Posts Tagged ‘branding’

Did you hear the one about the “Kerry” man?

July 24, 2017


Did you hear the one about the ‘Kerry’ man?” was the joke that we heard often years ago.

We don’t hear that joke being told too much these days and maybe, that’s because “Kerry” has become worthy of respect for so many reasons including prowess on the sporting field, the most beautiful of places, links golf courses, fantastic hospitality, success in business with huge companies such as Kerry Group and FEXCO and even politicians that should never be underestimated!

There is something very special about Kerry and this is recognised in Ireland and internationally.

There is something so special about ‘Kerry’ that a huge legal dispute has been rumbling for the last few years between the food giants, Kerry Group and Ornua.

Kerry Group introduced their Kerrymaid butter product into the Spanish market a few years back and Ornua, the makers of Kerrygold have legally challenged their right to do so.

While this case is complex it looks like Kerry Group have won this battle (according to the European Court of Justice) as:

  • both have been selling in the EU already, for quite a while alongside each other (in Ireland and the UK) and
  • the word ‘Kerry’ is okay to use as it is an indication of geographical origin as long as this is true and honest

I read the legal jargon about the case and there are many subtleties to each of these points but this was the gist of it (please read the case in detail if this is an important issue for you).


In a way this opens up a huge can of worms for both of these brands as it implies that if you are in Kerry and you produce a product then you can use the word ‘Kerry’ as part of the name.

Kerry is obviously a fantastic brand right now with many positive attributes – there are no right or wrong answers here as the brand attributes are what each of us believes them to be.

When I think of Kerry I think of positive things such as nature, beauty, the coast, agriculture, hospitality, quality, sport, literature, music, business success, resilience but I also do think of negative things such as poor roads, too many American tourists, cute politicians and a few rough towns.

This is my version of  ‘Kerry’ but for others it will be quite different and we all carry things in our heads that make up what the brand is for us.

If Kerry suffered from a major incident such as a gigantic oil spill that contaminated the whole coastline then maybe the use of the name on products may not be as positive as it is today – while this is hard to imagine, having your brand attached to name that is largely out of your control could be risky.

Kerry – is it good for the butter?

While Kerrygold is a very successful brand, is it because it carries the name ‘Kerry’ or is it because it is a great product with great packaging and marketed really well? – I’m sure all of these elements contribute to the success.

Kerrygold and KerrymaidIn the case of the ‘butter wars’ I suspect that one part of the argument is about the ability to use the word ‘Kerry’ as it borrows all of the positive attributes of the place but for others who may not be as familiar with the place, a different argument could be that they are borrowing the positive attributes of the other product.

Would the Spanish know enough about the Kerry region to now the attributes of the location?

The Reverse Argument

In this particular case one could make a strong case against any company being able to use the name of a place in their brand and not actually producing it in that location – is this an even more serious issue for another day?

Place of Origin Branding

When we incorporate the name of a place in our brand or company name, we do automatically benefit from the positive attributes but, most importantly, if we are to use that place name, we also have a responsibility to uphold that name and not damage it in any way.

Did you hear the one about the Kerryman who thought he could sell his butter in Spain – he was right!  

If you need to chat about your brand, give us a call!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland


SEO and the impact on your brand

August 31, 2014

Jeff Bezoz, Amazon - Branding quote

A Simple test ….do a Google search using the keywords that describe what your organisation does and see how your website performs.

Crisis PR in Ireland’ , ‘PR firms in Dublin‘ …. Do your own search for your relevant keywords and see what happens. Include your location in the search, which is what most people normally do when they are searching.

From a business point of view it makes clear sense that if someone is looking for what your organisation is offering that they find you easily online. The very best way is for your website to perform for these ‘key‘ searches organically or naturally. If this is not the case your website is more than likely not properly optimised.

If you have done all you can to optimise your website and it is still not performing well enough then it makes sense to implement a Google Adwords campaign to ensure your website is appearing for ‘key’ searches in a prominent position.

While your website performance is essential for business is this the only reason your site should perform well for searches?

