Are you creating Hygge [Hoo – gah] at work?

August 20, 2018 by

HYgge

I had never heard the Danish word ‘Hygge‘ before but a podcast that I listened to recently from Freakonomics titled “How to be Happy” resonated with me.

When Helen Russell, fashion editor of Maire Claire moved to Denmark from London with her husband, who had taken a dream job with Lego, she decided to write a book to try to figure out exactly why this country is officially one of the Happiest in the world!!

Her cleverly titled book, “The Year of Living Danishly” digs deep into the psyche of Denmark and why this dark, cold, highly taxed and very expensive country is so happy.

At Fuzion we always talk about #WinHappy as being a core philosophy of ours, creating a positive work culture, where we do great work for great clients but with a smile on our faces.

Some think it is a little Utopian but we believe it is possible.

In Denmark they talk about a very special thing called ‘Hygge‘ , which I found very interesting as it is one of the core reasons attributed to their ‘Happy’ success.

Even on the Visit Denmark website they describe it:

Hygge: The Danish Art of Cosiness

Hygge is as Danish as æbleskiver (Pancake Puffs!!) and it goes far in illuminating the Danish soul.

In essence, hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Cosying up with a loved one for a movie – that’s hygge, too. And there’s nothing more hygge than sitting around with friends and family, discussing the big and small things in life.
Perhaps hygge explains why the Danes are some of the happiest people in the world.

I remember visiting a Danish fashion client that we were doing work for and being quite surprised to see candles lighting at the doorway of the offices and in the reception area. The warm glow of those candles certainly softened the atmosphere and was conducive to a positive working environment.

The owners of the business had also brought their little dog to work, who was running around the place! Maybe I should bring Honey and Bert?

In a random Google of the topic around workplaces I spotted an article that mentioned seven ‘Hygge’ tips:

1. Bring a mug from home

Ironically, something we used do in Fuzion was to buy everyone a mug that we thought suited their character!

2. Make a relaxing work playlist

Hmmm…in my work space in the Cork office, close to the graphic design team we always have Spotify playing something that is not too intrusive. It’s more difficult with the PR teams in Dublin and Cork as they are on the phone a lot.

3. Spend lunch outside or take that time to unwind

Too much time is spent by some of us at our desks including lunch break – that is not good and is something that we definitely need to improve on.

4. Decorate your desk or workspace

There are a few pics from home and fun things on people’s desks, but I guess we could go a little further to make the place even more personal.

5. Host a potluck with co-workers

I had no idea what this meant but apparently it is savouring home-cooked meals that your work friends have cooked and vice versa.

I do love when Alma brings in some of her tasty home cooked treats – there is something very special when someone brings something in that they made at home.

“When everybody shares, everybody gets hygge,” is what one author on the topic said.

6. Do random acts of kindness for your co-workers

I love this simple idea as it promotes the idea of friendship and treating your fellow workers as something more than that.

7. Embrace teamwork

Apparently team spirit is part of the Danish culture. From childhood, Danes work in groups and are taught to seek and/or give help in the face of adversity. They are encouraged to remain confident despite their weaknesses and humble despite their strengths.

While we have a great team and do a lot together, too often when you glance down the office we are all busy, busy, with our heads stuck in whatever client work we are doing.

In Fuzion we do our own few things in the spirit of ‘Hygge’ that we could add to this list:

Breaking bread together – Fuzion Friday

Every Friday in both Dublin and Cork offices we down tools and we go for lunch together. We chat about the wins, we chat about the losses and frustrations of the week and we laugh and share weekend plans.

Cuppa anyone?

No one makes a cuppa without asking if anyone else would like a cuppa!

Birthdays

A present is always bought for you on your birthday and wait for it…. our people get a day off for their birthday, which they must take on the day (or very close to it a least). Our client, Regus does this and I thought it was a great idea so we introduced it two years ago.

Slagging/Banter

There is always a nice amount of friendly banter in the office, which is nearly always lighthearted and never bitter.

Holidays

The person who goes on holidays is given a token few quid to buy a meal on us but they nearly always buy some chocolates or biscuits for the office on their return.

Working Late

We don’t like to see anyone caught working late at the office – Saidhbh is the biggest culprit lately!

While it is never perfect and there are the normal pressures and stresses of work I think we do a pretty good job at creating our own “Hygge” – after all, why would anyone want to work in the opposite atmosphere? ….I certainly don’t.

What do you do to create your own Hygge?

At Fuzion, I guess we call it Win Happy!!

Greg 

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

 

 

The Business of Blogging

August 7, 2018 by

Blogging Tips

Blogging has seen a huge rise in recent years and doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

The way people blog is evolving and adapting constantly. For many businesses, engagement with bloggers and influencers now plays a major role in their marketing strategy and is producing fantastic results.

I recently attended a really interesting event hosted by Network Cork called “The Business of Blogging”.

The lineup of speakers included international blogger Erika Fox of Retro Flame, Cliona O’Connor of Lean Mean Momma and Stephanie Lynch of OnTheQT.

Erica, Cliona and Stephanie all shared some fantastic tips that apply to both businesses and individual bloggers in order to grow their social media presence and get results. Below are some top tips from the event:

  • Consistency – It’s all about consistency and quality, if you’re not posting regularly on your online platforms people will forget about you.
  • Be authentic – Don’t copy what other people are doing, be true to your brand whether it’s a personal or business brand. We love to see the people behind a brand and social media is a great way to do this.
  • Branding – If possible, have the same username across all social media channels with a similar style on all channels as well.
  • Value your followers – Don’t be afraid to ask your followers for feedback on what they want to see.

For more tips about blogging check out a blog post that our Greg Canty wrote over six years ago!!

13 Tips about Blogging and Making some Noise

There was also some discussion at the event about working with bloggers and influencers and some criteria you might take into account when deciding to engage with them:

  • Understand the influencers’ followers, check out what their followers are asking them.
  • Look at the influencers/bloggers engagement, this is much more important than huge follower numbers.
  • When you have identified an influencer that fits with your brand, try and meet with them to iron out what you are looking for from the collaboration.
  • Don’t be afraid to work with smaller bloggers as they often have high engagement.
  • After a collaboration, ask for analytics to understand what worked best and what didn’t work so well.

A big thanks to Karen Fleming and Network Cork for organising another interesting and insightful event.

Saidhbh Sweeney - Fuzion CommunicationsSaidhbh

Saidhbh Sweeney is part of the PR team at Fuzion Communications, who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland 

Don’t be a Commodity, be Remarkable!

July 31, 2018 by

Health Bars in Multiples

Queuing for my salad at lunchtime in the corner store near our office today in Dublin, I couldn’t help but notice the piles of health bars above the sandwich bar.

Even if I wanted one, I wouldn’t have a clue which one to pick as there were so many different brands, all offering the same thing!

A few years ago, health bars didn’t even exist and now they are competing for space at every till across Ireland. So much noise and so little differentiation.

Health bars have become a commodity.

How can you make sure this doesn’t happen to you and your business?

You have to keep on reinventing, reinvesting – in you, in your business and in your brands.

You have to continually give your target audience good reasons to engage with you. You have to create compelling stories about your products and your business.

As Seth Godin says in his Marketing Bible ‘The Purple Cow’ – you have to be ‘remarkable’ to stand out.

Looking at the image (above) of all these health bars, despite the investment in packaging, despite negotiating shelf space, despite “magical” ingredients that will make you leaner, fitter, healthier, not one of them is remarkable.

Why not make it a resolution to ask yourself right now – what steps could you take today to make your business more remarkable?

If you need any help guiding you towards the answers –  I’d love to help…….

Deirdre 

Deirdre Waldron - Network Ireland PresidentDeirdre Waldron is the founding partner of Fuzion Communications, a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Ireland’s recycling campaign – what campaign?

July 9, 2018 by

Recycling

A topic that has gained prominence recently has been the amount of accumulating waste, particularly plastic that is ending up in the world’s seas and oceans with vast areas now covered in non-biodegradable materials.

In Repak’s Annual report, it said that the amount of packaging recycled in Ireland last year has hit record levels. More than 817,000 tonnes of packaging was recycled in 2017 which was the highest volume ever recorded in this country.

This all sounds great so far and in 2016, China – the then world’s largest recyclable materials importer took 95% of Ireland’s plastic waste to do just that but a ban that came in on January 1st of this year meant that China will no longer take it.

Despite our efforts, the amount of waste sent to landfill rose by more than 110,000 tonnes last year, a 40pc increase, figures from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) show.

Since the ban came in and to clarify matters for householders, the government produced the first national list of what can and can’t be recycled and publicised it with an awareness campaign apparently across radio, print and social media to improve people’s understanding of acceptable recyclables.

With a national, multi-channel campaign such as this, surely there would have been noise made, good recollection of it and a positive impact, but everyone I have asked seems not to remember anything about it, and are still confused about what can and cannot be recycled. Only for desktop research, I wouldn’t have known a campaign happened at all.

For proper change and to amend the habits of a lifetime rather than just pay it lip service, there must be a genuine effort to communicate to the population its importance, involving and engaging people and rewarding their efforts or it will just end up being an exercise in futility.

Only time will tell….

Patrick Jones - Fuzion CommunicationsPatrick

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

Céad Míle Fáilte

June 27, 2018 by

Prince Charles visiting Cork

On Thursday the 14th June, Grand Parade in Cork was full of school children, the media and hundreds of friendly faces all there to catch a glimpse, or for the lucky few a chance to meet, HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.

As the royal couple made their way to the English Market, where they followed in the footsteps of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in 2011, they were greeted by onlookers at every turn and the smiles on their faces showed how much they appreciated and enjoyed the warm welcome they received.

The English Market is one of my favourite accounts to work on for many reasons, and this royal visit was a major highlight. As I stood on the red carpet waiting for the arrival of the highly anticipated guests, I was filled with excitement and pride as I looked around and saw the ‘Céad Míle Fáiltewaiting for them.

It’s true to say we really do give a hundred thousand welcomes and quite literally roll out the red carpet to welcome all who visit Ireland. The royal couple spent approximately an hour in the English Market as they laughed, chatted and even cut the 230th birthday cake for the English Market.

Prince Charles visiting Cork

Some people may not favour the royal family or have their own views on the royal couple but the friendliness of the Irish was well and truly on show and the fun and laughter enjoyed by the royal couple on the day really made me proud of all involved and all who and welcomed them with open arms.

This visit has been great for the relationship between our two countries and it also puts a another big spotlight on Ireland as a great and friendly place to visit.

Thank you Charles and Camilla!

Edel Cox is a Senior PR Account Manager with Fuzion Communications

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

Cracking the Diversity Code with Gillian Keating

June 2, 2018 by

Gillian Keating - I WISH

Greg had the pleasure recently of chatting with a great friend of Fuzion’s, Gillian Keating and capturing this for an episode of our Win Happy podcast.

Gillian, a Partner with RDJ Solicitors and a former President of Cork Chamber is a true ground breaker.

She was the first female President of Cork Chamber, a role that she fully embraced and from there she went on to make even more impact as one of the founders of the I WISH diversity programme.

I WISH was founded to address the low levels of women participating in STEM by targeting transition year students and encouraging them to consider careers in the relevant disciplines.

In the podcast Greg chats with Gillian about the value of hard work, coping with disappointments, pushing yourself outside your comfort zone, gender equality, diversity and “Cracking the Cork Code“.

I hope you enjoy the show!

Click here to listen to the show

Fuzion Win Happy podcast thumbnail

Dee

Deirdre Waldron - Network Ireland PresidentDeirdre Waldron is the founding partner of Fuzion Communications a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Is the age of influencers coming to an end?

May 7, 2018 by

 

We’ve always loved seeing what celebrities get up to and in this digital age we can see every aspect of their lives through Snapchat and Instagram.

These days “regular” people can become celebrities by building up huge followings on social media channels and having a niche area that they specialise in from beauty to travel and most vague of all “lifestyle”.

We watch their stories every day and most importantly of all we believe everything they say. They influence us!

A certain brand of soft drink is declared the best – It’s sold out straight away.

This nightclub is where all the celebs go – Good luck trying to get in for the next month!

Companies are always told that user generated content is the best type of promotion as it is deemed to be genuine and an authentic view declared by impartial people.

People are cynical now so they don’t necessarily believe advertisements and especially not what the companies tell them directly.

There’s nothing better than the perfect girl next door “type” recommending your product and even better if she’s doing it off her own back!

Brands quickly realised this, which has led to the deliberate romancing of social media influencers, which has been a very effective tactic for the brands that know how to play the game.

However now everybody wants in.

Everyone wants access to that social media influencer that can help boost their products, services or message but in the “rush” very few are doing their due diligence on the influencers they are targeting.

Inevitably this has resulted in anonymous social media accounts like @bullshitcallerouter and @bloggersunveiled who are determined to call out these not so genuine accounts.

 

So far, these accounts have revealed the influencers that buy followers, don’t use the #ad code and more seriously the ones that are flouting the road safety rules but were part of a road safety campaign.

The people that follow those influencers are obviously disappointed with their behaviour but it all comes back to the companies who have chosen them.

By not doing the research on the influencers that they have chosen to work with, have they inadvertently harmed their brands?

A recent example comes from the Road Safety Authority (RSA).

The @bloggersunveiled account has been sharing images from the last couple of weeks of influencers that have worked with the RSA on their campaign last year but are not following the basic rules of the road as demonstrated clearly by images they shared on social media.

Over the weekend the RSA announced that two of the influencers they worked with last year on their “Killer Look” campaign will return their fees.

They have dealt with this well by stepping out in front of this and are working on protecting their brand and the message they are trying to send to the public.

The sentence from their statement that stood out to me the most was this:

There’ll be a lot more rigour around and due diligence done around influencers if they are being used in future,” the spokesperson said. “This medium is maturing.

Is it time for us all to be more diligent in who we choose to represent our brands?

Should companies have guidelines and codes of conduct for campaigns with influencers going forward?

It’s definitely time for us to be more aware and alert about those we choose to follow.

With the growth of fake news, fake followers and now, insincere influencers do we need to take everything with a pinch of salt?

Alma Brosnan - Fuzion CommunicationsAlma

Alma Brosnan is part of the Social Media Consultancy team at Fuzion Communications who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Check out the full article by Journal.ie on the topic

 

 

We need to talk about…abortion

April 25, 2018 by

lets talk about it

The Belfast rape trial inspired a national conversation. The debate evolved from the trial to the verdict to how sex education is taught in our schools.

Almost everyone had a view.

Not everyone agreed with each other, but at least – or at least in my opinion, the majority of people listened to each other with a modicum of respect.

In one month, the Irish electorate will go to the polls to vote in arguably one of the most divisive referenda has ever held.

While the conversation in print, on air, and online is in full flow, I wonder is that same conversation happening among our friends and families? And if it isn’t, why isn’t it?

There are many, on both sides of the argument, completely convinced body and soul, that they are 100% right in their views. But are we in danger of underestimating the amount of people that remain undecided and uncertain and afraid to have a conversation about their uncertainty for fear they’ll alienate…or be alienated?

On May 25th you have an opportunity to shape the outcome of this referendum.

If you’ve already decided how you’ll vote, be gentle with your views and opinions as not everyone will share your point of view, but that doesn’t mean their opinions hold less weight than yours.

Listen with grace and empathy, even if the opposing view is unpalatable, and completely foreign to you – no one ever won hearts and minds by shouting the other side down.


Between now and May 25th, you have a chance to be part of a national conversation – and by voting, you’ll play an active part in the outcome.

On May 26th, we’ll know the outcome of this referendum, and our nation as we know it will be a changed one…for better or for worse.

Be part of that change.

Alison Nulty, Fuzion CommunicationsAlison

Alison Nulty, of Fuzion Communications is a Senior PR Account Manager, Media Trainer and part of the Crisis PR team.

What should Bank of Ireland do with their sponsorship of the Ulster Rugby team?

April 12, 2018 by

Ulster Rugby

Today, Bank of Ireland issued a statement to the media concerning their sponsorship of Ulster Rugby.

They have said that it is ‘highly concerned‘ and is reviewing its partnership with the province following the Belfast rape trial.

In their statement the bank confirmed that it has conveyed concerns to Ulster CEO Shane Logan following the high-profile trial.

As a sponsor of Ulster Rugby, Bank of Ireland is highly concerned regarding the serious behaviour and conduct issues which have emerged as a result of the recent high profile trial,” read a Bank of Ireland statement.

The Bank has formally conveyed these concerns to the CEO of Ulster Rugby.

It is of paramount importance to Bank of Ireland that our sponsorship activity aligns with and supports our core values, and reflects positively on Bank of Ireland through association.

We understand that an internal review is underway. We expect this review to be robust, to fully address the issues raised, and that decisions will be taken – and policies and protocols be put in place – that fully address the issues that have arisen.

“Given that a review is underway, we won’t comment further on this issue at this time.

What do you think of what Bank of Ireland have done here?

Let’s look at what they have said first..

They are highly concerned regarding the serious behaviour and conduct issues..

At least this shows their position about what emerged during the court case – in truth, while “highly concerned” is strong language it is probably not going far enough considering what did emerge during the trial.

During the trial the court heard about a series of WhatsApp messages in which Mr Olding said “we are all top shaggers”

Mr Jackson wrote: “There was a lot of spit roasting last night.”

Olding told the WhatsApp group: “It was like a merry-go-round at a carnival.”

The Bank has formally conveyed these concerns to the CEO of Ulster Rugby..

They are letting us know in advance of any decision by Ulster Rugby their position with this issue.

It is of paramount importance to Bank of Ireland that our sponsorship activity aligns with and supports our core values..

The reason any brand sponsors anything is to associate with the brand values and gain something positive from this – the bank are saying clearly here that what has happened here does not align with the core values.

The sponsorship is of huge importance to the sport and if it was pulled, without doubt this would have an impact on many.

Given that a review is underway, we won’t comment further on this issue at this time..

By acknowledging the review by Ulster Rugby (they mention the robust process) they are sort of saying “lets wait and see and we’ll decide what to do next“.

OK…

Let’s be clear – the statement issued to the media was written for the public’s benefit – they want us, their target audience to know that they have core values, that they aren’t happy with what happened and how this may impact on them and that they have conveyed this to Ulster Rugby.

While the statement from them has come a little bit too late (they could be accused of reacting now because of the public backlash) it is clever to a point as it gives them advance “wiggle room” around any decision coming from Ulster Rugby.

If Ulster Rugby go light on the two rugby players Bank of Ireland can kill their sponsorship (potentially damaging to the sport) and they are off the hook. They would possibly have to consider the possible backlash of avid sporting fans.

If Ulster Rugby go heavy and fire the players then the bank have already made their position clear in advance and can count this as a “core values” win.

Our advice..

Their blatant disrespect for a young woman, as demonstrated through their deplorable messaging to each other,  cannot be tolerated under any circumstances.

People, young and old look up to their sports-stars and they must be held to very high standards.  We expect that of our heroes.

If Bank Of Ireland are really concerned about their brand (for legal reasons they may have to go easy) they should state categorically and with no uncertainty that they will pull their sponsorship if these players are allowed to play for the team again.

These men demonstrated without question the most horrible behaviour and disrespect to women and this should be called out plain and simple, for all our sake.

Bank of Ireland must really think of their brand and not wait in the wings to see what action Ulster Rugby will take.

Be brave Bank of Ireland..

Greg Canty 

 

Why are Podcasts booming?

April 2, 2018 by

Podcasting

Podcasts are in demand, they are becoming increasing popular and for good reason..

According to research last year nearly 400,000 Irish adults listen to a podcast once a week with 128,000 listening once a day.

While podcasts have been around for a while the “boom” in part is due to Smartphones, which have made accessing these really easy and in 2014 Apple introduced a specific podcast APP on all their devices.

The audience in King” , which is the real driving force as they are carefully curating their own content – Podcasts are to Radio, the same as Netflix is to TV!

Podcasts are outperforming their competition because they are relevant and they are succeeding in connecting with their audiences in a very different way.

It’s simple, you can hear your chosen show (podcast) whenever you want.

Podcasts have few, if any commercials and only consist of the material that you are interested in. The variety is huge and growing by the day – literally, there is something for everyone from Love Stories, to American politics, to Eamon Dunphy to Blindboy to the Irish Famine. The list goes on and on.

Podcasts are extremely personal.

Many go beyond the “15” minute segments of an interesting interview that you would expect on a radio show and as a result you have an opportunity to really get to know the presenter, the guest and the subject matter.

They can be a much more intimate way of getting information and it is also a nice change from peering at a screen, perfect for those busy commuters who want to make the most of every valuable minute!

Podcasts are convenient and easy to consume.

Once you subscribe to a podcast “show”, new podcasts are automatically downloaded or available to stream to your device as soon as they are available.

You can listen to them at your convenience.

When you are getting ready for a journey you can queue up your podcasts to create your own entertainment and learning, to pass that time a little quicker!

Listeners are now deciding what they want to hear and when.

On one hand, this means you are competing for their listening time but on the other hand, this means that if they are subscribing to your podcasts, you have an opportunity to really build a strong connection with your audience.

Podcasts can also make extra valuable content to deliver as part of your social media strategy.

If you have a big social media following podcasts might be a way to introduce some new and very interesting content, which will immediately differentiate you from your competition.

Your podcast subscribers could be the core of your community and over time they could become your best ambassadors or even clients.

The best way to understand the potential for podcasts is to tune in and discover the huge variety that is available – you can access them via the podcast APP on Apple devices, on iTunes, Soundcloud or on Spotify or directly via the podcast host.

Why not check out our Fuzion Win Happy Podcast , which is hosted by our very own Greg Canty!

http://fuzionwinhappy.libsyn.com

Fuzion Win Happy podcast thumbnail

Happy listening..

Ciara O’Sullivan

Ciara is a PR intern with Fuzion Communications


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