A love of QPR, and a very non doom and gloom COVID19 economic perspective with Economist, Jim Power

March 30, 2020

Jim Power Economist

This week I had the pleasure of featuring economist Jim Power on my Win Happy podcast.

While COVID19 and the effect this would have on the Irish and World economy were big parts of the discussion, as always I wanted to dig a little deeper to find out about the person behind the expertise.

Jim spoke about his love of the land, which comes from his very happy life growing up in a farm in Waterford. While he would have loved to have stayed farming his career took a different path.

We chatted about why he gave up his “soulless” role in Bank of Ireland, his passion for Irish food and his concerns about the food supply chain, his role as Chairman of ‘Love Irish Food’, the other work that he does, his love of QPR and of course his passion for all things “Waterford”.

We did talk about the COVID19 crisis in detail and the advice he would give to the government to navigate its way through the crisis and preserve the economy.

He reviewed the government support package and thankfully he predicts an economic recovery.

Click here to listen to the full show

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

The Fear Virus and the Pause

March 19, 2020

The pause

Last night was the first night that I slept the whole way through without waking in a week.

The few other nights before that, ever since we were all told that schools, colleges, events and public gatherings were to cease for at least a fortnight, I was waking early due to the fear of the unknown. Yes this fear was about the health of those around us but most definitely it was about the effect that this time would have on our business, that thing that puts food on the table for us and our team.

I guess we are much better off than many in other sectors, whose doors were immediately closed leaving their businesses vulnerable and their teams facing an unthinkable and uncertain period when they don’t have the pay packet that feeds them and covers their high rents and mortgages.

This FEAR that had me waking, without doubt has all of these people wide awake and it is real, tangible and debilitating.

I got so angry when I read a headline today stating that a certain city manager made a statement that he wasn’t prepared to give any commercial rates break to businesses who were forced to close.

Has your pay packet been affected sir?” 

Maybe we can manage a week, maybe two, maybe three, but beyond that there are serious concerns that has everyone fearful, a debilitating fear that will be worse than any Coronavirus and one that can eat deep into your soul and your well-being if you can’t cope with it.

The only way the FEAR virus can be taken away, is if we know that none of us will be left hungry, that no one will be evicted if we can’t pay our rents and mortgages, that our credit rating won’t be affected if we can’t make loan repayments and that we will be provided for if our wells dry up.

As long as everyone in this complex money chain can be both human and realistic, and play their part during this “Pause” of normal activities then we will all be fine.

What has happened will pass, and the “Pause” will slowly change to “go” and normal activity will once again resume and we will all go back to working and bill paying as we have always done.

To their credit, our government is moving fast and seem to fully appreciate the difficulties caused by the “pause” and are putting realistic measures in place to ensure that everyone is looked after at this time.

Once we know it will be ok, we can start to sleep again and take this very unusual window of time to take stock, appreciate our friends and families, look after our communities and look forward to the day that we can step back on the treadmill of our normal lives.

Hopefully we will return to this normality with more kindness and acknowledgement of the precious lives that we enjoy and a much better appreciation for those that are vulnerable, not when it is a “pause” but all of the time.

This is a Pause, try to get some sleep.

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

Taking away the fear and Positive PR the KLM way

March 12, 2020

KLM Airlines - Coronavirus

I just received a very clever piece of personalised email correspondence from the President and CEO of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Pieter Elbers, which was designed to reassure anyone contemplating a flight with them that they are to be trusted during these worrying Coronavirus times.

It was really clever for a number of reasons..

It was Personalised

The email used my name…us customers love that!!

Really understanding the Customers Frame of Mind

The email understood my frame of mind perfectly and took me through a thought process step by step addressing my concerns and “What Ifs”.

The story in my head is that getting on a plane in a confined space with other people at the moment is one of very worst possible things that you could do. How can planes be cleaned between flights efficiently, what about all the places that a person will touch on the plane and what about the air circulation?

As a frequent traveler with KLM, you trust us to not only take you where you need to go, but to do so safely, comfortably and responsibly. Today, as the world comes to terms with an unprecedented health scare in COVID-19 (Corona virus), these values are more important to us than ever

His email addressed my fear and it reassured me step by step what they are doing at KLM to make sure that it is a safe environment.

He spoke about Safety and Hygiene procedures in very specific detail

  • Thorough cleaning and disinfecting before each departure itemising
    • Cleaning of galleys, carpets and toilets
    • Cleaning of tray tables, armrests, headrests and seatbelt buckles
  • Continuous cleaning by cabin crew in the air
  • Cabin air is continually refreshed with outside air
  • Using hospital-grade HEPA filters that are 99.99% effective in preventing airborne bacterial and viral organisms such as COVID-19
  • All flights have special Corona-kits and the team are trained in containment measures
  • Hygiene extends to catering, ingredients are fresh and locally sourced, strict guidelines to preparation

There was a link in the email to a video, which provided more information about hygiene at the airline.

While I was reading this impressive list of hygiene steps I was thinking of course that KLM would say this because they are protecting their interests and spinning the risks in their favour.

This was addressed:

“I fully understand the hesitation many people feel at the moment when deciding whether to book a flight or not. But you can feel secure in the knowledge that KLM has taken every precaution necessary to protect your health and the health of your loved ones.

In this emotional time, you can be assured that we are guided and consistently act by fact-based, circumstance-driven decision making. On a daily basis, we work closely with the top experts at the World Health Organization and Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu (RIVM) in the Netherlands”

Beyond the Airline

And what about the other things that can go wrong about a journey that might have you unable to take the flight?

I also understand that your concern may not be about your journey with KLM, but about the many unknowns about the situation on the ground at your destination. That’s why you can book your KLM flight with the confidence of being able to change your booking without a change fee

It’s not exactly a refund but ..

Practical Information

The email provided practical information and demonstrated the professionalism of the airline

“We are in constant touch with all the relevant authorities to adjust our network as required. This means that we can immediately respond when new travel restrictions are announced. For the latest information on flight status, please visit our travel advisory page or use the KLM app and let us keep you posted 24/7 with push messages

Proud History and Customer Service Ethos

The email went on to highlight the history of the airline, the number of employees and the customer care ethos

“In 100 years of operations, KLM has faced many challenges and always emerged stronger. We were able to do so because we put you, our customer, at the heart of our operation. With that commitment in mind, I am confident that we will overcome this challenging time as well. As you know 33.000 KLM staff will go further to recognize your concerns and take care of you.”

We always preach to our clients that in their communications that they should weave in their ‘Key Messages’ – this was done here in a very clever, natural way.

Trust, Care, History, Customer Focus, Scale …. many boxes ticked!

Tone and Language 

All of the language used was appropriate, non-corporate and very down to earth and the tone was caring and inclusive, which was sealed in the email sign off

“Thank you for choosing KLM, and safe travels”

A Great Excuse to Communicate with Potential Customers!!

The most clever aspect of all with this email correspondence is that the Coronavirus, despite the horrible scenario, gave KLM a reason to reach out to all of their customers and remind them about their brand and prompt them to possibly think about them when booking flights in the future when things are hopefully back to normal.

It was a really long time since I flew KLM (I’m not sure what the GDPR police would be saying about this!!) but they have made me think about them in a really positive light which brings me to my very last point.

This is Positive PR

KLM have taken the opportunity (in awful circumstances) in a really nice, caring and soft way to reach out and tell a lot of people just how great they are!!

I’ve just told you about them..

So, a huge well done to KLM and their team for a really clever and well timed piece of correspondence that reminds us all about the power of great communications!

Can you do something similar with your customers today?

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Les Martin and the mission to detect rare diseases

March 3, 2020

 

Les Martin - Rare Diseases

Les…never in your wildest dreams did you think you would end up on stage talking to a room full of women in Wicklow on a Friday afternoon as part of the International Women’s Day celebrations organised by Network Ireland.

I was the only other brave man there but for very different reasons.

When your son Cathal was born, I’m sure you and your wife Lynda were excited beyond belief, but then life threw him the ultimate unlucky straw and he was faced with a short life with a debilitating condition, which could have been treated if only extensive tests were done at birth, as they do routinely in Italy.

This dad never planned on standing in front of this group of women on this Friday, appealing for help and telling a personal story to hopefully help other babies to avoid the cruel path that their family has endured.

