Posts Tagged ‘Public relations’

The Three Circles and the Path you Choose

August 28, 2011
Greg and Brendan Canty

Parental advice!

My son Brendan Canty has just qualified from CIT, having completed a multi media course. He wants to work in film in some way and he is also really passionate about music.

How unusual – a 22 year old being passionate about music!

Like every other parent you worry about what your children will do – you want them to find a job, earn a living and in this climate it has never been quite so tough.

You need to find a god solid job” I hear myself saying..

Well – he has set up his own website operating under the name Feel Good Lost and he has been busy producing videos for bands from all over the world – with the web and modern technology this is all quite easy, apparently!

His last music video was for a “secret” American solo artist who goes under the name Slow Magic and the track he produced was for a song called Corvette Cassette. There is a video producers peer website called Vimeo (this is like a worldwide YouTube for video and film producers), which has just featured this song as a staff pic – at the time of writing the video has been viewed 63,000 times across the world.

While Brendan does some excellent corporate video work for Fuzion and his own clients he excels when he combines his love of music and his film profession. On Friday nights he DJ’s in The Pavilion in Cork combining music and visuals as part of his unique set operating under the Feel Good Lost name.

Slow Magic // Corvette Cassette from Feel Good Lost on Vimeo.

He is following his dream and his passion and it had me thinking about career choices and Three Circles..

In Jim Collins fabulous business book Good to Great (for me this book is a business bible) he talks about companies using a Three Circle criteria as a guide to the activities they should get involved in:

A company should only engage in activities that:

  1. It is passionate about
  2. It can excel at
  3. It can make money from

The basic principle is that if companies concentrate their efforts on activities that meet all three of these criteria then they will inevitably be very successful – this is one of the factors that Jim Collins attributes to the success of what he calls “Great” companies.

If you are looking for a new job or a new challenge how about using the Three Circle Criteria for deciding which path you choose?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Making the Sale or Changing the Customers routine?

July 31, 2011
Cafe Chico

What would make you change your routine?

I admit it … I’m boring!

Every Sunday morning myself and Dee go for a walk with our four legged creature, Bing to the local park with our good friends Tommy and Joan and their four legged creature, Tammy.

This routine was so predictable – walk to Ballincollig Park, lap of the first field, walk alongside the river to the lower fields, cut up through the Gunpowder mills and the GAA fields, into the village, stop for coffee and scones at Nosh and Coffee, chat, walk through the village and home. This as I mentioned is what we do pretty much every Sunday.

A few months ago a very cute little mobile coffee kiosk moved into the car park at the start of the park serving coffee and buns and they even have a few very neat tables and chairs outside their unit complete with flowers in vases. Now, this didn’t really suit our break “routine” as the location of the kiosk was at the start of our walk and not in the middle so even though it was a really nice set up it wasn’t quite right for us (its a big deal changing people’s habits!).

Recently we did our usual walk but some of the “crew members” were a little hungover so having completed stage one of our walk we double backed, cut the walk short and went back to the little kiosk, “Cafe Chico” (the owner called the kiosk after her dog, who she brings with her for company each day) for some very welcome refreshments.

The woman working in the kiosk was really friendly, the coffee and home made scones were perfect and to top it all she offered us biscuits from a tin especially for the four legged creatures – Wow! this woman knew and understood her customers really well.

Officially we have changed our routine! Now the first leg of our walk is the same as it was before but now we do a few laps of the lower fields, double back along the river to lap the first field again and then return to the beginning to enjoy our coffee, scones and chat at Cafe Chico!

I know.. exciting stuff!

Why? She runs a great little friendly business, she understands her customer and she goes a little further than you would expect but fully appreciate.

Are you making a sale or are you changing a customers routine – which is worth more?

While we can look after your PR needs, your reputation starts with what you do yourself.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Are you spending enough on Positive Costs?

April 25, 2011

Positive Cost ?

In my accounting days (yes, I know most of you won’t believe it – I was!!) we had a few different ways of looking at the costs of a business.

The most popular of these was a very simple analysis – Fixed Costs, which were those costs that would not vary with volume and Variable Costs, which were the costs which did vary according to volume. This was quite a simplistic model, which didn’t always hold up!

We then had other methods of looking at costs such as Zero Base Costing and Activity Based Costing .. interesting stuff indeed!

Since the recession has kicked in I have witnessed first hand clients being advised to cut back on expenses by the accounting fraternity and often they just do it themselves automatically – the types of costs that get chopped first are those that are deemed to be “unnecessary”, which will typically include marketing &  advertising spend, sales reps, items like training, corporate entertainment, Christmas gifts, staff entertainment  and other “extras”.

On the surface it is easy to figure out why companies would cut back in such a way but you could ask the question: Why spend this money when sales were easier to come by and when it is harder to win business you just abandon them?

Could reduced sales be a self fulfilling prophecy when you cut out certain overheads?

The New Cost Model

Taking the knowledge of my old profession and combining this with what I am witnessing with clients every day I am now proposing a new way of analysing costs.

Here goes ..

There are actually three types of costs:

Negative Costs –   these are the costs that a business is “stuck” with, regardless of volume. It would include Rent and Rates (but not necessarily 100% of these – I will explain that later), Insurance, ESB, etc.

Maintenance Costs – these are the costs of servicing the business that you have brought in. It would such items as staff costs, raw materials, power and delivery costs.

Positive Costs – these are the costs that are all about bringing new business in, effectively the costs, which should have a “positive effect” on the business.

Positive costs are the most important costs of the whole business, they are the elements that are designed to start the engine, the elements that can make things happen, that “trigger” customers to actually place an order.

Positive costs are far reaching and could include surprise elements that you would not expect: the premium you pay to have a premises in a location that will bring in more customers, the cost of washing the car after it has been serviced, the cost of polishing the shoes that have been repaired, the cost of having a receptionist who answers calls promptly and deals with customer queries swiftly.

There could be an element of positive costs to most people overhead in the business – the porter who does “meet and greet” at the door of the hotel, the credit controller who carefully spends time with customers who are experiencing difficulty, the accountant who spends time with customers to understand the business better, the staff party to reward a hard working team and a deliberate initiative to improve morale.

I’m sure with a little effort you will think of thousands of other unexpected examples – all of these elements contribute to bringing in more business and create a “positive effect” on the business.

Of course Positive Costs will include items such as advertising, marketing, graphic design, web marketing, social media activity and even PR!

Positive costs are absolutely essential for generating business for any company – cutting these out may be viewed as a necessary step but it will eventually choke the oxygen of the business.

Recession (or any time for that matter)

Using our new cost model I would suggest the following approach:

Analyse your costs into the different cost categories and work towards –

1. Reducing the negative costs as much as possible

2. Improving efficiencies and work practices so that maintenance costs are as little as possible

3. Spending as much of your overhead budget as possible on positive costs .

I am not for one minute suggesting naive spending – always look for the best value in your positive costs and don’t waste money, making sure they are actually positive costs – that the spend results in increases in business.

Are you spending enough on Positive Costs in your business?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Flip a Coin

February 9, 2011
Sober Lane, Cork - Flip a Coin

The next round could be free - Heads or Tails

My poor son!

Well, not actually.. Brendan is a great kid and for the most part he has a pretty good time doing exactly what he wants in his life with his multi media course at CIT (he is in his last year), his new website, his films and comedy projects – the world is his oyster and he approaches it in such a positive way. I’m sure he will do great.

One of the things that goes against him is his birthday! He was born on the 4th January, 1989 so there is always a danger that Christmas presents can merge into birthday presents and the big problem now is that very few of us are able for the “birthday celebrations” on the 4th January, typically when we are going back to work for the first time in the new year.

This year we had the same dilemma – Brendan was 22 on the 4th of January and as always we wanted to celebrate his day. The problem was the 4th was the Tuesday that we were all heading to work for the first time in the new year – not practical.

The solution was a gathering of Brendan’s friends and a few of us “older fogies” on the Sunday night before that and we left the choice of venue to him. Sober Lane in Cork was his choice, a place he is always raving about. I must admit that at the very tail end of Christmas a night out wasn’t something I felt like and I know Brendan was worried that most of his buddies would be in the same boat – for them it would be a case of  no “bobs”!

