Archive for the ‘Business Planning’ Category

Never, ever write a cheque to make yourself look bad!

May 16, 2017

James Bond Museum

I was doing a review of the marketing activities with a new home improvement client a few years back.

In the previous year, they had spent €15,000 on Google Adwords in the UK bringing the right search traffic to the website of their UK operation.

They weren’t convinced about how successful this investment was and they asked me to review the campaign.

The lack of success was simple to figure out because the €15,000 was being used to drive traffic to their website, which was outdated and made them look like an old fashioned, backwards operation. You could easily understand how this traffic was not converting because, like me, I am fairly sure that the people who looked at the website were not inclined to do business.

Not only were they wasting money but they were damaging their brand – an important and very simple SEO tip is to make sure you have a website that makes people want to do business with you!

My simple recommendation to them was to stop the campaign immediately, upgrade the website and then, and only then, start up the Google campaign again.

I was told that there was no budget for a new website and instead they decided to increase their Google Adwords budget in the hope that bringing, even more traffic would somehow improve the results they were getting from the previous campaign.

Whether it is..

– Advertising when your store is a mess
– Putting a cheap sign over your premises
– Paying for an advert and not designing it properly
– Getting cheap business cards
– Bringing traffic to an outdated website

..the message is always the same.

Never, ever, write a cheque to make yourself look bad.

Greg Canty 

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

Brexit – Keep calm and plan

May 8, 2017

Prepare for Brexit - Enterprise Ireland

The uncertainty, implications, and fallout from Brexit was the topic for debate at an Enterprise Ireland event that I went along to this week.

As a country so heavily dependent on exporting to the UK, Brexit represents the most significant economic challenge facing Ireland and one which we are advised to plan for without really knowing what the fallout will be.

While we can only speculate, Enterprise Ireland have rolled-out a dedicated roadshow, specific grant and an online tool to encourage businesses to plan and prepare so that anything other than a hard Brexit is somewhat of a bonus, dare I say it.

The UK will continue to be a key market for businesses in Ireland and the advice for companies in preparation for Brexit is to be as lean and innovative as possible.

Like all challenges, Brexit presents an opportunity for businesses to re-evaluate their markets, products, risks and operations to hone their business contingency plans to build resilience, which is never a bad thing, is it?

A well-thought-out business plan will be crucial for responding to change which is why an investment of time and resources will be vital.

Enterprise Ireland has launched a really clever Brexit SME Scorecard – a planning tool for Irish exporters to the UK designed to assess business readiness for Brexit as well as a Be Prepared Grant to help to financially support and encourage businesses to research, prepare and focus on the elements of their business which they can influence, whatever the outcome of Brexit.

There is no doubt that we’re facing a time of change and uncertainty but one thing is for sure – trade, as one of the oldest professions in the world, will still continue between people and countries.

How we prepare for change will make all the difference.

Aoibhinn Twomey - Fuzion PRAoibhinn

Aoibhinn Twomey is a Senior Account Director with Fuzion Communications – PR, Marketing and Graphic Design  who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

100 Days – Doing nothing might be the best approach!

May 1, 2017
Donald Trump signing executive orders

The first 100 days – there is a lot of talk about this and seemingly it has become a great way of assessing the success of a new President in the United States.

Why?

The media are locked into a frenzy about this “100 Day” thing and we all eagerly join in the conversations and somehow buy into this crude assessment of the new President.

Is this a really great yardstick of success and a good sign of what more is to come from the remainder of that person’s four-year term?

In the earliest days of his Presidency we saw Donald “Chump” Trump buying into this, breaking into a sweat signing as many Executive Orders as he could …”look at me, how great I am, look, look, I really mean business and will change the world and show everyone how a real President does it“.

It was quite awful watching the circus around this crude display of power.

100 days on after a frustrating “birth” poor Mr. Chump is now giving out about the American Constitution and blames it for hindering real progress and as always he turns his anger at the media and accuses them again of fake news.

His popularity has fallen since he took office and he really hates that because this bully still wants people to think he is doing great – sorry Donald, that isn’t happening!

The craziest thing of all is this fascination with “100 days”.

Apparently, the term was coined in a July 24, 1933, radio address by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, although he was, in fact, referring to the 100-day session of the 73rd United States Congress between March 9 and June 17, rather than the first 100 days of his administration.

However, it is a lot sexier if we apply the “100” to the first days of the Presidency so this measurement tool caught on.

A good measurement tool?

Managing a super power nation must be incredibly complicated and no matter who you are, no matter how well briefed you are, and no matter how intelligent you are I can imagine those big decisions should be taken in a very considered manner.

From my career experience of having been in business a long time and having managed many companies and worked for many companies, I shudder at the thought of any boss wanting to make as many changes as possible in this initial period.

I would feel an awful lot better if this person would have the sense to listen, learn, take stock and only when they have a full grasp of a situation do they start to make any changes. I have found that even the seemingly obvious things that look wrong can often have very good reasons why they are in place and cannot be changed easily.

I imagine that Donald if he had allowed himself the time and not been a pawn to the media his own bravado persona might have gone about things quite differently.

Next time for the safety and benefit of everyone in the world let’s judge the President positively when he makes no changes in his first 100 days.

Greg Canty 

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

Award season is not just for Tinsel Town 

January 27, 2017
The 2017 Oscars

As individuals, professionals and as companies we often use this time of year to evaluate and set out our plans and ambitions for the year ahead.

For instance in Fuzion, we kicked off our first week back to work after the Christmas with our individual and departmental reviews and planning which I must admit was initially a bit like pulling teeth until we actually got stuck into thinking about the year gone, what we did well, could have done better and how we can excel this year.
Ambition and drive means we naturally want to improve and to celebrate and build upon what we do well.

We also want to achieve big and better things for our clients which is why I’ve spent time this week researching award opportunities and working on award submissions not only for my clients but for our own company.

Across industries there are a great deal of award opportunities to grab hold of and it would be remiss not to be aware or put one’s name into the running for the credit, news, awareness building and achievement that awards have to offer.

Many may think that award submissions require a great deal of an investment of time with the chance of no return but I don’t agree.

Below are a few reasons that might change your mind:

  • Being shortlisted or winning an award can boost your brand awareness through pre and post publicity.
  • Researching and working on a submission naturally forces you to assess, evaluate, refine and promote your wins. It also has the benefit of helping you to identify key areas that you’d like to focus on and grow for the year ahead.
  • Credibility – we at Fuzion know how to roll-out a successful lobbying campaign for clients but our PRII award for lobbying on behalf of Down Syndrome Ireland provided invaluable third party endorsement not only for us but for the charity that fought with grit and determination for an overturning of a controversial Government decision.
  • Reputation building – awards can give you the edge over your competitors. Would you rather work with an award-winning company or not?

Ruth Negga, Oscar Nominee

If you listen to the media coverage when anyone in Ireland gets nominated for an Oscar you can see the benefit to them of the publicity that they enjoy as a result.

This year Ruth Negga,  received a nomination for Best Actress for her role in “Loving.”  “The Lobster” – co-produced by Irish production company Element Pictures – scored a nomination for Best Original Screenplay and Consolata Boyle was nominated for Best Costume for her work on “Florence Foster Jenkins.”

Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. It’s worth spending some time to research what awards and opportunities there are now and over the year and mark them in your diary.

They say you only regret a chance you didn’t take.

Aoibhinn

Aoibhinn Twomey - Fuzion PRAoibhinn Twomey is a Senior Account Director with Fuzion Communications – PR, Marketing and Graphic Design  who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

The Art of Possibility – I had a great 2017 because..

January 1, 2017

Klopp - We believe

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 2016 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 important to us that everyone in the team achieves their 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 application of 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 I want you to do some visualisation – First take a few deep breaths and relax and close your eyes.

Now imagine the last working day of the year just before you head out the door to do some last minute shopping and enjoy a well-earned rest. You are feeling very 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 write at the top of the blank page the date:

Friday, 22nd December, 2017

Now write down this personal statement:

I had a great year because ….

Now off you go and list the things that will make 2017 a great year 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 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 – it’s there waiting for you.

Happy 2017!!

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

(the pic at the top of the post refers to the quote that Jurgen Klopp made when he was recruited as Liverpool Football Club manager. His message to the fans was that he wanted to change them from ‘doubters’ to ‘believers’. He gets visualisation! )

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

Happy New Year !

December 1, 2016

happy-new-year-banner-2016-15Before you think I have totally lost my mind (maybe I have!) I do actually consider the 1st December to be the start of the new year when it comes to business.

I know December is a crazy month when we are all in ‘wind down’ mode, seeing out the year. For some businesses in the retail sector it is even more crazy but nearly all of the hard work has been done already purchasing stock for sale and planning the various promotional campaigns.

We typically don’t start anything new in December, we don’t commit to any new projects, we don’t take on new people, we don’t change jobs, we avoid major decisions and we instead let the year wind down, we merrily fall into the round of Christmas functions, Christmas shopping and happily embrace a well earned rest.

