March 25, 2016

Growing The Missing Pieces

Although the human body demonstrates remarkable powers of regeneration, it still falls short of the extraordinary feats of self-repair which many other creatures possess. A snake sheds its skin only to rapidly reproduce another, the deer discards then regrows its antlers for the new season, whilst the starfish miraculously replaces as many as four of its five limbs so long as its central nerve ring survives intact.

And whilst mechanical and electrical engineers have managed to produce quite extraordinary prosthetic limbs and other body parts, the fact remains that for many people the loss of a critical piece of the body results in greatly-diminished ability.

Another Piece Of The Puzzle

Jemma Redmond's curiosity about her own medical condition prompted her to study nanobioscience and the possibilities of regeneration at UCD, where she attempted to grow pieces of human fingers for her thesis. This in turn prompted her to develop a hybrid bioprinter capable of creating sample human tissue suitable for drug testing (which may in turn see an end to using animals for this purpose).

Jemma, our featured guest on this week's Kickstart Your Business, set up Ouro-Botics in order to develop partnerships that will put one of her hybrid bioprinters into every university and hospital in the world.

Talking 'Bout Regeneration

Whilst George initially professed ignorance of the Our-Botics subject matter, he quickly warmed to the topic when Jemma eloquently explained 'the science bit' and how to put it to work to make a difference and make some money too (this is a business after all).

Gerard meanwhile admired Jemma's achievements, notwithstanding her naturally self-deprecating approach, and suggested that whilst her website did a good job of introducing the bioprinters as an item for sale, she is missing an opportunity to tell the story of the impact which her work is likely to have on the world. In addition to the hope that she and other medical pioneers offer to those of us suffering from the variety of medical conditions that can be addressed only when the body can be helped to regenerate, putting an end to animal testing is no mean feat.

Say Your Piece

What do you suggest that Jemma might do to realise her aim of having a hybrid bioprinter in every hospital and university in the world?

Listen back to Jemma on Kickstart Your Business (with thanks to Energia), and tell us what you think? We'd love to hear from you.

Kickstart Your Business is broadcast on The Right Hook on Newstalk every Thursday around 6.25pm, and is available for playback immediately afterwards at Newstalk. com.

March 23, 2016

A Big McMór Mistake For Irish Food Producers

This weeks' post comes courtesy of my colleague Anne Tannam, guest contributor and Brand Manager at Islandbridge.

For the last few weeks, Dublin city has been awash with advertisements for the Big McMór burger.
It's much the same advertisement that was used last summer but this time around, there's no mention of the word 'artisan'. 

In September last year, McDonalds, having fallen foul of the Food Safety Authority, was forced to remove that misleading tag, but the image still promises us a gourmet experience, with the best and freshest of local produce.

Mór Irish Than The Irish Themselves

Two well-known Irish food brands, Ballymaloe and Charleville (the latter, ironically, not produced in Ireland) are featured in the ad. For the McDonald's brand, they are the perfect accompaniment to their product, giving it the much coveted 'Irish' flavour and the promise of good food prepared with care and attention (I'm smiling as I write this, having spent a summer, many moons ago, working in McDonalds, cheerfully lashing layers of ingredients into burger buns!).

In Too Much Of A McFlurry

Commercially, it's understandable why both Ballymaloe and Charleville were caught up in the flurry to promote their product and increase sales. From a brand perspective however, it's a disaster. McDonalds is all about fast food, the faster the better. Great Irish food producers are all about slow food, 'the good things in life take time' food. Ballymaloe in particular, comes from the home of the Slow Food Movement  in Ireland, and McDonalds is the antithesis of what the movement stands for.

Mór Is Less

My fridge generally contains at least two Ballymaloe products and I regularly buy Charleville cheese. The reality is that now, both brands are somewhat diminished in my eyes and feel 'less' Irish to me than they did before I knew they were key ingredients in the McMór. Brand is all about the story and for McDonalds, being perceived as being somehow Irish is a happy ever after ending for them. For Irish Food Producers however, being perceived as 'Fast Food' is a chapter they may wish they hadn't written.

Over To You

What's your view on this? Can you think of any other Irish food brands that are playing loose and easy with their brand story or even better, Irish food brands that are getting the story just right? We'd love to hear from you.

Anne works alongside Gerard and the team at Islandbridge Brand Development to help our clients develop a brand framework within which they can build new relationships and strengthen existing ones to gain competitive edge and grow their business. 

March 11, 2016

Airing Clean In Public

The hard-pressed but neatly dressed professional appreciates more than most the value of a laundry service. Having freshly-pressed clothing hanging neatly in the wardrobe at the ready,  means they need never appear in public looking anything less than their best.

But that same busy lifestyle that demands they be smartly turned-out can make it difficult to find the time to drop off and collect the laundry, leaving the dirty clothes pile up at home and the freshly-cleaned clothes hang around the cleaners. Meanwhile, the wardrobe grows bare.

First Up, Best Dressed

This week's Kickstart Your Business featured Evan Gray of a new service that seems to be the answer to the hard-pressed professional's plea. Whilst Evan's background is in finance, he spotted an on-demand dry-cleaning service when he was travelling, and thought it would work very well in Ireland, with people always looking to save time and hassle.

His well thought out and smartly presented service can be easily accessed on website and app, and is delivered by appointment to home or office anytime between 9am and 10pm in the greater Dublin area. And for Evan, it's Dublin first, and then the world.

Suits You, Sir!

As a busy professional who spends much of his time in the public eye, George instantly appreciated the convenience of Evan's neatly-designed and delivered at-your-service service.

Meanwhile, I admired both the clever name and use of the .ie suffix (although this might limit Evan's travel plans) and the ease of access on both the website and app.

However, I wonder if Evan is doing all he can to use the product to advertise the service? When I'm out and about in Dublin, I see little evidence of Evan's busy fleet of drivers picking up and dropping off the laundry. Remember the best advert for a product is often the product itself.

Now Keep It Clean!

What do you suggest that Evan might do to clean up in his new laundry business, first here in Ireland, and then across the world?

Listen back to Evan on Kickstart Your Business (with thanks to Energia), and tell us what you think? We'd love to hear from you.

Kickstart Your Business is broadcast on The Right Hook on Newstalk every Thursday around 6.25pm, and is available for playback immediately afterwards at Newstalk. com.

March 04, 2016

Someone To WatchOver Me

For the anxious parent of a wandering child, out of sight and earshot can quickly mean out of mind with worry. And whilst the world just might be a safer place these days, it often doesn't feel that way, with all the apparent dangers, real and imagined that might befall the vulnerable child.

So what's a parent to do? Deny their child the freedom of the neighbourhood or park, or worry sick each time they set off solo on an adventure?

No Worries, Help Is On Hand

Fiona O'Connor, our featured guest on Kickstart Your Business, is part of a family with both young children and a vulnerable grandparent, any of whom are prone to wander. She and her siblings tried a number of locator-devices without success, and then decided to develop WatchOvers,  a simple device - two-way phone and support app in a watch - that lets children and the elderly enjoy their independence, whilst always being within easy reach of the family.

The Wandering Star

So what did George and I make of Fiona's WatchOvers business?

George wistfully recalled his own days as an errant father and wished his own children had enjoyed the protection of this ingenious device. His memories of arriving late to the school gate to pick up his own son will have struck a chord with many listeners, including myself.

For my part, I admired the very effective image that Fiona has selected to illustrate how WatchOvers works (picture above left), but suggested that she, like many salespeople, is too reluctant to ask for the sale. The eager buyer is obliged to scroll down past a lot of background detail before being able to click to buy; this can be easily addressed by including a Buy Now button at both top and foot of any description.

A Two Way Conversation

What do you suggest that Fiona might do to make sure that help is on hand for anxious families everywhere?

Listen back to Fiona on Kickstart Your Business (with thanks to Energia), and tell us what you think? We'd love to hear from you.

Kickstart Your Business is broadcast on The Right Hook on Newstalk every Thursday around 6.25pm, and is available for playback immediately afterwards at Newstalk. com.