Author Archive

From building sites in the UK to teaching 1.3 million young people in Africa to code

October 27, 2018

 Africa Code Week

If you want to get anything done you should ask a busy person!

This must be the big lesson that I picked up when I sat down to record an episode of the Fuzion Win Happy podcast with the CEO of Camden Education Trust and Co-Founder of Africa Code Week,  Bernard Kirk.

An early experience on building sites in the UK set off a powerful light bulb moment for Bernard – without education you will struggle, as he witnessed so many Irishmen slogging their way through life until they could no longer manage the physical toil that was required to do that job.

Bernard is a teacher who progressed to teaching teachers and then got involved in a myriad of events and initiatives that encouraged our youth to advance themselves.

When a Minister asked him to organise a Science and Technology Festival in the West of Ireland this sparked an endless involvement in other projects and initiatives all with the same goal of advancing the potential of young people through education.

Running Africa Code Week, which brings together 1.3 million young people in 35 different countries is a colossal, mind bending achievement.

Where would you even start to organise such an event – Bernard says you pick up the phone, you bring people together, you leverage connections and so on and so on.

Nothing is ever that easy and it is clear that this passionate man doesn’t see roadblocks, he sees opportunities.

Bernard reckons his Irishness is one of his Superpowers and it gives him the unique ability to open doors everywhere.

Click below to listen to the podcast and hear about how this very busy man does it!!

Fuzion Win Happy Podcast – Education is the key to everything

Enjoy the show!

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Social Media Consultancy Services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

From a rugby career ending injury at 28 to a global successful software business with Conor O’Loughlin, CEO of Glofox

September 25, 2018

Conor O'Loughlin, IBYE Winner 208

In this episode of the Fuzion Win Happy podcast, Greg chats with Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur 2018, Conor O’Loughlin, CEO and Founder of Glofox, who shares his story of huge disappointment with an injury, which finished his rugby career with Connacht at the age of 28 to a new career in computer software.

Realising that his rugby career and dream was over, he started a web development company where through his client work he discovered an untapped niche in bespoke software solutions for the gym and fitness sector.

With the help of a Competitive Startup Fund from Enterprise Ireland he managed to start developing a bespoke solution and later accessed further funding as part of the High Potential Startup Fund.

Fuzion Win Happy podcast thumbnail

This business has expanded globally from Ireland thanks to the hard work and focus of Conor and his team and the careful navigation of the complex world of funding with Enterprise Ireland, Angel Investors and VCs.

Despite the huge demand for IT talent in Ireland and in Dublin, Glofox have managed to continue to attract great people to their team who are enjoying the excitement of being part of a place where they can make a real difference.

You can listen to the episode by clicking the link below:

From a rugby career ending injury at 28 to a global successful software business with Conor O’Loughlin, CEO of Glofox

We hope you enjoy Conor’s and the Glofox fascinating story!

The Fuzion Win Happy Podcast is produced by Greg Canty

 

Are you creating Hygge [Hoo – gah] at work?

August 20, 2018

HYgge

I had never heard the Danish word ‘Hygge‘ before but a podcast that I listened to recently from Freakonomics titled “How to be Happy” resonated with me.

When Helen Russell, fashion editor of Maire Claire moved to Denmark from London with her husband, who had taken a dream job with Lego, she decided to write a book to try to figure out exactly why this country is officially one of the Happiest in the world!!

Her cleverly titled book, “The Year of Living Danishly” digs deep into the psyche of Denmark and why this dark, cold, highly taxed and very expensive country is so happy.

At Fuzion we always talk about #WinHappy as being a core philosophy of ours, creating a positive work culture, where we do great work for great clients but with a smile on our faces.

Some think it is a little Utopian but we believe it is possible.

In Denmark they talk about a very special thing called ‘Hygge‘ , which I found very interesting as it is one of the core reasons attributed to their ‘Happy’ success.

