Authority is a privilege

April 26, 2020

Debenhams protest

I had just dropped my son off in town having brought him to say “Hi” to my mum from her driveway on a Sunday afternoon in the middle of all of this COVID lockdown.

I was glad to be out and about, and decided to take the long way home to extend my rare excursion in the car.

Brendan told me that there was a coffee shop that was open at the bottom of Barrack Street (Cork), so I decided to pop down that way. There were a few standing outside in a queue so I passed on that option and went about my journey home.

I was on Proby’s Quay with a plan to turn right and head out home via Western Road but there was a one-car tow truck pulled in just before the turn right, so instead I opted to swing left past Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral and take the College Road route instead.

As I swung left I noticed that the reason the tow truck was there was they had been stopped by the Gardaí – their car was in front of the truck, just before the traffic lights. Bad place to pull someone in I thought.

I drove up the hill and took a right onto Gillabbey Street where I had to stop as the lights were red. I was really surprised to see two Gardaí pull up alongside me in their car, gesturing to wind down my window.

Were these the same Gardai who just seconds ago were in front of the tow truck? If it was the same two, they must have been quite determined to follow me I was thinking.

I dropped my window to get an accusation hurled at me “You broke a red light!“.

I was astonished and very confused by this as I knew it was not true and was wondering why they were making such a false claim.

It was amber when I went through, it was not red” I replied firmly

These two clearly didn’t like being disagreed with..”We saw you, it was red

Pardon the pun about this disagreement about colours but there was no “grey” here and I was in no mood to agree with something I knew was wrong.

I didn’t go though on a red, it was amber” I repeated.

The Garda who was driving then barked across to me “Do you think it’s ok to drive through on an amber, do you, do you?“.

I don’t break red lights” I repeated.

These two were now really annoyed with me.

Go through the lights and pull over” I was instructed.

The Garda approached my window, put on his blue gloves and asked for my licence, which he inspected and then he walked around my car checking the tax and insurance and everything else.

He once again came to my window and handed me back my licence, scribbled in his note book and told me I would be receiving something in the post in so many days. To be quite honest, I’m not really sure what he said.

At this stage I was really upset and felt that I was being picked on for some reason. I was minding my own business on this quiet, nothing COVID lockdown Sunday and from nowhere I get this “treatment”.

Were they chasing a quota of fines, did the interaction with the tow truck just a minute earlier wind them up, did this guy with a big mop of curly hair driving a nice car look suspicious and they needed an excuse to pull me over or was it just hassling for the sake of hassling?

I said to the Garda that I felt I was picked on for some reason and he denied it. I repeated my accusation and that was the last of our interaction.

A week later I still can’t figure it out, but what I do know is that it really upset me being accused unfairly of something I didn’t do, and I do know that it left me with a really bad feeling towards these Gardaí and in truth a very unhealthy, unreasonable feeling towards Gardaí generally – is this what many of them are like?

(I know that’s not true, but this is what I was suddenly feeling)

Up until this point I was four square on the side of all Gardai doing such Trojan work at this time, with the difficult job of maintaining social distancing and basically keeping us all safe. I couldn’t believe how disgusting and wrong it was for anyone to abuse a Garda doing this work and to those who actually spat at them…I’m sorry, they deserve the worst.

Now, I thought about how other people must feel if they are accused unfairly, the damage that must cause their mentality, including that legacy feeling towards authority.

My little interaction was a tiny thing, but I certainly know how it felt, so what must it feel like to people who are being picked on all of the time because of where they live, how they look or the colour of their skin?

In the following days I read some media reports on social media about the Gardai telling the employees of Debenhams who were protesting peacefully and clearly maintaining their social distancing to move on.

Without knowing the details I had already decided who was wrong here and I found myself retweeting “The Gardaí should butt out and let people who had been wronged to protest peacefully“.

Authority is a powerful thing, it is a privilege to those who have been given it, and it should always be exercised carefully, respectfully and honestly.

When this doesn’t happen, everything falls apart.

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

 

 

Valuable Business Supports available from the Local Enterprise Offices

April 15, 2020

What a hard to believe, crazy time that we are all knee deep in!

For some it is incredibly busy, coping with fulfilling unprecedented demand in difficult circumstances, for some it is somewhat damaging and messy and for others this “pause” is devastating and real solutions are needed for immediate survival and to plan for a much needed return to some type of normal.

The Local Enterprise Office network has implemented a suite of support services to assist businesses at this time.

We would urge you to look carefully at these valuable supports, not only to assist you right now, but also to make your business stronger going into the future.

There are 31 Local Enterprise Offices around the country, all offering these additional supports:

A support we have found to be hugely beneficial for businesses throughout the years is the Trading Online Voucher Scheme

A second voucher is now available for businesses that have previously availed of this support over the years. Having a strong online presence has never been more important, so whether it’s improving your website and online shop to creating an app, we strongly advise you to check this out.

The Trading Online Voucher can also be used to support the below:

  • Website Creation
  • Digital Marketing
  • Social Media for Business
  • Search Engine Optimisation

To find more about the online trading voucher and the eligibility criteria visit www.localenterprise.ie and contact your local office.

If we can assist you to put a practical plan together in any of these areas give us a call and we will do everything we can to help.

As well as the Trading Online Voucher, there is a range of different supports available to businesses impacted by COVID-19.

