Posts Tagged ‘Cork’

United Airlines and the Costly Culture

April 16, 2017

United Airlines protests.

When you hear the company name “United Airlines” what comes to mind?

When you hear the company name “Volkswagen” what comes to mind?

In both cases, you probably think of the well publicised and very damaging situations that have occurred, which have caused untold damage to these monstrous brands.

At the time of writing United Airline shares had dropped significantly resulting in a market capitalisation collapse of $570 Million.

While United Airlines was a very specific incident and Volkswagen was a very deliberate campaign of deception what they both have in common is that what occurred was not something that you could blame on “a” culprit in each company.

With United Airlines could you point the finger at the security guards who removed the passenger?

With Volkswagen could you point the finger at the engineers who were able to rig the emissions performance?

In each case, the individuals involved knew that what they did was okay with their bosses – why would they do such a thing otherwise?

In each case, their bosses knew that this was what they were expected to instruct their subordinates to do – why else would they give guidance like this?

In each case, their bosses, bosses had jobs to do and targets to meet and the expectation was that these must be achieved as a priority beyond all other objectives.

And so on up the chain of command.

The huge problem in large organisations is that very often something rotten is allowed to creep into the culture resulting in management and employees behaving really badly and eventually it just bursts through and shows its ugly face in a way that is quite extraordinarily shocking to everyone.

Oscar Munoz - United Airlines

For example with United Airlines the initial reaction of Chairman Oscar Munoz was to apologise to other passengers for the “upsetting event” but went on to push the blame onto the 69-year-old victim Dr.Dao for being “disruptive and belligerent“!

If you ever wanted someone to confirm the rotten culture at the airline, Mr.Munoz did it in his next communication to his staff where he praised them and stood behind them:

Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this. While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right

In a strange way, he was 100% correct – they did what was expected of them in these situations and as a result, he applauded them!!

At this point in time, the airline’s reputation was in tatters and Oscar and his team started to frantically backpaddle and within three days their tone had changed and fresh press statements included grovelling apologies to Dr.Dao for the appalling treatment and a full refund to all passengers on the flight (what difference was this ridiculous gesture going to do for anyone?).

The best PR advice when something like this occurs is to come clean and apologise immediately with complete sincerity. The word “Sorry” if people genuinely believe those that are delivering the apology can go a long way to reducing the damage caused.

However, just like in the United Airlines scenario a genuine “sorry” was not possible because the culture was too rotten to even contemplate doing such a thing – the expression ‘not being able to see the wood from the trees‘ comes to mind here.

Your reputation ultimately comes from what you do and how you behave and while good PR professionals can help to lessen the damage from a bad situation, it cannot change the culture, which can often be the reason why these things ended up happening in the first place.

Could your culture end up costing you?

Greg Canty 

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

The Magic of PR

April 6, 2017

PR Magic

Advertising is a way of promoting your business but it is you saying that “we are great, buy from us“.

PR is a way of promoting your business and it is more effective because it is someone else, a trusted third party saying “they are great, buy from them

Your PR makes your advertising more effective as now people believe what you are saying

Social media (when you do it right!) is a way of you promoting your business by interacting, engaging and gently saying “stop by, you might like what we have to offer

Your PR makes your social media more effective as now people believe it is worth stopping by and seeing what you have to offer.

Do all three and you have a powerful combination with PR the little piece of magic in the middle.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Calls to action and the impatient customer

March 28, 2017

Cork City FC

The match was on Saturday, a top of the table clash, I had nothing on so how about it?

I hadn’t been to a game in such a long time, which is incredible considering that there was a time when we wouldn’t miss a single match. Regardless of who they were playing we were there; me, my dad, my son, my nephew and from time to time we even dragged my daughter Ellen along!

Was this the time to start a new habit?

I rang my dad – “If I can get tickets are you up for it?“. It would be a nice excuse for us to do something together and get him out from under mum’s feet for a while.

Thumbs up, he was up for it..as long as we can get tickets of course. We could take the risk of going there and hope to get them at the gate but there was a chance it would be a sell out.

Give me a few minutes pops“.

I went onto the club website – where was the button that said ‘tickets’?

There was no such button. I scrolled up and scrolled down – nothing.

I clicked on ‘fixtures’ and the match in question and eventually there was some information about tickets. I could buy them on Ticketmaster (lining those boys pockets with ridiculous booking fees isn’t my idea of a good time but it was an option) but I didn’t have a printer in the house and wasn’t in the mood for popping into the office on my day off.

I could buy them at the club shop but that wasn’t at the ground and was at the other side of the city. Not an option.

There was a phone number that I could ring – I got a pointless message that told me about “opening hours”. I just wanted someone to tell me that I could get tickets at the ground.

Back to Ticketmaster – okay, I’d buy them online and put up with the visit to the office to print them. I guessed they wouldn’t accept something on my phone as a valid ticket. Ticketmaster had no option for OAP tickets. Damn..

Just as I was about to pull my hair out my dad called me back.

I’m not really up to it today if you don’t mind

Not to worry pops“.

I was really upset that our afternoon together didn’t materialise but I do know that if I had managed to buy those tickets when I was in the mood I wouldn’t have given him a choice and both of us would have had a great time. We won 2-1!

In a time poor world, when everything is instant, click, click, click, you need to move fast to convert a customer when they are in the mood, which can change in the blink of an eye.

When we talk about the importance of having “Call to actions” on your website we mean having those buttons at every juncture that make it easy for the person to do business with you when they are in the mood. If you don’t you will just lose out..

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a managing partner of Fuzion Communications who provide website design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

Sad songs, dirty lovers and technology abandoning consumers

March 26, 2017

Johnson & Perrott

The call came through that my new car was ready to be collected – as it was a weekday I didn’t want to spoil the very special occasion by collecting it, driving back to work, parking up and driving home later.

I asked if it was possible to collect the car on Saturday when I would have a chance to properly enjoy it. That was fine so a new plan was born.

On Saturday morning I woke up excited as a child on Christmas morning and the first thing I did was go through my CD’s to pick something suitably rocky to put the superb sound system through its paces. If you haven’t heard the album, “Sad songs for dirty lovers” by The National then check it out quick. There are a few hard, driving rock songs that will get you in the mood!

I thought my dad might like to come with me and enjoy the buzz so I collected him on the way to Johnson & Perrott in Mahonpoint.

I didn’t see the car parked outside as I was expecting

When we got there it’s as if they were waiting for us. They were treating the occasion of handing over a new car to a customer with the same reverence and sense of occasion as it was for the customer. I was however wondering where the new car was?

Ah Greg, we were waiting for you. Let’s get you your new car“.

In the middle of the showroom there was a car that was under a sexy black cloth cover. I was curious and wondered if a new model of a car was going to be unveiled later to the media or if there was some embargo whereby they weren’t allowed to show it to the public until a certain date and time.

The cloth created a sense of theatre and intrigue.

Dan O’Neill, the wonderful sales guy that I have been dealing with for many years caught my curiosity and asked me if I was ready to see my new car.

He brought me over and theatrically pulled the cloth away from the car and unveiled my new, gorgeous Jaguar XF to both me and my dad.

Jaguar XF

Oh my God, what a moment – buying a new car is special but this rewrote the rule book on how your new car should be presented to you.

The car was driven out of the showroom, I quickly completed some paperwork. Dan showed me some of the new features and the keys were finally handed over to me.

It was time to hit the road in this beauty that I was privileged to be driving (I work my socks off but I don’t for one second appreciate how lucky I am) except there was one last thing to do before I pressed on the accelerator.

Sad songs for dirty lovers” was removed from the case and ….

A moments confusion – where do I put the CD?

There was no slot where you would expect it. Was there a button to press somewhere that would slide open a panel on the dashboard where the CD would go? Was there a multi-CD option in the boot (I never liked that idea but okay if that was the case)? Was there some place in the console next to the driver where you placed the CD?

Feeling rather stupid that I wasn’t able to figure out this basic thing I went looking for Dan and asked him the embarrassing question, “Dan, where do I put the CD?

They’ve done away with a CD player in this new model, it’s all by bluetooth now” he explained.

I was staggered and disappointed. We switched on the radio and heard Bobby Kerr doing his business show, I flicked the channels to find some decent music but nothing was what I wanted to hear on my first journey in this fantastic machine. Instead we drove away and just listened to the gorgeous purr of the engine.

Someone somewhere made a decision on behalf of all new Jaguar XF drivers that any music listened to while driving would be on the radio or via something pre-loaded on a phone or an iPod.

I love my music more than most, I love my CD’s and I love the idea of being able to grab something from my collection or buy something in the music store and just play!

I probably sound like a dinosaur (the dinosaur who was buying the car!) but this boy is thinking that technology is now driving a lot of behaviour in a way that maybe the customer just doesn’t want?

Get your hands on that National album (CD or Vinyl) and put it in a decent sound system, crank it up as loud as you can bear and celebrate how things should be..

Note – I bought the car at the beginning of 2016 and a few irritations with technology recently have prompted me to finally write the piece.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service agencu that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

 

 

 

The St.Patrick’s Day lost opportunity

March 16, 2017

St.Patrick's DAy

Can you imagine getting off the plane today, 16th March visiting Ireland for the first time. It’s the eve of St.Patrick’s Day, the iconic Irish festival and I wonder what are your expectations?

You have heard all about it, you have seen some footage on the TV, you know about the Irish dignitaries visiting foreign lands pressing the flesh and exchanging gifts of the shamrock. You know about the Irish celebrations all over the world on this special day where the Irish (and so many who would love to be Irish!) celebrate their Irishness. You have heard about Ireland, the friendly, beautiful country that is famous for the warm welcome, the craic and of course the pubs with that iconic drink, Guinness.

You must be excited..

I’ve just parked the car, grabbed a coffee and walked to the office and I’ve tried to put myself in the shoes of this visitor – what do they see, what do they experience, what are they thinking?

Except for the window of the Tourist Office you really wouldn’t even know that there was a festival. That poor tourist must be a little confused!

I haven’t come to town to see the parade for donkey’s years (even though I do hear its got a lot better) and I haven’t considered it either this year either despite our office being on the route with a perfect view. Outside of the parade is there anything else that would bring me to town to celebrate my Irishness? I know there are some activities planned around the city for the weekend but the occasion just hasn’t crept inside my skin, it doesn’t connect with me.

Palio

Twice a year in Siena (start and end of the summer) in Tuscany there is a festival called the Palio of ‘Palio di Siena‘ which is basically a local festival that runs for a week each time that culminates in a bare back horse race in the Piazzo del Campo at the centre of the town.

Palio

Every man, woman and child comes out and celebrates. They sing, they parade behind their horses and at night they eat and drink together.

The Guardian refer to it “It’s not a horse race, it’s a way of life” and they talk about it being an “embodiment of civic pride”.

We have been there about six times as I am totally seduced by this special feeling of being connected and part of a community spirit, a coming together.

Everytime I go there I wish and long for something in Ireland that can bring out the same spirit and feeling of community, pride and connectedness –  St.Patrick’s Day should be that day but for some reason it falls short.

St.Patrick’s Day is one of our greatest assets and it should be the most special day in all of our calendars. Every man, woman and child, let’s celebrate together!

How can we make that happen?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service national agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

I’ve lost my voice!

March 11, 2017

Losing your voice

I’m not kidding and I’m not trying to be cryptic in any way – I have actually lost my voice!

This is a hangover from our recent trip to New York where I had picked up a sore throat, I guess from long, tiring flights, hotel air conditioning and really chilly weather when we were there.

On the way home at the start of this week I failed to sleep on the plane so I never quite made up for a missing nights sleep and yesterday morning I did a presentation on ‘Social Media Strategy‘ at the Ludgate Hub in Skibbereen, which had me on my feet and talking for nearly four hours – I guess my body has said “enough” and for the first time ever in my life I have no voice today, on my birthday of all days!!

This has been the strangest feeling – my mum called me this morning on the phone and I tried to speak to her – nothing!

I had a few simple errands to run in town today and once again in front of shopkeepers, looking for some specific things – nothing!

I’m sure it will be back tomorrow or soon after if I look after it but it has made me reflect on my 52 years and I have wondered exactly what I have done with this voice of mine?

I have reflected on this last year, number 52 on this earth, and considered how I have used my voice – has it made a difference, has it helped, has it supported, has it been kind, has it been loving and caring, has it motivated, has it given direction, has it highlighted issues, has it been positive or has it been negative, has it been unkind, has it been destructive, has it caused upset?

Being truthful I think this voice has done an okay job this last year but I’m not happy as I feel it needs to start making a much bigger difference.

Your voice is a precious gift – choose to use it properly

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service national agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Business Social Media – What should you be doing?

March 9, 2017

Twitter for business

Social media continues to evolve with users switching from one platform to another, so where does that leave us today for anyone personally using it for a Business to Business audience?

If anything this has become more straightforward than it was before as Google+ has become irrelevant and most of the new social media activity has happened with the “youth” platforms, which can be ignored for now.

For anyone in business I would recommend the following:

The Basics
You should at a minimum maintain a ‘sparkling’ LinkedIn account that puts your best foot forward at all times. You should treat this as your personal website ensuring that all details are up to date, that you have a professional photograph, that you try to get meaningful recommendations and that you use it proactively for connecting with other people in business.

A big health warning here is that if you are not going to maintain your LinkedIn account properly then it might be wise to delete it – anything that does not paint you in the best possible light should not be allowed.

For example I had one client who was ignoring connection requests for over a year – he nearly had a heart attack when he realised that many of those looking to connect with him were his clients!!

Basics with more ambition
For someone with a little more ambition I would encourage them to add Twitter into their social media mix and I would advise posting on both LinkedIn and Twitter to “make some noise” and let the right people know what they are all about. When posting try to use visuals where possible as nice pictures help posts to get more attention!

Twitter as a platform seemed to be fading away a little but our good friend, Mr.Trump seems to have reversed this trend!

As part of this “making some noise” strategy I would recommend following and interacting with relevant accounts on Twitter and doing the same with LinkedIn including relevant groups – try to pick groups where you will find prospects, not other people in your industry.

Trump loves twitter

The Avid User
If you really want to embrace social media you need to incorporate it into your working day, everyday.

A regular piece of advice that I give to clients is that social media is not a full time activity but it is a full time mentality – effectively, you are always “on” looking for natural opportunities to connect, start or join a discussion that demonstrates who you are and what you do.

You will have succeeded here if people in your sector recognise you as a prominent social media user. Even more evidence of success, is when journalists who are prolific online recognise you and contact you for commentary on topics relevant to your sector.

Pro Tip– When you are posting try to use a few relevant #Hashtags frequently so that after a while they become synonymous with you.

The Publisher
The real social media “guru” is the person who publishes their own material online.

Basically I am talking about those who are writing articles and opinion pieces frequently that are relevant to the sector that they work in. These pieces would demonstrate their expertise and personality and they can be hosted on their own blog or else published within their LinkedIn account (or both). These pieces can then be used as social media posts – if posts are not time sensitive they can even be recycled over time.

For those who are excellent in front of a camera or engaging into a microphone, then video (open your own YouTube account) or podcasts are others ways to capture their expertise and personality and these can also be shared as social media posts or incorporated into their blog posts.

What about Facebook and the new social media platforms?
You might be wondering why there has been no mention of the other social media platforms – in truth I don’t think that they are relevant for the B2B audience BUT …there is always a but…

..all of your social media activity demonstrates to the outside world who you are so you must be careful that you don’t do anything detrimental to your self image by what you post and how you behave online.

While I consider the above platforms to be the ones relevant for business you will often get a business contact sending you a ‘friend request‘ on Facebook or following you on Instagram or Snapchat.

In many cases you may feel obliged to accept that ‘friend request‘ but once this happens you do need to realise that all of your “personal” posts will contribute to others forming an opinion of you.

Other developments
One of things that I have observed in the last while is that the ‘reach‘ of posts (how many people get to see the posts) across all platforms has disintegrated in favour of sponsored or promoted posts so you have to work even harder than before to get noticed and create an impact.

The other trend to note is “live” video which is becoming a big feature on both Facebook and Twitter – while you can probably ignore the feature on Facebook (for the B2B audience) it can be quite relevant for Twitter, as long as the content is clever and interesting.

Facebook have threatened developing their own B2B type platform for a while as they want to dominate all social media but we haven’t see any evidence of this yet.

