media in a clever way.

Jonathan was the only one left in the office and he told me that the presentation for the prospect we were meeting the following day was done. I asked him to press print on two copies as it would save me a little job the following day.

While I was tidying up the meeting room I spotted Jonathan at the binder and he was binding up the presentations for me.

There’s no need to do that

Not a bother, what else would I be doing” he answered.

That wasn’t true – it was a gorgeous evening and he had a family to get home to.

Jonathan is our Creative Director, our head of design and without a word he jumped in to do this tiny thing for me.

At Fuzion we talk about having a Win Happy ethos. Helping and supporting each other is a big part of this.

What he did for me wasn’t a tiny thing, it was a huge thing – thanks Jonathan!

#WinHappy

Greg Canty 

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

 

Grabbing opportunities just like Ferris

April 14, 2016

Liverpool v Newcastle

Part onewritten on a flight from Cork to Liverpool, 14th April.

It was April 1996 and I was sitting in my office in Guinness in Dublin flicking through the newspaper.

In the classifieds I noticed a ticket and travel package for an evening midweek league match at Anfield, Liverpool versus Newcastle.

I am a die-hard Liverpool FC fan but I had never been to a game at Anfield. Liverpool were playing exciting football that year, in contention for the title but Newcastle were the really exciting team of the season that had taken the league by storm.

I thought long and hard about going but managed to find some reason not to and I ended up watching on TV what people still describe as the best match ever in the Premiership as Liverpool scored a last minute winner to win 4-3 in an incredible match that had everything.

I could have been there…

Brendan Canty celebrating Liverpool beatingg Dortmund 4-3 at Anfield

When Brendan, my son called me 20 years later to say he could get tickets for Liverpool versus Borussia Dortmund, the quarter final second leg UEFA Europa Cup match at Anfield I didn’t think too long and hard about it.

Of course I had things in my diary, of course I could think of 100 reasons why I couldn’t go but as Ferris Bueller famously said “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it

I embraced this spirit and here I am sitting on a flight to Liverpool with Brendan. Hopefully the match this evening will be great, poised delicately after the away tie finished 1-1 against a really superb Borussia side.

Bring it on..

Part twowritten in the Holiday Inn Express, in Liverpool while Mr Canty junior is working on his next TV commercial (he always gives out to me for working too hard!)

Lovren and Klopp celebrate

At 2-nil down at half time against a fantastic team “we” would have to score three without reply to win the match … This was a monumental task of Istanbul proportions and probably not possible.

It didn’t stop “us” fans (yep, we were in the middle of it, strangely sitting next to a few Borussia fans that had all the officials upset) belting out “You’ll Never Walk Alone” as the teams emerged for the second half.

The young and powerful Origi scores for us after 3 minutes and the place went berserk …maybe it was possible?

Liverpool piled on the pressure, the fans were urging them on with a wall of noise and then the sucker punch. Borussia score again – this team are just too good for us and the balloon of hope was burst.

The fans recovered and started singing again and my mind drifted back to that famous 4-3 match that I stupidly missed.

Never.. ?

Coutinho scores, 3-2 … The place erupts and now I am witnessing that special Anfield Magic. It’s the team and the fans together in a frenzy, the noise is crazy and there is belief everywhere.

Sahko scores, 3-3 … The place just goes ballistic and the frenzy has been whipped into the stratosphere and there is a tangible electricity flowing from the team to the crowd, from the crowd to the team, a powerful invisible nut tangible force.

Dortmund manage to contain this pressure and the game gets a little stop start as the clock nudges painfully to 90 minutes…4 minutes of extra time.

A strange thing happens..the crowd start to belt out “You’ll Never Walk Alone” again… everyone joins in. This is really odd as the Liverpool faithful only really sing this at the end of a match when they know the game has been won.

Free kick, Milner to Sturridge, Milner keeps running into the box and takes a return ball from Sturridge. We all gave out about Milner’s corners during the game but this time he delivers a perfect cross into the box for Dejan Lovren (who had an awful start to his LFC career the previous year) who rises above everyone and powers a header into the net.

(Admission – At the time I had no idea who scored it happened so quickly!)

Lovren scores the winner against Borussia Dortmund

Oh my god…. I have never witnessed anything like it. I was hugging Brendan, the guy next to me, the people in front of me. Everyone played this match together, singing, urging, believing… When the players lost hope we were there, when we lost hope, they were there.