An overview of all supports available:

Trading Online Voucher Scheme
Second voucher available

 

Can you do more business online?

The expanded Trading Online Voucher Scheme helps small businesses with up to 10 employees to trade more online, boost sales and reach new markets.

There is up to €2,500 available through the Local Enterprise Offices, with co-funding of 10% from the business. Funding can be used towards adding payment facilities or booking systems to your website or developing new apps for your customers.

The voucher can also be used towards subscriptions to low cost online retail platform solutions, to help companies quickly establish a retailing presence online.

 

Business Continuity Vouchers 
Apply for €2,500 in consultancy

The new Business Continuity Voucher is designed for businesses across every sector that employ up to 50 people.

The voucher is worth up to €2,500 in third party consultancy costs (at no cost to the company) and can be used by companies and sole traders to develop short-term and long-term strategies to respond to the business challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The goal is to help companies make informed decisions about what immediate measures and remedial actions should be taken, to protect staff and sales.

If we can be of assistance, please contact us and we will talk through the challenges you are facing.

LEO Financial Supports 
Grants for new and established businesses

 

COVID-19
Business Loans  

First 6 months are interest & repayment free
New low rate of 4.5% through the Local Enterprise Offices

The COVID-19 Business Loan from Microfinance Ireland (MFI), in partnership with Local Enterprise Offices, is a Government-funded initiative to support small businesses.

It’s designed for micro-enterprises that are a) having difficulty accessing Bank finance and b) impacted, or may be impacted negatively, by COVID-19 resulting in a reduction of 15% or more in turnover or profit.

To view loan features click here.

 

Lean for Micro
Become a Leaner business

LEAN for Micro is available to LEO clients to help build resilience within small companies.

Under this programme, clients can avail of consultancy support with a LEAN Expert (a qualified practitioner), who will work with the company to introduce lean principles, undertake a specific cost savings project and assist the company in benchmarking its performance. LEAN for Micro can also be used to help implement new remote working and physical distancing guidelines.

 

Mentoring Advice and guidance
Now free of charge 

Grants for new and established businesses

 
Under the Local Enterprise Office Mentor Programme, clients work with an experienced mentor to identify solutions to areas of exposure within their business. With advice and guidance from their mentor, clients develop strategies that are more robust, which address issues and maximise potential opportunities when the COVID-19 crisis comes to an end.
 

Training and Webinars 
Upskill and network remotely,
for free

Local Enterprise Offices have moved training programmes, workshops and networking meet-ups online, covering areas such as cash management in a crisis, leading your business through COVID-19 and advice for employers impacted by the crisis.

Training programmes are free of charge and places can be booked online, through your Local Enterprise Office.

 

LEO Financial Supports 
Grants for new and established businesses

For existing companies and potential start-ups that meet eligibility criteria (such as employing 10 or fewer people with the potential for growth and job creation), Local Enterprise Offices can also offer financial supports to help manage current market challenges:

  • Business Priming Grants
  • Business Expansion Grants
  • Feasibility Study Grants
  • Technical Assistance for Micro-Exporters Grant

To view the full details on the supports available to your business and the criteria visit: www.localenterprise.ie/Response.

Depending on how the situation evolves, criteria may change so please refer to the above website for updates.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if we can offer you advice during these difficult timesand try to stay positive and seriously think about using these supports, for today and a much better tomorrow….it will come!

Best wishes from all at Fuzion.

Greg

(086) 8311156 greg@fuzion.ie  

Greg Canty is the Managing Partner of Fuzion Communications, Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing, Dublin and Cork offices

Time for a (LinkedIn) Group Hug?

April 2, 2020

LinkedIn Groups - Social Media Training

From my experience most LinkedIn users are not using the very useful ‘Groups‘ facility on the platform.

For your industry or your business community there is more than likely a group set up with like minded individuals who have already joined.

These could provide you with the opportunity to interact with like minded people, discuss topical issues, solve problems, demonstrate your expertise, get information or these could easily help you to identify useful connections for your business or organisation.

If you do a search right now…Dublin Chamber, Cork Chamber. UCD Alumni, Marketing professionals, Hospitality professionals in Ireland – you are likely to find a group that matches your search.

Groups will have a filter process for members depending on how they have been created – you will need to request to join or be invited to join by an existing member and an administrator somewhere will decide whether to let you in or not.

If it is a group for a membership organisation it is very likely that they will not grant you access unless you are a member.

When you create a group you have a number of options including:

  • Name and description
  • Industry types (up to 3)
  • Stated rules for the group (how members should use and behave within the group)
  • Whether the group is visible or not: you could for example make it a “closed” group for your organisation so it won’t appear on searches
  • If you allow existing members to invite others to join
  • Approval setting for posts within the group.

New Feature: Messaging

The functionality is always changing so how you can use them is always changing. For example LinkedIn have just now given members within groups the ability to send a message to other members, without being connected to them (and without having the paid version of the platform).

These messages will come into you just like a normal message on LinkedIn.

So…look for a group today that could work for you and your business, click that ‘Join’ button and off you go!

Or…maybe you could be the one to create that group?

What are you waiting for?!!

Greg

Greg Canty heads up the Digital Marketing team at Fuzion Communications and as part of our suite of digital services we offer social media training and social media consultancy, both face to face and online

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