I feel another big reason your website should perform well is that it is an integral part of your overall brand. This might seem like an unusual reason at first as we normally thing of ‘descriptors‘ when we discuss someone’s brand attributes.

Jeff Bezoz of Amazon described a brand as ‘what other people say about you when you are not in the room‘. While it might be up to others to describe you this can clearly be shaped by how you portray your organisation through your actions, behaviours, products, services and all the visual cues or representations of your brand.

Your website plays a key role in this, not just in how it appears but also where it appears when searched for.

It’s difficult to appear as a ‘leader in the sector‘ if a random Google search for the services and products you provide has you appearing well below your competitors or possibly so far back on the search results you are not found at all.

If this is the case you need to optimise your website, which is mostly a very straight forward but methodical process and if necessary support this with Google Adwords pay per click advertising.

The opposite is also the case and with a well optimised site it is possible to take on the big guys who normally dominate in your sector.

Where you appear is just as important as how you appear!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion provide online consultancy and website optimisation services from our offices in Dublin and Cork in Ireland

Sometimes are you better off not saying the right thing?

August 19, 2012
terrible names for a business

Must be a great shop!

At this stage between the initial briefing meeting and the time spent researching and working on the plan we have spent well over a day’s work before we meet with the prospect and present our Marketing\PR plan for his business.

This is always a tricky stage for us – if you want to have a chance of winning the new account you have to punch in the time, put in the research, brainstorm and put all your best ideas and thinking into the plan.

We don’t get paid for this but we do obviously hope that the client likes what we are proposing and then engages us to execute the plan for them – Put your best foot forward if you are serious about winning the business.

We are two hours into our presentation and the prospect seems to be embracing the plan and it is all looking very positive. Our plans are always quite comprehensive and cover everything from being found on-line, a review of marketing collateral and website, a PR plan including ideas that should generate the right media coverage and a social media plan to accelerate all of these efforts.

At the end of the presentation, while everything seems to be going well there is one huge, risky issue that we wish to discuss.

We feel your business name isn’t right” we gently explain to the prospect. This could be as delicate as telling someone you don’t like their child’s name!

But what about my website, my branding, the money I’ve invested to date in advertising, pushing the name out there?” he asks.

It is saying the wrong thing about your business, it is giving the wrong impression of what you are about” … he seems to be digesting and contemplating what we are saying , so we continue “we feel strongly that we would be doing a huge disservice to you if we drove on with a plan without first addressing the issue of your business name“.

After a few minutes he admitted that he always had some concerns about the name “fit” and we were the only (maybe foolish?) ones he met that had raised the issue.

We presented him with some alternative names that we felt more accurately captured the essence of the business offering and he seemed genuinely interested in them.

In truth we could have made life easier for ourselves and probably for him by just ignoring the business name issue and presenting a plan that was in keeping exactly to the brief.

He asked us to leave the plan with him to mull over while he went on leave and we are still waiting to hear…

Sometimes are you better off not saying the right thing?

(p.s. – We’ll let you know how this one turns out!)

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a PR firm with offices in Cork and Dublin

Are you spending enough on Positive Costs?

April 25, 2011

Positive Cost ?

In my accounting days (yes, I know most of you won’t believe it – I was!!) we had a few different ways of looking at the costs of a business.

The most popular of these was a very simple analysis – Fixed Costs, which were those costs that would not vary with volume and Variable Costs, which were the costs which did vary according to volume. This was quite a simplistic model, which didn’t always hold up!

We then had other methods of looking at costs such as Zero Base Costing and Activity Based Costing .. interesting stuff indeed!

Since the recession has kicked in I have witnessed first hand clients being advised to cut back on expenses by the accounting fraternity and often they just do it themselves automatically – the types of costs that get chopped first are those that are deemed to be “unnecessary”, which will typically include marketing &  advertising spend, sales reps, items like training, corporate entertainment, Christmas gifts, staff entertainment  and other “extras”.

On the surface it is easy to figure out why companies would cut back in such a way but you could ask the question: Why spend this money when sales were easier to come by and when it is harder to win business you just abandon them?

Could reduced sales be a self fulfilling prophecy when you cut out certain overheads?

