The Importance of Visual Assets in Effective Public Relations

May 11, 2022 by

A recent photocall by our wonderful Account Executive, Heather Lordan for Southern Comfort

As one of my favourite saying goes, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, and this couldn’t be more true when it comes to conveying an impactful PR campaign

Photocalls and visual assets are essential in PR to accompany a pitch for an article, case study, or press release. Strong imagery immediately amplifies the content, catching the reader’s eye straight away, and prompting their curiosity. 

Strong visual content can propel both the story and brand in a fun and effective way. My favourite part of building any campaign is brainstorming photocall ideas with the team and watching the story come to life from there.

Here are my top three reasons why I believe a striking photocall image is a worthwhile addition to any PR campaign:

Visual Storytelling 

A strong image will strengthen your campaign and engage the consumer in your brand story.

A flat image with a person holding up a branded sign offers nothing to the journalist or the reader. I always like to think outside the box here, exploring the use of dramatic colours, unusual props, and picturesque locations.

A photograph sets expectations about the tone and subject but It shouldn’t give away the whole story. The image should engage the curiosity, prompt the question and the caption and press release should offer the answer.  

Shareability

Social media is a great way to increase the reach of PR campaigns and create a conversation with your target audience.

Images are processed in the brain’s long-term memory, while words are processed in the short-term memory. If the image is captivating, people will be more likely to share which encourages their followers to find out more about the story.

I always encourage brands to share assets internally as it brings the team on the journey too.

A recent photocall by our creative Account Manager, Michelle Harrison for IACP

Increased Brand Awareness

Images make an immediate connection with your audience because they are less taxing on your attention.

If you have a great image to go with your story you will recieve more media coverage and as media coverage grows your brand will garner much more attention.

Quality media coverage not only secures share of voice for your brand but also establishes expertise and credibility – a priority in the world of Public Relations.

So, next time you have a great story that is worthy of media attention spend time and attention with your team and your press photographer to capture those special images, because they are probably worth more than 1,000 words!

Stephanie Stafford 

Stephanie is an Account Director with Fuzion Communications, a full service PR agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland. Stephanie is known for her innovative approach to PR as well as her diverse range of agency and in-house communications experience. 

Back to Branding

March 14, 2022 by

To gain a deeper understanding of branding, consider your emerging identity – your adolescent brand.

You may not have realised it when you were younger, but we all had a brand!

Back then, your brand was developed by pushing your personal boundaries of fashion and music, ethics, morality, and friendships, as well as objectives and ambitions for the future.

Thinking about your youthful brand is important because it allows you to merge the numerous pieces that came together to form your identity – the image you had of yourself, and the image others had of you. It’s a riddle — and it’s crucial.

People create opinions of one another. It’s difficult to avoid it. As a result, people developed opinions about me. To those folks, those perceptions were my brand.

The way I interacted with them, the clothing I wore, the music I listened to, my principles and opinions, as well as what they expected of me, all became part of my brand.

Some people knew me well, while others didn’t, yet my brand was built by first impressions.

Others would create my brand for me, if I didn’t invest in clothes, music, and culture. And in today’s environment, social media, blogs, and online presence are just as much part of defining an adolescent brand.

My adolescent brand was more about face-to-face encounters, behaviours, ethos, attitude, outlook, what I did or didn’t do, and my values. These fundamentals are vital to the development of a brand.

At different times, different people perceived me in different ways.

As a result, for various people, I needed to have a distinct brand perspective. There would have been many similarities, but there would have been some differences as well.

Parents, for example, might have seen me differently from my friends in several respects. For instance, if I talked to my Mum in the same tone of voice as I talked to my friends, there would have been a serious communication breakdown!

It’s exciting to imagine how your brand will touch so many different sorts of individuals. It isn’t about deception or claiming to be someone else to please people or to fit in. That doesn’t go as planned.

No one is able to deceive a huge group of people for very long. When it comes to your brand, it’s all about being yourself.

Growing up is a lot like piecing together your business or organisation’s identity jigsaw, but from a different, more mature perspective, and just as when I was younger, the best way to get to the truth is to ask the most basic questions.

Who are you?

Neill

Neill MacCann is a senior graphic designer with Fuzion Communications who provide a full suite of print and digital graphic design services from offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland.

Digital Marketing Trends and the things that never change!

March 6, 2022 by

I sat down with Alma Brosnan (Head of Social Media with Fuzion) recently for an episode of the Win Happy podcast to discuss some of the latest trends with social media and digital marketing and the different things that anyone in business should be looking out for this year.

We had a really great conversation, and whether you are someone operating in a B2B (Business to consumer or community) or a B2B (Business to Business) sector the conversation is well worth a listen.

Click here for the podcast or look for it where you listen to your podcasts or on Spotify.

While things keep on changing and evolving and you always need to be alert to these changes, the one thing that never changes is that vital never ending job you need to do to have a successful business or organisation:

You need to keep on telling your story to your target audiences, wherever they are and whether they are looking or listening it is your job to reach them.

So, absolutely …watch those trends, know and understand where and how to reach your audience today and tomorrow but always:

  • Know your story and what is special about it
  • Know your target audience(s) and how your story resonates with them
  • Make sure that when your audience come looking that you convey that story quickly and accurately
  • Have a plan that proactively tells your story all of the time

And as I say on the Win Happy podcast….Thanks for listening!

Greg Canty 

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

Our learning: Teamwork – So far and yet so close!

February 7, 2022 by

A lot has changed over the past number of weeks as we somewhat return to ‘normal’ life and are hopefully waving goodbye to all of the constraints and negatives associated with the pandemic for good.

And while there were so many negatives that consumed our lives over the past nearly two years, we can’t ignore the positives that have changed our lives. We were forced to adapt and change, review our processes and get on with life in a whole different way.

We had to be resilient and innovative, flexible and caring and so much more to navigate our way through this unprecedented journey.

Professionally and personally, teamwork and how we strengthened this has played a huge role in our journey. Working from home has been a game-changer for many reasons (I especially do not miss the endless hours sitting in traffic) and it would not have been so effective without some great teamwork along the way. As a team in Fuzion, I can honestly say that we have never felt so close across all departments and locations, despite not seeing each other in person for months!

Key to this and something I definitely recommend to businesses if feasible, is the introduction of a regular team catch up. For us that happens as a 30-minute, 9am social catch-up every Monday morning with the whole team on Zoom, chatting about weekend events and hearing about what everyone got up to.

Its impact has been extremely beneficial, really bringing the team together as one rather than the separate locations and functions. Our team is spread out across all four corners of the country and there are always plenty of stories to be told and ironically we’ve really gotten to know each other far more than before the pandemic and without even realising it!

For me, it wouldn’t feel right without our team call as it is something that we all really enjoy now as it gets us in the right mood for the week as well as helping to shake off those Monday morning blues. It has allowed us to strengthen our relationships with each other, improving how we communicate and work together and ensures a positive team environment, even during the height of a global pandemic!

With so many benefits, we certainly won’t be waving goodbye to this pandemic learning for a very long time.

Saidhbh

Saidhbh Sweeney is a Senior PR Account Manager with Fuzion Communications: PR, Marketing, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing from offices in Dublin and Cork Design

Dinner is at Olivia’s ….!

January 31, 2022 by

At Fuzion, we like to share lots of things between the team, not just work related, so, recently we asked the team to share their favourite food to cook, and we got an insight into all of our cooking skills, some good, some bad and some great!

My favourite is slow cooked Spaghetti Bolognese, in particular because when cooked this way the mince tastes so delicious.

I could tell you that it was a family recipe handed down from generation to generation but I saw it on Instagram posted by the lovely Sandra Murphy (@sandrainthecity), the ex proprietor of The Rising Tide bar and restaurant and now a friend.

For me it can be either a treat or an every day meal, but it is glorious on a chilled out day when you have the time to potter around and allow the delicious smell of the dish to get those hunger pangs going.

While many would drink a fine red with this dish I just love it with a glass of chardonnay and my perfect guests for this very special meal are my lovely family!

The how to.. Slow cooked Bolognese

Ingredients – for 4 people

1 large onion

3 garlic cloves

1 red chilli

Carton of passata

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tin of plum tomatoes

1 tablespoon of tomato puree

1 beef stock cube

Mixed herbs / oregano (optional)

500g beef mince – less than 5% fat

Chop the onion, garlic and chilli – add to a pan, heat them, do not brown them, just soften. Add the mince meat

Once the mince is browned, add a carton of passata, the tin of tomatoes, the tomato puree and the beef stock cube.

Then add the mixed herbs. Cook on a medium heat for approx 3 hours, keep checking so that it’s not bubbling too much. The sauce will reduce here. Once ready, boil the spaghetti to your liking and serve…

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Olivia

Olivia Trought is the Office Manager with Fuzion Communications, Marketing, PR and Graphic Design from offices in Dublin and Cork.