In we headed on the Sunday night and I was really surprised to see a packed Sober Lane pub with a great buzz – my god, what was going on here that wasn’t going on everywhere else? Brendan’s buddies arrived in and he ended up having a great night but on top of this the pub was hopping.

The Marketing Guru’s (I’m taking some licence here – why not!) sense of curiosity was working overtime trying to figure out why this pub, which to be honest didn’t seem to be anything really exceptional was so busy.

Up I went to the bar to buy the first round for the thirsty troop – no surprise it was a large order that came in at about €30 – I was nervous.. this birthday was going to clean me out! After settling up with the cheery bar man he asked me did I want to “flip a coin“?

Excuse me? Again he asked me did I want to “flip a coin”. Two guys perched at the bar supping on their pints quickly jumped in and clarified the matter “Go on will ya, heads or tails – if you get it right you get the same round free next time“. My suspicious mind started looking around for the cameras or I wondered what the big catch was about this – ok, heads it is. The barman flipped the coin and surprisingly enough heads it was!

With no real expression one way or the other the barman handed me a receipt for the drinks that I had just bought, he signed his name to it and explained that when I was ready I could bring the receipt to the bar and I would get the exact round free!! Speechless .. (where is the camera?)

Wow – I went back to our troop and told them of my great “win” – “Oh yeah” they do that here every Sunday night, I was told.

The night rolled on, I won another few rounds, there was great crack with everyone in the bar with a constant murmur of “Did you win?“. When I went to the bar the two guys still perched there were having great banter with me “You lucky xxxxxxx” … you can imagine what they were saying.

Not only did we get great value, but there was a great sense of fun and the place was packed. I noticed a funny thing as well – any time I won I felt obligated to stay and buy another round, not to try and win again but to give them something back – very few people seemed to be leaving – brilliant!

Eventually we wandered home leaving the “young guns” to do their thing – on the way to the car we passed a few pubs, which were all pretty much empty.

What the pub was doing was incredible – I can imagine when the crazy idea was first suggested it would have been shot down straight away. The accountants without a doubt had heart attacks, the managers would have argued about how it could be controlled, What about stock control? What about barmen giving free second drinks to their buddies? What about recording the free stock? What about the margins? (its actually not that bad as on average people will only win every second time – and besides you can’t pay your staff with a better percentage) What about the tax man? What about our Profits?

On top of that the Vintners organisations would have tut tutted this “stupid” idea. This crew made it work, the place was packed – and whatever the drawbacks were they still went for it and enjoy a busy pub every Sunday night when others are empty (Sober Lane is busy the whole time – as you can imagine it’s not the only creative thing they do).

When someone comes up with a crazy promotional idea in your business, look past the problems and the issues and give it a chance – you might actually gain more than you lose ..

Ok, heads or tails? – the next years services could be free!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications

The Candidates – Derry Canty, Fine Gael (Cork North West)

January 30, 2011
Derry Canty, Fine Gael

Derry - we want to hear about you!

As part of the election process I am going to do a “Ronseal” (what does their tin say about them) review of the political candidates literature that comes in through our letterbox and score them accordingly!!

Candidate: Derry Canty, Fine Gael (Cork North West)

Now this review is tricky as he is a namesake and I know him! .. but, the idea here is to review the candidates purely based on that flyer that comes through the letterbox. After all I reckon that is as much as most people voting will get to see of their candidates unless they have been really active in their particular area.

Design and Layout (5)
Derry and his team opted for a really small flyer, A6 size, it’s tiny but it is printed on heavier paper than the other candidates so far. For some reason there is no mention of which constituency Derry is running in – score 3

Photo (10)
There is a good enough photo of Derry, looking friendly and approachable. He is wearing a dark suit with a white shirt and a blue tie – standard attire for a politician I guess! Would you trust this man? On the higher side of average I guess! – score 7

Contact Details (5)
He includes both his email address and his personal phone number on his flyer, a nice “open” approach. As well as this he has his Facebook page listed .. ok, that puts him in the progressive box and gives everyone an opportunity to really find out more about what he is like and what he is up to – score 5

Background (10)
There is absolutely nothing on the flyer about Derry. When I say nothing I really mean nothing.. how can I be expected to vote for you if I know nothing about you, what you believe in, what you are qualified at, what you have achieved – score 0

Sales Pitch (10)
The sales pitch on the flyer is a generic Fine Gael pitch and not why we should vote for Derry. To be fair it does give a point by point review of what they would do. It is a little generic though using terms such as “radical stimulus plan” and “radical reforms” , tell me more, I’d love to hear more about these radical changes .. – score 5

Big Picture (10)
The big picture argument was the same as the sales pitch and did attempt to explain how FG would make a difference. At least there is an attempt at explaining how the “big picture” might be different if we voted for them – score 8

Overall Score
This is a Fine Gael flyer with Derry’s picture and contact details on it. I suspect we will see exactly the same across the length and breadth of the country with other candidate’s names and pictures.

Derry, people vote for people and you know this – your flyer is a wasted opportunity to get your message across to your voters. Lots of pressing the flesh is needed to show them you – check out Aine Collins flyer who goes some way to showing what she is like and why we should vote for  “her” – overall score 28 out of 50.

Best of luck in the elections Derry!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications

New 30% of Profits Penalty tax to be introduced…

November 25, 2010

Red card

A new 30% of profits penalty being introduced would stop me in my tracks and whatever had to be done to avoid it would happen.

What is this new Penalty about?

I’m not sure about you but I have been up to my tonsils as usual at this time of the year with getting all my bits and pieces up to date for the tax deadline. The thought of financial penalties is a terrific way of focusing the mind!

When you have to, you can get really focused and the whole tax deadline scenario made me think about all the other deadlines that make us get a task completed. The bank requesting figures, VAT & PAYE returns, a tender document closing date, or even a client presentation deadline or event. We pull out the stops and invariably, always deliver on time and achieve whatever is required.

So, deadlines are effective?

Of course they are but do we have deadlines for the really important things? I find that often some of the really important tasks get pushed back because of the other deadline issues. We can easily leave other priorities get pushed to the back of the queue because they lack a pressing, external deadline that has obvious and tangible downsides.

How about setting a deadline for your annual Business Plan?

Is there really any deadline that should be more important than this? After all, this is the starting point for everything in your business and it makes all other things possible.

How about it being completed in November before everyone starts winding down for the Christmas break? Isn’t it absolutely vital that your team starts the new year with a clear focus on the objectives for the business, for their departments and for themselves as individuals?

Business Planning

Does your business have a crystal clear goal or purpose or even a “Mission Statement” that everyone understands and is working to? This needs to be real, it needs to be practical and it needs to be supported by definite plans.

SWOT Analysis
Have you and your team completed a real SWOT analysis for your business?

Have you in detail discussed the Strengths and Weaknesses of your business? These are the things that make your business special and vulnerable all at the same time. What are the Opportunities for your business in the marketplace? Have a detailed look at these and it may even result in some required diversification. What Threats are posed to the business and how are you dealing with these?

Make sure you have done a competitor analysis as part of this. To be honest I wouldn’t get too obsessed about the competitors but you do need to understand where they are coming from and the tactics they are adopting and how they could affect you.

Play your own game, let them try to catch you!

The SWOT analysis should be done at Company level and then repeated at Department level. This will clearly highlight some key issues for all areas of the business and for the plan to be affective the business must have a clear plan around the tackling of these.

Plans are ineffective without detailed actions and someone needs to take clear responsibility for these.

Objectives & Budgets
The detailed plans and responsibilities need to be built into the department and individual’s objectives. These plans need to be supported by detailed budgets. What income targets are set for the business and what spend is required to achieve this?

As an individual I need to know about my part in the overall plan, what is expected of me and how my performance will be measured.

Performance Management
Performance Management is the ongoing evaluation of the performance of the business against the agreed plan. Of course the market is dynamic and things will change during the year, which the business will have to react to. Build this flexibility into your plans and amend them as this happens.

Positive Marketing
Make sure you have a really clear Marketing Plan written as part of your overall Business Plan. What are your Marketing Objectives and how will these be achieved?

Don’t go into retreat mode and lose the position you have fought hard to achieve in the marketplace. Be brave, it’s never been a better time to market your business. Take the terrific value that is still available in Advertising/PR/Marketing for your business and don’t ignore the free(ish) Social Media opportunities that are available to spread the word about your business.