Les stood on stage, he shared his family photos, he showed us some charts to explain how this problem could be solved in Ireland, he showed us some more photos and he took us though some of the very painful steps that they have been though together.

He wasn’t a polished speaker, he didn’t have a polished presentation, he was just a dad who stood there and bravely opened his heart and asked for our attention, so that life might be better for someone else down the line.

Les had every woman on their feet when he finished his talk and there were tears in every single eye in the house, including mine.

Les Martin, brave dad, I salute you and I’m sorry that this had to be your Friday….

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Les is campaigning for more extensive testing to be done on babies when they are born. The Irish ‘Heel’ test is done for 9 conditions – in Italy they test for 40 conditions which can help teh early detection and treatment of rare diseases. 

 

Waiting for your “Purpose” to reveal itself

February 16, 2020

Greg Canty - Sense of Purpose

Once again you find yourself having this conversation quietly in your head.

I want to make a huge difference on this earth, I want to live a life with Real Purpose” but…..

…you have absolutely no idea what that purpose is !!

Well, instead of getting yourself all frustrated, how about channelling these thoughts and that positive intent in a very different and very achievable way.

How about choosing a number of people in your life who may be in need of help, a boost, a little support, some encouragement and quietly make them your purpose and without saying a word, give them exactly that.

Maybe it’s a family member, a buddy, a work colleague, or a neighbour who is struggling, who has gone off track for whatever reason and needs something from someone to make this time a little easier.

You can be that someone, and you might just be able to get them back on track.

While you are waiting to find your purpose how about being there for that other person so they might be better able to find theirs.

And if your “purpose” never knocks on your door, then maybe it’s not so bad as you have helped a lot of people along the way just when they needed it …. isn’t that a pretty good purpose to have?

Who are you going to help today?

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Why there should be Election Posters!

January 28, 2020

Election Posters - General Election Ireland 2020

Where I live we are really lucky to have a talented, determined and really successful Tidy Towns organisation which means we get to enjoy a beautiful, well maintained place that people take huge pride in.

As part of the keep our town tidy the Tidy Towns folk seem to have made an agreement with the political hierarchy that it would be a  poster free zone for the General Elections.

You can totally buy into this arrangement in particular when you see other locations that are totally destroyed with a proliferation of posters, inevitably dominated by those candidates and political parties with the biggest budgets!

While many agree with the arrangement in our town, which without a doubt does help to keep the place tidy, I think it’s wrong.

I believe the election candidates should be entitled to allow the electorate to familiarise themselves with them and more importantly it hands a huge advantage to established, well known candidates who people are already familiar with and the very opposite to any less well known new faces.

Maybe a sensible quota of posters that each candidate is allowed in each location, relative to the size of that area is a better way to go with a strict regime about removing them post election.

Clearly posters aren’t the only way a candidate has to communicate to us, and they do have the options of literature through the letter box, social media, and the very best way of all to connect is by knocking on the door and chatting face to face.

While there is a tight election window, do we really want to hand anyone an unfair advantage, in particular to those who have been around the block already?

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Dad – Moments in time

January 15, 2020

This beautiful picture of my dad, Michael, splashing in a pool and having fun with his grand kids, Alex and Ciara (my brother’s kids) captures his very special spirit and the incredible connection he had with young people, us, my friends, my kids and the grand kids and even the kids in the neighbourhood who used call to him to play football on the green!

He got sick shortly after this, which was the beginning of a very dark and sad part of his life, so every time I see it, it warms me but it also makes me feel terribly sad.

Dad, we miss you terribly but thank you for being so fantastic.

Greg

2020 – Time to Experience the “real thing”

January 1, 2020

Ardsallagh Cheese

When it comes to trends in Marketing to look out for in 2020 and beyond I think it will be all about ‘Experiential’ getting closer to the customer allowing them to touch and feel the products and services and to meet the people behind them.

We see ourselves that the noisy, over crowded, algorithm choked social media space, which not so long ago provided a fantastic opportunity to “get close” to customers is proving very challenging without substantial advertising budgets.

The social media “influencers” in the main who had a short moment in the sun, over cooked the magic by quickly switching from being genuinely passionate about their sectors to being “show me the money” merchants.

