Author Archive

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.

When passion meets work, work becomes a hobby!

June 8, 2021

Ever since I was a young child I loved creating things.

Drawing pads, colouring pencils, glue and scissors were my best friends. I was one of those kids that was never bored and always felt like there weren’t enough hours in a day to do everything that I wanted to do and bring all my crazy ideas to life.

I was keeping myself occupied making cardboard furniture for Barbie dolls, big cardboard houses, cars and trains for me and all the kids living in the apartment blocks nearby. I even made sure that each of them had a name and badge like real cars did, except they were all made up by me. When I think of it now, they were very similar to the cardboard colouring houses that a lot of supermarkets were selling lately to keep children busy during the lockdown. If there was such a thing as Covid back then I would have made a fortune on them!

When I was 10 I started making exercise books for young children. They included colouring pages, crosswords, handwriting exercises and anything else I could think of. I used to “design” and draw every single page of the book by hand and get it photocopied so that I could give a copy to all my neighbours with young kids.

When I got older I got more into drawing, painting and writing. I have a collection of short stories and poems that I wrote as a teenager. My creativity had no limits and I had this never-ending urge to express it in every possible way.

My brain never takes a break and is always “on the go”, constantly coming up with new ideas. I wish my body didn’t need any rest so that I could work on them and bring them to life as soon as the light bulb lights up in my head. It’s so frustrating when you want to do so many things and your body refuses to cooperate!

When I was finishing secondary school and needed to pick a career path, I had no doubt about what to choose. I picked the Visual Communications course in Cork Institute of Technology and loved every single minute of it and when I say every single minute I really mean it… that also includes all the sleepless nights that I spent working on college projects in order to meet the deadlines. Nothing beats the feeling I got the following day when I was treating myself to a delicious hot chocolate, minutes after handing in the project that I worked on until 5am that morning! It felt good because I knew I put all my heart into it and the satisfaction I got out of it was stronger than the tiredness. 

I always knew that whatever I end up doing in life, it will have to be something creative, and so, the exercise books that I used to make as a child turned into brochures, annual reports and all kind of booklets. The cardboard cars turned into innovative signage solutions and the made up car badges’ turned into powerful and professional brands that serve clients for years. I turned my life-long passion into a way of living and the fact that it brings me money is like winning a lottery. 

I love bringing clients’ ideas to life and seeing their excitement when what I’m giving them is exactly what they needed and more.

Graphic design is a combination of art, creative thinking, problem solving and a little bit of mind reading!

As a designer you really have to tune into the client’s thoughts to figure out what they’re looking for, and a lot of the time they don’t even know what they’re looking for until you show it to them! Getting it right the first time is the best feeling ever and to get it right the first time you have to truly love and enjoy what you do. If you put your heart into something you can never fail.

Make sure that whatever you do in life, it sparks your soul and makes you feel alive.

#WinHappy

Martyna

All Figured Out

May 21, 2021

Your 20’s are strange years, some of my friends are still in college finishing their degrees, others have great jobs in different counties and countries, and a few have brought beautiful children into the world.

Although I’m only three years in, the most prominent learning of my 20’s is that there is no clear path to adulthood.!

People change, which includes careers, families, relationships and interests. I don’t think there is one single point in anyone’s life that signals you’ve entered adulthood, but believe me when I say alarm bells were ringing loudly in my head when I noticed I was receiving Dunnes Stores Clubcard vouchers in the post!

We seem to be under the impression that a simple age cutoff such as turning 18, or a celebration like a college graduation should make us feel like adults. After all, there are certain privileges that come with crossing those thresholds, the right to vote, to purchase alcohol, drive a car etc. Why do we assume that the years between 16 and 23 are the years that you must get everything set up for the rest of your life to fall in place?

I was given my first car when I was 16, a Ford Ka, a beautiful piece of engineering if you ask me.

Before even completing my first driving lesson, I was signing myself into a contract with an Insurance company for a comprehensive package coming in at €3,200 for the year. I remember the monthly payments cost €260, all my hard earned money was gone into insurance for a car that was probably worth €400! Hindsight is great though, now I can look back and be proud of myself for being able to learn to budget from a young age and manage that considerable outlay. I should really write a letter to Axa and thank them!