Now we were there together – Jurgen Klopp walked past us, saluting the crowd and punching his chest, his heart. We got it.

If you haven’t seen it yet you just have to click here to see the incredible celebrations at the end of the match and click here for some crazy fan celebrations!

4-3 ….best night ever?

Ferris was right, we need to grab those opportunities when they come along

Greg Canty 

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

What do you do with Mr and Mrs Toxic?

March 25, 2016

Mr and Mrs Toxic

I am working on a really interesting project at the moment and because it is quite complex there is a diverse team made up of very talented individuals from different organisations working on it.

We had a full day session, which included a meeting with the client group and instead of being the enjoyable experience I was expecting it was a horrible, draining one.

There is one characters (who happens to be really talented and super valuable) on the team who is just plain rude, arrogant, dismissive and being honest a little nasty. This has led to a testy atmosphere with team members trying to give their opinion but being dismissed in a rude manner.

Everyone witnesses the ‘put down’ and are waiting to see how the person who has just been insulted reacts …. he feels bad, he feels small and he feels weak if he keeps his mouth shut or does he decide to react and let the whole thing bubble over? To be fair to him he decided to bite his lip and eventually other people jumped in and supported him. I’m not sure if my lip would be that resilient.

At the end of the day I was totally wiped out and demotivated and a potentially great project had now disintegrated into something that was hardship. I can’t wait for it to be over is now my main thought but there is still a lot of work to be done with this crew.

I have made an effort at addressing this with this group of people who I don’t know that well .. I did it by email the following day (lets’ see if it makes any difference?)

Team spirit – At times yesterday a horrible, testy atmosphere crept into our team meeting – this makes the work very draining and we have to mind ourselves. The team leader has assembled a talented bunch together for this task – lets get the best from this collective talent and synergise. This is a team folks …lets support each other and make this job a enjoyable one.

Life is way too short!!

What do you do with Mr or Mrs Toxic?

Greg Canty 

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

Fancy a dance ?

March 6, 2016

Saturday Night Fever

I was having a chat with a buddy of mine who we do some work with from time to time.

A project with an immovable deadline had hit an impasse because someone on the client side had let one of his guys down – the task they were to do was a relatively straightforward one but they didn’t get to it due to their own work pressure.

The person on his team informed him that she could do no more because of this ‘thing‘ that wasn’t done so the project deadline would be missed.

It would probably have been a legitimate reason for missing the deadline and he could quite happily declare that “there is nothing we could do“.

He had a choice to make ..

Being in business is like being on a dance floor except you have no idea what music they are about to play or who you will have to dance with!

You turn up expecting an eighties disco and suddenly they play a waltz. You are waltzing and an Irish gig comes on. Sometimes the dance floor is packed and you are struggling to manoeuvre around the floor and suddenly you find yourself dancing by yourself and feeling very awkward as everyone is watching.

There are times when no one is dancing and its up to you to get things moving by dragging an unsuspecting dance partner out on the floor in the hope that others join in.

Sometimes you can dance all night and have the best of fun but there are times when you are just not in the mood – your feet are sore but you still have to dance.

Sometimes it’s dancing with the most perfect, incredible, stunningly beautiful woman and sometimes … Well. you can only dance with the women who are in the room!

My buddy instructed his team member to just do the task that the client was supposed to do as it wasn’t a big deal and he wanted to deliver the project on time. Nice move..

Fancy a dance ?!!

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 Team Challenge and listening to that Voice in your Head

December 18, 2015

Team spirit

It’s that time of the year again and we are planning our ‘team day‘ to sign off another year.

This is always a special day when we discuss our plans for the new year, do a few team things together and toast the successes during the year gone by.

My team is really important to me and while this is made up of a group of individuals it is the collective that makes it so special.

We work hard to create a special atmosphere that allows a team spirit to thrive – this is always about respecting each other, working hard, having fun, encouraging, praising, supporting, celebrating special occasions, team days and every Friday we go to lunch together and break bread.

We call this #WinHappy and it is about working hard together in a good, enjoyable, supportive atmosphere – when you get this right you win with a big smile on your face!

The team spirit process starts when we recruit and we place a big emphasis on the character of the individual as well as their technical ability. In our job specifications we make it clear that we want ‘heart and soul‘ team players.