Learning a new lingo and other new habits

January 10, 2022 by
Duo Lingo

It’s important to me that I am learning something new all of the time, whether it is something professional or personal – in fact it was one of my New Year’s resolutions last year and again this year, 

A love of Italy and a dream of returning there (Tuscany please!) in a post Covid world (we can dream at least) had learning Italian on my list.

I had heard from my brother Colin that the Duo Lingo App was a great way to learn so I signed up for the free App and quickly switched to the subscription version – you can only watch so many adverts every time you make a mistake!

As well as Duo Lingo I also signed up for some other courses including video editing on the Udemy platform. The courses on Udemy are really affordable and when I signed up I was determined to complete them.

The big learning difference between each is that Duo Lingo have thought deeply about how people operate, their will power (or lack of), their ability to stay focused and stay the course and how your motivation can change from the minute you sign up to afterwards when all of the other life stuff can throw you off track.

I guess in a way it’s like the gym membership in January, which starts with all of the very best intentions and ends up how it always does unless there are some very special motivation factors that will keep you coming back.

With all of that perspective Duo Lingo successfully gamified their App and built in features that keep you on course and keep you coming back.

They give you points for every exercise you complete, they send you messages to stick with it, they put you in a league table and constantly tell you where you are on that table!

When you complete an exercise they ask you to go again and earn double points, they tell you how you compare with others and they give you bonuses for being an “early bird”. The other very clever thing is they allow you to follow others and it lets you know when those people hit certain milestones and you can congratulate them from within the platform. That’s how I found out my sister is also using the App and how my brother is pretty serious about learning Spanish!

The most addictive element in my opinion is the “days streak” that you are on and you get constant messages to remind you that your “streak” may end if you don’t do an exercise!

It’s a very simple thing but it has me each day waking and thinking that I better do an Italian exercise to make sure I keep my streak going. A new habit has infiltrated my busy life!

I couldn’t tell you the last time I did a session on the video editing course – in truth when I go back to it I will probably have to go back to earlier sessions as I will have forgotten what I had learnt.

Knowing how I work and my busy schedule I was careful enough to schedule times in my diary to do the training sessions on Udemy but mostly that never worked out because something else took my time and attention – I haven’t missed a day of Italian learning in 146 days (not as important to me as the editing),

My point in all of this and making the comparison between the learning systems is that I know and you probably do as well that learning which involves some new habits is really really difficult and unless there is something significant motivating you then you probably won’t stay the course,

As well as my own objectives this year and the things I want to change both personally and for the business I do need to think about gamifying these in some way to increase the chances of success.

Is it a league table, setting reminders in my calendar, having a learning buddy, making a no messing time of the day/week that can’t be interfered with, counting my successive days and rewarding myself when that happens – maybe a very very special of red wine from Tuscany from the fabulous Wine Buff ?

Whatever it is I need to crack it.

What do you do to stay on track with those New Years resolutions and good luck with them!

Greg Canty 

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

Is “Bias”​ blinding us to opportunities?

December 1, 2021 by

The Authority Gap – Why women are still taken less seriously than men and what can be done about it.

On the latest episode of the #WinHappy podcast I chatted with political and economic journalist, broadcaster, non-executive director and author of the best seller, The Authority GapMary Ann Sieghart.

Her life experiences and three years of extensive research brought her to writing this book and taking on the challenge of closing the gender gap.

Mary Ann wants men to listen so when I reached out to feature her on the podcast she agreed.

We had a lively discussion including areas where there might be a different type of authority gap when it comes to men such as parenting.

It’s a big issue, that I suspect we will always grapple with..

Click the link here to enjoy the show!

All episodes of the podcast are available on all the usual podcast apps as well as Spotify.

I’m interested in what you think..

Greg

At Fuzion Communications we produce the Win Happy podcast as well as many podcasts for clients.

Stout talk and “target audiences”

November 14, 2021 by

I do love my pint of stout and as someone who has worked for Guinness and for a subsidiary of Heineken, who produce both Murphy’s and Beamish in Cork I think I am in a position to chat about it!

During lockdown I think enjoying a creamy point of stout in a pub with friends was quite possibly the thing that I missed most of all and was most grateful when we were able to return to our favourite local.

Where I live in Ballincollig in Cork I am blessed to have the White Horse Bar, Restaurant and Music Venue just down the road from me and a little further away, and on a tricky narrow road we have a wonderful “old man” pub called the Inniscarra Bar.

