Happy New Year !

December 1, 2016 by

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

 

Social Media after Death!

December 1, 2016 by

Social Media after death

I spotted a post that a friend of mine had pushed out on Facebook of her and her husband on holidays somewhere.

I hadn’t seen her for years so I innocently posted “I hope the two love birds are doing great – must get together one of these days“.

Another mutual friend sent me a ‘panic‘ message “Delete the post, her husband died last year and she was just posting a memory as it is a year since his death“.

Oh no ….. how did I not know this awful news?

I sent my friend a private message on Facebook apologising for my colossal gaffe and offered my sincere condolences – thankfully she came back to me, was totally understanding and we actually ended up chatting on the phone.

It turns out she was happy to chat about her husband and in a strange way she was glad that someone behaved as if he was still alive..

The Last Will and Testament

I’ve been asked to go on air to chat about a newspaper article that discusses the trend of people leaving very specific instructions in their wills about keeping their social media accounts “alive” once they leave this life (or do they?).

The article claims that according to lawyers one in five people are now leaving specific social media instructions in their wills – I guess if you factor in that not all people in that supposedly older demographic have participated in social media, then it would suggest that most avid users see it as being really important.

People are nominating a social media ‘guardian’ in their wills who have the job of executing their instructions, which according to the survey are quite varied:

  • some are going as far as specifying how often their account should be updated and the type of content they want posted
  • some are requesting that a post goes from their account every single day!
  • some wish that once or twice a year some memories are posted for the person to keep their memory alive
  • the majority just wish for their guardian to reply to comments

More than half of social media users want their Facebook account maintained, which shows us that no one wishes to face the idea of someone hitting that “delete” button.

What is all of this interesting research telling us about social media and about life?

The first big observation is that it tells us that social media users while they can’t stay alive forever they do wish that their ‘digital footprints‘ stay alive…Greg is still here with us!

It also shows us that our social media presence has become our modern day ‘scrap book‘ conveniently collecting the memories that we choose to capture in our lives and this is much too precious to just ‘delete’.

These memories are a precious collection of that person’s life not only for them to enjoy but also their loved ones – maybe we should do a survey asking people if they would like if the social media accounts of their loved ones who have passed away are preserved?

When you look at the very different social media platforms it does put Facebook and possibly Instagram at the top of the charts for collecting ‘memories’ from your life.

Do people who survive me really want to see my rants on Twitter about Donald Trump or Irish Water preserved for eternity? – then again all of this is part of who I am (or was!).

My last observation about this whole cheery topic is that the social media platforms need specific ways of dealing with accounts of users who have passed away.

For example on both Facebook and LinkedIn recently I have seen the platforms suggesting that I might like to ‘be friends’ or ‘connect’ with someone that I know is dead – the last thing that you would want to happen is getting a message from the social media guardian “I’m really sorry, Greg has passed away”. That would be more than awkward.

Facebook do have a process whereby the account of the person who has died is classified as ‘Memorialised‘. It is up to the loved ones to contact Facebook and invoke this process.

This means that friends and family can leave messages and memories abut that person – the word ‘Remembering’ appears before their name on that account – these accounts will not appear in public places such as ‘people you may know’ or ‘birthday reminders’.

I’m guessing that some of those who have been researched about their wills may not want their accounts classified like this?

For me I do believe that the people we love never ever leave us and I would want all of their memories to stay alive so yes, appoint that social media guardian and never delete their accounts.

As for posting on a regular basis – maybe leave that one to the people who are left behind but …everyone to their own!

I feel the sudden urge to take a photo of something nice and post “It’s great to be alive“!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer Social Media Consultancy and Training from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Language of Leadership: A lesson from the 2016 Election

November 14, 2016 by

Much will be said and written in coming days and years about the biggest presidential election upset the United States has seen since 1948. Donald J. Trump, candidate is now Donald J. Trump, president elect. He even changed his famous Twitter page on Wednesday to reflect it.

How did it happen? Well, they say hindsight is 20-20 and I, as someone who thought Hillary Clinton would be America’s first female president, think I see much more clearly now.

Election 2016 will go down as the year when the Clinton Campaign discovered they were out of touch with the majority of Americans. Well, as it appears Hillary Clinton will actually win the popular vote, not the majority perhaps, but out of touch with enough Americans that it cost the party the deciding Electoral College vote.

Trump twitter

There are a multitude of reasons, of course. But I think the difference in communications styles between the two candidates is one of the main reasons.

  • Hillary Clinton campaigned by the book. Donald Trump tore up the book.
  • Democrats bragged about how much Hillary Clinton studied and prepared for debates. Trump was more seat of the pants.
  • She provided detailed policies that bored the average voter. Trump had short slogans that they remembered: “Make American Great Again.” “Drain the Swamp.”
  • Democrats released lengthy policy papers.  Trump had one pagers and more slogans, “Build the Wall.”
  • Hillary Clinton appeared in photos with high-profile celebrities. Trump had Scott Baio and Stephen Baldwin and tweeted a photo of himself eating a taco bowl from Taco Bell.
  • Democrats had endorsements from major newspapers. Newspapers that many voters view as full of high-brow bullshit. Trump didn’t.
  • Hillary Clinton was measured, disciplined, studied, rehearsed, practiced.  She gave long involved answers.
  • Donald Trump used punchy sentences. Sometimes not even full-sentences. (Like that one-see what I did there?!)

From a communications stand-point, Democrats, long considered the party of unions, minorities, reproductive rights for women and the “little people” had become the party of the college-educated, the self-righteous, the deep-thinkers, the liberal lefties, the out-of-touch. The dreaded “Elite.”

Democrats messaged to the minds and intellect of the American people using facts and logic to bolster the reasons why Hillary Clinton should be elected president. But, excluding the genuine appeal of Michelle Obama, they didn’t use enough heart-felt emotion.

Research shows people make decisions based on emotion first. A-ha, you didn’t need me to tell you about the research part, though, did you? You know it’s true in your heart. And that’s a lot of what happened during this campaign.

Trump appealed to the hurting hearts and the gut of the American people. The weaker the economy, the stronger his vote.

Yes, he said offensive things. But when the Democrats or so-called “liberal,” media-folks pointed those gaffes out, they did so in logical ways – using college-level words like “misogynist” and well, “gaffe.” They simply didn’t connect with the lonely and marginalized rural voters or disaffected middle class or blue-collar workers whose jobs and dreams had disappeared and died.

I remember when my dad died, the neighbors in my hometown of Farmland, Indiana didn’t come over and say, “Hang in there, time will heal, we’ve got a ten-page grieving plan you need to listen to.” They cried too. They said they were sorry.

Democrats underestimated how hurting many of the people were. They were like know-it-all parents to unhappy, frustrated kids. The “eat your vegetables, they’re good for you“ kind of parent. The kind of parents that kids resent. The kind of parents that don’t get it. The kind that are out of touch.

I’m not literally saying that the electorate are children and the president is a parent, of course.  America’s president should be a leader. A leader who can knows how to connect.

With his name emblazoned jets and designer family and his no-teleprompter style of speech, Trump masterfully combined the American dream of attaining prosperity with the common touch.

His communications style touched a chord. He connected. And he will be moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in January.

Yes, he used inflammatory language and hopefully he will move away from that to the more statesman-like tones he used during his victory speech and after his first meeting with President Obama.

Trump and Obama

The challenge and the opportunity, therefore, for Democrats and other would-be leaders, is to take a bit of one of the lessons from Election 2016.

Don’t use negative language, of course, but get real. Get human. Use language your audience uses. Try to really focus on your audience’s perspective. What are their hopes, dreams and fears?  Consider those first and then build your message from there. Use your gut. Your heart.

Speak from the perspective of your audience– not above them.

That’s the language of leadership.

Kindly, Gina

Gina London, a former Emmy award winning CNN anchor is a Strategic Communications specialist with Fuzion

 

Where did it all go wrong?

November 9, 2016 by

Donald J Trump

I woke up this morning to the news that Donald Trump is the new President of The United States Of America!

At first I thought I was still dreaming but to my shock and horror I soon realised this was real.

Going to bed last night I was watching the results come in and saw that Trump was ahead by a few but went to bed quite content that Hillary Clinton would claw it back as there was no way a man who is hated and feared by millions around the world, would be voted in as one of the most powerful men in the world.

Listening to the fallout this morning on the radio and TV as presenters, journalists and civilians around the world reacted to the shock news, it’s clear that the pollsters and polling analysts got it incredibly wrong and I have to ask, how did this happen?

In the lead up to the election, Hillary was almost certain to be crowned the winner of this bizarre presidential race and yet here we are on the 9th November 2016 coming to terms with the fact that reality TV star Donald Trump is the new President.

The pollsters are certainly hanging their heads in shame this morning. In the lead up to the election the press reported on the polling predictions, The New York Times reported Hillary Clinton had an 85% chance of winning, The Huffington Post gave her 98.3% chance of winning and the list goes on, so what happened?

electoral-map

Were people not telling the truth and ashamed to admit they would vote for Trump and yet when they got to the polling stations gave him their number 1?

  • Did Trumps campaign of ‘Making America Great Again’, prove to be an exciting prospect that voters craved?
  • Did Trump get into the heads of the white working class American community who Hillary may have dismissed as they don’t have a history of voting?
  • Were people just voting against Hillary instead of voting ‘for’ Trump?
  • Did Hillary lose because America was not ready for a female President?

So many questions that leave not only America, but the world baffled. The experts got it totally wrong so lets hope that with the benefit of hindsight that the same experts can figure out why.

It certainly is a crazy time to be alive and it will be very interesting to see what lies ahead!

Edel

Edel Cox - FuzionEdel Cox is a Senior PR Account Manager with Fuzion

Fuzion are a Strategic Communications, Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork

Donald Trump and Simple Messages that connect

November 9, 2016 by

Donald Trump

What in the name of God is MAGA?

Of course it is an acronym for “Make America Great Again” used for hashtag purposes by Donald Trump with his social media posts.

This phrase is that one thing, that tag line if you will, which his whole campaign was built around – it is that one message that he kept pumping out over and over, in every speech and in every social media post.

Functionally when he uses #MAGA or any hashtag it pops out at you as it appears in a different colour and when you click on it you will see a listing of all of the social media posts where that was used. This makes it easy to track all of the posts.

People are bewildered about the success of this brash, uncouth, abrasive and insulting man who is now incredily the “Leader of the Free World“.

How is this possible?

While it is unbelievable I have a simple theory that I think partly explains the Trump pheonomena.

Here goes …

In this fast paced internet age where we are being assaulted 24/7 by messages and news via many media platforms it is very difficult to focus one’s attention properly.

As a result our attention spans are tiny and if you have a message that you want people to grasp then you must have one simple, clear message that is memorable and used consistently over and over.

This can be really effective because most people do not have the time or the inclination to dig deeper, to do their own research and properly inform themselves of all the facts about issues that are important such as who becomes the next President of the United States.

This key message should become your tagline and if possible it should be capable of being used as a hashtag in your social media posts.

BREXIT - We want our country back

For example in the recent BREXIT campaign the ‘leave’ campaigners put out a consistent campaign about “getting our country back“.

This simple message was pumped out over and over resulting in a majority of voters opting for ‘leave‘. What was clear afterwards was that many of these voters admitted that they had no idea about the consequences of their vote as will definitely be the case in the United States.

The ‘stay’ campaign had no clarity about their message so they made it easy for the opposition and with Hillary Clinton it was the same as “Stronger Together” just lacked enough punch and enough reasons for people to connect with it and vite for her.

A key learning for all of us in this ‘short attention span era‘ is that a simple clear message that connects with your audience used consistently will most definitely help you to connect and win.

I’m worried ….

Greg Canty 

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

Why is there so much industrial unrest?

November 7, 2016 by

Teachers Strike in Ireland

Strikes, conflicts, confusion and chaos – they’ve become the norm in Ireland over the last 12 months.

Although, the economy is continuing to strengthen and our unemployment rate continues to fall, we as a country are in the midst of one of the most significant periods of turmoil and industrial action in recent history.

As I write the first Garda strike in the history of the state has been narrowly averted – that inferno’s been quelled, now back to the next blaze that rages with the ASTI who plan to return to the picket line in the coming days.

Gardaí, teachers, bus drivers, postal services, nurses, midwives, train drivers – those who we as a society depend most on are those who are pushing, or have been pushed so far as to feel they’ve no other choice but to down tools.

How did we get to this point? Could it have been avoided? 

Are any lessons being learned?

It’s too simplistic to define the industrial actions simply as pay disputes. There are a myriad of reasons why the disputes get that far – workers feeling disenfranchised, unequal, undervalued, employers remaining firm yet feeling threatened.

Feelings, attitudes, perceptions and actions are all based on communication, or a lack of. It underpins everything.

Internal communication and engagement is essential and the most effective way to prevent, identify and resolve discontent in the workplace. It makes a workforce feel engaged and valued.

Could the industrial actions have been avoided with more and better communication?

Just recently I wrapped up on a project with a major international organisation that began as one, altogether different and modest brief, but developed month-on-month to be something bigger and better with far greater and long-lasting benefits and effects for both the company and its staff.

Working with an external communications agency brought value to the corporation in terms of identifying and strengthening weaknesses with fresh and innovative plans and activations.

It was a really interesting project to work on particularly as it often required at short notice a change of plan and time lines in the context of the company’s matrix organisational structure.

Adaptability, reporting and communication was hugely important, not only on our behalf but within the organisation of what we were hoping to achieve, why and how we were going to do it.

The investment of time and resources on this communication was invaluable and while the project has drawn to an end, it’s legacy remains in the innovative approaches taken to internal communication and the platforms available for two-way communication, which will continue to be utilised by the organisation going forward.

Communication is not all about talking – listening can be all the more powerful and effective.

Aoibhinn Twomey - Fuzion PRAoibhinn Twomey

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

What we do when no one is looking…

October 17, 2016 by

Cafe Velo - Cork

Rob runs Café Velo, one of the loveliest breakfast and lunch cafes here in Cork, Ireland. When I’m there, it’s as if I’ve walked back in time to when I lived in the 15th arrondissement in Paris.

Pastries are arranged behind the counter glass with artistic flair. The servers are just the right blend of warmth and chatty and the tea is served in delicate china.

I ran into Rob unexpectedly this week downtown – in a rare moment when he was not in his cafe. We stopped and chatted a bit and I casually asked about the single large book I glimpsed in the white shopping bag he was holding. Rob smiled and told me the book was for an elderly customer.

The man, in his eighties, reported in to Velo every morning for his daily scone. Except for this week when he suddenly did not appear. Rob inquired and learned the customer had had a stroke. And was in the hospital.

The man has no family to speak of. So Rob went out of his way on his own time to buy a book he thought the man would enjoy during his recovery. Now Rob was off to the hospital to pay the man a visit.

I was touched by the story and asked if I could write about it. Rob looked at me a bit embarrassed, but said, “Sure, go for it.”

So here it is!

I want to contrast a man like Rob with another man.

Rob was simply doing a kind thing. Without, in our day of Social Media marketing, even posting about it. Doing a kind thing when no one, he thought, was looking.

Donald Trump and his lewd comments

Compare that with that now notorious video, of a certain person running for US president objectifying women when the women weren’t present. Then he steps out of the van and “politely greets” one of the same women he had just talked so horribly about.

What we do when we think no one is looking says a lot about our true character, doesn’t it?

Not all men are the same. Rob’s act when he thought no one was looking was kind. And it was more than caring for a regular paying customer, it was caring of a fellow human being on this planet.

The more we can strive to get past race, religion and gender, and consider that we’re all just people together on this planet, perhaps we can all be a little kinder too.

Thank you, Rob, for a lesson all of us can learn from.

Gina London - Fuzion PRGina London

Gina London, a former Emmy award winning CNN anchor is a Strategic Communications specialist with Fuzion

Who is your most important customer?

August 15, 2016 by

Cakes - Fuzion

Last week our fantastic and very lovely graphic design intern, Marianne sent everyone in the team this mouthwatering email:

Morning, there are some home-made buns in the reception area should you fancy something sweet. They are cinnamon sugar and amaretto sugar buns (hope no one has nut allergies). Enjoy!

Enjoy?!!

They were absolutely delicious but more than that, this fantastic gesture by her was a brilliant way to make a connection with her fellow teammates on her first week.

This huge gesture blew me away and it got me thinking about customers and customer service.

The most important customers aren’t the crew out there that buy our goods and services, they are the people who work alongside us, day in and day out. Our bosses, our peers, our trainees, our interns – our relationship with these individuals is the most important one of all.

We spend most of our waking hours together and ultimately it is this group who will help to deliver your personal success, who will generate your income, who will make your days more enjoyable, who we need when we have problems and are under pressure.

Most of us can’t do it by ourselves and isn’t it much more fun when we do it together?

The most important customer is the person who works with you – look after them, treasure them.

Well done Marianne and thank you. You get it.

#WinHappy 

Greg Canty 

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

Exercise is good for you and for work!

August 10, 2016 by

Exercise at work

In today’s age our mind is constantly switched on, if it’s not a computer screen we are looking at, more than likely we will be staring at the screen of our mobile phone.

It is non-stop and can be very difficult for people to put their work or their phone aside and to just switch off for a period of time. Not only will it benefit us to switch off personally but it will also benefit us in the work place.

Exercise can be used as a great way to switch off and de-stress.

By setting aside a couple of hours a week to fit in some exercise you can enjoy some really great benefits. You can use that time to step away from your phone or computer screen and clear your mind, while also improving your physical fitness.

Exercise does not have to be a dreaded experience. The main thing is to find an activity you enjoy doing and this will make it a lot easier to stay motivated.

The benefits of exercise both personally & professionally:

  • Increased energy which leads to more focus and productivity
  • Healthier & happier
  • Improved overall personal health. This will result in less sick days as you will be stronger and less likely to become sick
  • Relieving stress, which is a huge benefit of exercising. Work places can often be very stressful so it is very important to relieve that stress before it builds up
  • Increased confidence – regular exercise can often lead to increased confidence as you become fitter and healthier

Simple ways of improving and encouraging exercise in the workplace:

  • Take the stairs instead of the lift!
  • Organise a walk at lunch time – the more people involved the easier it will be to motivate people. Heading out with the team can also be great fun.
  • Use a personal trainer once a week to do a work out; this could include activities such as yoga, Pilates, circuits and much more.
  • Encourage walking to meetings as much as possible.

So dust off those runners, discover what you enjoy and get active!

Saidhbh

Saidhbh Sweeney is a PR Executive with Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing”

August 9, 2016 by

Make it count - Nike

When researching for inspiration for this blog post, I came across a multitude of generic results such as ‘how to keep your morning coffee warmer than usual’ and ‘how to deal with a quarter/mid life crisis’. However, throughout my travels on the world wide web, I came across an extremely intriguing article about Nike’s newest campaign #MakeItCount.  

Helen Keller, the famous deaf and blind author and political activist once argued that “life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”

Taking this quote on board when planning their most recent campaign, NIKE decided to put their own spin on her wise words. Last month the renowned sports brand dared colleagues, Casey Neistat and Max Joseph to create a campaign promoting their newest product, the Nike Fuel Brand using the #MakeItCount mantra.

However, with an unexpected change in plan, Neistat and Joseph decided to ‘take the money and run’. Literally.

Instead of commissioning a Hollwoodesque, high-tech visual media advertising campaign, the dynamic duo combined with a pair of runners and a selfie stick, threw caution to the wind and created a video montage of them blowing their budget and #MakingItCount. Throughout the video we see the pair travel the world over the duration of 10 days. From America to Zambia, the two experience encounters that you couldn’t imagine in your wildest dreams.

For fear of sounding like a life coach or uncomfortably inquisitive psychoanalyst, I will stay away from any condemning statements such as, “this campaign really made me sit up and think” and wonder “how am I going to #MakeItCount?

Even so, following the video I could not shake the pestering notion of the campaign.

With thoughts of running marathons and travelling the world over 10 days, the prospect seemed like a very daunting prospect altogether. However, I soon realised that being an avid participant in life, rather than just an observer is just as important in contributing to the cause.  

Now while I would never condone running off with a monumental production budget and travelling the world to fulfill the inspiring mantra, I am still a firm believer in #MakingItCount each and everyday, whatever I do.

What are you doing?

#MakeItCount

Isabel 

Isabel Oliver is a PR intern in the Fuzion PR Dublin office


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