Before we know it January is here, we take a week or two to get up to speed and we start planning for the new year with our team.

Why not start the new year today and get a head start?

Greg Canty 

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

 

Without some “wow” it just won’t work!

July 12, 2016

Products with nothing specialI arrived there in torrential rain and entered a premises that lacked personality, that lacked anything. No pictures, no branding, no product displays…nothing.

There was a display on the wall with Certificates of Incorporation and some certs confirming a legal change from one company name to another.

I was politely ushered into a room and three people joined the meeting.

The new product was produced and placed centre stage on the board room table. The bland, quite generic packaging was the first thing I noticed.

Where was the product made, what’s special about it, what has the journey been, what is the wow, what is the  “story“?

I probed, I dug deep and I asked this crew why they developed this product, why it was in front of me on the table and why they brought it to market?

I was hoping to discover a unique (I hate that word) insight, I was hoping to hear some personal story, I wanted something that would help us to bring this “thing” to life in a genuine and authentic way that would connect with their target audience.

What I got was very profound – “it’s just a product that we think we can make money from

This won’t work…

Greg Canty 

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

Is the grass always greener on the other side?

April 8, 2016

London

Did you know that 48,000 Irish people run part of their business in Britain?

I didn’t until, out of curiosity, I popped along to a conference aimed at those interested in dipping their toe in the UK market. Entrepreneurs by their nature are ambitious so there’s naturally a perception that a leap across the pond will be the Holy Grail for business growth and expansion. Wanting a bite of the cherry is naturally tempting for entrepreneurs in Ireland in light of the fact that the UK accounts for €4 out of every €10 generated from our export sales.

So if you’re doing business in Ireland – it can’t be too hard to do the same in the UK. Can it?

While in theory the markets may seem similar, it’s vital that those considering stepping into the UK market invest a great deal of time and planning. It takes months of advance budgeting and planning as well as in depth desktop research of the; market, landscape, locations and workforce. How will you generate the right awareness for your business in such a large marketplace and do you know enough about that marketplace to start to answer that question?

Do you have the finances to sustain the business and the promotion of it while you are on that awareness curve?

Justin McInerney of Accuflow spoke at the conference and was refreshingly open about his experience of setting up his multi million business in the UK.

He warned businesses to exercise caution and that achieving success in the UK is a hard slog: “Many don’t realise that at the beginning that travel and operating costs can reach £1,000 a week”

He also went on to describe how he first set up his business in an area which sounded good on paper – it was a hub for countless other business, but the downside of that meant that the workforce was transient and he found it difficult to retain staff given how many employment opportunities they had on their doorstep. I can only imagine the resources and time the company spent on hiring and rehiring staff.

At the conference, organised by Cork Chamber, I got chatting to an entrepreneur who was keen to investigate the UK market but from a brief and casual chat about their business, it struck me as to whether they were anywhere near optimising the Irish market opportunities with their product.

While it might make perfect sense to look at the ‘bigger opportunities’ the grass may sometimes seem greener when it comes to the UK or any overseas market. It might just make sense to optimise the Irish market first – explore each and every opportunity to achieving business success here first when you have the best and right positioning. If you haven’t achieved that in this country then it might be illogical to feel you can achieve it in another, more competitive market such as the UK.

Aoibhinn Twomey - Fuzion PRAoibhinn Twomey

Aoibhinn Twomey is a Senior Account Director with Fuzion PR & Marketing which has offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Winning is all about Mindset

November 30, 2015

Change Your Mindset Concept

Not only am I part of the Fuzion team I am also a self confessed GAA obsessed Kerryman who has been exiled in Cork since 2008!

My background prior to joining Fuzion was in the Fitness and Leisure industry. Though my career pathway has changed radically I still maintain a deep rooted interest in the area of Strength and Conditioning and helping athletes realise their potential.

Having played both hurling and football I was always conscious of the ways and methods of the numerous coaches and trainers I encountered along the way.  I always wondered why we trained the way we did and what was the reasoning behind the often wild and wacky routines that were endured rather than enjoyed.

Ultimately success bypassed teams I played with more often than not though.

And so 2015 began with my first opportunity to train an adult team and mould and lead a group of players to their perceived promised land. My approach was very much along the lines of how business leaders take a concept, develop it, lead a team of people each with the common aim of achieving success and growth.

Dungourney GAA County Final winners

In leading a team to win a county title for the first time in 106 long years I followed these guiding principles to create the platform for our success.

  1. Dare to believe and you will achieve

“The person who gets the farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The ‘sure-thing’ boat never gets far from shore.”
Dale Carnegie

There should never be a time in your life when you’re not attempting something impossible. It is the impossible dream that stretches your imagination and shows you what you can become.

Get out of your comfort zone and stretch yourself.  Stretch the amount of work you do, stretch your expectations, and stretch your imagination no matter how outlandish your thoughts may seem.

  1. Embrace past failures

If you want to succeed, you need to fail.  No one succeeds with just a handful of failures. You need to fail, and fail, and fail again.  Failure is the path to success and it is through failure that the pathway to success becomes clear and you learn how to succeed.

  1. Use Your Will

“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.”

–Vincent T. Lombardi

Another word for “will” is “desire.”  To succeed you must desire to succeed more than you desire anything else.  Successful people aren’t stronger than others, and they aren’t necessarily anymore intelligent than others, but they have a burning desire to see their goal realised.  Motivation will only come from desire. Don’t try to motivate yourself if the desire is missing!

  1. You need Determination and Commitment

Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s the determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”

–Mario Andretti

You must have the determination and commitment to latch on to your goal and refuse to let go.  Desire, determination and commitment will put you in the position to achieve your goal.

  1. Excellence is Required

“No one ever attains very eminent success by simply doing what is required of him; it is the amount and excellence of what is over and above the required that determines the greatness of ultimate distinction.”

–Charles Kendall Adams

Are you striving for excellence in everything you do? Your preparation, your work, your lifestyle, your training and learning, and your relationships all demand excellence.

With every action you undertake ask yourself the question ‘Is it excellent’? To be the best you must be the best that you can be and be ‘excellent’. In addition perfect practice makes practice perfect in your quest for excellence.

  1. Vision is Necessary

To succeed, you must immerse yourself in being successful. Visualise winning at every given opportunity. Only through clear visualisation will you create the desire and belief to make success a reality.

  1. Go To Success

“Success doesn’t come to you, you go to it.”

–Marva Collins

Success won’t fall out of the sky and land at your feet; you have to go after it.  You have to hunt it down. You have to want it more than anything else and you have to work, work and work some more.  Go towards your goal and leave no stone unturned on your journey to success. Believe that you will win and that winning breeds success.

As the year 2015 comes to an end the journey that commenced last November has one final stop in this magical year.

We have achieved our goal of winning a county title but next Sunday sees a group of very special players vie for a Munster Junior A Hurling Championship. They dared to believe and displayed a will to go towards their goal and are now on the cusp achieving a success that didn’t seem possible just twelve months ago.

Dare to believe and you just might end up winning a most unexpected prize!

Dave FitzmauriceDave Fitzmaurice

Dave Fitzmaurice is a social media consultant with Fuzion – Social Media Consultancy and the proud coach of Dungourney GAA Junior Hurling team

Wake up and smell the hops!

August 13, 2015

digital hub

I was enjoying my ‘Dublin Bike’ as I cycled through Dublin city on the way to a new client meeting in The Digital Hub. I did something I had not done for a while.. I stopped for 5 minutes in Merrion Square and looked up!

I was so busy in my head thinking about the clever rebrand we had completed for our client and planning the meeting, that I was totally unaware of my surroundings.  We are all so busy being busy, on our computers, phones and mobiles and working towards deadlines and keeping all our fantastic clients happy, that we forget to stop,  look and think.

I noticed the wonderful buildings and carefully crafted roofs and pillars that I had never seen before and thought about the rich emotional Irish history and all the folk that walked on those streets before us. My colleague Greg used to work at the Guinness Brewery at St.James Gate and at offices right on the same site as the Digital Hub, not knowing that Fuzion was coming down the line.

As I walked into the meeting I made a promise to myself that I would become more aware – aware of my team and their experiences and how we can share and work together for our clients. All the meetings, brainstorms and Google hangouts have added to the rich tapestry of experience that our team has. We all have a fusion of feelings, experiences, interests and personality types to bring to the table for our clients and this makes for a really creative dynamic where literally anything can happen and great ideas can come from any brainstorm.

This new level of awareness made me listen even more at the meeting and learn from our clients, who are being really bold and brave about their new branding.

The meeting went well, and Greg gave me a lift back to the office, nah it was in his car, enough bike riding for one day!

That was a really happy ‘aware’ day  

#WinHappy
Aisling White - FuzionAisling White 

Aisling White is an Account Director with Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design based in our office in Dublin, Ireland


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