Posts Tagged ‘Cork’

Why Cheltenham?

March 19, 2018

Cheltenham

I was standing in the queue at the Spar on Mount Street in Dublin waiting to order a coffee to get me in shape for the day’s work in the office.

I spotted Dave, a buddy of mine from the drinks industry who I hadn’t seen for a few months collecting his coffee and he nodded across to me.

He made his way over and as jovial as ever he explained that he was exhausted after a few days at Cheltenham: “Jesus, I’m getting too old for this crack and I have a mountain of work to catch up on“.

When we both worked in the drinks industry these “junkets” were part and parcel of the job and while fantastic fun they invariably involved lots of travelling, late nights with more than a drink or two!

Dave is still working in the industry “The recovery time seems to be much longer these days” he told me.

The conversation went on and he asked that question: “How’s your dad doing?

He obviously hadn’t heard.

This is always tough because the answer always leads to some awkwardness and invariably warrants a much bigger conversation.

Dad, sadly passed away at the end of January” I replied and I started to give him some of the details including how he passed, how everyone was coping and both of us stood there holding our takeaway cups and we spoke about mortality and our different experiences.

Life is short” he said “and we never quite know how short it will be“.

We both stood there nodding and contemplating in silence.

That’s why we have to go to Cheltenham” he said and we both went on with our respective days.

He is right..

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

 

 

 

Stories you can only tell with Social Media

March 13, 2018

Orange Army

During the recent extreme weather when the whole country was effectively shut down, we all had plenty of time to check our social media updates to see how each pocket of the country was faring out.

The “stories” came thick and fast like the snowfall, and one story-line in particular that caught my attention came from Irish Rail.

The teams from the state rail service had clearly been told to take out their mobile phones and capture the different work that was being carried out, with these being quickly shared on their various social media channels along with a clever narrative.

These posts complete with the hashtag #OrangeArmy (a very clever way of referring to their team in the field donning their orange reflective jackets) painted their teams as heroes, braving the harshest elements to get the country on their journeys back home or wherever they needed to get to.

As expected there was lots of interaction with the general public who were checking the Irish Rail social media account to get updates about the rail service and were seeing these clever posts.

The media even picked up on this and wrote about the fantastic work that was done by the Irish Rail team at this time – it probably makes a pleasant change!

While this was a clever way of demonstrating the hidden work that most of us never see it was also a brilliant way of involving their team and motivating them: “We appreciate what you do for us, it’s important

Orange Army - Irish Rail

All of this is a brilliant example of how best to use your social media platforms.

These are perfect behind the scenes stories, that while valuable for your “brand” are nearly impossible to share on your website, in an advert or on a newsletter.

Instead of using your social media as another place to repeat your promotional activity, try to use it to tell those other unseen stories and let people get to know you better, your personality, your ethos and your beliefs.

If Irish Rail never shared these “Orange Army” stories we would never know, but they did and now we think they are heroes…

Be clever with your social media, don’t be shy and let people get to know you better.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Social Media Consultancy and Training  from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Love and Kindness

January 16, 2018

Caring

My poor Dad is in the wars and as a result has been in hospital for the last few weeks.

It’s awful, it’s crap, it’s miserable and any other words you would like to think of.

While this is an incredibly hard time for him and for everyone concerned I am truly staggered and overwhelmed by the abundance of love and kindness that I am witnessing each and every day.

There is an incredible wife and mother, fantastic children, loving grandchildren and the most supportive group of relatives and friends you could ever wish for.

To add to this, we are seeing the most caring, kind, and often good humoured nurses and care assistants who are busy and tenderly looking after the patient and the rest of us.

It’s probably unfair to mention anyone in particular, but  I watched Petra, a care assistant in St.Bernadettes ward in the Bon Secours in Cork, tenderly, gently and respectfully look after my dad – she is a very special angel whose treasured version of kindness is worth its weight in gold.

While we need the best of equipment and technology, modern facilities, and highly skilled professionals in our care system, kindness and caring are probably the most valuable of attributes.