While we work hard to create that special atmosphere it will only happen when the individual plays their part, which does involve a sacrifice on their part.

Team sacrifice

Will I stay on for drinks after work, will I give up my Friday lunch, will I stay back and help, will I attend the networking event, will I give up my night and celebrate with the team? Why can’t I just punch in my time and head home once my work is done?

While I would love to say we always get it right in Fuzion and succeed in creating that special team spirit there have been times when this just hasn’t been the case. Invariably the reason for this has been that someone who doesn’t fully buy into or fit into the Fuzion ethos has started working with us and it quickly upsets the whole dynamic.

When this dynamic isn’t right it is very damaging for the whole business and everything becomes more difficult. It is like playing a match with a big weight on your back and at the time you realise that something is wrong but often it’s not a very easy thing to sort out.

When it is not right you end up with unhealthy cliques, sniping and personal agendas, people not helping each other, upset and stress, jealousy, silly games, poor work and a lack of commitment. This will impact on the quality of the work at some point.

Even worse in our own business I have witnessed the transformation of great, positive people into disheartened, unmotivated and disruptive individuals in a matter of months when the wrong atmosphere develops. Just one person who isn’t the right fit can change everything.

On each of the few occasions when this happened it has been quite easy to pinpoint the individuals who upset the team balance and in every single case during the recruitment process I can recall that clear voice in my head saying “they are not a fit for Fuzion” or  “this just doesn’t feel right“.

In each of these scenarios I forced myself to ignore the voice in my head when the evidence on their CV’s was so strong convincing me that they would be a great fit for Fuzion – none of these appointments have ever worked out!

I wonder if each of the individuals themselves knew they weren’t a fit? –  I guess when you need a job you too can ignore these voices.

I’m looking forward to our team day, to enjoying the year ahead together and making sure that I always listen to those reliable voices.. 

Greg Canty 

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

Jurgen Klopp and his Ten Management Tips

December 7, 2015

Jurgen Klopp

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

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

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

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

What does Jurgen do that is so special?

1.”Belief” 

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

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

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

Do you believe in your team?

Jurgen Klopp

2.Honesty, openness and no jargon

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

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

Can you be open and honest with your team?

Jurgen Klopp hugging

3.Don’t be afraid to hug!

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

Are people happier when they are treated like this?

4.Have fun

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

He tells the players to enjoy themselves on the pitch.

Can work be fun?

Jordan Henderson with Klopp

5.Don’t take it too seriously

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

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

6.Work Hard

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

This is totally non-negotiable with him.

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

7.Have a plan

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

Are you planning carefully?

8,Things go wrong – that’s football!

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

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

Do your team have resolve?

9.Mr Motivator

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

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

Do you feel motivating your team is important?

klopp celebrating

10.Passion

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

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

What factors would you add to this list?

Greg Canty 

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

Promoting Cork in London and Leadership

September 26, 2015

Cork - BgOnLife

We were delighted to have won the tender with Cork City Council to support them with the sponsorship of and participation in the FDI Forum in London, which was run by the Financial Times.

For me it was a great opportunity as we had been a key part of the work on the Cork Brand Marketing team, which involved literally all of the Cork stakeholders who wanted to market Cork with one consistent voice. This forum was the first expression of this work where we were able to use findings and language from the Cork brand book that we helped to develop.

#BigOnLife

With all marketing you need to do your very best to deliver a clear message that helps you to stand out in some way. From our work it was clear that Cork is very attractive for business as it works Economically, there is a strong, well educated Talent Pool, it has an abundance of great things to see and do (locals and tourist offering) and the Quality of Life is second to none in our fantastic region.

This is a ‘perfect mix for business and personal success‘ with a special emphasis on the person. You can achieve your career and business goals in Cork and at the same time enjoy a fantastic quality of life. This for us was the extra special, stand out ingredient that Cork has to offer and even though our region is relatively ‘small‘ we have quality of life in abundance.

If you were to use a tagline to highlight this most special characteristic about the Cork region then ‘Big On Life‘ might just be it!

Brochures and other marketing materials had to be prepared and printed so it was first time we could give our ‘Big On Life‘ message a test run.