Unique Opportunities
There are unique opportunities available in the current climate, which just won’t exist in a few years time. Be in a position to grab them with open arms and thrive.

Penalty Tax!

There is no 30% penalty tax on your profits for the not having your Business Plan ready for the start of the year. However, how much will it cost you if you go into next year unprepared?

30%, or maybe even more?

Greg Canty 

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


What do you think of me?

October 26, 2010

Greg Canty - Fuzion Communications

Greg Canty - Fuzion Communications

“What do you think of me?” is a strange question to ask anyone but every day we are putting ourselves out there in the firing line and whether you like it or not, people will judge you and are thinking of you either negatively, positively or neither.

My son recently told me it annoyed him how I use Foursquare as he ends up seeing updates from me constantly on Facebook about where I am and what I am saying about these places.

It got me thinking…

If that is annoying him then what does everyone else think of me, what do you think of me?

In the new world of communication with the different Social Media platforms making it much easier to spread your message quickly to a wide audience, those of you who embrace the available tools are asking that question on a regular basis.

Every time you publish a blog, upload a photo, upload a link, give an opinion, join a conversation, pass on interesting information, make a video or simply make a status update you are putting yourself on the line with friends, clients, very lose acquaintances and possible new clients.

Social Media without a doubt is a terrific way to convey information about you and your business, spreading valuable messages but if you get it wrong you can just as easily turn people off as you can turn people on!

While social media is very much in the fast lane we are still at the very beginning, with the functionality and features evolving on a constant basis and the rules and etiquette still forming.

Chris Brogan a very popular writer and total expert in this area published a book called “Trust Agents” where he acknowledges the power of the web to build your reputation but acknowledges that the most important stepping stone is behaving in a manner that first builds trust online. With trust you can spread your message, without it you can waste a lot of time and run the danger of turning people off you.

If you are going to dedicate time and resources on social media both building a following and spreading your message it’s vital that you get it right.

There are no right or wrong answers here but how and what you post and how you conduct yourself generally online will determine how people will think of you. Even how you set up your social media tools, the pictures you use of yourself and your even choice of features such as LinkedIn automatically updating from Twitter, which updates automatically from Four Square can also affect how messages are delivered and interpreted.

When I start analysing how I behave online there are so many unanswered questions:

I try to use a particular style of title that grabs attention for my blogs – does that annoy the reader?

I try to be a little informal and “unstuffy” with my posts – does that suit the clients I am trying to attract?

I talk about everyday things as well as topics relevant to our business – does that make me look foolish and should I just stick with industry specific items?

I like to use a positive approach as much as possible – in the current environment, does that annoy people?

I post discussion items on various LinkedIn groups about once a week – do people get fed up of seeing these so often?

I follow some incredible marketers and I have a link from their blogs, which populates the Fuzion Facebook page – does this annoy people?

If I see something funny or unusual I will photograph it and upload it on Facebook – maybe my friends or acquaintances think these are silly?

On Twitter I use a mix of my name and the business name “GregCantyFuzion” as my identity – what do people think of this compared to funnier, customised or descriptive names?

Right or wrong all you can do really is measure your effectiveness as best as possible – watch traffic to your blog, see if your LinkedIn and Facebook posts get a reaction, watch if people engage with your discussion topics, see if your posts are retweeted. Also you can observe other people’s behaviour online and take on board the style of activity you like and more importantly the style of posting that you don’t like.

Better to burn than to fade away, better to put yourself and your business out there, drawing attention to your message and trying to make sure you maintain your online visibility. That’s a decision I made and I invest time in it. My one piece of definite advice is to be true to yourself or else you will not come across as being genuine.

So, back to my question.. What you think of me?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications

The Shoe Polishing Award!

September 17, 2010
The Shoe Polishing Award

The Shoe Polishing Award

The whole idea of industry awards is really quite interesting and something that can often make you wonder when you see pictures in the newspapers or trade magazines of people holding their prizes for excellence in things you never heard of!

