Author Archive

Snapchat and Amazon connect for “snap” online shopping

October 1, 2018

Snapchat and Amazon

We all love to shop!!

It’s an industry that has grown online and is only getting bigger.

Now social media platforms are getting in on the action; Facebook were one of the first platforms to encourage shopping from the platform linking up with Shopify, Pinterest were next capitalising on the fact that their site inspired people to shop and introduced shopping ads and this year even Instagram introduced shoppable tags.

It’s the next frontier for social media sites and is a clever way to stay relevant when their audience’s attention spans are so short lived.

Imagine my surprise when Snapchat, the platform we all thought was on the way out, released an update saying they are now working with Amazon testing a new way to search for products using the Snapchat camera. This could really change how people shop online!

Snapchat Shopping

All you will have to do is point your camera at the product as if you’re taking a picture and then press & hold on the screen like you do when you use Snapchat filters. Once the product has been recognised by the app, a pop-up card with a link to the product page on Amazon will appear and then you follow that to purchase the item on Amazon.

So simple and a genius move by the two companies!!

Many people have said Snapchat is in decline but they’ve managed to hold on to their younger user base quite well. There may not be growth but they’re not losing users. If you look at the Ipsos MRBI Social Media Messaging Report from March 2018, you can see that even though only 31% of the Irish audience have Snapchat, 64% use it daily.

IPsos March 2018

Snapchat knowing that their demographic want everything instantaneously and by creating this link with Amazon who are king of snap purchasing decisions (anyone else bought something random from Amazon at 3am?!!), they could very well be guaranteeing their survival.

Looking forward to seeing how Facebook react to this!

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

Space Force or Space farce?!!

August 27, 2018

Space Force

 

Whatever your feelings about the current person sitting in the White House in the United States of America until a real President is elected, one thing is without question..

He is a maverick, dealing in things that are bizarre, outrageous, backwards, dangerous, unconstitutional and just damn wrong. He touches more people than is right and correct (all puns intended) and finally, he has laid his tiny hands on the design industry, offering up 6 solutions for a form of open vote for the Space Force, the 6th arm of the American Defence Forces. 

Now, we all know how public votes tend to go (Boaty McBoatface, Honey G, Soylent Green flavoured Mountain Dew etc) so, this really isn’t ever going to go any other way other than Awesome, but I do have a two-fold issue with the process of a “Publicly selected piece of design“.

Firstly; offering up a logo or brand with no sense of rationale, qualifications or positioning is insane!!

The majority of those voting will have little or no clue as to the journey that the “designer(s)” (very deliberate quotation marks there BTW) has come to finish up with the designs offered. There will be no conversations around the appropriateness of the design, typefaces, colours and implied and/or subliminal meanings. It’s like asking someone what their favourite track on an album that they have never heard is.    

Secondly; this is not the right way to create something that has lasting meaning, that truly adheres to the cornerstones of “branding”; that pays tribute and homage to that which has gone before it (from Buzz Aldrin, the 1986 Challenger disaster, to the joint ISS programme and the Opportunity rover on Mars) and looks towards the essence of what Space exploration and discovery is all about.

And aside from the fact that Space Force is a military operation, not some fluffy pursuit of organic matter – this is about defence, destruction and warfare, so the icons and illustrations on the 6 offered solutions are as much use as a Buzz Lightyear toy with no batteries.

Of course, I am not suggesting that the pursuit of a logo requires a story and a 120 page document to explain why as designers we have selected a typeface/colour/shape combination (you can watch Stefan Sagmeister’s short and sweary* feelings about that here: (its *quite* sweary), but there should be rationale, there should be a reason that elements are being used in an order to make those intangible assets click in our minds, and at a decision making level, these should be presented to help make what is clearly quite an important decision in a format that relies more than a few big VOTE HERE buttons underneath them on a website. 

Stefan - Space Force

Bloomberg magazine asked a number of designers to throw their hat into the ring, as a counter balance to the work offered by the Trump (Chump!) Administration, and the results are incredible.

The core of the Administration’s xenophobic, racist, self parodying and purile notions have been captured in all their embroidered glory. Have a look and see how absolutely Milton Glaser nails the Commander in Chief.

It’s a work of art and pure genius.

Check out the Bloomberg article.


alt Space Force - Milton Glaser

If Space Force is to become an actual thing, I suggest that we let Jar Jar Binks run it – he’d do a better job, even they had better logos than those on offer!!

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj - FuzionJonathan

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj leads the Graphic Design Department in Fuzion with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland 

The Business of Blogging

August 7, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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.

Why are Podcasts booming?

April 2, 2018

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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