FDI Forum - London

London

A strong contingent left for London including senior people from Cork City Council, Cork Chamber, Cork Airport, Developers, and significant businesses all with the intention of flying the flag for Cork and attracting foreign direct investment to our special place.

Cork Chamber organised a dinner in London to bring this team together and to invite some key members of the Cork business community in London (the IIBN network) as well as officials from the IDA.

Cork Chamber president Barrie O’Connell made sure that everyone introduced themselves to the group and then quite cleverly sparked off a conversation about Cork by asking a few people to speak on a topic. This generated a huge and very fascinating ‘Cork‘ conversation about a wide range of topics and issues and helped for all of us to hear different perspectives and to learn.

Michelle Conaghan of the IDA gave us an insight about how they work and their challenges and how competitive the market is. She spoke about the importance of sector clusters, which is important for a talent pool but she also mentioned that the ‘life‘ package is important.

We learnt from the Irish guys working in London about how expensive it is and how global businesses must look at other locations.

Donal Sullivan of Tyco spoke about evolution. Years ago they reduced their numbers in Cork for cost reasons but now the nature of their work is different so Cork is relevant again. He is on a huge recruitment drive and he says the talent pool in Cork and Munster is great but most interesting is the ease of getting people to relocate from Dublin.

The Cork operation is the best performing one globally from a staff retention point of view – I wonder why?!

Cork Chamber president Barrie O’Connell spoke about tax advantages nearly being gone and it is the other factors that must now come into play to attract investment to Cork.

Cork Chamber CEO Conor Healy spoke about the need for ‘ambassadors‘ who will spread the word about Cork and that we should focus on the positives with Cork Airport, the good news and the potential. He is right.

Niall Sheehan, Head of Property from Dairygold who have a huge office development about to start in Cork spoke about the compelling facts about Cork and that we should be more confident about the strength of our offer.

Roger Hobkinson (the adopted Corkman!) from Colliers International who led the Cork Brand Marketing project spoke glowingly about participating in activities such as the FDI forum as a vehicle to promote Cork and bring the brand book to life. He also spoke about the importance of urban locations as being key when promoting a region.

Jonathan Grey (who is very excited as he has bought a house in Cork) of the IIBN who is working and living in London spoke of competition for FDI from regions in Scotland, England and Wales. The new London flights to Cork will be an advantage. He coined a fantastic phrase “you can live in Cork and do business with the world” – I love it!

We heard from John Cleary of JCD about the key messages that he uses when he is attracting American IT companies to Ireland. Lower cost is a big advantage in Cork but quality of life means that staff retention rates can be a lot higher, which is another big selling point. From his conversations connectivity to the U.S. is a big deal so the recent announcements about Cork Airport are very welcomed. He also stated the obvious about Ireland – “people will look at Dublin first”. Cork is a very viable and compelling alternative.

Theo Cullinane of BAM (a Cork sports star with some unique achievements as we discovered!) also spoke enthusiastically about the super quick work they are doing at One Albert Quay for JCD. This will be an office development with the best specification in the country, which is what new companies are looking for.

Pat Ledwidge from Cork City Council who led the participation in the FDI Forum spoke about how Cork, now has “product to sell” so it must gear up its marketing efforts abroad.

Ann Doherty, Chief Executive of Cork City Council emphasised the cost advantages of Cork as well as the quality of life aspects.

Of course I had to get my few words in..

Dublin is a fantastic city with lots of advantages but it is heating up and it is starting to get quite costly. Cork presents a different and very compelling offer “The Cork offer makes the Ireland offer a lot stronger“.

The engaging conversation bounced from one side of the table to the other with each person talking enthusiastically about our ‘favourite place‘ until the restaurant staff politely gestured that it was getting late … it was past midnight!

Goodie Bags

Reader ..bear with me for a few minutes as I talk about goodie bags – this is leading somewhere!

We wanted to leave delegates at the FDI  forum with something different than the usual flyers and brochures. We decided that we would place a ‘Cork – Big On Life‘ box in each of the delegate packs instead of the normal so they would remember us!

We had handmade sweets from Cork, postcards and a few other little bits and pieces all to go in our ‘Cork Big On Life box‘. While this was a great idea it did however mean ‘Big on Hassle‘  as the boxes had to be assembled in London (no short cuts I’m afraid!) and filled.