Recently we were caught in the “eye of the storm” and were first hand witnesses to the whole process, the effort, the submission, the anticipation, the nomination, the curiosity, the event, the nervousness, the elation, the photos, the congratulations and then the press coverage.

We were nominated and proudly won a national award for Excellence in PR, for work we did on the Cystic Fibrosis, St.Vincents campaign last year.

It was a total whirlwind for us, our whole team and even our families, clients and friends who were all waiting in the wings to celebrate our success or not as the case might have been.

While it wasn’t Hollywood, for us it was our Oscars and having won the award we celebrated and basked in a huge ray of satisfaction and achievement, just like Jeff Bridges may have done earlier this year.

Awards are relevant for every industry, wherever people and businesses take pride in what they do day in, day out, no matter what it is.

When you really think about it why should an industry hold awards?

1.       To raise the profile of an industry and those operating within it

2.       To help people’s understanding of the industry

3.       Raise the standards within the industry

4.       Acknowledge the important aspects of the industry and recognise some of the silent heroes

5.       Generate a sense of pride for the industry and the entrants

6.       Achieve PR for the entrants and the industry

7.       It gets people talking about the industry – the entrants will happily spread the award

8.       A great occasion for the players in an industry to come together and celebrate their profession

9.       Generates excitement for the entrants and a huge sense of purpose and satisfaction

10.   Tangible evidence of high standards through trophies and certificates that appear in meeting rooms around the country

11.   Terrific Fundraising opportunity –once nominated people will attend!

Having been through the process we are already thinking about next year and wondering which project will we be able to submit for an award. We’re hooked!

Whatever industry you’re in, even if that is Shoe Polishing, Go On, enter the awards, enjoy the journey and win yourself that Oscar!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications

16 PR Tips that No One can do for You

September 12, 2010
Answer the phone promptly

Answer the phone promptly

PR or Public Relations is all about Managing your Reputation– protecting, maintaining, building and managing your reputation.

There is nothing more valuable as a good reputation and this is about a lot more than employing a PR company.

Your reputation is every single aspect of how your business relates to the outside world, your customers, your prospects, the general public and the media. This applies equally to a small store as it does to a large store or brand.

Ok, how about 16 Tips for improving and managing your Positive Reputation (PR)

1.    Behave in an upbeat way with staff and customers
2.    Ensure your staff does the same
3.    Answer the phones promptly, politely, positively and helpfully
4.    Return missed calls promptly
5.    Return email enquiries quickly
6.    Deliver a good, friendly service to customers
7.    Handle complaints fairly and efficiently
8.    Deliver products and services on time
9.    Be polite, fair and efficient with your suppliers and staff
10.    Keep customers and prospects up to date with new products, features and services
11.    Treat your customers with respect (even if they are experiencing difficulty and are under financial pressure)
12.    Ensure that your website and all your printed materials are well laid out, with correct English,  easily understood, professional and properly reflect your business
13.    Ensure your store, premises and vehicles are kept neat and tidy
14.    Ensure the attire of your staff is in keeping with the standards of your business
15.    Ensure your staff always talk up your company and do not air grievances outside of the four walls with external people – make a pact to sort things out internally
16.    Talk up the achievements of your company and the staff working there – their talents, skills and achievements

This is not an exhaustive list – have a think about it and add another 5/10/20 points to improve your reputation even more. Even better get your team to help you with this task.

Ok, all of this is good for your business reputation, it didn’t require the intervention of third party consultants and oh yeah, it didn’t really cost a shilling – you still have your €1 left!

So far we have looked at some housekeeping reputation issues, what about behaving even more positively?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications

Bill Gates and his last dollar

July 4, 2010


Bill Gates

“If I was down to my last dollar I would spend it on PR” was the famous quote that Bill Gates made and one that many of us in the PR industry use when we are trying to draw attention to the importance of our services.

Ironically many of us are nearly down to our last dollars, or Euros and you might question does this piece of advice really hold water, how applicable is it and is this really what Bill Gates meant when he made the comment?  Was he ever down to his last dollar? – I wonder..

Does he really suggest that when a business is really tight that it spends its income in such a way?

When the recession kicked in how did you react in your business? What overheads got the chop? I’m suspecting that Marketing & PR budgets were given the scissors treatment – was this the right thing to do? How did this affect your business and the attitude of those working there?