Even on the Visit Denmark website they describe it:

Hygge: The Danish Art of Cosiness

Hygge is as Danish as æbleskiver (Pancake Puffs!!) and it goes far in illuminating the Danish soul.

In essence, hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Cosying up with a loved one for a movie – that’s hygge, too. And there’s nothing more hygge than sitting around with friends and family, discussing the big and small things in life.
Perhaps hygge explains why the Danes are some of the happiest people in the world.

I remember visiting a Danish fashion client that we were doing work for and being quite surprised to see candles lighting at the doorway of the offices and in the reception area. The warm glow of those candles certainly softened the atmosphere and was conducive to a positive working environment.

The owners of the business had also brought their little dog to work, who was running around the place! Maybe I should bring Honey and Bert?

In a random Google of the topic around workplaces I spotted an article that mentioned seven ‘Hygge’ tips:

1. Bring a mug from home

Ironically, something we used do in Fuzion was to buy everyone a mug that we thought suited their character!

2. Make a relaxing work playlist

Hmmm…in my work space in the Cork office, close to the graphic design team we always have Spotify playing something that is not too intrusive. It’s more difficult with the PR teams in Dublin and Cork as they are on the phone a lot.

3. Spend lunch outside or take that time to unwind

Too much time is spent by some of us at our desks including lunch break – that is not good and is something that we definitely need to improve on.

4. Decorate your desk or workspace

There are a few pics from home and fun things on people’s desks, but I guess we could go a little further to make the place even more personal.

5. Host a potluck with co-workers

I had no idea what this meant but apparently it is savouring home-cooked meals that your work friends have cooked and vice versa.

I do love when Alma brings in some of her tasty home cooked treats – there is something very special when someone brings something in that they made at home.

“When everybody shares, everybody gets hygge,” is what one author on the topic said.

6. Do random acts of kindness for your co-workers

I love this simple idea as it promotes the idea of friendship and treating your fellow workers as something more than that.

7. Embrace teamwork

Apparently team spirit is part of the Danish culture. From childhood, Danes work in groups and are taught to seek and/or give help in the face of adversity. They are encouraged to remain confident despite their weaknesses and humble despite their strengths.

While we have a great team and do a lot together, too often when you glance down the office we are all busy, busy, with our heads stuck in whatever client work we are doing.

In Fuzion we do our own few things in the spirit of ‘Hygge’ that we could add to this list:

Breaking bread together – Fuzion Friday

Every Friday in both Dublin and Cork offices we down tools and we go for lunch together. We chat about the wins, we chat about the losses and frustrations of the week and we laugh and share weekend plans.

Cuppa anyone?

No one makes a cuppa without asking if anyone else would like a cuppa!

Birthdays

A present is always bought for you on your birthday and wait for it…. our people get a day off for their birthday, which they must take on the day (or very close to it a least). Our client, Regus does this and I thought it was a great idea so we introduced it two years ago.

Slagging/Banter

There is always a nice amount of friendly banter in the office, which is nearly always lighthearted and never bitter.

Holidays

The person who goes on holidays is given a token few quid to buy a meal on us but they nearly always buy some chocolates or biscuits for the office on their return.

Working Late

We don’t like to see anyone caught working late at the office – Saidhbh is the biggest culprit lately!

While it is never perfect and there are the normal pressures and stresses of work I think we do a pretty good job at creating our own “Hygge” – after all, why would anyone want to work in the opposite atmosphere? ….I certainly don’t.

What do you do to create your own Hygge?

At Fuzion, I guess we call it Win Happy!!

Greg 

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

 

 

What should Bank of Ireland do with their sponsorship of the Ulster Rugby team?

April 12, 2018

Ulster Rugby

Today, Bank of Ireland issued a statement to the media concerning their sponsorship of Ulster Rugby.

They have said that it is ‘highly concerned‘ and is reviewing its partnership with the province following the Belfast rape trial.

In their statement the bank confirmed that it has conveyed concerns to Ulster CEO Shane Logan following the high-profile trial.