I know people say they don’t have it all figured out either, and that you shouldn’t worry about the future but it’s difficult when there seems to be such a structured way of doing things. School – College – Job – House – Husband – Child, it just doesn’t seem like a chain that should be broken when you’re at this age.

I love that people are learning to rebel against the ‘rules’, going back to education at a later age, not buying a car because public transport suffices, having children when they feel it’s the right time and so many more examples.

There is no clear path to adulthood and from what I’ve learned so far is… not to worry!

Everything will fall into place, I might be biased because I’ve only recently downloaded ‘The Secret’ on audiobooks so I’m really trying to stay positive about everything!!!

You should try to be too…

Heather

Heather Lordan is part of the Marketing and PR team at Fuzion Communications

Heather Lordan

How I survived a year of Working From Home!

April 16, 2021

Many of us have a variation on the story now, but in March of 2020 I found myself working from home as a full-time employee for the first time. I make the full-time distinction as I had worked for myself and on my own terms for a few years, but this was different.

Or was it?

In actuality it turned out that the lessons and good habits I had developed prior to re-joining full-time about 6 years ago, were very much still applicable.

When we decamped to our home workspaces in March of 2020 “for a few weeks” we weren’t to know what a paradigm shift it would be. At Fuzion, we had to hit the ground running as some of our clients became extra-busy, especially our design clients, so there wasn’t a lot of time to adapt. Luckily there were some quick hacks that could be applied to make for a productive and positive work from home situation. Here are some of my favourite tips that allowed me to survive and thrive in a year of WFH.

Segregate your work and home life, even if just in your head.

After all, how do you avoid bringing work home, when you work from home? Little mind-hacks can be a great help. For example, you can create a home mood or a work mood, through use of light and sound. I’ve back-lit my Mac, which is only on during work hours and I have taken our Fuzion Design favourite radio station BBC Six Music with me, which I only play during work hours.

After all, Techno Tuesday is great for focus and it just may save your life. When it’s time to stop, the Mac goes off, the lights change and I swap the radio for a playlist or TV.

A Good Workspace is Key.

Many of us kicked off last March on sofas or at kitchen tables. Try and avoid this, get a desk that you can keep just for work. Use a comfortable chair, that you can roll away at end of day. Pay attention to ergonomics as you’ll be sitting there 8 hours a day. Keep your workspace minimalist and uncluttered, distraction free. Apply the same to anything in your peripheral vision, if you can.

Remember to Stand.

Your back will thank you and your focus will thank you. Heck, if you have to, do as Haruki Murakami said and Dance, Dance, Dance. Especially if it’s techno Tuesday. Who’s to stop you? (Magic Carpet Ride by the Mighty Dub Katz is on the radio as I type, be right back).

Choose to Commute.

Take a walk in the morning or the evening straight after work. As much as you might think you don’t miss a commute, the post-work exercise helps reset your brain. Take a camera with you so that you’re always watching out for a good photo and engaged with and interested in your environment, even if you walk it every day. That’ll also help you stretch your eyes after a day of staring at a screen. Some days do the route in reverse! Every bit helps.

Keep good work practices.

Filing, admin, communication. Manage and track your time, keep notes to mitigate the COVID brain fog. Use tools that suit your new work environment. Whether for note taking, collaboration or file transfer. Don’t have a NAS server? Use Google or Dropbox or other collaborative file sharing tools to ensure that your shared files remain in a central location and are always up to date.

Have a department chat group or Slack (we use Google Chat). It’s great for quick questions or a bit of idle chit chat (not to be underestimated).

Get up, get dressed!

Get dressed for work every day, even if you’re only going to be seen on Zoom. If you have to plan what to wear the night before, you’ll instantly feel organised the next morning. Pride in your appearance is great for instilling some positivity and good for your mental health. The ritual of getting ready is familiar and helps you get in a work frame of mind. Don’t worry too much about dress code, but dress in a way that makes you feel good and ready to have a good day.

Watch your breaks

Have a good breakfast and stick to your lunch breaks. Taking breaks is important, even if to stand up and step out of the room. Don’t overdo the breaks either, remember you are at work and if you’re a designer too, you’ll know it ruins that sense of flow we so often need.

Don’t be a hermit

Network, stay in touch with peers, whether via social media or otherwise. Use organised feeds to ensure you’re getting enough good news and inspiration. Avoid doom-scrolling on social media by making lists that you can check in on. If you’ve to catch up with a colleague, take a few minutes extra and do it by video, studies have shown the positive effects of that level of human engagement (see wired article TBC). Even a short DM chat to touch base with a colleague can help your team grow.

Make time for the team. At Fuzion we have a semi-formal Monday morning catch up and briefing. At week’s end it’s Fuzion Friday – which is as informal as you get and a nice way to finish your week. When you’re out for a walk, arrange to meet a friend for a coffee or a chat, even just to feel normal. Especially if you live alone. Just because you’re WFH doesn’t mean you have to be be a hermit.

Be flexible.

For some people. Standard office hours won’t always work when you’re at home. Small people (children) and home life can interrupt. Plan your work when it’s practical, even if that’s earlier in the morning or later into the evening. Enjoy the flexibility, rather than fighting against it.

Take pride in achieving that balance.

Sh!t Happens

Remember, sh!t happens and it’s rarely the end of the world. If the server goes down, your Zoom will only show you as a cat, or a colleague can’t find files at the last second, don’t sweat it. You’re all doing brilliantly. We ARE all in it together. Stay positive. Positivity is contagious.

Thanks for coming to my TED talk!

Mark

Mark Kenny is a Senior Graphic Designer, part of the Graphic Design team with Fuzion Communications who provide a full print and digital design from offices in Dublin and Cork.

While it’s not guaranteed, it is possible

April 8, 2021

At Fuzion we strategically think about our approach to media opportunities and look for the best possible way to tell our clients’ story. While we cannot always guarantee national blanket media coverage with every story, that doesn’t always stop us from trying…

CRY Ireland has such a powerful story and Fuzion has been working with them for almost six years to help tell this in the best way possible while increasing awareness of the charity and the amazing work that they do. This time last year, Fuzion had the idea to reach out to the “top dog” of Irish Media, The Late Late Show to see if there was any interest. (Ambitious we know!)

Almost a year later, The Late Late Show dedicated Friday’s show on the 12th of March to raising awareness of sudden cardiac death. As we worked more with the producers of The Late Late Show, the more they bought into the story of CRY and quickly realised how valuable the work that they do is. The show featured CRY Ambassador and Downton Abbey star, Allen Leech, Model and jewellery designer Emily MacKeogh and Founder of CRY, Marie Greene with each telling their experience of losing someone to Sudden Cardiac Death and their link to the charity.

With CRY’s major fundraising events being cancelled due to the pandemic, not only was the charity’s revenue adversely affected but so were the families of CRY. Many families that have lost someone to sudden cardiac death were left in isolation without the support of friends and family. Often, communities used regional fundraisers for CRY as an opportunity to come together in support of losing someone in their community. Many now left to grieve alone.

Over the last year CRY have been working vigorously to improve their family support services including the development of an all-island helpline. It was estimated that it would cost €150,000 for CRY to continue providing their cardiac screening and bereavement services for free over the next three years.

From the Late Late Show segment and the media coverage that came with it, CRY managed to reach their goal and more, raising over €155,000, while also reaching many homes who weren’t aware of the charity, but had lost someone to sudden cardiac death.

When the idea came about to pitch into the Late Late Show, we could have never imagined the amount of support CRY would receive and we are delighted to be a part of the footwork that helped achieve this. No idea is too big and we always try to reach for the stars with our clients.

While it’s not guaranteed, it is possible!

Note: A huge thanks to the fantastic team at The Late Late Show for taking the time to listen to us, for understanding how important the work of CRY is and for working so hard to deliver this message to viewers of the show – you have made an incredible difference to so many people that are supported by CRY.

Niamh 

Niamh Lawlor is an Account Executive with Fuzion Communications, a full service PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork.

Social Media Updates and Trends

March 22, 2021

It’s been a busy year for social media platforms so far!

From sea shanties taking over TikTok to newish platform Clubhouse gaining traction and our great friend Trump getting banned from every social media platform – remember that? It feels like forever ago!.