Elmarie McCarthy from Cork City Council selflessly took responsibility for this monumental task along with everything else that she had to coordinate and her bedroom became a mini production line in the early hours of the morning (there was no access to the conference venue beforehand).

After the meal and the networking the Cork team that were staying in the same hotel took responsibility and pitched in and assembled and filled these boxes until 1:30 am. Well done to Ann Doherty, Pat Ledwidge, Conor Healy and Barrie O’Connell for jumping in, simply because a job had to be done.

The next morning there was a repeat performance – the Cork ‘Big On Life’ boxes weren’t going to magic their way into the delegate packs in the short window of time that was available before the event started  – there was no standing on ceremony and our leaders took responsibility once again, got to the venue early, jumped in once again and quickly did the job that was needed. I did help along with Roger from Colliers.

The FDI Forum

This was a fascinating day with a huge array of speakers and panelists as well as fantastic networking opportunity. Cork were there in force joined by Denis Collins of Smarter Dynamics, Kevin Cullinane of Cork Airport, Malcolm Allan from Place Matters (our destination branding guru who was fantastic to work with on the Cork Marketing project) and Doug Howlett from Munster Rugby all chatting to delegates and spreading the word.

Delegates

Cork was there proudly promoting ourselves along with other places such as Essex, Tblisi, Cyprus, Jersey, Melbourne, Lousiana, Singapore and Qatar.

I had an interesting chat with a delegation from Essex – they have a team of five people working for them proactively in the marketplace seeking opportunities as well as a Marketing/PR team supporting the communications of their message. They take a sector by sector approach and have identified four different ones to target. Promotion of your region is now sophisticated, big business and if we want these opportunities to come to Cork we need to gear up.

Ann Doherty - Chief Executive Cork City Council

Ann Doherty represented Cork superbly on a fascinating panel discussion and I am convinced that she must have worked in sales at some point because she didn’t let one opportunity to slip by to highlight what we have to offer here!

A lot of tired and weary Cork folk made there way to Heathrow airport to take the last flight home. 20 minutes after landing I was at home and I reflected on our little excursion (our airport is so incredibly fast and convenient).

As a proud Corkman I was privileged to have been part of this work and if this FDI community hadn’t heard of Cork before they certainly did now. Cork did itself proud in London and all of our various stakeholders need to do much more of this together. Individually we are all ambassadors for Cork and familiarising ourselves with our Cork brand book is a great starting point to stay on message with what our region has to offer.

The most impressive aspect of the London trip for me was the huge sense of pride and togetherness demonstrated by everyone, including our leaders and that willingness to take responsibility and do what was needed.

Cork .. #BigOnLife

Greg Canty 

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

 

Teamwork – Are we in this together?

September 14, 2015

Volunteers in Brooklyn after hurricane

It’s Saturday morning and I totally admit that we are slightly hungover and very tired after a fantastic party the night before in the office to celebrate our Fuzion 15th birthday.

Despite the torrential rain we had a great turnout of friends, clients, media and of course our team. The banter and fun was in full swing and a few of us headed to Brick Lane for a few more drinks and even a boogie or ten! Slices of pizza at Fast Al’s was a must before dragging our tired bodies home in a taxi at 3am ….you are only 15 once after all!

Unfortunately someone had to head to the office so that the audio visual crew and the caterers could collect their respective gear and then face into the big ‘tidy up‘ to transform our space back into an office.

My head was sore and I promise you I was not looking forward to this arduous, painful task but it had to be done and as it was a Saturday it was Deirdre and I who had to do it. Of course we would love help, of course we would love a few extra hands to lessen the load but it is Saturday and the team are off so we wouldn’t ask.

As ‘owners’ isn’t that what you do?

We parked up and dragged our bodies slowly to the office and then something incredible happened.

Aoibhinn, one of the senior members of the team was already there with her young son Noah and she was in full swing with the tidy up. That one set of extra hands, that willingness and that powerful gesture of taking ownership felt like 100 extra hands and it just blew both of us away and we had the job done in no time.

We own the business and we have a great team in Dublin and Cork that work hard with us from Monday to Friday. For 15 years we have worked really hard to build a good team spirit but its moments like this when someone takes ownership and does the unexpected that you feel you have a real team and you are actually in this together.

It felt good ..thank you Aoibhinn

PS – Knowing Aoibhinn she will hate me writing this!

Greg Canty 

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

 

 


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