Creative block

February 26, 2017 by

 

Fuzion - Creative block infographic

Creative block– It, quite simply, sucks!

Not just for creative people, we all encounter that mental block in life at some stage. For some reason you do not know how to take the next step. Being a graphic designer, creative block is a demon I know all too well. Something you do for a living, that comes naturally to you all of a sudden is the most frustrating thing in the world.

Facing the issue over and over again throughout my career, I came up with little things to try and break the barrier. I cannot guarantee that any of these will work but what I can always recommend is get up, go out, take a short walk, grab a coffee – just take a few minutes!

Hopefully you will unblock the block..

Paul Wade - Fuzion Graphic DesignPaul Wade

Paul Wade is part of the Graphic Design team at Fuzion Communications who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Networking is simple!

February 23, 2017 by

Cork Chamber - Networking

Back in January I attended my first networking event of 2017.

The event was organised by Cork Chamber and was called ‘Networking for beginners’.

Caitlin O’Connor from Accelerating Performance was the guest speaker on the night. Caitlin explained the Safe Cross Code for networking – it was great to go back to basics and make sure I was actually networking correctly and also pick up some networking tips.

Networking is an important aspect of any business. It enables people to build mutually beneficial relationships and get their name out there. Networking and meeting in person is a great way to build a more trusting relationship with people and will help you stand out from the rest.

Networking can be scary as very few people find it easy to walk into a room of strangers and start talking, so when you do, you want to make sure you are networking correctly and making the most of it.

Caitlin explained that networking is simple, but not easy and gave lots of tips on how to make the most out of any networking event.

Advice I picked up on the night:

  • Research who is attending beforehand – read the attendance list and identify people you would like to speak to.
  • Remember TED (tell, explain, describe)
  • Know your ask – If you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve it will be a lot easier. For example, you are here looking to speak to people who may need your PR service. The person you are speaking to might not require your service but they may know someone who does, so keep an open mind.
  • You should have over 250 connections on LinkedIn.
  • Make sure your follow up is meaningful.
  • Always say thank you.
  • Talk to less people for longer – quality conversations, not quantity.
  • Practice – the more you practice the easier it will become.

Thank you Cork Chamber and Caitlin!

Saidhbh Sweeney - Fuzion CommunicationsSaidhbh

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

Take Responsibility and Mind your Bits!

February 20, 2017 by

Wow! I’d like to address the topic of Cervical Cancer, a topic that should be addressed anytime not just in January!

This blog is prompted by a recent prospect meeting I attended, where I received a Cervical Cancer Awareness brooch representing the ‘Pearl of Wisdom’ with a clever hashtag #ShareTheWisdom.

Due to my social media addiction, I of course published a post across all my social platforms in support of a very relevant campaign for women across the globe. (I’m so popular with my 35 likes!)

Cervical Cancer

Although prompted by the brooch this blog is one of personal experience and a result of my lack of responsibility for my own body, which led to an experience I never want to go through again, mainly because I did not know what to expect.

I visited my doctor because mother nature had gone AWOL and this resulted with me getting an unplanned smear test. The last thing you expect to get are negative results, which only scream the word CANCER in your head.

For an over-thinker like me this was not going to sit in one little place in my mind..Oh no! This was going to spread into every little space that has never ever been filled with, well anything (even the science/maths section).

I thought about the dreaded results so much that I ended up being a miserable mess and crying on my dear brother’s shoulder, mainly because my mother would have thought this was the end for me!! We can be quite dramatic sometimes but I’m afraid this is the reality of when you know nothing about cervical cancer.

I was called for a Colposcopy – not only could I not pronounce it but it’s not the fluffiest of words either, so this was quite daunting. I roped one of my closest friends into coming with me and we went up the night before (this of course was Valentine’s Day, so quite inappropriate!).

The next day I went to Holles Street Maternity Hospital where everyone was very helpful and I got all the information I needed. I had a treatment called LLETZ, which removed the abnormal cells on the cervix under local anaesthetic using a very fine, heated wire loop. At this time they also tested for the HPV virus.

Afterwards I felt quiet tired (the effects of the anaesthetic) with a slight discomfort and I won’t go into everything else but a few days rest and hugging myself was in order to get me back on track.

When my results came back they were all clear and I can’t describe the incredible feeling of relief when opening that letter and reading those words. I would be called back in six months for a follow up smear test to check that everything was okay, which thankfully it was – phew and finally the mind rests!

Thanks to my doctor, I was lucky but also I believe as women we know our own bodies and mine was telling me that something was up, just like you know when a tummy ache is coming on. If that little feeling is playing on your mind do not let it lie – GET CHECKED!

Of course I am aware that one of the issues in relation to cervical checks is the age barrier for public health benefit. Young women under 25 years can be affected by cervical cancer but they are not covered via the public system – It can’t be too cheap to get this done and many may not have the cash.

However it is important for us all to be responsible and proactive about our own bits. If you are under 25 and feel something is not right don’t put it off, speak to your doctor and get yourself checked.

Well done to everyone behind the Cervical Check initiative – it is so important that we #ShareTheWisdom

Don’t overthink and let it flood the science/maths section of your brain – Get checked as it could just be one of those life changing decisions.

Arlene

Arlene Foy is an Account Manager with Fuzion PR in our Dublin office.

For more information visit – http://www.cervicalcheck.ie

Restoring trust in An Garda Síochána and Tusla

February 13, 2017 by

Maurice McCabe

If things weren’t bad before, they became even worse for An Garda Síochána when it was revealed that an “incorrect” sexual abuse file was held against Maurice McCabe by Tusla, the family and child protection agency.

Everyone in the media is being extra careful to avoid stating the obvious conclusions as they risk getting into trouble legally. However, they have published the various statements by those parties involved and reported the facts as they came to light and they keep probing and probing for the truth in this sinister mess to reveal itself fully.

Incidents like this demonstrate once again why we need professional, intelligent journalism to bring us the truth as we can’t rely solely on social media to deliver this. Social media is fantastic as it gives us a powerful voice to demonstrate our dissatisfaction as loudly as we feel is appropriate.

We heard the statement by the Garda Commissioner, Nóirín O’Sullivan, the leader of the organisation who has claimed that she know nothing of the sexual abuse shenanigans with the whistleblower, Maurice McCabe.

Tusla in the meantime have issued their own statement claiming that their file against Maurice McCabe with the atrocious false claims against him were a ‘clerical error‘.

The comical little addition to the Tusla story was that their official apology to Maurice McCabe was sent to the wrong address!

The public are no fools and the generally held, unsurprising conclusion about this story is that senior members of the Gardaí who were unhappy with their whistle blowing colleague tried to smear his reputation in the worst possible way to punish him and protect themselves.

Even worse in this sorry saga, Tusla were obviously happy to play ball with their Garda acquaintances.

This stinks to high heaven and leaves all of us with two awful conclusions:

We cannot trust An Garda Síochána and we cannot trust Tusla.

When you consider the crucial role that both of these state bodies are paid to provide, ‘trust‘ is not a negotiable, nice to have attribute. Trust is everything.

What next?

To begin the long road of rebuilding trust in both organisations there can be no more fluffing about and decisive action and clear communication is required.

Our strong advice to those in charge would be to get ahead of the story, remove all doubts and demonstrate in no uncertain way how important regaining trust is.

This is the time for An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny or Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald to take decisive action and remove Nóirín O’Sullivan from her role and get the investigation started immediately.

This is the time for Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone to demand a 100% honest statement from the CEO of Tusla, Fred McBride as to what actually happened. If this is as farcical as the ‘clerical error’ statement, he should also be removed from his role.

The reputation of these two state organisations is not negotiable – start demonstrating it.

Greg Canty 

Fuzion provide Crisis PR services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland 

Boojum Mania

February 6, 2017 by

Boojum van in Cork

Our client Boojum is due to open in Cork this week…and the excitement is Cork is well and truly building.

Late last month the Boojum team came to town and caused a major buzz as they travelled around in their branded cars filled with Boojum goodies.

While I knew Boojum was popular I didn’t quite realise how popular it was and how much people wanted it to open in Cork!

I can’t believe the buzz and anticipation in Cork City for the award winning Mexican restaurant to open its doors. With stores already in Belfast, Dublin and Galway, Cork will be the first new city for Boojum in 4 years, and their 3rd new store to open in the past 12 months.

Boojum addict t-shirts have become a highly coveted item belonging only to the most loyal of customers and Boojum Cork have commissioned special edition t-shirts especially for the Cork customers designed (and modelled!! See below) by our very own Paul Wade in our Fuzion design department.

Boojum t-shirt modelled by Paul Wade, Fuzion Design

Since they were revealed we have been inundated with calls from people looking to get their hands on one.

The t-shirts will be available exclusively from Boojum Cork so keep an eye on the Boojum Cork Facebook and Twitter accounts where they may just give away a t-short or two!

The new store, which will be located on 7 Winthrop Street, is approximately 2700 sq ft over 2 floors, seating 50 people.

Will one of these be you?!!

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

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

Two heads are better than one!

February 1, 2017 by

A few years ago I worked in a company where I was the only designer.

This was nice in a few ways – I had creative control over everything and there is a lot of satisfaction to be had from fixing a problem by yourself. But on your own you can only take things so far – there is always someone who will think of something you won’t, know something you don’t and see things from a different perspective.

This is something that Fuzion does incredibly well. Whether it is design or PR – everyone attends a brainstorm.

Every idea passes through many minds, gets questioned, gets analysed, gets pushed. For an idea to be truly great, it needs to travel different avenues. Even if the idea comes back to where it started, it needs to make the journey. I genuinely believe some of the ideas the team have come up with could not have been created by a single person, but needed a group to help them develop and grow.

I am a big fan of brainstorming. Check out some ideas I use whether in a group or on my own:

Fuzion Brainstorming Inforgraphic

Paul Wade - Fuzion Graphic DesignPaul Wade

Paul Wade is part of the Graphic Design team at Fuzion Communications who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Melania Trump, Dolce & Gabbana’s Hot Mess

January 27, 2017 by

Melania Trump D&G Dress

Melania Trump wore a stunning black Dolce & Gabbana dress at an event in Palm Beach, Florida on New Years Eve last. She was accompanying her (shy and often misunderstood!) husband, Donald Trump and the dress was pretty, elegant and quite sexy all at the same time.

Edel Cox from Fuzion did a blog post ‘When Fashion Meets Politics in December ’16 if you’d like a read more of the interesting topic that is fashion and politics.

The photo of Melania in the classy long black dress was everywhere, quickly, and Stefano Gabbana, one half of the dynamic Italian fashion duo, Dolce & Gabbana, picked up on Melania’s dress as soon as the pictures were published (it’s unclear whether he sent it to her, or she bought herself).

Stefano posted a picture on his Instagram account calling Melania a ‘beautiful woman’ and a ‘#DGwoman’ soon afterwards. Very quickly  the fangs were out and followers, who may or may not have been genuine customers erupted in anger at D&G’s positive recognition of Melania.

Over 1,000 followers and fans reacted.

Melania Trump - USA

Social Media Fashion Catfight

Comments by the D&G audience included those who believe Melania should only wear American brands, to those who said her wearing it and the subsequent post was ‘offensive to the core’.

One woman said ‘Yuck. I think I just bought my last Dolce piece’ to which Gabbana replied by writing: ‘Great.’ He also included a heart emoji.

So disappointed‘ said one person.

I don’t care‘ replied Gabbana.

Stefano GabbanaGabbana lashed out  “How many stupid and ignorant people r on Instagram!!!!

Please if you don’t like my post unfollow me … thank u ❤”

Please don’t buy anymore of my fashion please!!! I don’t need an ignorant costumer!!!” before adding that he sees it as “just one dress” and therefore not a political talking point.

He shot back to one poster with the simple comment – ‘Ignorant

And then there was the person who told Gabbana: “Clearly I can’t buy your clothes any more. Good luck“.

Gabbana responded by writing: “good luck you too”

(the spelling and broken English above is his, not mine!!)

Later in the week Gabbana continued to post stories about the uproar over him pointing out that Melania, a former model, wore one of his dresses and looked good in the frock.

Some commentators did separate fashion and politics but in my opinion this negative reaction is bad brand news for D&G, particularly because of the way Gabbana handled it (or didn’t).

Brand Value

Surely this brand, being around for as long as it has, knows how to talk to people, customer or not, in a professional, polite manner?

Surely they are mature enough as individuals and a brand to rise above taunts and manage such social media chats without getting bitchy and offensive to anyone?

Or perhaps Stefano Gabbana is following Donald Trump’s methods and just being direct, extremely open and somewhat offensive – like it or not?

However surprising this fashion fight was to read, it’s very surprising that Stefano would stoop so low as to insult people, customers or not, in such an angry, aggressive and frankly, immature way.

I think this social media behaviour, being extremely rude to your audience is an awful one and although I’d still love to own some D&G (who wouldn’t!), it leaves a bad taste with me that a designer would get so personal, and then unapologetic and stubborn, with his audience.

Is he or the brand so big that it can simply tell people to stop buying it because they’re annoyed ‘in the moment’ with some negative remarks?

I don’t think any brand is that big that it can be so unpleasant with those who engage with it. The feeling I got from Gabbana’s overall  tirade on Instagram last week was that he came across as being arrogant and totally superior to everyone and I don’t think that should be in anyone’s communications strategy: angry, ’in the moment’ or not, whatever he was feeling it personally himself – don’t let it out there.

An online audience following, engaging with a brand or business is highly valuable – word of mouth, ambassadors, influencers are all in there and a business needs to care for this community and treat it with respect, which hopefully leads to an understanding of the brand, loyalty, and sales.

I would have thought Gabbana would have been well advised by his digital marketing professionals on how to handle bad press online and not get so overheated.

Melenia Trump wearing Ralph Lauren

(this time she is wearing the American brand, Ralph Lauren)

Aftershock

After the shock of reading the posts by D&G I’m assuming that they are typical red blooded, fiery Italians (which is mostly great!) and at the end of the day, it’s their business and they can feel and communicate the way they want to, about people making negative remarks online.

However I do think this kind of irrational behavior makes me, and perhaps many lose a good dose of respect for them. If they don’t value (customers) relationships, on or off line, why would anyone, customer or otherwise, feel good about buying or wearing their clothes? Or perhaps the exposure this got in global media was just the hot topic focus D&G wanted on the brand in order to stand out… would we dare ask him?!!

Great advice for Stefano (we do think it is great that he participates personally online – it’s a “real brand”) would have been to embrace the visibility and the free coverage that Melania Trump brought to the brand, be happy that a beautiful woman who has the world spotlight on her is choosing your brand over others. Then let anyone who wants to get upset about it have their voice but you stay out of it and maybe, just maybe..shut up!!

A simple piece of advice that we give clients about negative comments online is that very often the best thing to do is just..ignore them.

Anna Wymes, Fuzion CommunicationsAnna 

Anna Wymes is a PR intern with Fuzion Communications who have offices in Dublin and Cork

 

 

Award season is not just for Tinsel Town 

January 27, 2017 by
The 2017 Oscars

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

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

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

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

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

Below are a few reasons that might change your mind:

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

Ruth Negga, Oscar Nominee

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

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

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

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

Aoibhinn

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

New Year, Same Me… (But how can we really change?)

January 12, 2017 by

Failed New Year's Resolutions

So how are those resolutions going?

You know the dreaded New Year’s Resolutions – To lose weight, eat healthy, go to the gym, give up cigarettes, drink less, etc. etc. etc.

Well, according to reports, only about 8% of people actually follow through with their resolutions and carry them on through the year, with January 17th being the faithful date we generally fall off the wagon. It has also been found that, it can take up to six months to shed the weight gained over the festive period. But why?

The problem herein lies not in our determination but in fact, our expectations. 

The majority of us, set unrealistic expectations for ourselves, and get disheartened when those expectations are not achieved. We take on too much all at once and may expect that by a certain date; we will be fitter, can run a marathon and/or be completely free from cigarettes, chocolate, booze etc.

However, when that date arrives, we seem to have achieved few if any of the goals we have set.

What are we missing?

The answer: Little wins – small goals along the way to let us know we are on the right track and help keep us motivated.

Instead for example of setting the goal of getting fit; aim to learn a new activity like rugby, swimming, yoga, Pilates, etc. Cut down on cigarettes gradually rather than going ‘cold turkey’ or just reduce the amount of sugar or chocolate rather than cutting it out altogether.

A few steps that I find are really helpful:

Be realistic

Set realistic goals – instead of trying to lose a stone all at once, aim for 2 or 3 lbs a week.

It’s a journey, not a destination

Don’t focus on the end result; rather aim for small progression and a lot of little wins, which will culminate into a BIG result.

Make it Fun

Instead of going for a run on your own, get friends involved and go for a walk or run with them to make it more enjoyable.

Take up a Hobby

Aim to do something new – Join a walking/running club, a swimming club or if the gym is your poison, join a class rather than trying to push yourself alone.

Don’t be too hard on yourself

On the rare occasion that you may give into temptation or stay on the couch instead of going out in the cold and wet of January, don’t worry about it, start afresh the following day and keep it going.

By following these simple steps along with reasonable expectations should ensure that you hit your goals and keep focused. So before you fully give up on those resolutions have a fresh look at them and start small,

I’ll leave the last word to a wise man..

“You never fail until you stop trying” Albert Einstein

Patrick

Patrick Jones is an Account Manager in Dublin with Fuzion Communications, Marketing, PR & Graphic Design 

New friends are Silver, old ones are Gold

January 10, 2017 by

Tour de Munster

Maybe it’s a sign of brighter economic times, maybe it’s a reflection of past experiences with us; whatever it is, I love to see our clients return. And over the last ten years in Fuzion I’ve seen my fair share.

Last September we got a call from the lovely Oonagh Levis and Mary Leahy from Town & Country Hampers, clients we hadn’t worked with since 2011 – but ones that I had fond memories of working with.

As they approached their busiest time of year in the hamper business they contacted us to help push their campaign that little bit further and spread the word that they were celebrating 25 successful years in business. I worked closely with Saidhbh, one of our newer team members on this account, and together we upped the ante in terms of social media activity, as well as securing numerous media competition and profiling opportunities for them.

You can measure column inches, analyse social media statistics, but at the end of the day it’s sales that count for a business like Town & Country Hampers, so we were thrilled when they told us they had their busiest Christmas in years…. Success!

Sometimes we see clients return for a yearly project, the Tour de Munster charity cycle is a great example of this, and that’s a testament to our work and the relationships we build with them. Tour de Munster, led by Paul Sheridan, first teamed up (and that’s what we’ve formed, a team!) with us in its 7th year in 2007, and have worked with us every year since. I was lucky enough to work on this project in the very beginning, and it has been an honour to work on it in some capacity ever since.

Having raised over €2.4 million to date for its various beneficiaries over the last 16 years, this year alone the 600km charity cycle raised €285,655.37 for its beneficiary, the Munster branches of Down Syndrome Ireland (DSI). This was the 7th successive year that DSI benefited from the popular cycle. The hard work and dedication from the cyclists and volunteers is been truly incredible, and I am so proud to say that the work we do in Fuzion contributes in some way to the enduring success of Tour.

Over the last three years I’ve met and been inspired by some of Cork’s best and brightest young entrepreneurs through our work on the Local Enterprise Offices’ regional campaign in the search for Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur. This year saw the largest number of entries to date, and I was thrilled to see so many new faces involved. For me this project gives me the chance to support young business people starting out on their journey who might not ordinarily have the resources to work with a PR company.

Who knows, maybe they could be my “returning clients” in a few years’ time!

Alison O'Brien - FuzionAlison O’Brien

Alison O’Brien is an Account Director with Fuzion PR, Marketing & Design, who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland


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