As a sponsor of Ulster Rugby, Bank of Ireland is highly concerned regarding the serious behaviour and conduct issues which have emerged as a result of the recent high profile trial,” read a Bank of Ireland statement.

The Bank has formally conveyed these concerns to the CEO of Ulster Rugby.

It is of paramount importance to Bank of Ireland that our sponsorship activity aligns with and supports our core values, and reflects positively on Bank of Ireland through association.

We understand that an internal review is underway. We expect this review to be robust, to fully address the issues raised, and that decisions will be taken – and policies and protocols be put in place – that fully address the issues that have arisen.

“Given that a review is underway, we won’t comment further on this issue at this time.

What do you think of what Bank of Ireland have done here?

Let’s look at what they have said first..

They are highly concerned regarding the serious behaviour and conduct issues..

At least this shows their position about what emerged during the court case – in truth, while “highly concerned” is strong language it is probably not going far enough considering what did emerge during the trial.

During the trial the court heard about a series of WhatsApp messages in which Mr Olding said “we are all top shaggers”

Mr Jackson wrote: “There was a lot of spit roasting last night.”

Olding told the WhatsApp group: “It was like a merry-go-round at a carnival.”

The Bank has formally conveyed these concerns to the CEO of Ulster Rugby..

They are letting us know in advance of any decision by Ulster Rugby their position with this issue.

It is of paramount importance to Bank of Ireland that our sponsorship activity aligns with and supports our core values..

The reason any brand sponsors anything is to associate with the brand values and gain something positive from this – the bank are saying clearly here that what has happened here does not align with the core values.

The sponsorship is of huge importance to the sport and if it was pulled, without doubt this would have an impact on many.

Given that a review is underway, we won’t comment further on this issue at this time..

By acknowledging the review by Ulster Rugby (they mention the robust process) they are sort of saying “lets wait and see and we’ll decide what to do next“.

OK…

Let’s be clear – the statement issued to the media was written for the public’s benefit – they want us, their target audience to know that they have core values, that they aren’t happy with what happened and how this may impact on them and that they have conveyed this to Ulster Rugby.

While the statement from them has come a little bit too late (they could be accused of reacting now because of the public backlash) it is clever to a point as it gives them advance “wiggle room” around any decision coming from Ulster Rugby.

If Ulster Rugby go light on the two rugby players Bank of Ireland can kill their sponsorship (potentially damaging to the sport) and they are off the hook. They would possibly have to consider the possible backlash of avid sporting fans.

If Ulster Rugby go heavy and fire the players then the bank have already made their position clear in advance and can count this as a “core values” win.

Our advice..

Their blatant disrespect for a young woman, as demonstrated through their deplorable messaging to each other,  cannot be tolerated under any circumstances.

People, young and old look up to their sports-stars and they must be held to very high standards.  We expect that of our heroes.

If Bank Of Ireland are really concerned about their brand (for legal reasons they may have to go easy) they should state categorically and with no uncertainty that they will pull their sponsorship if these players are allowed to play for the team again.

These men demonstrated without question the most horrible behaviour and disrespect to women and this should be called out plain and simple, for all our sake.

Bank of Ireland must really think of their brand and not wait in the wings to see what action Ulster Rugby will take.

Be brave Bank of Ireland..

Greg Canty 

 

Cracking the “Social Media” Training Code

April 2, 2018

Social Media e-learning

Incredibly we have been running social media courses since May 2010!

This was the new thing, the new way to reach your customers and promote you and your business and it was free to use!!

I do think a big part of the reason it exploded at the time was because we were immersed in an awful recession and most people had virtually no funds to do anything, let alone promote their business.

So the simple advice was, grab the relevant platforms (at the time it was Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) and use them to tell your story and engage with your target audience.

In the earliest training that we delivered, it was all about the functionality – step by step we would show all the participants how to do everything on each of the platforms.

As time went on we changed the emphasis on “why” first and then “how“.

This approach was designed to get people engaged with the simple idea that, if you knew what you could achieve with social media and you understood the special role it could play in your communications mix, then you were more likely to dive in and apply the learnings.

I think this approach worked much better but there was still a problem, and I put this down to what I call the “teeth brushing” aspect of social media.

When you leave the half day or full day social media course (or any training for that matter) it is up to you and you alone to implement the learnings and make room in your life for a new habit, a social media habit.

To be effective for you, it should be just like teeth brushing, you just do it automatically as part of your routine.

To this day, I still believe that using social media effectively can be one of the most powerful ways of promoting you and your business as well as a brilliant way to make valuable connections.

So why are people not grabbing the opportunity?

The big challenge for me is getting those who take my courses to squeeze all of the potential from the social media platforms, and for the training to go beyond the initial sessions and integrate into their daily routines.

To crack the “training code” we have invested in an e-learning platform, which has enabled us to create unique follow-on programmes that consist of a series of short, practical exercises on each of the social media platforms.

These exercises are delivered to the trainees over a period of time to ensure that they can really learn, through daily implementation away from the classroom and in their own work environment.

If you want to make sure that you and your team, really, really learn let us know!

Check out our Social Media Training services by clicking here.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, who offer Social Media Consultancy and Training  from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Capturing your Story

February 23, 2018

In a previous post we outlined our Fuzion Process, which is a framework that we use with clients for their planning.

We use this “Story” framework and we find that it brings a very sharp focus to all marketing activity, to ensure the very best outcomes.

Our process follows some simple steps:
1. Understand your story
2. Capture your story
3. Make sure your story is found
4. Tell your story
5. Engage with your story online
6. Protect your story

In the last post we spoke about ‘Understanding your story‘ and the possible role of a brand workshop to help bring some clarity to exactly what you are trying to communicate to your target audience.

The next step is all about capturing this story.

Capture your Story

Once you understand the story that you want to tell, it’s important that this is captured visually in a way that connects with your target audience.

We judge things quickly by how they appear to us, so whenever and wherever anyone comes across your products or services in your website, promotional material, vehicles, premises and even the individuals in your team, that these tell the right, professional story.

Does it convey professionalism, is it modern, is it unique or is it very generic, does it convey your story simply and clearly, does it appeal to your target audience? Has the organisation moved on and is it time for a refresh?

Someone is always making up their mind about you by how you appear to them.

It is vital that the graphic design work and the execution of this needs to be sharp and consistent on all platforms when your brand is being presented so that your story is properly captured and told.

Click here to see some of the work that our Creative Team have been doing for clients

If we can be of help in any way you know where we are!

Greg Canty 

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

Understanding your ‘Story’

February 12, 2018

Fuzion - Brand Workshops, Dublin, Cork, Ireland

In a previous post we outlined our Fuzion Process, which is a framework that we use with clients for their planning.

We use this “Story” framework for all of our clients and we find that it brings a very sharp focus to all marketing activity, to ensure the very best outcomes.

Our process follows some simple steps:
1. Understand your story
2. Capture your story
3. Make sure your story is found
4. Tell your story
5. Engage with your story online
6. Protect your story

 

Understanding Your Story

In this blog post we will deal with the very first step, which is ‘Understanding Your Story‘.

It is our job as marketers to help our clients tell the story of their business, organisation, products and services effectively so that when people talk about these things they say exactly what we want them to say.

Before we create any plans, it is a crucial first step to understand exactly what the business is all about, what makes it special, where it is going and what it needs to do to get there.

To assist this step, we often conduct a Brand Workshop with clients, which is a very simple way of capturing all of this and defining their “story” or brand.

We also find that this powerful process helps to motivate the team, reminding them about what makes them special, providing them with clarity and defining exactly what needs to be communicated as part of the marketing process.

During this process we work together with the team to probe what it is that they do, how they go about this work and what the driving force or essence of the organisation is.

We look at the values, the core characteristics, the vision for the business and the mission that the team is on together to achieve this vision.