To Petra and all of the fantastic carers and givers of kindness who work in these challenging  #roles – thank you !

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

I had a great year because…

January 1, 2018

Visualisation

For the last few years I have been doing this simple little exercise at the start of the year to help me get focused around things that are important both personally and professionally.

I have found it to be really useful and it has made a big difference and as I look back at last year I can see the things that I have achieved as a result of this focus. In Fuzion we also ask all of the team to do this – it is really important to us that everyone in the team achieves their own personal and career goals.

Making plans and actually achieving them is always challenging and at the start of the year we find ourselves at the start of that loop all over again making promises that often will never materialise!

Benjamin Zander - The Art of PossibilityA few years ago I was inspired by a book about goal setting in a different way called “The Art of Possibility” by Benjamin and Rosamund Zander (a really interesting motivational book by the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and his wife who is an executive coach).

Benjamin Zander, the conductor has the task every year of bringing out the very best from a large group of very talented musicians for his orchestra.

His approach is rooted in the power of visualisation – the simple idea behind this is that if you visualise what you want to achieve then there is a much better chance of it actually happening (disbelievers ….stop reading now !!)

This is my approach to his great idea to tap into all of Your Possibilities..

Take a quiet few moments so you can concentrate with a blank sheet of paper and a pen and do some visualisation – Take a few deep breaths and relax and close your eyes.

Now imagine the last working day of this year, just before you head out the door to do some last minute shopping and enjoy a well-earned rest. You are feeling really satisfied as you reflect on your fantastic achievements during the year. Some of these were personal things and some of these were professional things – you are feeling great!

Now open your eyes and start writing:

I had a great year because ….

Now off you go and list the things that will make this year a great one for you:.

Take your time and be as specific as you can including all of those business and personal goals that will give you that huge sense of satisfaction on that last work day.

Now you need to study this list and start figuring out how you can make this list come to life.

Put your piece of paper in a safe place so that you can refer to it throughout the year to make sure your wish list stays on track.

Enjoy realising all of your possibilities..

Happy New Year

This clip of Benjamin Zander is really motivational and well worth watching.

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

“It’s very quiet….”

December 18, 2017

While staying in the very luxurious Cliff House Hotel (10 year anniversary treat!!) we headed down to the village to explore a little and go for a walk on the beach.

The Cliff House Hotel is located in the village of Ardmore, Co.Waterford which is perched on a cliff alongside a gorgeous beach, a perfect idyllic location on the Irish coast.

As it was a weekday in a cold December, as expected virtually every place in this summer holiday village was shut except for a little grocery store, an art gallery and a cosy, inviting looking cafe.

After a long walk on the cliff and the beach we fancied a cuppa and a treat so we headed to the cafe.

I was imagining a warm bowl of soup, homemade brown bread, homemade treats ….hmmmmm

When we entered, it was empty but it looked pretty with tables covered in bright table cloths and nicely painted chairs.

The man behind the counter didn’t quite match the place – there was a heavy aura around him, that didn’t exactly convey a ‘warm welcome’.

I ordered a coffee and a tea and I took a scone from the ‘serve yourself’ display, placing it on the paper plate provided.

The guy prepared the drinks and served them in disposable cups and placed them in front of him on the counter for us to collect.

Making idle conversation to ease the uncomfortable silence, I asked if he was having a good day – he told us that we were just the second customers all day and went on to say how bad the whole year had been. I could feel the heavy cloud.

This poor man was wearing his negativity like the heaviest ball and chain and it was pulling everything in the cafe down, including the few customers that came through his door.

Ardmore cafe

We sat and had our drinks and looked around the cafe – there was a sign on each table instructing the customers to dispose of their own cups and plates – why?

Why was the tea and coffee not brought to our table in cute homely cups, just like in a ‘tea room’ that this place could easily be?

Why were the treats served in a DIY manner and on paper plates with plastic cutlery?

Why was there very random stuff for sale in the cafe (about a dozen pairs of shoes and two boxes of golf balls!) that had nothing in keeping with the place?

