Posts Tagged ‘Cork’

The Ultimate Football Legend

June 18, 2017

“Legend” is a huge word and when we talk about football legends we all have our favourites depending on what we look for in a player, the era when we grew up, the part of the world we come from and our favourite teams.

Could it be Pele, the sublime Brazilian magician with the huge smile who captured the worlds attention at the beginning of the football watching TV generation or is it  the more recent Messi or free scoring Ronaldo (ok, he’s brilliant but what a poser!)?

As a huge Liverpool FC fan I have to think about putting Kenny Daglish on my list as well as Robbie Fowler who in his prime must get a mention. How could I ignore Steven Gerrard who played a huge role in any success the team enjoyed in the more recent past and I also loved the no messing, elegant centre half Sami Hyppia.

When pushed for an absolute winner someone else, someone very special, but quite unknown rushes to the top of my list. 

He’s a man who played to a very high level in Cork before emigrating to the United States in 1958, captaining teams that enjoyed national success. He played as a centre half in those teams and according to many people I have met down through the years he was highly respected.

Football, or soccer wasn’t popular in the U.S. but he did play a little over there and he continued to play in local leagues when he returned to Cork in 1964.

Like all proud fathers he played endless hours of football with his own son and then his grandchildren, passing on his passion, his encouragement and his skills to other generations. These different generations were brought to see Cork Hibs, Cork Celtic and later Cork City FC matches on a regular basis.

His love of football and fantastic, encouraging manner with young people had the neighbouring children knocking on his front door wondering was he coming out to play football with them on a regular basis!

I had the honour of walking with him recently in Ballincollig Park in Cork. Suddenly I found myself chatting to myself as he was no longer walking alongside me.

I looked back to see that he had stopped and was kicking a football back and forth to a young girl who was at the park with her mother. He was showing her how to kick the ball properly and had her repeating the action, over and over.

My number 1, football legend is Michael Canty (Mick to his teammates), my dad.

Thank you Pops, you are the very best

Greg Canty 

Are you one of them yet?

June 5, 2017

Us and Them

I met a good friend of mine who has just started a new job and has swapped from the private sector to the public sector.

The particular job he has taken is with an organisation that is renowned as being very political, slow-moving and cautious. As an added bonus the organisation is known to have some “dangerous” ultra political characters within in that have burnt many an enthusiastic person who dared to try something new that might upset the status quo.

We met before he started his new role and while the challenge was clearly exciting, there was huge opportunity to really make a difference but he was also very realistic about the difficulties the culture could pose for him.

We had great fun chatting about “them”, how he would fit in with them, how frustrated he would become with them, who would try to manipulate him and who would genuinely befriend him and act as a valuable ally.

We made a pact that he would text or call whenever he has the “I want to run away” moments and a coffee or a pint after work might be useful medication in those circumstances.

I’m sure that he will survive because he has many gears and is flexible enough to make it work but I am also sure that if he stays the course, there will come a point when “them” becomes “us”.

The most valuable time for him and the organisation is right now and the time in between the “them” and the “us” when he has clear eyes, a fresh perspective and he can bring huge value to his new role.

Eventually, we all become “them” and that special perspective is gone forever!

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

Writing cheques to make yourself look bad

May 14, 2017

James Bond Museum

I was doing a review of the marketing activities with a new home improvement client a few years back.

In the previous year, they had spent €15,000 on Google Adwords in the UK bringing the right search traffic to the website of their UK operation.

They weren’t convinced about how successful this investment was and they asked me to review the campaign.

The lack of success was simple to figure out because the €15,000 was being used to drive traffic to their website, which was outdated and made them look like an old fashioned, backwards operation. You could easily understand how this traffic was not converting because, like me, I am fairly sure that the people who looked at the website were not inclined to do business.

Not only were they wasting money but they were damaging their brand – an important and very simple SEO tip is to make sure you have a website that makes people want to do business with you!

My simple recommendation to them was to stop the campaign immediately, upgrade the website and then, and only then, start up the Google campaign again.

I was told that there was no budget for a new website and instead they decided to increase their Google Adwords budget in the hope that bringing, even more traffic would somehow improve the results they were getting from the previous campaign.

Whether it is..

– Advertising when your store is a mess
– Putting a cheap sign over your premises
– Paying for an advert and not designing it properly
– Getting cheap business cards
– Bringing traffic to an outdated website

..the message is always the same.

Never, ever, write a cheque to make yourself look bad.

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

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