We even do some visualisation work to help the team crystallise what it is about them, that makes them special and different from competitors.

This work paints a clear picture of the brand or “the story” of the business, which must then be captured and told.

One of the outputs of this process is a Brand Brief, which we would give to our graphic/creative team to help them deliver this story visually for the client.

To find out more about our Brand ‘Promise’ Workshop click here

If we can be of help in any way you know where we are!

Greg Canty 

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

What do you think of Graphic Design?

February 8, 2018

Dark Side of the Moon

What do people think of Graphic Design?

Excuse us for this bizarre question but it is something that popped up in a conversation that we were having during an internal meeting in Fuzion, which we didn’t really have a clear answer for.

Framing this around some questions and observations about how people behave and make decisions about things might help.

Are you more inclined to buy something if it looks the part? 

I couldn’t tell you how many times I purchased an album (that was vinyl initially) because I thought the artwork looked “cool” and I remained excited until the needle was in the groove and I actually discovered what I had bought.

Needless to say I discovered some wonderful music in that random fashion and there is more than one album that were listened to just once!

Do you trust a poor website?

When we invest no time whatsoever searching online for something that we are looking for, do we judge the service or product by the quality of the website?

Years ago it would have been the Golden Pages, followed by a phone call and then maybe a visit to the showroom or offices for an appointment.

Now the website does all of this hard work for you. Without even knowing it your potential customer has popped through the door, had a look around and left and you never even realised it!

What does a business card say about you?

When someone hands you their business card is this a functional piece of paper that carries essential contact information or does it do a much bigger job at trying to create a powerful first impression?

Now there seems to be a shift with some preferring a virtual card that can be shared via smartphones – this is fine if it is about sharing essential contact details but is there some argument about having an opportunity to showcase your brand?

Does the smart van with professional graphics give you faith in the service provider?

The painter/decorator is working next door to you and their van is parked outside – it is immaculate and there are very tasteful graphics that carry the logo and contact details. Is he a professional?

What about the shift from print to online?

There is clearly a shift from print to online and maybe with this an argument for not investing too much in design if the output is never printed.

Looking good gets you noticed, it gets you read and it creates the right impression – at least this is what we believe.

Even more, we believe the printed version will always be read more than the online version – what do you think?

So….these were some of the ramblings from our conversation about Graphic Design.

We would love to know what you think – can we ask you to take a quick survey that we have created around the topic by clicking here.

Thank you…

Greg Canty 

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

Your “Story Telling” Process

February 7, 2018

Jeff Bezos

As part of your planning for this year we wanted to give you a simple Marketing framework using our Fuzion process, that might help to keep year on track.

We use this “story” framework for all of our clients and we find that it brings a very sharp focus to all marketing activity, to ensure the very best outcomes.

It is our job as marketers to help our clients tell the story of their business, organisation, products and services effectively so that when people talk about these things they say exactly what we want them to say.

When Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon declared that “your brand is what people say about you when you leave the room” he cut through all of the jargon about communications, and left us with a very simple task:

Know your story and then tell it effectively to your target audience – Simple!!

The Fuzion process

Our Fuzion Story Process follows some simple steps:

1. Understand your story – make sure you have a deep understanding of what makes you unique

2. Capture your story – all logos, visuals, marketing materials and your website must convey your story

3. Make sure your story is found – if you cannot be found online you are not in the game!

4. Tell your story – you have to proactively push your story out there (your traditional marketing)

5. Engage with your story online – make sure you have your voice on social media

6. Protect your story – be ready to protect and proactive about protecting your reputation

Your plan should take into account all of these elements and they should work together to produce the results you are looking  for.

We’ll go into each of these elements in more detail in further posts.

If we can be of help in any way you know where we are!

Greg Canty 

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

 

 

I had a great year because….

January 2, 2018

Visualisation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now open your eyes and start writing:

I had a great year because ….

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

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

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

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

Enjoy realising all of your possibilities..

Happy New Year

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

Greg Canty 

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


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