Why did this cafe with oodles of potential not “own” beautiful Ardmore on social media and attract people to the place, with posts encouraging people to stroll on the beach?

Why were the parents of the school kids in the school nearby not meeting for treats before they collected their little darlings?

We finished up as quick as possible and were glad to leave the negativity behind us – we wanted to enjoy our day!

Go on…. make sure you put your best foot forward, make the most of your lovely little place with all of that potential or just hand the keys to someone else!

Are you putting forward the best possible version of you and your business?

Greg Canty 

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

 

Don’t be a Monkey…Personalise!!

November 30, 2017

Monkey 2

I just received an email with an attachment from a firm of Accountants – instead of having their desired reaction and me reading it, I felt compelled to use the same amount of time and actually write a blog post that someone might feel is useful.

The body of the email read:

Dear All,

Attached please find our Newsletter which we trust will be of interest to you.

Should you have any queries regarding the attached, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Yours sincerely,

(Not signed by anyone)

Ok…some email marketing tips if want to have any chance of success.

Dear All

This is insulting and pointless. You have my email address and you more than likely have my name. There is a much bigger chance of me reading it if you personalise it.

Attached please find our Newsletter which we trust will be of interest to you

Jesus, make some attempt at talking to me instead of opening with “attached”.

By the way, the trust part is just silly..

Should you have any queries regarding the attached, please do not hesitate to contact us.

The only query I have is why you are sending out such a pointless newsletter that is just making you look bad instead of the opposite.

Yours sincerely,

How can it be sincere when you haven’t used my name and you haven’t used yours. It’s lazy, not sincere.

Use E-Marketing Software

The big tip is to use simple, low cost, easy to use, easy to customise Email Marketing software that makes all of the above really easy to do.

  1. You can design really nice looking e-newsletters without too much trouble
  2. You can easily personalise the emails to each individual
  3. There are no attachments so it won’t get blocked by some servers
  4. It will tell you how many people opened it and who they are
  5. It will tell you how many clicked the links to your website and who
  6. It lets people unsubscribe easily by just clicking a button

We use a really great service called Mailchimp for our client campaigns – It’s easy to use and quite economical.

Think!!

My last tip, and probably the biggest one of all is to take just 30 seconds and think about the person you are sending it to – how would they feel if they got a generic, cold, patronising email?

There is no doubt that they would have put a lot of time and effort into this newsletter, but instead of it doing a positive job for them, it actually does the opposite.

What’s worse is that most of the recipients will either be clients, prospects or business connections.

Something we always say to clients is…Never write a cheque to make yourself look bad!

Rant over..

Greg Canty 

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

Protection for (or from) Whistleblowers!

November 29, 2017

Protecting the Whistleblower

Frances Fitzgerald, the Tanaiste has resigned “for the sake of the country“..

Leo Varadkar, the Taoiseach has thanked her, for her service and has declared that it is a shame that a good woman who has done nothing wrong has resigned..

Fianna Faíl have got their way and they will quietly sit in the wings waiting, waiting, waiting until the perfect moment to pull that trigger.  They exercised their power in a big, public gesture and won this power battle..

Noel Waters, Secretary-General of the Department of Justice has decided to take early retirement and he is angry about the witch hunt against the organisation that he has been in charge of..

Noírín O’Sullivan, the Garda Commissioner, who was publicly supported by the Government retired in September (after her holidays!)..

A devious, nasty campaign against Maurice McCabe, the Garda Whistleblower, Parking Fines, Breath Tests – the whole thing is a shambles, a debacle of monumental proportions and yet at this moment in time no one is saying sorry and no one seems to be doing anything to sort anything out.

One of the critical instruments of the State, our police force, is totally out of control and no one is taking any responsibility – “I did nothing wrong“…The problem is that you did nothing!!!

But, phew..the crisis has been averted for now and there will be no General Election this side of Christmas – we can all get on with our shopping.

But..what about the Whistleblower??

Somewhere in the mix, the whole point of all of this seems to have gone over everyone’s heads.

What about Maurice McCabe??

Have we heard anyone in authority saying (in a manner that we believe them) that we will not put up with any corruption in our State organisations as it will not be tolerated and any whistleblower will get all of our protection?

Have we heard anyone apologising publicly to Maurice McCabe?

Instead we have listened to horrendous stories of legal strategies against him and “it wasn’t in my jurisdiction to interfere“.

In this country we have legislation that was enacted in 2014 to protect Whistleblowers.

The Protected Disclosures Act 2014 aims to protect people who raise concerns about possible wrongdoing in the workplace. The Act, which came into effect on 15 July 2014. It provides for redress for employees who are dismissed or otherwise penalised for having reported possible wrongdoing in the workplace. 

Some of the detail:

(from the Citizens Information Board website)

Under the Act, you make a protected disclosure if you are a worker and you disclose relevant information in a particular way.

Information is relevant if it came to your attention in connection with your work and you reasonably believe that it tends to show wrongdoing.

This wrongdoing may be occurring or suspected to be occurring either inside or outside of the country. Even if the information is proved to be incorrect, you are still protected by the Act provided you had a reasonable belief in the information.

Wrongdoing is widely defined in the Act and includes the commission of criminal offences, failure to comply with legal obligations, endangering the health and safety of individuals, damaging the environment, miscarriage of justice, misuse of public funds, and oppressive, discriminatory, grossly negligent or grossly mismanaged acts or omissions by a public body.

The definition also includes the concealment or destruction of information about any of the above wrongdoing.

The Act gives people anonymity, it describes how people should go about making a Protected Disclosure and it outlines how the Employer must act when presented with a disclosure.

All of this sounds great in practice, and there will be a poor sod who actually believes it and goes about reporting something they feel morally bound to do!! (Ssssh..if he/she was a friend or work colleague of yours what would you whisper in their ear?).

The Big Question?

So, taking the whole recent circus into account, lets be really honest here for a moment.

If you were in the scenario, working for a State body and who felt strongly about some bad crap or “wrongdoing” that was going on where you worked what would you do?

I’m guessing you would either shut up and say nothing (and perpetuate the problem) or just leave.

We have all learnt a big lesson – don’t complain!!

This is a wonderful country..

Greg Canty 

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

 

 

The Manager of First Impressions

November 27, 2017

Warm greeting at reception

We arrived at our hotel, parked the car and wrestled with our bags and clothes on hangers so we could get ready quickly to head to a wedding of one of our team, the lovely Edel and her soon to be husband Dave.

I sour puss greeted us as reception as she saw us approaching “Check-in isn’t until 3” she warmly (not) greeted us!

Deirdre explained that she needed to change quickly to get ready for a wedding close-by, so if there was anything at all she could do, it would be much appreciated.

Without too much bother and a click of her screen we were handed the keys to a room that was ready.

How hard was that?!!

We left our friendly receptionist and went to find our room – we passed a woman who was cleaning rooms who gave us a big friendly hello.

We got to our room and neither of our key cards seemed to work …. here we go, I thought !!

Just as we were about to trundle back to our favourite receptionist, another cleaning lady who had seen us struggling with the door asked if she could help.

There is a knack to these doors” she explained as she took the key card from us, quickly swiped and presto, success!

With a big smile, she held the door open for us and wished us a lovely stay.

Maybe she was just having a bad day or maybe, just maybe the wrong person is on the reception desk?

Make sure your Manager of First Impressions is doing just that.

Greg Canty 

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

 

Gum Crime

November 17, 2017

Football urinals

There it was again staring up at me as I was literally going about my business.

Chewing gum in the urinal!

This chewing gum phenomena is one that I come across regularly in all sorts of public toilets with no class divide whatsoever. Hotels, offices , shopping centres – you get them everywhere!!

I’m quite sure that the culprit isn’t one person that goes from one set of loos to the next leaving his mark, that it isn’t some person using chewing gum as a way of making a quiet protest about a global issue or a modern day Banksy who wants to leave their unique signature behind.

No, this isn’t a unique person, but it is one of many who have a unique set of characteristics.

These are part of a special “we don’t give a toss for others club” who are everywhere, quietly going about their business and life with scant regard for others.

To understand this special group of people you need to get inside their heads and try to figure out their thought process.

Standing at the urinal they suddenly think about this piece of gum that’s been in their gob for a while – they are fed up of it, they need to get rid of it now!!

While they are piddling they consider the bin that lurks just behind them – that’s another 10 seconds of chewing. Nope, let’s just spit it out right now, into that urinal so that it can join all of the other unique bodily fluids and just sit there for everyone to see.

How will my piece of gum get from the urinal to a bin?…. not my problem!!!

Instead I’ll let some poor cleaning lesser being, have the pleasure of picking up my germ, urine covered chewing gum – isn’t that their job after all ??

You are an absolute beauty!!

The problem with this gang is that their wonderful attitude goes well beyond spitting their chewing gum in the urinal – they look down their noses at everyone and feel quite entitled and there will always be someone else to clean up their crap.

Next time you see someone committing “Gum Crime” ask them politely who is going to pick that up for them?

Gum rant done …

Greg Canty 

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

Rugby, Our Good Life and Bandages

November 13, 2017

Ireland versus South Africa

When your taxi driver starts chatting thoughtfully to you about inequality and homelessness you know that it’s a huge penny that’s dropping with everyone.

(Interestingly, our Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar has just received huge criticism for commenting that the levels of homelessness are quite normal in Ireland compared to other countries!)

I was making typical, idle conversation with the driver about “how business was with him” and how it must be much better, that we are out of recession – he responded by saying, that “he knew where I was going with the conversation

Yes, things were much better but definitely not for everyone. The rich are getting richer, while others are struggling to survive

He spoke compassionately about the homeless people that he passes every day (we passed many of them on our taxi ride) and mentioned the fundraising that the taxi drivers do – they won’t give them money but they will give them food and essential items.

I mentioned the little piece of work that we had done with Dublin Simon and added my observations – you just feel like you are putting a bandage on something, but actually achieving very little. However, that bandage is required – until the bigger issues are tackled successfully, plenty of bandages are needed.

We were in Dublin for the Ireland v South Africa rugby match – I’m not into rugby but did feel privileged to be able to watch the match in the magnificent Aviva Stadium.

Of course the tickets were expensive and we also bought the other extras including headsets and match programmes. There was a non-stop procession of people walking past us throughout the match with their trays full of beer. I did wonder if many of them were there to watch the game or just drink beer and have the craic!

During our stay we ate well and drank too much, taking our taxis from place to and we stayed in the fine Croke Park Hotel.

We are the lucky ones to be able to afford to do this.

Jonathan Corrie, Homeless man in Dublin

I was asking the driver about “this” side of Dublin as it still seems to be very run down with a few spots here and there that seem a little better.

The driver pointed out the properties that a company called Key Collection had in this part of town. There were lots of individual properties with a distinctive black door that apparently they let out on short term lettings.

The driver expressed his surprise at the locations of these properties, but he explained that they will make much more money on these short term lettings rather than renting them on a permanent basis to families and other people who need them.

He reckons this is a real shame, but reasoned that money wins at the end of the day – we agreed that it was a good thing that at least someone was investing in these properties (probably acquired cheaply) and this would help to improve these parts of the city.

He also pointed out to us some of the drug areas in the city as we drove by, and he filled us in on which drug family controlled each.

I don’t think he was very happy with this “cosmopolitan Dublin” that he felt he didn’t know as well as he did before – “we can’t lose the friendliness that we were always renowned for”.

As he dropped us to the train station his conclusion was that greed was ultimately driving all of this inequality. Is it greed or is it something else?

I guess when we don’t know how to solve these bigger problems, when we don’t know how to get beyond the bandages, do we just concentrate on looking after ourselves?

…Our good life

Greg Canty 

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