The cynical and very savvy consumer is seeing through all of this “BS” and is slowing returning to more trusted and reliable traditional media, which is really interesting as they are craving something authentic, something that does not leave them cold.

An interesting medium that we see doing well is podcasts, which if executed carefully is a very special way for your customer to get to know you better while they are commuting or in the gym.

I was judging the podcast category again this year for the Digital Marketing Awards and I could see some really great examples of companies using the medium to great effect.

I noticed with interest last November, Amazon the leaders in online retail, promoting their ‘Black Friday‘ sale with full page adverts in the national newspapers, billboards around the city and even customer events.

For the third year running in London they had a free four day “pop-up” event, ‘The Home of Black Friday‘ whereby customers were treated to all sorts of entertainment and demonstrations as well as being able to ‘touch and feel’ some of the special Black Friday deals.

As well as checking out the huge range of epic deals on offer throughout Black Friday and Cyber Monday, visitors to the Home of Black Friday had the chance to try out the latest must-have products from beauty to tech and preview the latest screenings from Prime Video.

They ticked the boxes on all of the customer demographics with complimentary workshops and experiences including, DJs, Rappers, yoga, cocktail masterclasses, beauty makeovers and Christmas workshops.

It turns out that clicking on images of items on our screens isn’t the “be-all and end-all” after all!

We witnessed it ourselves before Christmas with the weekend events that we ran for Dunnes Stores in some of their leading stores in Cork, Dublin, Galway and Limerick, whereby customers could meet the food producers, taste the food, meet the designers and see the fashion on models and watch some demonstrations by experts.

Dunnes Stores

I am now buying the Ardsallagh Cranberry Roulade Goat Cheese and Himalayan Salt Aged Beef on a regular basis after chatting with the cheese maker and the butcher from James Whelan Butchers, I’m wearing SPF skin cream protection for the first time after meeting Darren Kennedy and I am wearing a cashmere jumper from Paul Costelloe!

I also, as well as having more belief in the wine selection at Dunnes Stores, I have some new favourite wine brands after listening to the wine buyer talking about his favourite wines and the vineyards they come from.

In truth, no advert or social media posts would have had the same habit changing effect on me and there is a lot of money in our habits!

So for 2020 and beyond, I can see us all working really hard to create those new opportunities to get closer to the customer through real life experiences.

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

When ‘How About’ and ‘Why Not’ come together

December 21, 2019

Emerald Ivory at The White Horse

A really talented musician said “How about” to a bunch of talented musicians who answered “Why not” to an idea about performing classic Irish songs together

Someone said “How about” doing a gig before Christmas at the venue Upstairs at the The White Horse Bar and Restaurant in Ballincollig, Cork and someone said “Why not“.

I saw the gig listing when trying to figure out something special to do belatedly for our wedding anniversary (too busy with client events!) and asked Dee “How about” and she said “Why not“.

Needless to say the debut gig of Emerald Ivory was really special and we had a great night.

To do anything new and discover magic in life we need two essential ingredients:

Someone to ask “How about

and someone to say “Why not“.

Are you one of those people?

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Life and knowing what really matters

December 15, 2019

At one point the Dwyer family employed thousands of people in Cork city, manufacturing clothing and footwear in Dwyer and Co, the Lee Boot Company and in Sunbeam Wolsley.

The young Ted Dwyer, watched his father trying to cope with the painful collapse of his family business in what was a very traditional industry that fell due to automation and when manufacturing moved to other much cheaper countries.

I loved my recent chat with Ted, which I captured on an episode of my Win Happy podcast where he shares how these early humbling life experiences affected him and the family, how they influenced his career choice, his approach to business and to life and how he coped with the many ups and downs through five decades. He also cares passionately about people putting money aside so they can retire with pleasure when the time comes.

He also chats about his latest venture (which he started at the tender age of 70!) whereby he advises family businesses through the very tricky journey of succession.

I wanted to do a podcast with Ted for quite a while as he has a great story and is one of life’s gents and someone who is always generously there to share some of his ‘life’ wisdom.

I consider Ted to be a mentor of sorts as he is always encouraging me to slow down and to go fishing!

Ted is the former Founder and Managing Director of City Life, which has recently been acquired by Invesco.

Click here to listen to the podcast with Ted

Enjoy the show!

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland