Author Archive

The Importance of Visual Assets in Effective Public Relations

May 11, 2022

A recent photocall by our wonderful Account Executive, Heather Lordan for Southern Comfort

As one of my favourite saying goes, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, and this couldn’t be more true when it comes to conveying an impactful PR campaign

Photocalls and visual assets are essential in PR to accompany a pitch for an article, case study, or press release. Strong imagery immediately amplifies the content, catching the reader’s eye straight away, and prompting their curiosity. 

Strong visual content can propel both the story and brand in a fun and effective way. My favourite part of building any campaign is brainstorming photocall ideas with the team and watching the story come to life from there.

Here are my top three reasons why I believe a striking photocall image is a worthwhile addition to any PR campaign:

Visual Storytelling 

A strong image will strengthen your campaign and engage the consumer in your brand story.

A flat image with a person holding up a branded sign offers nothing to the journalist or the reader. I always like to think outside the box here, exploring the use of dramatic colours, unusual props, and picturesque locations.

A photograph sets expectations about the tone and subject but It shouldn’t give away the whole story. The image should engage the curiosity, prompt the question and the caption and press release should offer the answer.  

Shareability

Social media is a great way to increase the reach of PR campaigns and create a conversation with your target audience.

Images are processed in the brain’s long-term memory, while words are processed in the short-term memory. If the image is captivating, people will be more likely to share which encourages their followers to find out more about the story.

I always encourage brands to share assets internally as it brings the team on the journey too.

A recent photocall by our creative Account Manager, Michelle Harrison for IACP

Increased Brand Awareness

Images make an immediate connection with your audience because they are less taxing on your attention.

If you have a great image to go with your story you will recieve more media coverage and as media coverage grows your brand will garner much more attention.

Quality media coverage not only secures share of voice for your brand but also establishes expertise and credibility – a priority in the world of Public Relations.

So, next time you have a great story that is worthy of media attention spend time and attention with your team and your press photographer to capture those special images, because they are probably worth more than 1,000 words!

Stephanie Stafford 

Stephanie is an Account Director with Fuzion Communications, a full service PR agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland. Stephanie is known for her innovative approach to PR as well as her diverse range of agency and in-house communications experience. 

Back to Branding

March 14, 2022

To gain a deeper understanding of branding, consider your emerging identity – your adolescent brand.

You may not have realised it when you were younger, but we all had a brand!

Back then, your brand was developed by pushing your personal boundaries of fashion and music, ethics, morality, and friendships, as well as objectives and ambitions for the future.

Thinking about your youthful brand is important because it allows you to merge the numerous pieces that came together to form your identity – the image you had of yourself, and the image others had of you. It’s a riddle — and it’s crucial.

People create opinions of one another. It’s difficult to avoid it. As a result, people developed opinions about me. To those folks, those perceptions were my brand.

The way I interacted with them, the clothing I wore, the music I listened to, my principles and opinions, as well as what they expected of me, all became part of my brand.

Some people knew me well, while others didn’t, yet my brand was built by first impressions.

Others would create my brand for me, if I didn’t invest in clothes, music, and culture. And in today’s environment, social media, blogs, and online presence are just as much part of defining an adolescent brand.

My adolescent brand was more about face-to-face encounters, behaviours, ethos, attitude, outlook, what I did or didn’t do, and my values. These fundamentals are vital to the development of a brand.

At different times, different people perceived me in different ways.

As a result, for various people, I needed to have a distinct brand perspective. There would have been many similarities, but there would have been some differences as well.

Parents, for example, might have seen me differently from my friends in several respects. For instance, if I talked to my Mum in the same tone of voice as I talked to my friends, there would have been a serious communication breakdown!

It’s exciting to imagine how your brand will touch so many different sorts of individuals. It isn’t about deception or claiming to be someone else to please people or to fit in. That doesn’t go as planned.

No one is able to deceive a huge group of people for very long. When it comes to your brand, it’s all about being yourself.

Growing up is a lot like piecing together your business or organisation’s identity jigsaw, but from a different, more mature perspective, and just as when I was younger, the best way to get to the truth is to ask the most basic questions.

Who are you?

Neill

Neill MacCann is a senior graphic designer with Fuzion Communications who provide a full suite of print and digital graphic design services from offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland.

Our learning: Teamwork – So far and yet so close!

February 7, 2022

A lot has changed over the past number of weeks as we somewhat return to ‘normal’ life and are hopefully waving goodbye to all of the constraints and negatives associated with the pandemic for good.

And while there were so many negatives that consumed our lives over the past nearly two years, we can’t ignore the positives that have changed our lives. We were forced to adapt and change, review our processes and get on with life in a whole different way.

We had to be resilient and innovative, flexible and caring and so much more to navigate our way through this unprecedented journey.

Professionally and personally, teamwork and how we strengthened this has played a huge role in our journey. Working from home has been a game-changer for many reasons (I especially do not miss the endless hours sitting in traffic) and it would not have been so effective without some great teamwork along the way. As a team in Fuzion, I can honestly say that we have never felt so close across all departments and locations, despite not seeing each other in person for months!

Key to this and something I definitely recommend to businesses if feasible, is the introduction of a regular team catch up. For us that happens as a 30-minute, 9am social catch-up every Monday morning with the whole team on Zoom, chatting about weekend events and hearing about what everyone got up to.

Its impact has been extremely beneficial, really bringing the team together as one rather than the separate locations and functions. Our team is spread out across all four corners of the country and there are always plenty of stories to be told and ironically we’ve really gotten to know each other far more than before the pandemic and without even realising it!

For me, it wouldn’t feel right without our team call as it is something that we all really enjoy now as it gets us in the right mood for the week as well as helping to shake off those Monday morning blues. It has allowed us to strengthen our relationships with each other, improving how we communicate and work together and ensures a positive team environment, even during the height of a global pandemic!

With so many benefits, we certainly won’t be waving goodbye to this pandemic learning for a very long time.

Saidhbh

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

Dinner is at Olivia’s ….!

January 31, 2022

At Fuzion, we like to share lots of things between the team, not just work related, so, recently we asked the team to share their favourite food to cook, and we got an insight into all of our cooking skills, some good, some bad and some great!

My favourite is slow cooked Spaghetti Bolognese, in particular because when cooked this way the mince tastes so delicious.

I could tell you that it was a family recipe handed down from generation to generation but I saw it on Instagram posted by the lovely Sandra Murphy (@sandrainthecity), the ex proprietor of The Rising Tide bar and restaurant and now a friend.

For me it can be either a treat or an every day meal, but it is glorious on a chilled out day when you have the time to potter around and allow the delicious smell of the dish to get those hunger pangs going.

While many would drink a fine red with this dish I just love it with a glass of chardonnay and my perfect guests for this very special meal are my lovely family!

The how to.. Slow cooked Bolognese

Ingredients – for 4 people

1 large onion

3 garlic cloves

1 red chilli

Carton of passata

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tin of plum tomatoes

1 tablespoon of tomato puree

1 beef stock cube

Mixed herbs / oregano (optional)

500g beef mince – less than 5% fat

Chop the onion, garlic and chilli – add to a pan, heat them, do not brown them, just soften. Add the mince meat

Once the mince is browned, add a carton of passata, the tin of tomatoes, the tomato puree and the beef stock cube.

Then add the mixed herbs. Cook on a medium heat for approx 3 hours, keep checking so that it’s not bubbling too much. The sauce will reduce here. Once ready, boil the spaghetti to your liking and serve…

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Olivia

Olivia Trought is the Office Manager with Fuzion Communications, Marketing, PR and Graphic Design from offices in Dublin and Cork.

The diary of a newbie!

November 2, 2021

I am delighted to have joined the Fuzion Communications team three weeks ago.

I have been working as a freelancer for the last two years, and there are many benefits to that… but also a lot of negatives (if you know, you know!).

Last winter, I realised that I missed working as part of a larger team and the bigger projects that tend to come with that.

I wanted to join the right agency for me, a place that truly cares about delivering the best results possible for their clients, and has a fantastic team at the heart of the organisation. Thankfully that is absolutely the case.

In my first week I was keen to be in the office as much as possible while the team was adapting to work towards the hybrid style, everyone was so warm, friendly and straightforward about everything, which is something that I really appreciated. In addition to this they were fantastic in dishing out tips for the best local coffee and where the best lunch spots are…Tir on Baggot Street is my new firm favourite for sandwiches just in case you were wondering. You weren’t? well, sure now you know!

Some of my observations and learnings from the first week are that a good office manager is everything and already I can’t count the number of times I’ve said “Thank God for Olivia!

Everyone joining a new organisation needs to have that person that knows everything and like Olivia is so helpful in sharing her pearls of knowledge with new joiners.

One of my first tasks was to prepare a presentation for a potential new client.

What was amazing about this process was talking through everything with Dee the founder of Fuzion, where she explained with heart the ‘why’ behind each action as opposed to saying “this is just what you do.”

Last Friday was a team day in the gorgeous Montenotte Hotel in Cork, which was a lovely opportunity to meet everyone off-screen, in person over a cup of coffee… who would have thought something so simple is in fact so important to our working lives?

One of the main items on the agenda in Cork was reflecting on the year just passed and future planning for 2022.

One of my key observations was just how engaged everyone on the team was while their colleagues spoke, every idea and wish was noted to see how it could be brought to life down the line. I’m not sure I’ve ever witnessed that in action before, it was lovely.

There was a shared sense of respect, and yes, of course, we all have to and want to work hard but there is an onus on everyone to make the best of it, by speaking up and being a part of the brilliant ideas that are at the heart of what makes this organisation tick. I am so excited about what is to come, it’s been a long time since I had that feeling that I was truly in exactly the place I am meant to be.

Sarah

Sarah Murphy is an Account Manager with Fuzion Communications a Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Brand reputation and consumer’s expectations.

October 11, 2021

It is quite clear that the pandemic hit industries and brands in diverse ways. Many organizations saw their budgets being cut down to half or nothing, conferences saw a move to digital stages and social justice movements such as BLM were in the spotlight more than ever before. This pivotal moment in history had led to a shift in the way brands interact with consumers.

A new study from FleishmanHillard examines the gap between consumers’ expectations and brands’ actions: 64% of consumers believe that a company is more authentic when they communicate about their behavior and their impact on society and the environment, instead of the benefits they offer to their customers.

The study also shows how 47% of consumer perceptions about a brand are driven by customer benefits, while 53% of consumers’ perceptions are shaped by social outcomes such as better environmental practices within the organization or the way a company cares about its employees, and management behaviors like acting ethically and responsibly.

An example of a troubled relationship between brands and consumers is the case of Wetherspoons, the company that owns pubs and hotels across the UK and Ireland. In this case, the Government ordered the closure of pubs in March 2020, and owner Tim Martin refused to pay employees until the Government reimbursed the company for the losses. Furthermore, he encouraged employees to find employment elsewhere, such as in Tesco supermarkets. This is a clear example of how a company is showing in their communications their lack of care towards the impact they have on employees, and on society.

On the other hand, a brand that keeps demonstrating how to marry consumer expectations with the brand’s activities is Nike. Days after the release of the horrific footage of George Floyd’s death in May 2020, the company launched an ad with a variation of their famous tagline. It went from “Just Do It” to “For Once, Don’t Do It.” This simple change in their communications delivered a positive sentiment across their customers regardless of income, age, and ethnicity.

These two examples represent the two sides of how companies can impact society.

Brands are now expected to be proactive to be part of the solution, not only part of the conversation – Issues such as racial inequality or climate justice will need to be at the forefront of any company’s communications strategy.

According to IBM’s research, 71% of consumers will consider transparency one of the most important brand attributes.

Knowing this what are you doing in your business to communicate better?

Patricia

Patricia Perera is a Communications intern with Fuzion Communications 

Ray-ban Stories and some Social Media updates

September 27, 2021

Can you believe we’re nearly at the end of September already?

This year has flown by especially with all the changes social media companies have made so far! Twitter introduced Fleets (their “Stories” knock off) and took it away just as fast, Instagram have decided they’re no longer an image sharing platform and TikTok continues to grow as fast as ever.

Instagram has given us a cheat sheet into how Reels work… Except there’s no real tips in there!

Mainly just keep creating content and engaging with other Creators and Reels. The most interesting titbit from it was if you watch a Reel and then go to the audio page to create a Reel based on that audio, they’ll reward you by pushing it out to a larger audience. However, in that instance you’d need to be ready to go straight away and not create pre-prepared content so it really depends on how comfortable you are with your social media strategy!

In more Reel(s) news (you can really tell they’re desperate to get people using it instead of TikTok!), they are currently testing a “Stories Montage” where users will be able to convert their Instagram Stories into a Reel… An interesting move considering they don’t want users sharing content from their feed to Stories and now they’re encouraging sharing from Stories to Reels? Bit of an odd one!

Twitter is starting to put a bit of effort into business/professional accounts with new “Professional Profiles”. It’s still at the invite stage so not available to everyone yet but once it is, it will enable businesses/brands to showcase more business information in a dedicated, additional profile space in the app. As you can see from the image below, it adds new display elements to your Twitter account, including a business location listing (which people can tap on to open in Google Maps), hours of operation and contact info, all in a new space beneath your main profile. Is this their attempt to move a step closer to a Facebook business page?

LinkedIn continues to see record-high levels of engagement, and are now trying to capitalise on that as best they can. They now have finally introduced Articles for company pages, making it much easier for businesses to now share blog content within the platform and to boost their engagement through users reading the “blog” and staying on LinkedIn. I’m looking forward to see how company pages make use of this new option!

And last but not least… Facebook are at it again!

Following Google and Snapchat, they’ve now introduced their own Facebook glasses. However, taking an interesting twist on it, they’re working on these with Ray Ban so the official name for these smart glasses is actually Ray Ban Stories.

Maybe because from a branding perspective, having Facebook as the leading name on it would lead to people getting worried about privacy as well as not being very cool! They have come out to say that the content will not be automatically uploaded to Facebook, the user will have the option to edit and choose what they want to post to either Facebook or Instagram. But with Facebook, who knows how any of the information recorded will actually be used to advertise and target users. I will say, as someone who genuinely loved her Snapchat glasses… I really want a pair of these, they look so much trendier!

Alma

Alma Brosnan is part of the Digital Marketing and Social Media Consultancy team at Fuzion operating from offices in Dublin and Cork in Ireland.

Clarity – is it too much to ask for?

August 30, 2021

There’s a saying I like – “any fool can make simple things complicated; it takes a genius to make complicated things simple

Communicating clearly can be surprisingly hard work. Clarity of communication drives action. Get it right and the right message is delivered and understood, the expectations are set. Clarity can dictate how we create and build relationships, trust and credibility.

Get it wrong and you have confusion, frustration, and mistrust.

Take, the recent chaotic scenes at Croker for the All Ireland hurling final. Stunned and confused, I sat in front of the telly watching thousands of unmasked fans sat side-by-side, as one, shouting, cheering, celebrating. Was I watching a rerun of ‘Reeling in the Years‘?

The anger, frustration and outcry from the entertainment industry that’s been left dormant for 18 months was to be expected. The rest of us were left confused and questioning the logic of the public health guidelines in place.

Where was the consistency? How was it fair? How could it be justified? It couldn’t. The Government’s credibility took another painful blow.

It came as the dust was just beginning to settle on the controversy surrounding the Tánaiste’s attendance at an outdoor event at the Merrion Hotel a few weeks earlier that had the hospitality industry up in arms. The Tánaiste felt he “probably” didn’t breach guidelines. The Taoiseach admitted the guidelines weren’t clear. And the expectations of everyone else were thrown up in the air.

At the core of all this frustration, anger and controversy was clarity. A lack of it.

To be fair, it would have been next to impossible for the Government to maintain effective and clear communication throughout a prolonged, complex and ever-changing pandemic. But these were heavy hits to take.

Undoubtedly, a level of credibility will be clawed back with the promised roadmap out of lockdown due in the coming days – clarity, which is all the public, the entertainment, the hospitality industry etc. need and are asking for.

The take home here is the importance and need for clarity and what can happen when you don’t have it.  

A few quicks tips for clear communication:

  • Define the purpose of the communication
  • What outcome do you want from the receiver of the message – set expectations
  • Be specific – The more specific you can are, the less chance there is of a misunderstanding
  • Be clear, concise, and consistent
  • Choose your words carefully – Don’t use big words when small ones will do

Remember, clarity in communication is in everyone’s best interest.

Aoibhinn

Transition from college to work. Thor and the things that nobody told you!

August 13, 2021

There’s been so much written about the beautiful years of college.

However, many seem to forget to tell you about the transition from college to work and how it can impact graduates on their mental health.

So, you’re right there in the final semester, you can even see the silver lining but now let me guide you through the turmoil of emotions that are coming your way!

Once you get your final results you will feel like the new Steve Jobs (or Thor), flooded with emotions of achievement and pride. The world is your oyster!

My Advice:  Write yourself a note to remind you about this wonderful achievement and how it made you feel (because ……you’re going to need it later!).

Now here are the three main stages that I experienced:

Round 1: Post-Graduation Depression.

It’s been years studying late at night, meeting up with your team for projects, many reports submitted, and so on. And now what?

You might start feeling stagnant, anxious, or even depressed. This is when the grieving process begins, grieving for a period in your life that is gone.

My advice:

Give your brain some time to adjust to the new situation. Accept those feelings and let them go.

Round 2: The Job Hunt & Rejection.

Once the post-graduation depression is over, you might start with the job hunt filled with ambition and passion. Your resume is the hammer to your inner Thor!

But here is when the rejection game happens. You might apply for five jobs a day and get ten rejection emails in exchange (ok, those maths don’t work, but trust me, it will feel like that).

The brain will wander and the negativity will set in and a possible guilt trip will start. Am I not good enough? Why didn’t I go to the career services in my college? And so on.

My Advice:

Don’t take the rejection personally. Take a day or two when it gets too much to reconsider your approach and adjust.

Also here is the moment to read the note you left for yourself when you finished your degree, and remind your inner Thor that you’re the God of Thunder, the All-Father and King of Asgard, and Son of Odin (well maybe not that, but you can try with the God/dess of TikTok, The All-Father/Mother of Buddy (your dog), king/queen of your cul-de-sac and son/daughter of Finbarr & Mary!

Round 3: New Job & The Imposter Syndrome.

Eventually, you get a job, and just when you think the whirlwind of emotions is all gone, here is when the final round kicks in.

Do you feel like you don’t know what you are doing? Do you feel like everyone else is smarter than you?

Don’t worry, it happens that often this “feeling” or condition even has a name, ‘the Imposter Syndrome’. It is based on an internal belief that you are not as good as others perceive you to be.

My Advice:

Avoid comparing yourself to others and be brave enough to question your own thoughts. Most likely they are not real, but just that little voice in your head.

Now, and after all this experience I am proud to say that I got the job that I wanted.

Just one week in Fuzion Communications and I already realised the great value the company places on being brave and ambitious. Which it is exactly what my inner Thor taught me during my journey.

#WinHappy as we say in Fuzion!

Patricia

Patricia Perera is a very bright, insightful and intelligent person who has just joined the Fuzion Communications team and begins her career, starting as a Communications intern with a fantastic future ahead!

Note from editor:

Thank you Patricia for reminding us what it is like for anyone at the beginning of their career, trying to get a start in a fog of disappointments.

Starting a new job during the pandemic!

June 16, 2021
Sarah Hayes - Fuzion Communications


So, you’ve made the decision to leave your job and start a new venture from home during the pandemic?

Firstly, congratulations!

Making the leap from one job to the next is never easy but particularly when you’re starting from your home. It adds another dimension to first day nerves knowing that you may not meet your new colleagues for weeks or maybe even months. Of course, working remotely has its benefits and comforts – particularly, when you have the support of your family and friends quite literally around you but it’s certainly different.

I’m a good few weeks into my new role with Fuzion Communications as a Junior Account Manager and thought I’d put together some tips that I’ve learned on how to start a job remotely during the pandemic. So, whether you’re someone who’s like me – just having started the job – or you’re thinking about making the leap, then this one is for you.

Tip number one – dress to impress:
It’s definitely something that sounds obvious but we might forget – make the effort and dress to impress when you start. One of the biggest aspects that I’ve found is trying to figure out the culture of a company without the luxury of having a desk buddy to guide you. Start as you mean to go on by popping on that nice blouse or blazer – not only will it make you feel good but it’s easier to have to dress down than up once you figure out the dress code of an organisation with working from home.

Tip number two – set up one to ones with your new team:
I think one of the biggest downfalls to working from home when you’re starting a new job is that you don’t get that personal time or kitchen chit-chat with your new colleagues. So, I’d definitely recommend setting up one to one calls to have a non-work related chat with your new colleagues. Fortunately, Fuzion was fantastic and had these set up for me before I even started and they truly made all the difference. If it’s something your manager hasn’t organised for you, take the initiative and do it yourself – grab a cup of coffee and get to know the people you’ll be working with!

Tip number three – keep your camera on:
You might be coming from a culture where having your camera off is the norm but when you’re starting in a new job, I’d highly recommend keeping that camera on. Let your new colleagues get to know what you look like and make sure to always introduce yourself on calls. It can be pretty daunting because as we all know, Zoom calls can be hectic but make your presence known. I’d also suggest putting a profile photo on your emails so that other people in the organisation can get to know you too.

I think the general theme that I would say is important when you’re starting a job from home is to be proactive – organise those calls, turn your camera on, make your presence known and most importantly, be proud of yourself because starting out anywhere new is difficult… never mind from the home! Give yourself time to settle in and just observe your colleagues in order to get to know the culture of your new organisation.

Good luck in that new job!

Sarah

Sarah Hayes is an Account Manager with Fuzion Communications, who has recently joined us from Tourism Ireland.


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