To stay Covid extra safe Kay, the very lovely proprietor of the Inniscarra Bar tried her very best to keep serving outdoors as long as possible complete with a little canopy and an outside fire, and even outdoors the regulars quickly had their regular seats, just as they would have had inside.

On one particular Thursday night I slipped down there with my fantastic neighbour, Brian for a couple of pints and we sat on a bench outside,

I asked for my pint of choice ‘Murphys’ to be advised against it by Kay who warned that it wasn’t pouring too well and I would be better off with either a Guinness or a Beamish. Two of the regulars overheard our conversation and remarked that the demise of Murphy’s was a sad state of affairs as it was always known as a “Murphy’s House”.

For me, it’s crazy that this could happen in any pub in Cork, but I wasn’t surprised as I hadn’t noticed any activity around this brand in quite a while.

A few days later while doing my grocery shopping in Dunnes Stores I noticed Murphy’s Stout cans on the shelf with new horrible (at least to me) purple and pink branding.

What in the name of god are they doing with that fantastic brand” I thought to myself and I wondered what the logic was behind this garish change.

That weekend I was chatting with my soon to be son in law, Mark and the conversation turned towards the new Murphy’s can. It turns out it wasn’t just me felt this way and this young man also hated the new branding – the beauty of the old brand is that it carried weight and some class and was confident, self assured and rooted in tradition, but this?!

Our first world problems!

A few days later while in town getting my hair chopped I happened to bump into an old buddy of mine who works for Heineken in Cork. I hadn’t seen him for an age so we had a great chat and before he left I had the opportunity of asking him what the hell was going on with Murphy’s!

I told him about the Inniscarra Bar experience and gave him my feedback about the new branding on the cans and after a while he turned around to me and said..

Ah….you are not our target audience!

That put me right in my place and we finished up our conversation and on my way home I reflected on what he had said to me and the sad fact that I was now 56 and thought yes, I was probably no longer the target audience, possibly no one’s target audience!

I thought some more and it started to bother me.

While you might make changes to your brand to appeal to a “new” audience, maybe you should first consider the fools who actually do ask for it and figure out what they like about it, as there might just be some valuable nuggets worth holding onto and the build from these.

Target audience my arse…!

Greg

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

The diary of a newbie!

November 2, 2021 by

I am delighted to have joined the Fuzion Communications team three weeks ago.

I have been working as a freelancer for the last two years, and there are many benefits to that… but also a lot of negatives (if you know, you know!).

Last winter, I realised that I missed working as part of a larger team and the bigger projects that tend to come with that.

I wanted to join the right agency for me, a place that truly cares about delivering the best results possible for their clients, and has a fantastic team at the heart of the organisation. Thankfully that is absolutely the case.

In my first week I was keen to be in the office as much as possible while the team was adapting to work towards the hybrid style, everyone was so warm, friendly and straightforward about everything, which is something that I really appreciated. In addition to this they were fantastic in dishing out tips for the best local coffee and where the best lunch spots are…Tir on Baggot Street is my new firm favourite for sandwiches just in case you were wondering. You weren’t? well, sure now you know!

Some of my observations and learnings from the first week are that a good office manager is everything and already I can’t count the number of times I’ve said “Thank God for Olivia!

Everyone joining a new organisation needs to have that person that knows everything and like Olivia is so helpful in sharing her pearls of knowledge with new joiners.

One of my first tasks was to prepare a presentation for a potential new client.

What was amazing about this process was talking through everything with Dee the founder of Fuzion, where she explained with heart the ‘why’ behind each action as opposed to saying “this is just what you do.”

Last Friday was a team day in the gorgeous Montenotte Hotel in Cork, which was a lovely opportunity to meet everyone off-screen, in person over a cup of coffee… who would have thought something so simple is in fact so important to our working lives?

One of the main items on the agenda in Cork was reflecting on the year just passed and future planning for 2022.

One of my key observations was just how engaged everyone on the team was while their colleagues spoke, every idea and wish was noted to see how it could be brought to life down the line. I’m not sure I’ve ever witnessed that in action before, it was lovely.

There was a shared sense of respect, and yes, of course, we all have to and want to work hard but there is an onus on everyone to make the best of it, by speaking up and being a part of the brilliant ideas that are at the heart of what makes this organisation tick. I am so excited about what is to come, it’s been a long time since I had that feeling that I was truly in exactly the place I am meant to be.

Sarah

Sarah Murphy is an Account Manager with Fuzion Communications a Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Wine, emails and kind gestures

October 27, 2021 by

When the government pulled the plug on our supermarkets in the middle of Covid (if things weren’t miserable enough) from “multi-buy” offers on alcohol and including them in their “loyalty points” or “€10 off 50” deals, it was time to change my drinking habits!

The change of habit wasn’t drinking any less but it was a change as to where I was now going to purchase my wine!!

So instead of typically buying my six bottles as I was doing with my grocery shopping, I had now moved to purchasing a case of 12 from one of the online suppliers!!

The little piece of magic in this whole e-commerce transaction was a timely email (they send them approximately once per fortnight) from the wine supplier with the latest “20% off Italian wine” or “New wines from Portugal” teaser message, which would prompt me to click, click, click, start browsing and then selecting, then to checkout, credit card details please, confirm transaction and presto!

As we have all been working from home getting a case of wine dropped to the front door isn’t an issue as there is always someone here to take it in. Add to that the convenience and the joy of opening a case and seeing what you did actually order.

From the wine suppliers point of view their simple email was a powerful piece of marketing / promotion – their email hits my inbox in the middle of my busy days and it nudges me gently to consider stocking up and despite being really really busy I invariably get diverted for 5 minutes to quickly place the order (in truth it isprobably quicker than browsing the aisles in the wine section of the supermarket and there is extra information about each wine available to me).

Nudge, buy, nudge buy, nudge buy…

This company were emailing me for years BUT it was only when the supermarket scenario changed that they became relevant to me.

The whole process was very effective and efficient and on some days the mixed cases of wine would actually be delivered on the day I placed the order.

I was happily doing this for months and when the 5km restriction lifted I was looking forward to placing an order for some extra special wine as we were about to take a week’s break at beautiful Sheep’s Head in West Cork.

Just to be sure I rang the company the morning before we were due to head off to ask if the delivery would be with us before 2pm the following day – I wanted to be sure we had wine on time and also to be sure it wasn’t sitting outside the front door for a week!

I’m sorry but we can’t guarantee delivery before 48 hours” I was told by the voice that answered..

That’s ok, but I know your deliveries are really prompt. I order from you the whole time, can you at least check with someone?”

Em, no there is nothing I can do, that is our policy” (that response always sets me off…)

Can you please check at least?” …. “No, sorry, that is our policy“.

I was really disappointed and made a mental note to try to find an alternative supplier when we came back from our week’s holiday.

Despite this decision of mine the compelling, well timed emails kept coming every two weeks and I kept ordering until one day when I was making a brief visit to the office I popped into my favourite wine store in town and was delighted to chat to the friendly staff there and asked them to make a special recommendation for a meal that night.

As they were wrapping my purchases I apologised to them for not being in there for a while and explained that I had been working from home during lockdown and resorted to online ordering.

They politely informed me that they did online deliveries, something I never realised but I was surprised as I was sure that I was on some database of theirs.

I told them about the “trick” about the fortnightly e-newsletter that their competitor was employing to great effect and their response to me blew me away..

We don’t like to sell or force ourselves on anyone

Ah come on guys, are you for real? Have you any idea what you are missing out on. Of course it’s selling, but it is also informing and prompting and all part of their service

Eventually they considered what I was saying and said they would mention it to the franchise owner.

Because I really like them (and they do have great wines!) the next time I needed a wine top-up I looked for their website and ordered my case from them and not the other crew.

The order was delivered swiftly and the next time I ordered I was pleasantly surprised to see an extra bottle that I hadn’t ordered come with the delivery as a gift with a special note of thanks from the owner for giving them the business.

To wrap up my “wine story” I have continued to order wine from my favourite wine store, they still don’t send out e-newsletters with offers, news or suggestions which I would really appreciate but I am really happy to give them the business because they are nice and they do appreciate the business.

The biggest irony of all is that when the e-newsletter comes in from their competitor I use their well timed email as a prompt to order from them!

As for the competitor, their regular customer has disappeared and they will never know why unless they spot this change of trend and ask the question…

Mrs “sorry there is nothing I can do” sent me and my business on my way.

The e-commerce lessons we learn from this story:

  • Get online
  • Make sure your customers know about the service
  • Get an e-mail database going and use it tactically and frequently
  • Make it easy for people to sign up
  • Be efficient at processing orders
  • Look at patterns of ordering and try to figure out why when it changes
  • Build a relationship with the customer just like you do in person
  • and remember….there is always something you can do!!

Who is for red?

Greg Canty 

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


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