Positive Attitude, Positive Activity and Positive Spend

Not knowing Bill I can only guess but this is my interpretation of what he meant ..

PR is as much an attitude, a process, a set of beliefs, a way of behaving positively as much as it is about Press Releases and actually employing a PR resource.

PR or Public Relations is all about Managing your Reputation– protecting, maintaining, building and managing your reputation. Even if you are down to your last dollar you need to keep investing or doing this.

There is nothing more valuable as a good reputation and this is about a lot more than employing PR companies or about issuing press releases. Your reputation is every single aspect of how your business relates to the outside world, your customers, your prospects, the general public and the media. This applies equally to a self employed candlestick maker as it does to a large multinational.

Ok, how about 16 Tips for improving and managing your Reputation (PR) for €1

1.    Answer the phones politely and helpfully
2.    Return missed calls promptly
3.    Return email enquiries quickly
4.    Deliver a good service to customers
5.    Handle complaints fairly and efficiently
6.    Deliver products and services on time
7.    Ensure your billing is correct
8.    Be polite, fair and efficient with your suppliers and staff
9.    Keep customers and prospects up to date with new products, features and services
10.    Treat your suppliers fairly
11.    Treat your customers with respect (even if they are experiencing difficulty and are under financial pressure)
12.    Ensure that all correspondence is well laid out, with correct English, is easily understood, professional and properly reflects your business
13.    Ensure your premises and vehicles are kept neat and tidy
14.    Ensure the attire of your staff is in keeping with the standards of your business
15.    Ensure your staff always talk up your company and do not air grievances outside of the four walls with external people – make a pact to sort things out internally
16.    Talk up the achievements of your company and the staff working there – their talents, skills and achievements

This is not an exhaustive list – have a think about it and add another 5/10/20 points to improve your reputation even more. Even better get your team to help you with this task.

Ok, all of this is good for your business reputation, it didn’t require the intervention of third party consultants and oh yeah, it didn’t really cost a shilling – you still have your €1 left!

So far we have looked at some housekeeping reputation issues.

Positive Attitude

As we mentioned PR is in essence a positive attitude – first and foremost you need to declare war on this recession and ensure that you and everyone in your business understands the importance of your reputation and a Positive Attitude towards your business. You will thrive in this environment and if you are alert you will not only survive but you will be in a position to seize on unique opportunities that may arise.

Back to the job of spending our last €1..

Communicate that you are going to invest in positive activity for your business – You have been in Retreat mode and now you want to invest funds in forward mode – you want to “Storm” this recession. Your staff must understand that every €1 is vital, that you want maximum return from it and challenge them to achieve this. Show and positively display the faith that you have in the business and communicate that you and your team are adopting “attack” mode!

This positive mind shift is essential for the business.

Where do we spend our €1?

–    Refresh your Website – review and refresh the text, besides being new and positive it helps your Search Engine ranking
–    Optimise your Website (do a Google search on this and you will learn find how to do it for free)
–    Update the News items on the website – announce new customers, products or services
–    Set up a Facebook business page, it’s free – take the time and build a following for your business online. Ask customers to sign up, email them, ring them, tell them..
–    Start using the other social media sites such as Twitter or LinkedIn to build your contacts and spread awareness for your business, products and service. If you’re not sure how to do this – Google it .. there are plenty of articles and tips available online
–    Prepare Press Releases about your company or services . Do you have anything interesting or new happening in the business? – let the press know.
–    Advertising: maybe you have an advertising campaign running with the local papers or a trade publication – negotiate that you get some free editorial to support these adverts (keep it interesting, they won’t print boring stuff!)

All of this is positive – have you ever noticed that you like being around positive people? In business we are no different and we like dealing with positive, successful businesses. Behave like one of them.

Build your reputation, shout it from the rooftops and make this a clearly understood activity in your business.

Big problem… we still haven’t spent that €1

Print a few posters and put them around your business “We are Storming the Recession”

If you have more than €1 to spend feel free to give Fuzion a call and we will help you achieve the maximum from your Marketing & PR budget.

Bill, thanks for the PR thumbs up ..

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications