Posts Tagged ‘Marketing’

I’m ready to buy. Are you ready to sell?

April 30, 2021

So the time was right.

We had engaged with this particular service provider before, but the time wasn’t quite right then for us to get value for the service provided so we didn’t engage.

However, they recently reached out and this time the time was right, it was actually spot on and we were ready to do business, so I accepted the offer of a Zoom call to discuss.

On the Zoom call they presented their service and explained how it had developed since before, and I carefully explained why we were ready to engage with them and I further explained precisely how their service could assist us.

The meeting went great, they seemed to understand what we needed and they said they would get back to me with a proposal that would outline precisely how they could assist us and with costings.

It was the hot lead ready to be brought through the door, so very nearly there.

We received a generic proposal, similar to what they had presented on the Zoom call and with quite confusing modular pricing and no reference to the actual solution that we needed and what we had discussed.

This was followed up with a generic follow up message from sort of an automated CRM system, that made no reference to our meeting or the follow up proposal.

I responded to their proposal asking for some clarification and quite honestly I am none the wiser as it gave me a bunch of modules and options that were difficult to navigate with no attempt to create the bespoke package of services that I know will meet my needs.

A simple “further to our meeting and based on your requirements you outlined, what would work best for you is a combination of module 1 and module 3 and some extra consultancy hours and this will cost €xxxx

Unfortunately, they want me to try to figure out the part that I need them to figure out!

I’m not sure if they know it, but we were nearly over the line.

I was ready to buy, but I’m not sure if they are ready to sell.

Greg

Greg Canty 

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

The special gift of music – the playlist with Declan Murphy of THE 4 OF US

March 30, 2021

Music has played a special role in my life, ever since a Spanish student that was staying with us one summer in 1977 and he had brought his tape recorder and a selection of his favourite albums.

I spent weeks, night after night listening to bands like ELO, Supertramp and the wonderful Lou Reed and I was hooked.

The first proper album I bought for myself was The Boomtown Rats debut album, while I was staying with my aunt and uncle for a few days in Dungarvan when I was 13.

My first concert was Thin Lizzy at the City Hall in Cork when I was just 14, quickly followed by Eric Clapton and then Rory Gallagher.

As well as being an avid collector I ended up doing some work with local bands for a short while and even though I never managed to fulfil my dream of working in a record company, I did mange to fulfil another one, which was owning my own record stores in Cork, Limerick, Galway and Dublin. They were called BlackTrack.

I still buy music the whole time, but I do think you can miss a trick and never listen to some gems, so at the beginning of this lockdown 2021, I decided to brighten my year and expand my collection by asking the wonderful, Declan Murphy, songwriter and guitarist with one of my favourite bands, THE 4 OF US to pick out his favourite 12 albums, one for each month of the year.

He shared his list with me on the Win Happy podcast as well as having a big chat about his love of music, the joy of collecting music, the band and his fascinating story.

The conversation ended up being a huge one that stretched over three parts and he totally cheated by managing to squeeze in 16 classic albums. Even though I have a big collection, I was surprised that I just had two of his 16 – in the meantime I’ve managed to get hold of the other 14 and am loving each and every single one of them.

He was very gracious and didn’t include any of the THE 4 OF US albums, he could have as they are all brilliant.

Let me know if you agree with his choices.. 

As I say, enjoy the show!

Part 1 : Must listen to music to brighten up 2021!

Part 2: Its just too personal to me

Part 3: Happy Accidents

Greg Canty 

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

St. Patrick’s Day and looking in the Covid rear view mirror

March 18, 2021

So, the ISAG (Independent Scientific Advocacy Group) last December were advocating for an approach (mostly known as Zero Covid), that they said would have us out of lockdown and enjoying some return to freedom on St. Patrick’s Day.

They were talking about a similar approach to how New Zealand had dealt with Covid, whereby we could potentially be enjoying a mask free life in our country, meeting friends, eating in restaurants, drinking in pubs, celebrating our special national day and most importantly getting “Back to Normal”.

I myself was a big advocate for the approach they were taking, as I believed it made total sense and was the only way for us to get out of our grave situation with minimum loss of life, health, jobs, damage to the economy and mental health.

I went as far as blogging about it, tweeting about it and even giving their team some pro-bono strategic guidance about their communications – we even did some design work to help simplify their messaging. I am not involved now, but I do support what they are doing.

Note: I was quiet surprised at the abuse I took in some quarters for supporting that approach and was even targeted by the “brilliant” Gript crew (…very strange). The “we are all in this together” horse bolted in April 2020 and still hasn’t come back!

On one hand we can now throw our eyes up to heaven and say the ISAG crew were talking rubbish and isn’t where we are right now proof that they were totally wrong

OR ..we can now look back and say they were spot on all along, and if only we had done what they said then, we would be in a pub with a creamy pint of Murphy’s toasting our national day and the end to the hardship we have all endured at varying levels.

So…were they right or were they wrong?

Let’s take a look..

What they were advocating for was:

  • An aggressive suppression of the virus by going into a sharp, decisive lockdown
  • Quarantining all visitors to the country for two weeks to ensure those entering were not introducing even more Covid and possible new variants
  • Some cooperation with Northern Ireland (who were in a worse mess at the time) about people moving between jurisdictions
  • An effective contact tracing regime to focus in on any cases that happen
  • A sensible opening up of the country on a county by county basis

While all of this initial effort seemed very extreme, a sacrifice by the population for two months or so could have us in a much better, enjoyable place for 2021 while we all waited for vaccines.

Initially many of the usual suspects argued that this “Zero Covid” crew were a bit nuts and what was being suggested just wasn’t possible here – as I said I took a small amount of that abuse for my small part in advocating for the approach.

When we look at what has happened since then until this St. Patrick’s Day (our supposed “freedom” day):

  • We came out of the October/November lockdown when there were still too many cases in the community (we stupidly allowed schools to stay open despite outbreaks)
  • We never controlled international travel or the border with the North
  • Christmas shopping and entertaining kicked in
  • The UK variant came to Ireland with all of the thousands of people returning home for Christmas and….

BOOM !!!

We had an explosion of Covid with an incredible amount of cases and the inevitable deaths that followed.

Suddenly that aggressive and inevitable lockdown was needed and there was no issue with the general public, we knew it was necessary and with that more and more people were seeing the sense that the ISAG crew were advocating for, except instead of a “hill” of Covid cases in the community that we needed to suppress it was suddenly a colossal “mountain”.

OK, we could still do what the ISAG were suggesting, but the scale of the problem meant the St. Patrick’s Day target was now unrealistic, but instead a few weeks later if we did the right thing.

What did we actually do?

  • We took the tough lockdown on the chin, including home schooling (sensible and necessary) – the only exception is that the lockdown period needed to be longer (how long will it be?)
  • And…a token effort to restrict “unnecessary” travel (as we know there are still thousands travelling each week unnecessarily)
  • And….despite the talk about hotel quarantining we still haven’t managed to put an arrangement in place
  • And….schools will return and the community spread will kick off again
  • And….we are stumbling through a vaccination programme (my 85 year old mum will receive her 2nd vaccination next Saturday , my 47 year old brother in New Jersey received his two weeks ago!)

The most significant problem since December is that the flights kept coming with all sorts of visitors from everywhere including new Covid variants from Brazil and other places.

A simple question may be asked: how bloody stupid are we in this country?

Basically, we can’t go beyond 5kms in Ireland, but you can go to Lanzarote!

As far back as last summer Ireland has been “so good” at putting restrictions on it’s citizens, but for some stupid reasons that I will never fathom we have to leave the back door open, which leaves us on this St. Patrick’s Day, not free but looking into a fog of uncertainty with no plan, a shambles of a vaccination rollout and staring down the barrel of a 2021 and even more hardship and economic devastation.

As well as the high number of deaths and sickness since December, the other very serious problem now is that people have lost patience and lost faith and compounded by extremely poor communications a very depressed country is ready to explode.

So, a big salute to the dedicated ISAG crew who persisted with their very simple, spot on approach that could have had us raising our glasses together in our favourite watering holes.

You were right, all along and for whatever political reasons those in power did not do the “5%” that would have us out of this mess.

Greg Canty 

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

Saying “let’s do it” when most of us just wouldn’t dare!

February 18, 2021

Ciara O'Toole - Going Solo on Lake Como

I’m sure we have all been away on holidays in a special place and you pass an auctioneers window and gaze at the houses for sale and think “what if“?

While it’s a nice dream, quickly after 60 seconds you rationalise and the dream is gone.

For me that place would definitely be Siena in Italy, and while I have had this idea for a while I can think quickly for a bunch of very logical and rational reasons why it just couldn’t work …maybe when I retire (isn’t that the easy way of dodging the thought? )

If Covid has taught us anything, it is that you can get your work done from anywhere, hasn’t it? Of course, there are other reasons why I can’t and it doesn’t take me long to list them in my head.

Ciara O’Toole, our very special friend and her husband gazed at that window in Lake Como and decided “lets do it“!!

She was just married, without a word of Italian, a house in Dublin with a big mortgage and a great career as a marketer…crazy idea Ciara!

What I love about her is her adventurous spirit, that ability to “go for it” without a strong safety net and hey, let’s see what happens!

In Ciara’s case lots happened, including a few nasty bumps and wonderful experiences but it has been and continues to be a great adventure!

Did I tell you she learnt how to fly a sea plane and wrote a book about the experience?

If you get a chance at all you might read her book “Going Solo on Lake Como” and maybe tune into the episode of the Win Happy podcast with this intelligent, funny, adventurer, marketeer, entrepreneur, author and pilot who tells her incredible story that is full of many twists and turns!

Let’s celebrate those who say “Let’s do it”, and maybe think about that being you next time you look at that window. 

Check out Ciara’s website by clicking on this link

Greg Canty 

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

Thank you friend..

January 20, 2021

Men's friendship

Maybe it was something that I specifically said in my email about a bad nights sleep or maybe there was just a hint in the some of my other content, that I was under a little bit of a cloud yesterday?

Whatever it was, like all good friends he sensed that my mood wasn’t quite what it should be.

Within minutes my phone rang and it was him.

We chatted about work, about football about Covid and about families and of course he did ask me why I was a bit off colour and not sleeping. He did get it out of me that this was getting close to Dad’s anniversary, and at this time three years ago we were watching him gradually fade away, day after day and the sad memories were weighing heavily on me.

As always, a problem shared is a problem halved and we also got the chance to talk about how he was feeling – his dad sadly passed towards the end of last year.

I am so grateful to my friend for taking time out of his busy day to reach out – it took away the cloud.

So today, and all days, pay close attention to those you love and your colleagues to what they are saying and how they are saying it, and if you can make the time, reach out.

Thank you Roger..

Greg Canty 

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

 

The man at the window

January 17, 2021

Working from home

And there he is..

He must have been there all along, doing exactly the same thing as me, day in day out for months, but it took the leaves to fall from the trees and the evenings to get shorter for me to notice him.

Late in the afternoon, just like me he switches on the light in the upstairs bedroom or “lockdown office” and I spotted him for the first time.

He is working from his house, upstairs in one of the bedrooms in the housing estate opposite me.

When we walk the dogs in the morning and in the evening you can see all of the neighbouring “offices” , the many people at work early in the morning and late in the evening at their new workplaces in bedrooms and on kitchen tables.

It’s as if many of the city centre offices have moved out to the houses in the suburbs with the exception that we can’t take a breather and walk around the corner to the coffee shop or head to the canteen for a cuppa with a work colleague. Instead we just walk down the stairs, put the kettle on, say hello to the dog (if you have a dog!) and come back to the desk.

I don’t miss the commuting time and I certainly don’t miss the costs associated with that, but I do think there is a quiet grind to this extended period of working from home that is probably chipping away at us, in ways that we don’t even realise.

For all of the time saved commuting and the brutal efficiency of meeting the team and clients on Zoom, for some reason I don’t seem to be more productive and when Friday comes I am fairly wiped out.

I read with interest the new proposal by government about remote working which has just been published, ‘Making Remote Work’, Ireland’s National Remote Work Strategy. The Strategy’s stated objective is to ensure that remote working is a permanent feature in the Irish workplace in a way that maximises economic, social and environmental benefits.

Somehow the word “remote” is quite a negative one and it’s literal meaning might resonate with too many of us at the moment.

I know that I don’t want to return to the way it was before, but I’m not sure what exactly I will evolve to.

I don’t know my work neighbour in the window across the way, but maybe some day I will wave and we just might have a coffee at the wall!

Mind your mind..

Greg Canty 

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

 

 

Dangerous People!

December 14, 2020
Dangerous People !

Don’t you just hate those “dangerous people” who come to meetings because

– they ask the question you hope no one asks

– they don’t just go with the flow and nod their head politely at what is being said

– they are there to fulfil a role and not to be popular with the group

– through their actions they encourage others to speak their mind

– they provide another point of view and quite possibly an inconvenient one

– they can make you feel uncomfortable

– they might take the meeting in an unplanned direction

– they could cause the meeting to run over

– they might just result in making more work for everyone

Next time you have a meeting where you really want to trash out an issue, hold people accountable, get alternative views and maybe even arrive at a much better conclusion, make sure you have a dangerous person in the room..

Of course if you want an easy life..

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Sorry Michael..

October 6, 2020

Inniscarra Bar, Cork

Friday evening, after doing our grocery shopping we decided we would get a quick drink in our local before settling down for the night at home.

This beautiful little pub, the Inniscarra Bar is just outside Ballincollig – it’s your traditional “old mans” pub where there are a bunch of regulars and a few like us who pop in for one every now and then.

We were determined to pop in as the place had just opened that Monday after a cruel six months of “lockdown” to enjoy a drink, to say hello to the lovely owner Kay and to soak up some of the  much missed atmosphere.

All of the Covid signs were up, Kay and her fellow barmaid had their masks on and were busy cleaning the tables every few minutes and making sure that everyone was maintaining a safe distance. The old codgers who were normally perched at the bar on their favourite chairs weren’t for obvious reasons which was sad – there would have been even more opportunities to distance if that was possible, but there you go.

All of the usual faces were there and it was lovely to hear the banter, which pretty much was telling jokes about Covid and who looked funny wearing their mask, to make light of this shite situation and to “pretend” it was somehow a normal night, at least for a while.

We sat near Michael, a lovely, kind, welcoming regular, well known for his jokes who we were told was 88 the previous week – I told him we could now call him “two fat ladies” but he didn’t get it. He obviously never played bingo!

Michael was perched near the fire as always, and after he got a few jokes out of his system he started to tell us how lonely he had been since the lockdown. He lives alone.

With tears in his eyes he told us how he dreaded 6pm each night as that was the time that he would make his way to the pub – the nights were long and lonely and he was fed up of playing chess on the computer.

Someone needs to tell Michael that tonight will be his last night with friends for a while again..

Covid has been cruel, but if we are to shut down and inflict all types of hardship on so many people, we better make it a good shutdown, short and sharp with no cherry picking of different groups of society and no stupid messing around with borders.

We must get to Zero Covid and we absolutely can because what we are living through now just isn’t living.

Sorry Michael…

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

Zero Covid and the “Future Green List”

October 5, 2020

New Zealand lockdown

This is not working, this is not living and we shouldn’t accept any plan that doesn’t have us working towards a return to our normal lives – shopping without masks, having people to dinner from more than one household, having parties, going to gigs and the theatre… looking at others without judgement 24/7.

We need to go for Zero Covid just like they have managed it in New Zealand, but this can only happen if we do everything to starve the virus and ONLY do this if we have international cooperation with other countries that wish to be part of a “Future Green List“.

But it’s easy for them in New Zealand….they are different.” (Really?)

I hate when I hear people saying this is not possible “because of politics“.

When we think it’s not possible this is the first problem, because it is absolutely possible.

Which country in the world is sailing through this pandemic without people living in fear, getting sick, dying and their economies in free-fall?

We all have something in common, don’t we? – The prize for getting this right is big, it is GIGANTIC.

Background:

Please listen to some excellent podcasts hosted by Eamon Dunphy, The Stand with various guests who give some valuable perspectives to support this argument/approach: 

Dr. Niall Conroy, Consultant in Public Medicine in Queensland, talks to Eamon about how the combination of strong leadership and listening to the doctors suppressed Covid-19 across Australia.

Prof. Gerry Killeen, Chair of Applied Pathogen Ecology in UCC – Unless We Abandon Our Defeatist Strategy We’re Looking at 35,000 Deaths

Tomás Ryan, Associate Professor in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology and Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience – Get Real or Get Ready for a Terrible Winter

So…how do we do this?

  • We find out which countries want to be Covid free and want to restore normal life and their economies again – anyone interested?

Some strong common sense leadership is required for this part!

  • Then we agree a ‘Future Green List’ and put a target date for this to happen.
  • Let’s say 25th December, Christmas Day is the goal and at that point the objective is that countries in this ‘Future Green List’ are 100% back to normal: YEP – 100% BACK TO NORMAL!

Imagine living normally and being able to travel freely between these countries and doing all the things that we are dangerously close to forgetting?

For some stupid reason that idea seems preposterous right now, the most ridiculous, rubbish thinking by a mad man….right? It isn’t, listen to podcast with Dr. Niall Conroy, about a place with a population larger than Ireland. 

  • Once we agree who is in that ‘Future Green List’ each country closes their borders except for essential travel and a proper 14 day quarantine programme is put in place for other travellers.
  • Then each country goes about doing the hard yards to bring us to Zero Covid and try desperately to get everyone back to a “We are in this together” place, which has long since disappeared.

The 25th December, Christmas day, seeing friends and family normally might be a great motivator?

If we believe in the goal and witness the progress, people will hopefully stay the course.

I’ll gladly take that, if it is leading us towards a tangible worthwhile goal that we can all believe in, which certainly is nothing like where we are now, society is choking as we drift rudderless towards nowhere.

  • When Ireland hits Zero Covid we maintain our borders and start living again, fully living (not this current version)
  • When Spain hits Zero Covid we can open our borders to Spain and vice versa.
  • When the UK hits their Zero Covid we open to them and so on and so on

The countries outside the Green List will work hard to be on the list and will know how to get there from those who have got there – New Zealand have shown us what is possible.

If there are (inevitable) bumps along the way, just like in New Zealand you hunt them down and stamp them out just like they have done.

Are we in?

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Just a Drop of a West Cork Story ..

September 3, 2020

Old Head KInsale

We were in the car all five of us on a Saturday morning, the last one of August, the last one of summer (I know it’s autumn, but I always consider August to be part of summer) taking a trip around West Cork.

The five of us was Dee and I, the two dogs Honey and Bert who have started to enjoy our summer excursions and Ayla, from New Zealand, my son’s girlfriend (he’s busy filming for Failte Ireland at the moment).

From a chat we had a few nights earlier we reckoned she hadn’t really experienced that wonderful part of Ireland, so this plan was hatched.

As usual, we totally underestimated the amount of time it would take to explore but we did manage to take in the Old Head of Kinsale and then a scenic coastal drive that included Harbour View beach, Timoleague, Courtmacsherry and Clonakilty via Ring.

The sun was shining and Clonakilty town was buzzing and we strolled through the town with our two four legged buddies, enviously looking at the patrons enjoying the selection of cafes and restaurants that were calling to us.

Eventually, the pangs of hunger and the gentle waft of a chipper called to us and we grabbed two bags of “proper” chips with some mouth watering, juicy, succulent chicken goujons from an immaculate place called the ‘Chunky Chip‘ and enjoyed those sitting on the grass on the green near Emmet Square.

Emmet Square, Clonakilty

Walking off those chips was a must so we headed on to Red Strand and then onto Long Strand at Owenahincha and went for a fabulous walk meandering through the sand dunes that go on forever and then onto the beach.

Owenincha

The dogs enjoyed the water, but did realise it wasn’t for drinking and we managed to sit for a few moments to enjoy a glass of white wine (Dee is always prepared!) looking out at the ocean, taking in all of it’s beauty and bidding farewell to this very strange summer.

Driving back home (there was a Liverpool match to get back for..) we were chatting about all sorts of everything including “wouldn’t it be great to live near the sea” which seemed to be the recurring topic of the day.

Throughout the journey we had the music playing with a mix of all our tastes along with the selection that the Spotify algorithm throws you and before we knew it we were listing to a fantastic song by one of my favourite bands, The 4 of Us, called “Just A Drop“.

I was able to tell Ayla and Dee (and the two dogs!) the story of the song, which not only brought it to life but it also gave them an insight into the character of the band and something that they could carry with them and tell others.

The reason I knew the story was because they told it to me via email.

Every week during “lockdown” the band have been sending an email featuring a different song, whereby they tell the story behind the song and they leave you with the gift of a free download.

This is the fantastic story behind the song in their own words:

Just A Drop. The story behind the song…

Dad was a big Johnny Cash fan and suggested, on more than one occasion, that our songs could benefit from a bit of the boom-chicka-boom rhythm that characterised Cash’s early recordings.

We eventually took up his suggestion, writing Just A Drop, for the Sugar Island album, as a tribute to him and his love for the Man in Black.

Before we recorded it, we headed home to Newry to play it for him.

“You are finally going to love a 4 Of Us song,” we told him.

To make sure he was in a suitably receptive mood, we bought some insurance – a bottle of his favourite whiskey.

He sipped a glass of it, relaxing in his favourite armchair as we played him the song.

Three minutes later, we waited to hear his opinion. He paused.

Then he looked up at us and said just two words:

“More whiskey.”

We insisted on playing it to him again, assuring him that sometimes it takes a while for a song to grow on you.

After three more performances – and three more whiskeys – he started getting into it.

So, if you don’t think our performance in the video below sounds anything like Johnny Cash, we understand.

But can we recommend that you combine it with a glass or two of Black Bush?

Brendan and Declan ❤

(you can watch the song on YouTube at the bottom of this post)

It’s such a very clever thing to do.

At a time when they can’t do gigs, they are still talking to us and what’s more, they are building a special bond and a connection that brings us closer to them and one that works when it comes to selling their music and their gigs.

It was nice to get an unexpected lesson in marketing from an unexpected source..

Are you taking the time to tell your interesting story?

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland