Resilience in the face of adversity

April 7, 2020 by

Push Up Challenge, Mercy Hospital Foundation

Undoubtedly, the last few weeks have been the strangest I have ever experienced and it almost feels like a blur thinking back to when it all started.

Little did I know when I first heard about Coronavirus how the situation would escalate so quickly into a global pandemic.

It has been tough to watch so I can’t imagine how it must feel for the many businesses that have had to close their doors. It’s a stressful time in general for people, especially those with the additional worry of their business. Almost overnight, their sales have reduced significantly or for many, they have had to shut up shop completely, not knowing when they will reopen.

It’s very tough for charities as well, with many needing more funds now than they ever did to cope with the pandemic, yet their fundraising events and bucket collections which they rely so heavily on, can’t go ahead at the moment.

Amongst this adversity, a light has been shone on the positivity and strength from the people and businesses of Ireland which must be commended.

Whether it has been from looking out for neighbours, friends and colleagues to supporting charity initiatives and local businesses, there is so much good will.

Businesses that have had to close their doors are still willing to donate goods and services to those who need them most, especially for charity and to support our frontline workers.

There are so many great charity initiatives taking place right now that were established by individuals who just want to help. An example is The Push-Up Challenge, created by Emmy Coffey Nguyen to raise vital funds for the Mercy University Hospital and Mater Foundation during this difficult time.

As we wade through this difficult period, it’s important we keep positive, supporting one another as we get closer each day to better times.

Click here for a link to the ‘Push Up Challenge’

Saidhbh Sweeney - Fuzion CommunicationsSaidhbh

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

The Power of Communications in a Crisis – Updates from professionals across Europe

April 2, 2020 by

Fuzion Communications are members of a pan-European network, the Crisis Communications Network Europe, which is made up of independent Communications agencies who offer a significant Crisis PR service in each different country.

The rationale for this network is to have a strong group of like minded, connected agencies that can handle Crisis PR situations for clients when these crises extend beyond national borders.

When it comes to a crisis that extends beyond borders there is no better example than the COVID-19 crisis that has affected everyone.

On the Win Happy podcast, I invited a senior person from each agency in the network to discuss the crisis and in particular:

  • The status of the crisis in each country
  • How government have reacted
  • How good the communications have been
  • The media role in these communications
  • The reaction of the general public

It is clear listening to the really interesting discussion, that we can see the huge difference that strong communications can make in a crisis and and it can literally help to save lives.

Trusted, responsible government, leading by example, powerful gestures, quick action, honest briefings, strong and accurate media reporting and the public response are all key factors that determine the success of the communications and the fate of so many in each country.

The members that featured on the podcast were from Italy, Spain, Germany, Denmark, Ireland, England, Netherlands, Austria and Belgium.

You can listen to the show by clicking here.

Enjoy the show..

Greg

Greg Canty is a Managing Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer a full Crisis PR service from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland 

 

Working from home: Coffee, skipping and a cat called Gizmo!

April 2, 2020 by

Heading into the end of Week Three of our #WFH and there has been a LOT of people offering top tips on “how to work form home successfully” as blog posts, infographics, downloadable white papers, illustrated series of Insta Stories and so on.

And the most successful thing that I have done to date is not read any of them!!

But I have learnt a few things about myself, which are based on nothing more than my own thoughts (and one or two are based on anecdotal observations by members of my family).

I drink way more coffee at work than I do at home, and I have access to 7 different electrical, mechanical and gravitational methods of making coffee at home, as opposed to the massive tub of half caffeinated dust/half pure crack cocaine that sits in the cupboard in work.

I have three different types of coffee beans from three different roasteries, AND I have an in-house trained barista on a COVID-19 based sabbatical on call in the front room. And with all of these amazing elements at my disposal, I have reduced my coffee intake from 5 cups a day to one, perhaps two.

I don’t know why… It’s just an observation. (I also have a large jar of Blue Maxwell House that is out of date since 2018 for emergencies!!)

Some of you may know that I am a cyclist, a commuter cyclist, I do approximately 9.7km a day, five days a week, in the sun, in the dark, in the rain, in the snow, and hot diggity, I miss it.

As dangerous as the roads are ordinarily – and they are dangerous, there isn’t a day that someone decides that either their journey is more important than my life, that the phone call is *that* important (Do drivers not know about Siri etc?), anecdotally, within the cycling community, drivers are currently being less rational, and more irresponsible at a time when really and truly they have ample room on the road to be more observant, more careful and slower – for the first time in a long long time, I am hesitant to head out (within the 2km radius, obvs.)

..So I’ve started skipping.

9am is a solid. 5:30 is a fluid.

I have saved approx €15 in the three weeks that I’ve been working at home by not buying lunch (I get one lunch a week from the Sandwich Stall in the English Market. Go there, thank me afterwards. And you will), but I spent €9 on ice creams in one go on a post-work walk (within the 2km radius, obvs.) the other day with some of my kids.

So I reckon that in the long run it will cost me more to be at home. Are ice creams tax deductible?

We have two cats. One is Lou. That’s an abbreviated name, which is short for Lucifer.

The other is Gizmo, who has a bionic leg from an accident involving a fence and, well, her leg. And she has become my Study Buddy. She sits up on the chair behind me, purring like a bloody Honda Goldwing.

Don’t tell anyone, but I enjoy her company!!

Finally, a note on the IOT.

I have a Sonos Speaker system. They are fantastic speakers. Loud, bassy, clear and bright. but when you are listening to Drum and Bass and you get a phone call, it’s a juggling act that Fosters Circus would be proud of, for me to take the call, find the app that controls the speakers, greet the person on the phone, scramble to open the volume control on the app, turn the volume down, NOT up, and carry on like the true, professional that I am.

So… how’s working from home going for you?

Jonathan

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj is the Creative Director of Fuzion Communications who are a full service agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, offering Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing Services

 

LinkedIn – Group Hug!! (Are you joining groups?)

April 1, 2020 by

LinkedIn Groups - Social Media Training

From my experience most LinkedIn users are not using the very useful ‘Groups‘ facility on the platform.

For your industry or your business community there is more than likely a group set up with like minded individuals who have already joined.

These could provide you with the opportunity to interact with like minded people, discuss topical issues, solve problems, demonstrate your expertise, get information or these could easily help you to identify useful connections for your business or organisation.

If you do a search right now…Dublin Chamber, Cork Chamber. UCD Alumni, Marketing professionals, Hospitality professionals in Ireland – you are likely to find a group that matches your search.

Groups will have a filter process for members depending on how they have been created – you will need to request to join or be invited to join by an existing member and an administrator somewhere will decide whether to let you in or not.

If it is a group for a membership organisation it is very likely that they will not grant you access unless you are a member.

When you create a group you have a number of options including:

  • Name and description
  • Industry types (up to 3)
  • Stated rules for the group (how members should use and behave within the group)
  • Whether the group is visible or not: you could for example make it a “closed” group for your organisation so it won’t appear on searches
  • If you allow existing members to invite others to join
  • Approval setting for posts within the group.

New Feature: Messaging

The functionality is always changing so how you can use them is always changing. For example LinkedIn have just now given members within groups the ability to send a message to other members, without being connected to them (and without having the paid version of the platform).

These messages will come into you just like a normal message on LinkedIn.

So…look for a group today that could work for you and your business, click that ‘Join’ button and off you go!

Or…maybe you could be the one to create that group?

What are you waiting for?!!

Greg

Greg Canty heads up the Digital Marketing team at Fuzion Communications and as part of our suite of digital services we offer social media training and social media consultancy, both face to face and online

 

 

 

Time for earth and its inhabitants to heal?

March 30, 2020 by

The earth is healing

In the midst of the horrible nightmare that is the COVID19 disease, which has so many sick and so many dying all over our world, we do need to raise our heads and wonder is there some greater purpose to all of this?

My initial thoughts were that our precious earth has needed time to heal itself for such a long time, and “we” were never going to allow this to happen due to our greed and the crazy pattern of living that we have all adopted as the norm. Has nature found a cruel way of saying STOP, while us humans have to just take our place in the queue before we start to abuse it all over again?

In the last week or so my thoughts have moved on as I observe how we are changing – I’m believing that humanity is also healing itself as we have to stop being selfish and self serving. We have been forced to jump off our respective treadmills and focus on survival and on the things that are really important.

I am seeing kindness, friendship, togetherness, sacrifice, humour, generosity and lots of love.

Do things work this way or is this all a big coincidence?

While I was living with these thoughts a friend of mine shared a post that supposedly came from Bill Gates, which pretty much captured what I was thinking in a way that I could never have:

Message in the letter:

I’m a strong believer that there is a spiritual purpose behind
everything that happens, whether that is what we perceive as being
good or being bad.

As I meditate upon this, I want to share with you what I feel the
Corona/ Covid-19 virus is really doing to us:

1) It is reminding us that we are all equal, regardless of our
culture, religion, occupation, financial situation or how famous we
are. This disease treats us all equally, perhaps we should too. If you
don’t believe me, just ask Tom Hanks.

2) It is reminding us that we are all connected and something that
affects one person has an effect on another. It is reminding us that
the false borders that we have put up have little value as this virus
does not need a passport. It is reminding us, by oppressing us for a
short time, of those in this world whose whole life is spent in
oppression.

3) It is reminding us of how precious our health is and how we have
moved to neglect it through eating nutrient poor manufactured food and
drinking water that is contaminated with chemicals upon chemicals. If
we don’t look after our health, we will, of course, get sick.

4) It is reminding us of the shortness of life and of what is most
important for us to do, which is to help each other, especially those
who are old or sick. Our purpose is not to buy toilet roll.

5) It is reminding us of how materialistic our society has become and
how, when in times of difficulty, we remember that it’s the essentials
that we need (food, water, medicine) as opposed to the luxuries that we sometimes unnecessarily give value to.

6) It is reminding us of how important our family and home life is and
how much we have neglected this. It is forcing us back into our houses
so we can rebuild them into our home and  to strengthen our family unit.

7) It is reminding us that our true work is not our job, that is what
we do, not what we were created to do. Our true work is to look after each other, to protect each other and to be of benefit to one another.

8) It is reminding us to keep our egos in check. It is reminding us
that no matter how great we think we are or how great others think we
are, a virus can bring our world to a standstill.

9) It is reminding us that the power of freewill is in our hands. We
can choose to cooperate and help each other, to share, to give, to
help and to support each other or we can choose to be selfish, to
hoard, to look after only our self. Indeed, it is difficulties that bring out our true colors.

10) It is reminding us that we can be patient, or we can panic. We can
either understand that this type of situation has happened many times
before in history and will pass, or we can panic and see it as the end
of the world and, consequently, cause ourselves more harm than good.

11) It is reminding us that this can either be an end or a new
beginning. This can be a time of reflection and understanding, where
we learn from our mistakes, or it can be the start of a cycle which
will continue until we finally learn the lesson we are meant to.

12) It is reminding us that this Earth is sick. It is reminding us
that we need to look at the rate of deforestation just as urgently as
we look at the speed at which toilet rolls are disappearing off of
shelves. We are sick because our home is sick.

13) It is reminding us that after every difficulty, there is always
ease. Life is cyclical, and this is just a phase in this great cycle.
We do not need to panic; this too shall pass.

14) Whereas many see the Corona/ Covid-19 virus as a great disaster, I
prefer to see it as a *great corrector*

It is sent to remind us of the important lessons that we seem to have
forgotten and it is up to us if we will learn them or not.

Note: It turns out that this “letter” is fake and didn’t come from Bill Gates at all but because his name was on it, it did the rounds with many high profile people sharing it.

I don’t really care who wrote this piece, I applaud them.

After this time, however long it lasts, the scientists will be able to come to us with definite proof about the damage that we are causing this earth by our actions (and inaction) and how it can be healed and what we need to do once this period is over to achieve this.

In the meantime, let’s pray for everyone who is suffering greatly at this time and for everyone else to do the right things to ensure that the hardship is minimised and that we can recover as soon as possible.

Thank you “pretend” Bill for making sense of this…

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Not all heroes wear capes, some wear a press badge.

March 27, 2020 by

Media

I am very proud of Ireland and how we are responding to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Doctors, pharmacists and nursing staff are heroes and showing up to fight this crisis day in, day out, Ireland Vs Covid. As our Taoiseach said, “not all heroes wear capes”. Corny, but also very true.

The less championed hero is the media.

The Irish media are doing a stellar job. Behaviour change is essential in Ireland’s response to this pandemic and the press are key to this. They are the ones that set the tone and keep the message relevant and fresh in the public’s mind. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, keep your distance.

The media are also front line workers and putting their health and in some cases, lives, at risk in order to save lives.

On top of all of this, they have been forced to learn new ways to do their job.

From Newstalk’s Ciara Kelly reporting from her hot press, Claire Byrne hosting her show from her garden shed while at home suffering from Covid 19, to Ryan Tubridy presenting the Late Late Show to an empty audience.

This is all a stark reminder of the new reality of our lives. News media has been forced to work remotely and adapt and innovate in ways they never have. Print newspaper teams are working from home and are still managing to deliver breaking news and put together a daily paper from multiple locations.

Who said print news is dead and can’t adapt?

These are unprecedented times, and we all need to become accustomed to a new way of living.

It has been said several times that this is the calm before the storm. It is possible that we may all forget the new behaviours that have become our new normal as we settle into new patterns and routines. We may stop singing happy birthday every time we wash our hands. We may forget that touching our face is not allowed, or get sick of staying inside in a few weeks.

But it is the media who will ensure this does not happen by reinforcing the message and continuing to remind us that this is a marathon, not a sprint. We must all play our part.

The next time you are washing your hands for 20 seconds, think of the heroes reporting from around the country who are making sure you don’t become complacent and are who are literally saving lives by helping a nation to change its behaviour. The media play a key role in our society, and this crisis demonstrates that.

Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear a press badge.

#JournalismMatters

Ciara Jordan - Fuzion CommunicationsCiara

Ciara Jordan is an Account Director with Fuzion Communications and she leads the media training team, from our offices in Dublin and Cork.

Top tips for Remote working – for leaders and their teams 

March 26, 2020 by

Working from home

If you are fortunate enough to be able to work from home during this time, we wanted to share with you a few top tips to be as productive as you can be and also bust a few myths about working from home too. 

In a lot of companies the idea of remote working can seem daunting and a lot of people are very skeptical of it. “How do you know people aren’t slacking off?” is a common question people ask when the topic of working from home comes up. But effective remote working starts at the top with the leaders. 

There is a perception that if you can’t see your team working, then they are slacking off but any worker regardless of where they are working from can slack off if there isn’t proper communication in place. If someone understands clearly what work they are responsible for and works accordingly, they should be able to get the job done no matter where they are located. 

So the first tip is of course Communication! 

Communication is key. 

Offline working – A lot of remote workers might feel they need to constantly be online and show they are working at all times but if you need to delve in to a big task – communicate this and let your team know you might be offline working on a project for a few hours, add it to your calendar or your chat status. 

Speak in person – Hold a catch up call with your team and keep in touch, it’s not as easy to have a quick chat with your co-worker when you’re working from home but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Check in with your teammates and see how they’re getting on – just make sure to brush your hair before the video call! 

Chat tools – Use chat tools like Google Hangouts, and Zoom. These tools can really make working from home and communicating with your team a lot easier. 

Track your workday as you normally would – set tasks and take breaks.

Task planning – It’s really easy to get distracted when working from home, so assign yourself a few big tasks you need to get done that day and try your best to get the worst one out of the way first.

Take your breaks – Working alone at home can be hard so take a coffee break/lunch break as you normally would – walk away from your work station/go to a different room and take a break, pet your dog, talk to you mom, call a friend, go for a walk or maybe even do a quick stretch but be sure to assign yourself a time to come back to your desk at, as it’s very easy at home to take too many breaks and get distracted so keeping yourself accountable will do wonders for your productivity. 

Remote working

Get dressed and set up a workstation away from your bedroom if you can. 

Sitting in your PJ’s all day will not help your productivity…as tempting as it is! 

Fuzion Cuppa

Create a remote team culture

Your company culture doesn’t have to take a hit during this time. Implement a fun way to stay in touch with your co-workers. For instance here at Fuzion we have our Fuzion Cuppa everyday at 11am where we make a cup of tea/coffee and catch up with our colleague and see how everyone is. This is a fun way to let everyone know it’s business as usual and we’re all still staying connected with each other. 

Exercise 

If your day looks something like bed to chair to couch to bed then make sure you get outside and get some fresh air and some steps in. It’s not only important for you to get some exercise, but it’s also important for your mental health to get out of the house at least once a day. 

Have a dance party at home(sure nobody is watching anyway!!)

Know when to log off 

This can be one of the most challenging aspects for remote work, as the world is becoming increasingly connected but it is important to develop a habit of setting a time when you officially “log off” for the night. 

And last but not least: 

Embrace the perks of working from home. 

This is a tough time for us all, but if you are able to work from home enjoy the positive side of it. No morning commute, endless cuddles with your pets, nice views, midday dance parties, the memes, the tiktok’s, more time spent with our loved ones – the list is endless!

Michelle

Michelle Harrison is part of PR team at Fuzion Communications, working from our Dublin office

Managing Remote Working Effectively

March 26, 2020 by

remote-work-tips

 

Some very practical advice on working from home from our good friends Laura & Frank – HR for Better Workplaces

 

With working from home being a key means for many workers and organisations to keep going during the Corona Virus outbreak, we have collated some top tips to help you and your team get the most from remote working whilst looking after employee well-being.

 

Managing Communication

  • Be very clear on agreeing ways of working
  • Ensure everyone is well informed and aware of company expectations
  • Have very regular meetings to check progress and communicate effectively
  • Embrace the use of technology to communicate on a daily basis.
  • Operating this way helps to maintain and improve communication whilst also creating social interaction to help combat isolation  
  • Having phone, video or group conferencing is an effective and easy method  
  • Test some products like Zoom, Skype, Loom, Webex and there are many more

 

Managing Well-being

  • Try working in different areas of your house until you find the most comfortable setting
  • Adapt your working space from time to time to allow change in your usual routine
  • Make sure you set a daily routine and take regular breaks
  • Set working hours and stick to them
  • Get showered and dressed every day
  • Take regular daily exercise, joining an exercise group online can be motivating and provide interaction with other people
  • Create a healthy eating plan and be organised around preparation of this
  • Go outside in the garden for a break and plenty of fresh air
  • Join remote working communities online for support and social interaction

 

HR for Better Workplaces provides a bespoke consultation service, with over 50 years combined industry experience. They specialise in practical advice and offer a wide range of HR and well-being services.  Laura or Frank can be contacted through their website https://www.hrforbetterworkplaces.ie/

 

Social Media and Punk Sanitiser in the time of Coronavirus

March 24, 2020 by

Punk Santiser

For years, we have been encouraging small businesses to build a social media presence through our training sessions, client meetings and even networking events.

This is now that time where having that online presence can be really useful for your business. We’re being encouraged to socially distance, which all of our team are doing by working from home, but if you’re a retail or hospitality business who relies on face to face customer interactions these coming weeks are going to be hard to manage.

Here are a couple of simple tips that might help you:

Don’t Hide!

Up until now you might be afraid of saying the wrong thing, so you’ve been keeping your head down – now is the perfect time to make the most of your social media presence. Your audience want to hear from you so they can understand what’s happening with your business at this time.

Engage

Engage with your customer base by communicating your messages but also listening to their queries and empathising where possible. Let your customers know what your business and your team are going through and even share the positive things that you are witnessing in your community – we need hope! 

What you can say?

Spend a bit of time to figure out what the messages are that you want to share online, whether it’s that you can offer an online service, deliveries or a call & collect service.  Your audience at this time are looking for authenticity so don’t be afraid to share a message that might be personal, it will help humanise you and your business.

Tip: We always advise before jumping in that it is best to do an exercise with your team to decide what the key messages of the business are – your content should deliver on these key messages, which is a great way of keeping you on track.

Empathise

Before posting always try to put yourself in the mindset of the reader – people are in unusual circumstances, many of them are worried and try to take this into account when you post.

Is there a way you can help?

Your business may not feel like it’s relevant at the moment but is there anything else you can offer your followers or your community?

A fantastic example of this is many of the distilleries across Ireland and the UK who are now making much needed hand sanitiser to provide to the HSE and the NHS.

Is there any way we can help?

If you need a hand to get up and running let us know and we can get you trained up with a training session online.

For more social media advice keep an eye on our channels over the coming weeks, as I’m sure to have much more to say now that I’m trapped indoors!

Be safe..

Alma Brosnan Social Media Consultant, Fuzion CommunicationsAlma

Alma Brosnan is a social media consultant with Fuzion Communications who operate from offices in Dublin and Cork and sometimes from home!

Just call me Sarah!

March 23, 2020 by

Sarah Connor

I love a good apocalyptic film – correction – I even like the bad ones!!

I hate the gory bits, where instead of the Covid-19 virus, it’s flesh eating zombies coming to harm us, or a Robot from the next Century, but what I do love is seeing how ordinary people, like you and I, cope with whatever is thrown at them.

Worldwide pandemic, mass unemployment, billions self isolating, panic buying, some healthcare services in doomsday scenarios.

We are all in that “movie” now – so how are we coping?

Can we be the superhero, the Rick Grimes (Walking Dead) or the Sarah Connor (Terminator) for our business? 

Here is how I am becoming my own Superhero:-

  • Checking in with my really great team to keep them together and motivated while working remotely. It’s lonely working on your own so we have found some fun ways to stay connected. Check out our Twitter feed @FuzionComms to see for yourself,
  • Make decisions not based on emotions but on what’s good in the long run for the business, the team and the clients
  • Take solid (fighting) advice from people I trust, both colleagues and other business leaders
  • Constantly check in with my clients – I want to be there to fight in their corner – so we walk towards the dawn together when the nightmare/film is over
  • Look for Opportunities for Fuzion and for our clients – it’s a great time for taking a fresh look at business, how we do business and how we tell our story
  • Check in on my friends and family – let them know I love them and I’m there for them – even if I can’t hug them in person
  • Stay healthy, happy and safe – so I can be strong and fit for whatever curve-ball the “script” throws at me

If you are a business owner, feeling on your own with things, you need to put on your gloves and come out fighting and be your own Superhero. 

If you need help, call me, I’ll be in your corner 🙂

Deirdre 

Deirdre Waldron - Network Ireland PresidentDeirdre Waldron is the founding partner of Fuzion Communications

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


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