To summarise I would advise everyone in business to jump in at some level and try to push it to the next level over time, I will guarantee you that you will see results but like everything else in life you must stick with it.

For the naysayers who still think that social media is a big waste of time, I would like to say a big thanks for leaving an even bigger opportunity for the rest of us!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

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

What do you bring to work? – the Gospel according to The Boss

February 18, 2017

Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run

I always tell the fantastic team that work with me and Dee at Fuzion Communications, that they don’t work for an entity, they actually work for themselves.

Fuzion isn’t the place where they work, it is them, it is us.

Together we turn up, we ply our trade and we give of ourselves and the result of this is Fuzion.

The place where we work is what we collectively make of it, and it is up to us together, to make it a special place that we can all enjoy.

When we get this right and we enjoy doing great work together for our clients we call it Win Happy.

When anyone new starts I explain our simple work philosophy to them and I am sure they think I am a total crackpot because sadly it doesn’t normally operate like this in the workplace.

I am in the middle of a fantastic book and the following powerful excerpt really resonated with me as it describes our philosophy better than I ever can:

There is love and respect in the centre of everything that we do together.

It’s not just business, it’s personal.

When you come to work with me, I had to be assured that you’d bring your heart

Heart sealed the deal.

We are more than an idea, an aesthetic. We are a philosophy, a collective, with a professional code of honour.

It is based on the principle that we bring our best, everything we have, to remind you of everything you have, your best.

That it’s a privilege to exchange smiles, soul and heart directly with the people in front of you.

That it’s an honour and great fun to join in concert with those whom you’ve invested so much of yourself in and they in you, your fans, the stars above, this moment, and apply your trade humbly (or not so!) as a piece of a long, spirited chain you’re thankful to be a small link in.  

Bruce Springsteen

Excerpt from his book ‘Born to Run’

#WinHappy

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service agencu that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Trust and restoring broken reputations

February 11, 2017

Maurice McCabe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What next?

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

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

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

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

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

Greg Canty 

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

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not telling you where it is..

February 5, 2017

Fireside

You can feel everything heating up again..

We spend at least half our working week doing business in Dublin and our home has been a particular hotel, which was located close to the office.

It became a home from home of sorts for years with most of the staff recognising us as we trooped in with our bags week after week. They looked after us really well and we left them lots of business. We had our corporate rate and our bonus nights and they had a regular customer, often at times of the year when Dublin was quiet.

The first sign of things changing was an email last year notifying us that our corporate rate wouldn’t apply on peak weeks. Okay, but wasn’t that the whole point of a corporate rate – a good average rate in exchange for lots of regular business?

The second big sign, which came along a few months later was an email informing us that the corporate rates in 2017 were increasing by 40%. Thank you… it seems that the whole loyalty thing doesn’t quite cut the mustard when things get busier!

So we went shopping for an alternative.

We did find a place, a little further out that gave us a good corporate rate and they assured us that they had a complimentary shuttle service to alleviate the slightly inconvenient location.

On the first day using the new hotel I enquired about the shuttle service – unfortunately the driver was on leave this week so there would be no shuttle service. Okay – Mr Shuttle driver could not be relied on!

I headed on foot to the office and just as I was nearly there I passed a gorgeous little place, an old Georgian house with a sign outside declaring it to be a “hotel”.

I marched up the steps of this beautiful property and pushed the door open to be greeted by a really nice, friendly guy. I asked about rates and asked to see a typical room.

I was so impressed with the package he offered me and the gorgeous rooms and homely atmosphere that I immediately booked us in for a number of weeks ahead. The guy I was dealing with was the owner – the place had been in his family for decades and somehow you knew it had.

Our first stay didn’t disappoint – “Would you like a tea or a coffee?” was just one part of the warm welcome, the room was homely and impeccable and our breakfast was delicious and made to order.

I’m guessing the friendly woman, Agnes who served us was part of the family that owned this special place.

We walked to work, just a few minutes away and there was an extra skip in my step because in all the years that we have been staying overnight in Dublin I have never felt so at home.

So, unfortunately I’m not going to tell you where it is!!

I’ll resist tweeting about it because selfishly I want to keep this place a secret so that there is always a room there for us.

Dublin is booming ..

Greg Canty 

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