The New Cost Model

Taking the knowledge of my old profession and combining this with what I am witnessing with clients every day I am now proposing a new way of analysing costs.

Here goes ..

There are actually three types of costs:

Negative Costs –   these are the costs that a business is “stuck” with, regardless of volume. It would include Rent and Rates (but not necessarily 100% of these – I will explain that later), Insurance, ESB, etc.

Maintenance Costs – these are the costs of servicing the business that you have brought in. It would such items as staff costs, raw materials, power and delivery costs.

Positive Costs – these are the costs that are all about bringing new business in, effectively the costs, which should have a “positive effect” on the business.

Positive costs are the most important costs of the whole business, they are the elements that are designed to start the engine, the elements that can make things happen, that “trigger” customers to actually place an order.

Positive costs are far reaching and could include surprise elements that you would not expect: the premium you pay to have a premises in a location that will bring in more customers, the cost of washing the car after it has been serviced, the cost of polishing the shoes that have been repaired, the cost of having a receptionist who answers calls promptly and deals with customer queries swiftly.

There could be an element of positive costs to most people overhead in the business – the porter who does “meet and greet” at the door of the hotel, the credit controller who carefully spends time with customers who are experiencing difficulty, the accountant who spends time with customers to understand the business better, the staff party to reward a hard working team and a deliberate initiative to improve morale.

I’m sure with a little effort you will think of thousands of other unexpected examples – all of these elements contribute to bringing in more business and create a “positive effect” on the business.

Of course Positive Costs will include items such as advertising, marketing, graphic design, web marketing, social media activity and even PR!

Positive costs are absolutely essential for generating business for any company – cutting these out may be viewed as a necessary step but it will eventually choke the oxygen of the business.

Recession (or any time for that matter)

Using our new cost model I would suggest the following approach:

Analyse your costs into the different cost categories and work towards –

1. Reducing the negative costs as much as possible

2. Improving efficiencies and work practices so that maintenance costs are as little as possible

3. Spending as much of your overhead budget as possible on positive costs .

I am not for one minute suggesting naive spending – always look for the best value in your positive costs and don’t waste money, making sure they are actually positive costs – that the spend results in increases in business.

Are you spending enough on Positive Costs in your business?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Paper doesn’t refuse ink!

March 26, 2011
Sheep Advertising

Baaad or Good idea?!

Paper doesn’t refuse ink

A website won’t refuse content

A photograph won’t refuse what you put in front of the camera

This week a client reminded me of his photo shoot a few years back where we pushed him out of the “comfort” zone and we managed a photo that was not only quite different, but one that really communicated what he was all about. To this day he is amazed by how many people notice and comment positively on the photo, which he still uses to this day.

Be careful with your content, whatever it is – make sure it gets you noticed and that it tells the right story about you and your business!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications

The Candidates – Simon Coveney, Fine Gael (Cork South Central)

February 7, 2011
Simon Coveney Fine Gael

Really Impressive Simon - Well done!

As part of the election process I am going to do a “Ronseal” (what does their tin say about them) review of the political candidates literature that comes in through our letterbox and score them accordingly!!

Candidate: Simon Coveney, Fine Gael (Cork South Central)

I must admit this impressed me the minute it landed in my hand – It looks different, it feels different and my only complaint is that I wish Simon was in my constituency!

Design and Layout (5)
This is refreshing, a big glossy A3 sheet (double the size of an A4 page) delivered in a landscape 3 panel format – why not? It looks and feels good and it is totally different to all the other literature I have reviewed – what a great way to stand out!

The other and really important thing? – it is printed in Cork. I just spotted this very subtly, not oversold but a point I appreciate – score 5

Photo (10)
The main photo used for Simon is one of him “in action” – it captures someone with a real task in mind. On the inside there is a casual photo of Simon, showing a more relaxed down to earth guy – this one was just ok, but it does show a different aspect of what he is all about. All in all I would want to vote for the guy in the photo – score 9

Contact Details (5)
He includes both his email address and his personal phone number on his flyer, as well as his own website his Facebook page and his Twitter page .. that puts him in the very progressive box and gives everyone an opportunity to really find out more about what he is like and what he is up to and a real chance to interact with him (tip for Simon: more effort on the profile pic and presentation on Facebook)  – score 5

Background (10)
This is the one area where Simon left me down (I’m sure he will be gutted!) – with such a comprehensive package he didn’t tell me anything about him. Ok, you can see his positive attitude, he gives his opinions and some of his philosophy, which is really strong but what about him? What qualifies him to take a seat, what has he accomplished? – Please let me know, it’s importantscore 6

Sales Pitch (10)
The sales pitch for Fine Gael is really refreshing and strong on the flyer and I would definitely get a sense that this is the way I would like to vote. However it is mostly about Fine Gael and not enough about Simon. I do like the “personal” letter that Simon has written “To every Cork person“, which appears at the back of the flyer and carries his signature. This is really about Fine Gael with just a tiny flavour of Simon as I have already mentioned. As a Fine Gael pitch it excels and I love the avoiding of the blatant Fianna Fail bashing – it is positive and forward looking, more about solutions than pointing out problems – score 8

Big Picture (10)
The big picture arguments are really strong with solid approaches and policies for the main areas. I love the “Irish pride” angle and the sense that we need to work together to drive into the future. Well done here – score 10

Overall Score
I am totally sold, but I would love to have learnt more about Simon – wasted opportunity. The arguments and presentation are strong enough for me to be convinced that Simon means business and is very serious about winning a seat. He makes promises here and they seem to have substance.

As I said in the beginning , I’m sorry Simon is not in my constituency overall score 43 out of 50.

Best of luck in the elections Simon!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications

The Candidates – Derry Canty, Fine Gael (Cork North West)

January 30, 2011
Derry Canty, Fine Gael

Derry - we want to hear about you!

As part of the election process I am going to do a “Ronseal” (what does their tin say about them) review of the political candidates literature that comes in through our letterbox and score them accordingly!!

Candidate: Derry Canty, Fine Gael (Cork North West)

Now this review is tricky as he is a namesake and I know him! .. but, the idea here is to review the candidates purely based on that flyer that comes through the letterbox. After all I reckon that is as much as most people voting will get to see of their candidates unless they have been really active in their particular area.

Design and Layout (5)
Derry and his team opted for a really small flyer, A6 size, it’s tiny but it is printed on heavier paper than the other candidates so far. For some reason there is no mention of which constituency Derry is running in – score 3

Photo (10)
There is a good enough photo of Derry, looking friendly and approachable. He is wearing a dark suit with a white shirt and a blue tie – standard attire for a politician I guess! Would you trust this man? On the higher side of average I guess! – score 7

Contact Details (5)
He includes both his email address and his personal phone number on his flyer, a nice “open” approach. As well as this he has his Facebook page listed .. ok, that puts him in the progressive box and gives everyone an opportunity to really find out more about what he is like and what he is up to – score 5

Background (10)
There is absolutely nothing on the flyer about Derry. When I say nothing I really mean nothing.. how can I be expected to vote for you if I know nothing about you, what you believe in, what you are qualified at, what you have achieved – score 0

Sales Pitch (10)
The sales pitch on the flyer is a generic Fine Gael pitch and not why we should vote for Derry. To be fair it does give a point by point review of what they would do. It is a little generic though using terms such as “radical stimulus plan” and “radical reforms” , tell me more, I’d love to hear more about these radical changes .. – score 5

Big Picture (10)
The big picture argument was the same as the sales pitch and did attempt to explain how FG would make a difference. At least there is an attempt at explaining how the “big picture” might be different if we voted for them – score 8

Overall Score
This is a Fine Gael flyer with Derry’s picture and contact details on it. I suspect we will see exactly the same across the length and breadth of the country with other candidate’s names and pictures.

Derry, people vote for people and you know this – your flyer is a wasted opportunity to get your message across to your voters. Lots of pressing the flesh is needed to show them you – check out Aine Collins flyer who goes some way to showing what she is like and why we should vote for  “her” – overall score 28 out of 50.

Best of luck in the elections Derry!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications