Posts Tagged ‘Design’

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.


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.


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




Saying the right thing at the right time

October 31, 2015

Bill Shankly

Saying the right thing at the right time is a huge skill.

The team need motivating, the meeting needs cooling, a big point needs to be made, a situation needs rescuing, a group needs convincing, the proposal needs selling ..whatever the situation its important to say the right thing and deliver it in a manner that connects with your audience and has the impact you desire.

Like every other skill it is something that we learn over time and sometimes for important things we might even need a little assistance!

We will never surrender

Imagine Winston Churchill making his speech in the House of Commons on the 4th June, 1940 with a country facing war and in serious trouble and the whole population fearful:

We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be.

We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender

Winston Churchill wrote most of his own speeches but drafts went through many hands. Some of the ideas for this speech apparently came from an American newspaper editor, William Simms.

I have a dream

Imagine Dr. Martin Luther King standing in front of 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28th 1963 calling an end to racism in the United States:

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal

Clarence Jones wrote some of Dr. Martin Luther King’s speeches with input from his advisor Wyatt Walker and of course the finishing touches applied by Dr. King. On this occasion Walker did not want there to be any reference to “I have a dream” as he felt it had been overused already by Dr.King in previous speeches.

Apparently Dr King when he felt his prepared speech wasn’t delivering the right impact he decided to abandon his written text and use his “I have a dream” speech. It worked!

Ask not..

Imagine a 43 year old John F Kennedy addressing the crowd in his inaugural, United States Presidential speech in 1961 trying to instil some national pride in it’s citizens:

My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country

Theodore Chaikin “Ted” Sorensen was President John F.Kennedy’s legendary speechwriter as well as his advisor and special counsel. President Kennedy once called him his “intellectual blood bank“.

Yes we can

Imagine another United States President, Barack Obama addressing a crowd in Dublin on May 23rd, 2011 when our country was battered and bruised after a number of torturous recession years with little sign of progress:

Never has a nation so small inspired so much in another. Irish signatures are on our founding documents, Irish blood was spilled on our battlefields, Irish sweat built our great cities. Our spirit is eternally refreshed by Irish stories and Irish song, our public life by the humour and heart and dedication of servants with names like Kennedy and Reagan, O’Neill and Moynihan

This little country, that inspires the biggest things, your best days are still ahead. Our greatest triumphs, in America and Ireland alike, are still to come. And Ireland, if anyone ever says otherwise, if anybody ever tells you that your problems are too big, or your challenges are too great, that we can’t do something, that we shouldn’t even try, think about all we’ve done together. Think about whatever hardships the winter may bring, spring-time’s always just around the corner.

And if they keep on arguing with you, just respond with a simple creed: Is feidir linn. Yes we can. Yes we can. Is feidir linn.”

I watched that speech in our office with the team and I felt it gave everyone in the country an important lift (as well as the Queen’s visit a few weeks previous).

Jonathan E. “Jon” Favreau  was the Director of Speechwriting for President Barack Obama who is quite adept at writing his own speeches. In  his second term in office he changed to Cody Keenan, who Obama refers to as “Hemingway”, writing in a much more grounded style than the lofty grandiose style of Favreau.

Yes we can” was the stand out element or ‘tag line’ of Obama’s famous speeches and this nearly never made it as Barack Obama thought it was too “corny” and he had to be persuaded by his wife Michelle to use it!

When it came to ‘saying the right thing‘ even all of these brilliant individuals needed help from someone..

Maybe you do too?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design, with offices in Dublin and Cork




Facing the Music 

October 7, 2015

Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool

Week after week I watched the pre and post-match interviews.

As a lifelong Liverpool FC fan I’ve been concerned about the team’s loss of form and I am glued to each of those interviews to see what our manager, Brendan Rodgers had to say.

I was starting to feel a lot of sympathy for him as the line of questioning was unrelenting. At each interview it was the same thing “Are you under pressure?” “Are the players under pressure?” “Is the team suffering from a loss of confidence?” “Do you have the backing of the owners?

Then of course this becomes the topic with all of the pundits, the former players and it makes for headlines in the newspapers “Rodgers under pressure“..the screw is slowly but surely being turned.

Normally the interviews used to focus on the match, the tactics, the performance of players, the injury situation but most of the recent ones were all about his job security. It became the latest episode of an ongoing soap opera.

Interview after interview he batted these questions away, not getting frustrated and insisting that he and the team were not affected but instead they were concentrating on their jobs. He recently did speak about the ‘hysteria‘ around his job by the media and he did mention a ‘group’ who wanted him out.

He did have a point – it was a little over the top.

Match after match the manager of each team must ‘face the music’ – good result or bad result he has to face the media. This must be a tough and very punishing routine when things are not going your way.

I was impressed that the Liverpool team started so impressively in the local derby match against Everton. This was a huge game for him and the team – while the match wasn’t perfect the team were very focused despite the pressure.

Once again after the match he faced the music – it was the same story.

After the same repetitive line of questioning he stated that he didn’t need to look for reassurance from the owners and he hoped he would be the manager for years to come.

This was even more cruelty – the team had just earned a good result away to Everton and this was still the big topic of the questioning!

An hour later when he got off the team bus he was summoned to the office and relieved of his duties. The pressure valve was finally released.

The club confirmed the news by simply posting a press statement on the company website.

This was clearly prepared in advance, carefully crafted and just posted on the website and more than likely issued to the media by their press office.

Ironically no one in management had to sit in front of the media and ‘face the music‘. Their statement would suffice.

Football is a very cruel sport where the players and the managers are in the full glare of the media spotlight constantly and no matter how much they are trained to handle this pressure it must eventually wear them down.

Brendan Rodgers – thank you for the incredible highs of the 2013/2014 season where you had the team playing some of the most incredible and exciting football I have ever seen.

You very nearly did it!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design, with offices in Dublin and Cork


Tenders and sun tans!

July 4, 2015

Working on holidays

At last our holiday – a week in Italy with family and great friends. We had a nice place booked for all of us just outside Siena for seven days to rest, relax, chill out and generally recharge the batteries.

Myself and Dee got there a few days in advance and we were due to pick up our buddy and his girlfriend from the train station in Siena for their much deserved break – he works his ass off all year round and the odd time we get to collaborate on work projects.

I called him the day before we were due to collect them to confirm arrangements and he was a little upset – his company was on a supplier panel for a semi-state body and a project was just put out to tender.

This project, which was right up his street and closely related to a bigger project that we had worked with him on was given a one week deadline for responses.

A one week deadline on a tender for a complex project like this is highly unusual and quite unreasonable. At this holiday time of the year it is more so.

Not only is it unfair but if this organisation are genuine about getting the best providers pitching then one weeks notice just shoots themselves in the foot – you have to ask the question, is it a genuine tender process or is designed for their preferred supplier who are fully briefed and ready to submit to win?

Dilemma – Was he to grab a laptop from somewhere and work on the tender submission, which would take up at least a full day of his hard earned holidays or pass? A contract like this would be important to him and his company so it was a big decision.

My buddy did the reasonable thing and asked for a one week extension – surely this was quite reasonable?

They would have done well to allow him this “break”:

  1. There was no real urgency on this work (this semi-state have dragged their heels on this project for well over a year already)
  2. He is hugely knowledgeable on the project and would provide a valuable tender (they know he has this knowledge)
  3. A weeks notice is unreasonable and highly unusual
  4. The request was ‘fair’ and reasonable
  5. They will have a better chance of more quality tender submissions

As expected he got his response;

I have contacted the evaluation team to review the possibility of extending the deadline, unfortunately we are unable to extend


I know a guy working there who holds quite a senior role and asked him to look into it.

He investigated it and confirmed that nothing could be done …. the thing is of course it can be. When it suits them anything can be done.

My buddy as he was taking a rare week off with his other half decided after much torment against working on the tender proposal and ruining a big portion of his holiday but it did upset him.

In truth I believe he made a great decision because if they really wanted a proposal from his company it would have happened.

I suspect that if he had given up his time and submitted the best, competitively priced proposal of all time it still would not have won him the job.

Readers of my blog will have heard me giving out about the tender process before – some agree with me and others feel I am moaning and I should accept that this is just the way it is and ‘shut up‘. It has been suggested by some that most tenders are done and dusted in advance of them being published and this is ‘Just the way it is‘.

I strongly believe that tender processes are too often being manipulated, including the use of every possible trick at times to ensure that fairness and the very reason that these processes were introduced in the first place are not applied – this happens over and over.

I have also come to believe that complaining is a total and utter waste of time and probably ends up working against you both in the short and long run.

The sooner there is a body with real power that can oversee the proper application of our tender rules (these are the government agencies that we pay for) and processes and genuinely investigate complaints the better. Without this nothing will change and these farcical situations will continue as they always have.

As for my buddy I suspect his frustration will last longer than his tan ..

Greg Canty 

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


Do we say something?

March 5, 2015

Hear no evil

This is the tricky part …

You feel something has gone wrong, you have been treated unfairly, you have seen someone else being treated badly and they are losing out..

If you open your mouth and complain then you become the ‘pain in the backside‘, the one who always ends up raising the issue, always being troublesome, the one to be avoided in the future.

In some ways maybe you are better off just saying nothing … Let someone else be the one to complain or raise the issue.

We rationalise that maybe that is actually the best approach, bite the lip, say nothing, stay in line and stay in favour, surely someone else will ask the question?

All of us do this all of the time because it makes sense, we think about the bigger picture and we decide to be strategic. Surely this is the best way to win?

Every time we do this someone gets away with something that maybe they shouldn’t and bad practices become a habit – with power and influence on their side bad practice becomes an even bigger habit and it goes on and on.


Before we know it we are reading awful stories about sweet deals, favours, corruption, embezzlement, back handers and abuse … we read about Jimmy Savile and wonder how could such terrible, shocking things happen. Who is to blame?

When we make a decision to say nothing it becomes all of our fault.

Dr. Martin Luther King famously said “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends”

Say something ..

Note: After I wrote this post I read an incredible article in the Irish Independent where an Irish educated surgeon, Gabrielle McMullin advises trainee doctors not to report sexual abuse as it could affect their careers. Is she right?

Greg Canty 

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

Are you ready for the Upswing?

October 29, 2014

Bursting through the clouds

Our landlord is selling our building on Fitzwilliam Street and all tenants are required to vacate the building before the end of November. I can’t believe this is happening and that we are back in the horrible loop of looking for another office, just months after moving in.

As soon as this news was delivered I immediately took off on foot around the D2 area to take down the phone numbers of the many offices that had ‘To Let’ signs outside them.

My first surprise was that many of these signs now had “Let by” on them and not ‘To Let’. I quickly got on the phone and started chasing the estate agents for the details of the remaining ones that I thought might be suitable.

I’m sorry, that is actually let now” …”Apologies, that premises is no longer available” … “The premises you are enquiring about is only available for six months as the building is being sold

There was a trend to my many phone calls and I was starting to panic a little about the future home of Greg and his band of merry men and women!

I pressed one of the friendlier estate agents as to what was going on. “The whole thing is after taking off” he explained. “If you find anything that is half way right in this area just grab it, no messing” he advised.

Thankfully after too many phone calls we have found a gorgeous office space overlooking the canal at 13 Warrington Place but even with this we had to make up our minds immediately as we were competing with someone else who wanted the space.

Judging from this experience, the talk by Aidan Gavin of Sherry Fitzgerald at Dublin Chamber recently, the Cork Chamber event with the Business Post and the recent positive economic indicators it looks like the lights are well and truly back on and we are in a definite ‘upswing’.

The big question is are you ready?

More business will be done, people will want to move quicker than before, decisions will be made faster and you must make sure you are in the mix to grab the opportunities.

I’ve put together some simple Marketing & PR tips to help you on the way, so you and your business can make the most of these opportunities.

Positive Intent – before I go into all of the practical stuff it is vital that you have positive intent on your side. Let your team know what is coming down the track and what you expect of them – they may need to work harder and faster to cope with the extra opportunities that will arrive, This will be good for everyone as long as the business can cope with the extra workload.

Those tips:

  1. Looking the part– Before you start any campaign have a good look in the mirror and decide are you ready. Do your branding, signage, website and other tangible visible elements properly reflect the essence and quality of your business, products and services? Right now take a glance at your business card! It may be time to refresh your branding and put your best foot forward.
  2. Get in the game on-line by being found– Will prospective customers who are already looking for your products or services find their way to your website? Make sure your website is found easily by anyone who may be searching for the services you offer. You may need to optimise your website or start a Google Adwords campaign if this is not the case.
  3. On-line Communication– If you decide to communicate to all your customers, previous prospects and other contacts right now could you do it? Consider adding an email newsletter service to your communications routine and let your database know of changes to the business, new products, new services, awards and other news on a regular basis. This is easily set up and new contacts can be added to your database directly from your website.
  4. Social Media– Even at this advanced stage most businesses have not got to grips with social media. If your business is not using these platforms to drive awareness and promote what you are doing on a daily basis then it is time to get in gear.
  5. Good stories– One of our mottos at Fuzion with our clients is to ‘Never waste a Good Story’. If there is good news happening in your business, if there are interesting developments, if there are new products or changes that should be publicised then drive awareness with a strong PR Plan.
  6. Advertising & Promotions– If you have pulled back on activity in this area then maybe it’s time to reconsider. There is terrific value to be had if you do this in a planned way, securing great prices and also negotiating editorial coverage. There is a strong chance that your competitors have cut back on their activity – is it time to steal a march on them?
  7. Plan– Carefully map out all of your Marketing & PR activity including your budgets for the year and share this with your team. Try to ensure that there is a constant stream of activity throughout the year so that your business is always visible with your target audience.
  8. Measure– Track the success of your activities, giving each of them a proper chance to seed so that you can properly assess their effectiveness. Flex your plan where necessary.
  9. Be Ready – My last tip is to be ready for when those enquiries come in and grab those opportunities as they come along – they will!

If you are in Dublin pop in to say “Hi” to us at our new offices at 13 Warrington Place, Dublin 2, which runs alongside the canal just off Baggot Street.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

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

One complaint …two very different replies

June 28, 2014

Handling complaints

Initially I was reluctant to complain but I felt it was necessary. From what I was told I believed we were really hard done by, we received some really bad treatment and if I just let it go the same would happen again and again.

I was raging and I felt I had to do something to address this situation.

I felt it was really important to address what I felt were serious issues so I wrote a strong complaint email outlining all of my concerns to the person involved.

Reply number 1

The person I wrote to handled the situation perfectly (even if he felt like shooting me !)

He called me, assured me that my complaints were not valid but wanted to hear what I had to say because what I had complained about was very serious and he wanted to get to the bottom of it.  We had a rational conversation, he listened to my grievances and I listened to his replies. By the end of the conversation we hadn’t solved everything, all of the issues hadn’t disappeared but he understood why I felt annoyed and aggrieved and I appreciated that I was listened to.

I was raging when I complained but now I had calmed down because I was listened to.

Reply number 2

Because it was a serious issue my man sent a copy of my complaint email to his boss.

While he was busy trying to contact me to try to sort out this issue his boss was busy with a different approach.

Instead of taking my complaint seriously and wanting to listen his boss sent an angry email responding to me.

Effectively it read “How dare you make any such accusations about us and how we do our business. You are unprofessional to have done such a thing and never dare to complain again” did I feel now?

I was raging when I complained but now I was even worse.

His boss had zero interest in what I had to say, denied everything, enquired about none of the circumstances that led to me complaining and instead of treating me with some degree of courtesy and respect and wanting to genuinely listen a choice was made to attack.

This situation was really interesting as we had two different individuals taking quite a different approach to dealing with a complaint.

No one likes to receive complaints but we need to treat them like gifts, listen and learn and then deal with them in a way that diffuses the situation instead of making them even worse.

In my scenario this ‘boss’ needs to take a few lessons from the staff member ..

How you handle complaints is a critical part of maintaining the Reputation of both you and your organisation.

Defuse, don’t inflame

Greg Canty

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


Win at all costs?

April 29, 2014

Mourinho celebrating against Liverpool

Besides being totally and utterly devastated after watching Liverpool lose the advantage in the title charge because of a defeat to a very cynical, Jose Mourinho, Chelsea side I was surprised at the mixed reaction to the match.

In my view, (which I realise is totally biased because I am a Liverpool fan) I felt Chelsea came and effectively cheated their way to an awful victory.

Despite having 190 million pounds worth of talent on the pitch Jose Mourinho instructed his team to spoil the football match by constantly disrupting it by time wasting and then ‘parking two buses‘ in front of the goal – it was a successful ploy as Chelsea won the match and Liverpool despite being the better team couldn’t create a clear chance or a piece of magic that would lead to a goal.

How could those talented players want to perform like this? Is this why he lost the support of some of the players at Real Madrid?

I’m gutted that horrible, spoiling tactics won the match for Chelsea and that the win came from an awful, misfortunate slip by the most passionate player on the pitch, Stephen Gerrard, which led to a simple gift of a goal.

In there was any fairness wouldn’t you think that if any luck was going on the day it would be to the team that tried to play football and not to the nasty, negative and horrible Mourinho and his team? I was sick watching him run to the supporters punching his chest after they scored – “you deserve nothing” I felt.

After the game this view was shared by nearly every Liverpool fan I spoke to and so many others – how can such cynicism win through, it’s bad for football, why didn’t the ref punish time wasting at the beginning of the match instead of at 92 minutes when the damage was done?

While this was the most popular view I was surprised by how many others who felt it was a tactical masterpiece, his aim was to spoil and he succeeded, who cares how you do it, isn’t winning the objective?

After all, how you win is irrelevant..

In your business is it win at all costs?

Greg Canty

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

Confidence, Logic and New Cars

March 10, 2014

Mad Men Cadillac

According to wikipedia Confidence is described as a state of being certain either that a hypothesis or prediction is correct or that a chosen course of action is the best or most effective.

It also goes on to say that Confidence can be a self-fulfilling prophecy as those without it may fail or not try because they lack it and those with it may succeed because they have it rather than because of an innate ability.

This Confidence thing seems to be a pretty important ingredient to success – where can I get it?

Everyone we deal with is now starting to “accept” that the economy is finally improving and consumer/business Confidence is one of the reasons quoted as being responsible for the change.

For example, nationally, car sales are up 28 per cent. The light commercial vehicle market, which is a good sign of activity in the SME sector, saw an increase in sales of 41 per cent in February with sales of Heavy Goods Vehicles, a barometer of activity in the wider Economy, seeing a 68 per cent increase.

Alan Nolan, SIMI Director General: “The Motor Industry is often the first to be affected when there’s a downturn and one of the first to come back when the economy improves. Dealers are undoubtedly seeing a lot more Confidence among consumers, many of whom have been putting off making large purchases over the last few years.

Incredibly February 2014 saw the formation of 37 new companies in the Motor Industry.

Where did this magical Confidence come from all of a sudden?

  • Is it all due to logical factors that the economists can explain in detail?
  • Is it down to clever governmental policy that has strategically steered us into a much better place?
  • Is it because there have been lots of tax breaks, which have lead to increases in disposable income?
  • Are our fabulous banks now getting back to lending again?


Is it because collectively we changed our attitudes because we all got totally burnt out and fed up with the suffocating negativity everywhere and realised we had to start looking up instead of down and make things happen for ourselves?

Once we changed out attitudes, performance followed and before we knew it many of us witnessed positive results and started believing that things were changing for the better. We were Confident once again.


While there were lots of real elements that led to the crash of our economy our collapse of Confidence meant the hole became much deeper than it ever should have been.

For exactly the same reason we will now see a huge improvement – not for any logical reasons but because we are now Confident.

The next time we hit a bump in the road we need to remember that protecting Confidence is the number one priority.


Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency in Ireland with offices in Cork and Dublin