Posts Tagged ‘Marketing & PR’

Waiting for the Penny to Drop

August 26, 2011
Greg Canty blog

Keeping up with trends?

I was reading the text of an interview with a prominent retailer in Ireland (in business for over 40 years) who has a number of outlets – he was talking about the current state of his business and his outlook for the future.

Some of this is as you would expect:

Footfall, passing trade, impulse buying and general sales have decreased.. Last year was bad and this year is the worst ever … there is a need to work harder and continue to offer great quality, reasonable prices and a top class service to customers … we have to offer continuous promotions to keep the business ticking over …

we have to offer discounts to get customers to part with their money … whether we are in sale or not customers will often barter for a lower price and we are prepared to negotiate … the nature of our business is very personalised and we promote it with quality merchandise and great quality…

we’ve reduced prices by between 20 and 50 per cent, which customers have reacted well to… circumstances are changing on an almost daily basis as there seems to be a constant crisis with the Irish economy… we never got complacent even in the good times … the government isn’t doing enough to ensure healthy business and sales growth in Ireland…

Vat and rates are beyond our control and are the main reason why so many businesses are closing for good… we advertise on local radio and in the local press…. we do what we can to keep the doors open… hopefully there is light at the end of the tunnel

Now this is a guy and a business who has been in a permanent scrap for the last few years, no doubt fighting with landlords over rent, cutting back on staff levels, reducing staff wages, negotiating with suppliers over margins, fighting on a daily basis to get more efficiencies in the business and doing everything I am sure to stay in the game.

With admiration I am saying to myself “well done you are one of the great survivors – it sounds like you have been doing everything to survive” – then I read one final piece in the interview..

I acknowledge the growing importance of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter for making immediate contact with my customers … we’re in the process of setting up a Facebook profile aimed at younger customers as I recognise the importance of social media as a form of free and immediate advertising

In the process of setting up a Facebook profile! – I find myself screaming to myself ..”What are you waiting for?”

Unfortunately this hard working business is fighting a battle on many fronts but it is stuck in the slow lane with smart competitors putting on the indicator and whizzing quickly by – he probably doesn’t even notice them.

Despite the extreme economic climate and the huge shift in how we consume media for many people the huge Social Media Penny has still not dropped … one of these days!

Why do we find it so hard to adapt?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

At Fuzion we offer social media consultancy to clients even those where the penny takes a while to drop!

The Glamourous Toll Booth Woman!

June 20, 2011
Toll Booth Woman

"How are you?"

Pulling into the Portlaoise toll booth and I know I am making good time for the meeting in the centre of Dublin, as long as traffic into the city is OK. That can be a lottery at times ..

As usual you scramble for change as you pull into the quietest toll booth.

How are you today?

I wasn’t expecting that.. as I look up I discover the voice behind the friendly greeting was a smiling and very glamorous woman, well groomed, perfect make-up, blonde hair and wearing a very neat blouse and accessorised with necklace and earrings. My guess is that she could be in her early fifties.

She quickly hands me my 20 cent change and I am moving again.

I certainly wasn’t expecting that friendly greeting, but why not?  I guess we can quickly get too used to the, no rapport, nothing interaction type of interpersonal transaction that can happen so often on the phone, in the shop, at the coffee shop, at the train station or anywhere that we quickly interact with people.

Somehow the toll booth was not a place where I was expecting a friendly interaction like that.

I am guessing that working at the Portlaoise toll booth was not my glamourous woman’s dream job but she has clearly decided that she is going to do it in the best possible way, with pride, positivity, efficiency and personality.

All the thousands of drivers on their monotonous journeys who she deals with everyday benefit from her decision to do her job in this way.

Glamourous blonde toll booth woman, thank you … and thank you to anyone who is not exactly doing their dream job but makes a decision to do it the best possible way, with pride and with a friendly smile.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

The Ultimate in Brand Loyalty, Bobby Stokes and a Pencil Case?

May 29, 2011
Liverpool FC Pencil case

Loyalty starts with a pencil case?

Chatting to a friend of mine last week the conversation came around to football, the Champions League Final and the ultimate in brand loyalty – the undying support for “your” football team.

Supporting your football team through thick and thin must be the ultimate in brand loyalty and is one of life’s greatest mysteries – how does this happen, when does it start and why do supporters never waver from their team despite success and otherwise?

How do we end up with this incredible bond with a football team from another country? – it really makes little sense but it exists and it runs so deep that it affects us, our moods, our friends and even those who we may not like!!

As a die hard Liverpool fan I can honestly tell you my form is great when they win, lousy when they lose, I get anxious about new signings and I get suspicious of people who support their arch rivals!!

I’m not from Liverpool (but I do like going there – the people are great fun!), my parents aren’t from there, I will do my utmost to watch every match (on TV or computer), I feel betrayed by Mr Torres, I did meet the legendary old club chairman Peter Robinson once and I think You’ll Never Walk Alone is the greatest football song ever!

How is it that in a lifetime we might have many personal relationships but we never change football teams? – what is that about and where and how does it actually start?

My friend is an Everton fan – how did this start? Well, his mother who he admits knows nothing about football bought him an Everton pencil case – he tells me the following year she bought him his first ever football shirt, a Liverpool shirt (she does have taste, that woman..), which he refused to wear. The ultimate brand loyalty had set in, he was a die hard Everton fan.

Bobby Stokes celebrates FA Cup winning goal versus Manchester United
Well done Bobby Stokes !

My cousin who I hadn’t seen in a very long time proclaimed he was a Southampton fan – curious I asked him how this happened? He nearly killed me that I did not know – he reminded me that when we were kids (1976 to be precise) he was visiting our house on FA Cup Final day when Southampton (in the old 2nd division) were up against the mighty Manchester United.

I warned him not to support Man Utd if he knew what was good for him – Bobby Stokes scored a winner (do click the Bobby Stokes link – the goal is worth watching!) for the Saints in the 83rd minute to  seal an unexpected win and a new “brand loyal” fan was won for life! To this day despite few opportunities to celebrate memorable wins he has remained loyal to his team.

Getting deep about this topic with my Everton buddy we actually agreed that you could even use the word “love” to describe that bond with your team – whoah, that’s heavy?

How can your brand or business instil even a fraction of that kind of loyalty with your customers?

– buy them a pencil case?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

The Business Social Media Dilemma

May 2, 2011
Gary Vaynerchuk signing his new book

Gary Vaynerchuk signing his new book

In the terrific Smarter Egg book learning programme our group has just finished reading and discussing the excellent book by Gary Vaynerchuk, “The Thank You Economy” , which deals broadly with businesses adopting a “Thank You” philosophy and embracing the Social Media opportunity properly to be successful in the marketplace.

The book was really interesting but in it Gary V took a huge swipe at PR companies for their approach to Social Media for their clients, which was a little unfair (then again, it depends on your PR company!).

Basically he stated that 90% of the worst social media engagements were produced by PR companies! Even stronger than that he accused PR companies of spotting that the “wind” was blowing away from them towards social media and the reason they are engaging with clients in this area is just to bolster up their fees and chargeable hours.

In my experience Gary is way off the mark but it does put the spotlight on what I refer to as the “Social Media Dilemma“.

Social Media Dilemma

It goes like this – as a PR company who always takes a broad “holistic” approach to communications we know and clearly understand the benefit of Social Media for our clients, in fact in 99% of cases well before them. We push for them to engage in this area properly but we do realise that the “voice” used on the platforms should be a trusted and skilled internal voice.

Now for the dilemma – often this trusted and skilled voice is not available and our client is not prepared to allocate the proper resource to this area.

To make sure that they do not get left behind their competitors we will make ensure that our client’s open up their Social Media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube and their blog), that they look the part as they are an extension of their brand online and we will also provide them with the necessary training so that they are well equipped to use them proficiently.

We know we cannot do this for them but we will always be there to support them and will never be shy in recommending that they should be more active in that space. Sometimes as an option we might assist them in the “learning phase” until they are fully up and running. (often we have to be quite careful with Social Media conversations because if a client isn’t ready to listen you will end up annoying them!)

We see the huge opportunity for clients and if the Social Media platforms were not there we would be gutted – they add so much opportunity for all our clients.

Swiss Watchmaker
Master Craftsman

Dilemma: Who? – Social Media Manager

Who looks after the Social Media in a business is a vital issue. Gary V refers to this person as the “Community Manager” and is quite right in stating that it should not be someone that you can’t find anything else to do with!

He rightly suggests that this person should not be an intern or another junior person. It should be someone who knows the business intimately, who understands the customer, who is passionate about customer service and who is well able to communicate in the “social media” arena – this person must be quite skilled in this area, which is often underestimated.

Why Social Media activity fails?

This leads me to Gary’s suggestions as to why most Social Media initiatives fail:

1. Using tactics instead of strategy

2. Using it to exclusively put out fires

3. Using it to brag

4. Using it as a press release

5. Exclusively re-tweeting other people’s material rather than generating “own” content

6. Using it to push product

7. Expecting immediate results

I agree with Gary on all of these points 100% but I think it is missing a BIG, BIG last point – a NUMBER 8!

8. Skill

This for me is probably the biggest point and while Gary alludes to it at times I think he actually doesn’t fully appreciate it and maybe he takes his own talent in this area for granted.

Using social media is a very highly skilled discipline, which requires individuals:

  • who understand each of the media intimately
  • who have strong “informal writing” ability
  • who understand the business and customers well
  • who can be fully trusted to be the voice of the company,
  • who have enquiring minds
  • who can manage the unstructured nature of the communications
  • who can respond themselves under most circumstances but knowing when they need assistance
  • who can spot and manage communications with genuine customers and at the same time filter out posts by possible competitors/cranks
  • who have the ability to summarise and relate issues back to management in a timely fashion.

To add to this the platforms have to be managed 24/7, which requires some co-ordination of resources, consistency and dedication.

Wow – that is some job!

Gary Vaynerchuk is a social media genius who is the passionate owner of his own wine business, which makes him quite unique – maybe he underestimates his ability in this area and as a result thinks it is easy for anyone to just jump in and be an expert.

So Gary, thanks for the book, thanks for the terrific examples (Old Spice and the San Francisco dentist!) and insights, never underestimate your own skills and please don’t be too hard on the poor PR companies in the future!

Fuzion provide Social Media Consultancy and Social Media Training.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

The Fuzion Women and The Royal Wedding!

April 29, 2011
Mary & William

William and Kate or is that Mary?

Now before I go any further let me stress that at Fuzion we have a team of intelligent, diligent and very hard working women ..

“Oh my God” this is going to be the best day ever … Mary (our Londoner, who may feel hard done by today – in the UK this would have been a day off – I think it is here as well!!) declares in a very excited fashion – Oh My God is right !! They are definitely a different species ..

The amount of time and detail and arrangements that have gone into the big day is incredible – I’m not talking about the the arrangements in London, I’m talking about the arrangements by the intelligent and hard working female crew in Fuzion.

The William and Kate inscribed champagne flutes are on standby, special cakes have been baked for the occasion, the LCD screen is set up and the wedding of the decade is about to be screened.

10:30 AM and we are already listening to the excited screams, oohs and aahs about the different dresses and I can confirm that the girls have freely admitted that “we would all love to be a princess”!

10:40: “Oh my God, I have that coat”, “Look at the dress it is, AMAZING !!” “She’s put on weight” “Look, look it’s Prince Charles”

11:02: The girls freak out as the screen freezes on the CNN feed- panic !

Now all the boys are watching it as well ..if you can’t beat them you may as well join them!

Major excitement as we have just unveiled a picture of Mary with Prince William – Paul did a great job with it and I think Mary is genuinely impressed .. we have another little gift for her later!

11:45: We are in the middle of the vows and girls are nervous .. very tense … Yahoo !! They have done it

Fuzion Girls

Fuzion girls working hard!

12:15 “Do you think they will kiss on the balcony ?” – What do you think? – of course they will ..

The champagne and Pimms is flowing, the scones and cream are ready, we have sandwiches, we have gorgeous cheeses, we have pate .. we’re having fun!

The girls are now practicing their Queen “wave” – Jill is definitely the best, guess who has done this before.

Mary is not impressed at the picture of her as the Queen, she prefers being a Princess I am guessing – she is the most fabulous girl, we’re mad about her! William would be lucky to have her but he had to settle for Kate, another commoner.

12:50 Ali arrives to join the fun!

13:05 and all the girls now are just waiting for the balcony kiss (by the way Posh Spice’s outfit got the thumbs up!)

13:27 – the moment has come, they have appeared on the balcony – Mary has declared to us that “I have goose bumps”, Kerrie being very practical “Ah for God’s sake, hold hands will ye!” .. wait for it, wait for it .. lots of waving, anticipation, more waving and there you go, smack – the most polite, useless pathetic kiss of all time!

.. the crowd are chanting … kiss again, kiss again, obviously not very happy with the 1st one … nothing doing just yet, more waving. Ah damn – they kissed while the cameras were following the air force jets flying overhead – what a waste!

That’s nearly it, they’re all going in, backs turned and in they go – “That marriage isn’t going to last” , “Ah, I think it will”

Fuzion wedding girls photo
Fuzion girls know how to have fun!

William and Kate (or Mary!) you brought us a little bit of magic today, thank you and the very best of luck!

It probably won’t be easy..

Now – back to work!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Are you spending enough on Positive Costs?

April 25, 2011
Doorman - Positive Costs

Meet and Greet - 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

Have a Postitvely Fabulous Easter!

April 14, 2011
Retail tips for easter

Positivity? - Why not !!

Budgets, bad weather, IMF bailouts, things are tough, sales are bad, wages are down, burn the bond holders, senior bond holders, junior bond holders, any bond holders – Oh my God, my head is bursting ! Enough is enough ..

In business all the marketers will tell you about the importance of having a Unique Selling Point, a USP. It is that element that is unique that makes your business special and makes you different to your competitors. In a busy marketplace that can be hard to achieve. In the current climate it can be even more difficult as everyone is afraid of mistakes so we end up playing it very safe, even boring at times.

Now go back to my first paragraph, read it again and then read further on and let’s discover a really simple way to make your business stand out this Easter.

Here goes..

This Easter draw a secret line around your business and make it a haven for all those who enter or deal with over the phone or on email – you are going to give them a gift, something that is quite unique, something that are not getting in most other places. When anyone crosses that secret line they are going to experience nothing but positivity – yep, that’s right simple positivity.

That’s all well and good but how do we do it? – Here is my 10 step plan!

1.       Yourself – You start! ( “Good morning, Greg”)

2.       Your Team – Tell them that negative talk is banned, you want them cheery and bright with customers – watch what happens (have a negative jar instead of a swear jar!)

3.       Bright – You want to see bright merchandise in the windows, bright visuals on your website, bright stock in the stock list, bright clothes on the staff. Buy flowers!

4.       Sales – Increase your sales targets. We all know it’s not easy but tell the team you are budgeting for an increase (let everyone else do the opposite, prepare for the negative it and it will definitely happen)

5.       How to? – Ok, while you are positive you are also realistic. You want positive plans from your team as to how the sales targets will be achieved

6.       Bonus – Promise bonuses for those who succeed, win/win if you make it

7.       What to do with that bonus? – Get everyone in the team to write on a piece of paper what they will do with their bonus (put their private responses in an envelope with their name on it – keep it for them)

8.       Drinks/dinner/chocolates/coffee – When the sales plans are done and the bonuses are decided on do something as a team. Bring chocolates or buns into work.

9.       Customers – treat them really nice, offer them coffee, offer them biscuits. Tell them about the secret line if you have to – they will think you are nuts but they will appreciate it

10.   The World – little enough that you can do about the other stuff, keep it outside the line!

Sorry I have one more tip – why stop at Easter?

Happy Easter!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Writers Block!

April 12, 2011

All sorts of direct mail comes through our letter box everyday of the week ranging from free newspapers, special offers from pizza and Chinese restaurants and local hardware stores.

At work the direct mail tends to be a little bit different, we do get the free newspapers but we also tend to get some special offers from gyms and some notifications about lunch time specials in local restaurants. The odd time you will get someone offering some type of business to service such as IT support. Mostly this material goes direct to the bin after a quick glance.

The very odd time something very special comes through the letter box and this happened yesterday in the office. This very special piece of direct marketing immediately brought the gift of laughter and joy to everyone – in fact it was so good that the effects of it lasted the whole day.

It brought smiles – sorry that it a huge understatement – it brought uncontrollable laughter from the minute it was discovered. During the day this unique piece of direct marketing was spontaneously grabbed by whoever was passing – it was picked up and even though everyone knew the joke already it did not matter – the roars of laughter just kicked off again.

I don’t think anyone in the office will take up what was being offered any time soon but to those who delivered this unique gift through our letterbox we cannot thank you enough. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Direct Marketing that makes you laugh!

How is your writing?

Writers block?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Happy 5th Birthday Twitter – Valuable or Waste of time?

March 21, 2011

Jack Dorsey - Twitter

Happy 5th Birthday Twitter !

Happy Birthday Twitter..

On the 21st March 2006 founder Jack Dorsey sent the very first tweet and five years on while it is growing in popularity it is probably still the most misunderstood of the popular social media platforms.

When we run our Social Media courses the results are nearly all the same , pretty much everyone is using Facebook at some level and just a very few are using twitter. I would guess that just 20% of social media users are actively using twitter.

Is this failure, is this most people deciding that it is irrelevant, is this most people not understanding how to use twitter or is it an absolute gem that is yet to be discovered by the mainstream?

At Fuzion we take it really seriously because we see the value of it for us and for our clients but I do understand the difficulty that people have with it. By it’s nature it is looser than the other platforms with pretty much anyone being able to follow anyone, your messages are more public capable of being picked up by anyone searching and then there is the business of hash tags, re-tweeting and #FF, that’s follow Friday, by the way!

Added to that everything is limited, how many characters in your unique identity, how many characters in a post, how much information you can include in your bio – it’s just different, different enough to scare users off initially before they get to experience the real magic.

I won’t start giving a lesson on how to use twitter but I will share with you my Top 10 reasons why we think it should be embraced –

1. Branded Chit Chat – on twitter you can choose an identity for yourself and every time you post, your “identity” carries with you, it’s like advertising in a subliminal way @prguru. Guess what service that person provides? Even if you are chatting about the Liverpool game your identity travels with you.

2. Viral “ability” – of all the social media platforms twitter is the very best for passing on information. The retweet facility makes this possible. I pass the message to my followers, them to theirs and so on. Uninteresting posts will not be retweeted but interesting ones will be, remember Simon Coveney’s, Brian Cowen post? Simon Coveney did not have many followers when he tweeted that information, it didn’t matter.

3. Innovators and Early AdoptorsSeth Godin in his famous book the Purple Cow talks about a typical product cycle and he stresses the importance of targeting people who love new things. These are the people who love to try new things out and then tell their friends, they are generally naturally curious and are often the ones who are vital for spreading the word – before you know it when enough people have heard about “that” new product it enters the mainstream, where volume starts kicking in. If you have a new product or service you will find many of these innovators and early adoptors are already using twitter- makes sense if you think about it?

4. Avoiding the CrowdFacebook has the advantage of so many users and it is really powerful as a result. However it is a pretty crowded space with more businesses joining it the whole time competing for people’s attention. The chances are that your competitors are already up and running and competing with you in this space. Twitter on the other hand has not been explored to the same degree so you can steal a competitive advantage over your competitors and have more of those prospects to yourself.

5. Search – the search facility on twitter is incredible. You can use it to follow topics, to search on people discussing your business and your industry. We find it invaluable in our work with clients and in a “crisis” situation it is really useful. You can literally measure the temperature of a situation on twitter, which can be really useful if you are dealing with a tricky situation.

6. Read all about it! – the problem is that it is now impossible to “Read all about it” . With so many newspapers, magazines, radio and tv channels how is it possible? With twitter by following the correct media profiles on twitter you can create your own customised news feed. Everything from your favourite team (have I mentioned this is Liverpool!) to breaking news.

7. Journalists – for some reason many journalists have flocked to twitter, which probably tells it’s own story as to how they value it. If you start using it you can quite easily follow journalists who may be interested in your sector and if used correctly you will be able to learn what they are interested in and what they are writing about. Use the platform to try to build a relationship with them and then pitch your stories – make sure you build trust before you start pitching!

8. Audience – if you use twitter proactively we believe you have a good chance of building “followers” or an audience for your message very quickly, even quicker than Facebook. However, it’s up to you how you use these relationships once you gather them.

9. Relationships – we have found that the nature of the conversations is quite different and at times they are more of a “community” type – the conversations can happen between groups of people. As a result you can have quite different relationships with people. Once you are capable of holding your own on an issue or topic you will build a good reputation and also quality relationships with relevant people.

10. Fun – there can be quite a good sense of humour around using Twitter and even though your topics might be heavy you can build good relationships around lighter issues, which can ultimately lead to a listening for your key messages. My key message is don’t take yourself too seriously on twitter, have fun, build trust and build relationships – after that spread your message.

Twitter is a load of rubbish, the stuff people tweet is totally useless.. who cares what people have for breakfast

I often hear this type of argument about using twitter so I will leave you with my closing thoughts ..

Twitter is like a radio station, you tune it in by following who you want – find the channels that you like. If someone is annoying you, don’t follow them, block them, change the channel – you are the controller!

So Jack, thank you for Twitter .. I’d miss you if you weren’t there, Happy Birthday!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications

What’s in your boot?

March 17, 2011
What's in your boot?

What's in your boot?

We had the most interesting day with the Fuzion team the other day.  We were being filmed for RTE’s new show, The Business Show.  For this episode, the presenter, George Lee had asked Colm Murphy from Dynamic Leadership to spend some time with us going through the Myers Briggs Test.  It was great fun and I think we all learned a little more about each other and why we really gel as a team.

At the very end of the process we had to put our four key personality ”preference” selections into boxes and it defined what “type” we all were.  I was sure that the outcome would be that we would be in the same or neighbouring boxes.  We are a creative bunch, who work hard, play hard and are good team players, but it was interesting to see our differences and how this compliments the team and makes us who we are.  But surprise, surprise, out of 8 of us we were in 5 different boxes, showing a wide range of personality types.

Colm then showed us what the different boxes meant and I was so chuffed when it turns out I am in one of the boxes that 60% of CEO’s are in.  And before you ask, Greg wasn’t!!!  So it looks like I’m officially The Boss!!!

One interesting outcome of the “test” was that each of us had four different attributes that were key to the ‘box’ that we were in.  The first attribute Colm described as our ‘engine’ – the attribute that normally drives us.  The second attribute was our ‘co-driver’ – the attribute that is always beside us, assisting us in our daily working life.  When it came to the forth attribute, Colm described this as “what was in our boot” – the attribute that comes to the fore when we are under strong pressure.

He gave the example of a scene from The Sopranos:  The gangster is driving away from the scene of a crime, he has hidden the ‘body’ in the boot, but as he makes his escape, he hears a banging noise from the boot, his enemy is still alive – and reminding him that he has a job to finish!!

I couldn’t make sense of this really, until I saw that my ‘body in the boot’ attribute was ‘Emotion’.

At work I think it is a major weakness, to show emotion at work.  Of course we should be passionate about our work, but emotions often lead to lack of judgement and can lead to people making bad decisions.  But then I realised that this was definitely my body in the boot – Emotions will come to the fore when I am under pressure.

An example would be a few years ago we were working on a project of ours called Catwalks, a glamorous VIP Girl’s Night Out event – a communication went out to the media, that was not in keeping with our core message.  I was really upset as I had not been in the loop on the approval cycle.  I was just about to ring the person who had issued the communication and let give them a piece of my mind! Greg stopped me.  He said think about the brand, not my emotions when I was talking to the person.  It made me calm down straight away.  I was able to communicate rationally why it was wrong for the brand, rather than why it should have gone out without my approval. By being logical about it, the person saw straight away that it was wrong and never made the mistake again.  I didn’t get all emotional and upset, and in the process I maintained a good working relationship with the person who now had a better understanding of what we needed to communicate.

I think it is so important that we all recognise that we have a ‘body in the boot’, to be aware of it, acknowledge it and understand it and most importantly to stay in control and not be controlled by it.

This has been a really great learning for me that I hope will make me a better business person. Thanks to RTE, Colm and the lovely George for giving me this valuable insight.

Now fingers crossed that the piece which airs on Friday 25th March will show us as the strong team that we are and that I won’t be hiding behind the cushion cringing watching the piece and getting all emotional, with the boot banging very loudly!!!!

Deirdre Waldron is a partner of Fuzion Communications


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