Social media is still as prevalent as ever and necessary for businesses to help build their online presence and we can help keep you focused and up to date!

We offer training to help create focused social media strategies and plans and then specific, bespoke training on the relevant social media platforms for individuals or teams to execute that strategy.

(Click here to learn more)

Facebook just can’t help getting into hot water these days… Their most recent foray into angering everyone has been to ban Australian news publishers from the platform after a disagreement with the government there about some new commercial and payment rules they were introducing.

They have finally come to an agreement or compromise depending on how you’d like to look at it with the Australian government including 4 amendments to their new Media Buying Code which should give Facebook more time to negotiate with the separate media publishers in Australia. It’ll be interesting to see how this progresses and affects worldwide news publishers – one to keep an eye on!

Remember the panic in January when WhatsApp announced they would be changing their terms of service and everyone started downloading Telegram and Signal? They’re currently launching their second attempt to update their terms and conditions but this time making everything much clearer to avoid any backlash. This change in no way affects personal accounts, it is only meant to make business to consumer conversations easier and they’ll be adding the below banners in the app to ensure their customers of this.

Instagram are continuing to try and make Reels popular within the app. Their newest move is to limit the reach of people repurposing their TikTok content to encourage creators to use the Reels software to create their content. However the TikTok sharers have figured out ways around this by removing the watermark… It’ll be interesting to see how this progresses. I personally find that the content on Reels is about two weeks behind a popular TikTok trend, so if Instagram can use this new content creation effort to force users to create original content, it might start making the platform more engaging!

In other Instagram news, they have just announced that they’ll be expanding the amount of people who can participate in a “live” stream calling it “live rooms”. Now the person hosting can add up to the three more guests to contribute to the stream, which could be very useful for businesses looking to engage with their followers and their online community. An idea could be to host a “live” with three other accounts that could give valuable insights to your followers and through this your Instagram account can build itself as a leading voice within your community.

For more information click here

Are you sick of every platform jumping on the “Stories” bandwagon?

Well, it looks like they’re here to stay so get used to seeing Fleets, LinkedIn Stories and soon Story Pins will be coming to Pinterest!

Do you use Tweetdeck to monitor Twitter and schedule your Tweets? There’s a rumour that they’re looking into charging for this very useful tool so just keep an eye on our social media for an update on this because it’s the one tool I can’t do without!

To stay informed of any social media updates, keep an eye on our @FuzionComms and @AlmaBrosnan Twitter accounts, as we’ll be sharing any new information. You might also tune into our latest Win Happy social media episode with me, Ciara Jordan, our Head of Communications and Greg Canty (the vocal one, who you all know!) where we discuss these trends and censorship online.

Until next time..

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.

Why is having a sense of purpose so important?

March 15, 2021
Joe Caslin - IACP Mural

Why is having a sense of purpose so important?

What is ‘purpose’ and why is having one so important? Purpose can be described as the reason for which something exists or is done, made, or used.

To me, I don’t think anyone has a set purpose for their whole life, I think it changes throughout our lifetime, naturally changing as our life ebbs and flows. I see purpose as both striving to achieve a goal and a specific outcome but also enjoying the journey while you’re on it, working towards something but enjoying what you hope you will someday achieve.

Working on your ambitions and personal goals while also potentially changing the lives of other people, is one of the reasons I enjoy what I do. Feeling like the work you do has a purpose and a meaning is one of life’s greatest joys.

I’m a strong believer in manifesting what you want in life, and last year, when I began my journey with Fuzion I wrote down a goal of mine; to work with a mental health organisation. Being a big advocate for mental health myself, I wanted to feel as though I was doing some good and helping others as much as I could in my day-to-day life; any little part I could play.

Joe Caslin - IACP Mural

When we got to pitch to work with the IACP I knew it was an account I had to work on.

Working alongside them last year and launching their national ‘Look After Yourself‘ campaign was one of the highlights of my year. From team brainstorms to reaching out to strangers, with notes in their door to see if we could put a mural on the side of their house (we’ll do anything to get the job done, us PR folk!) to reaching out to Joe Caslin and seeing his vision of the campaign come to life in a mural on Montague Lane in Dublin was an exceptional moment for me and no doubt my Fuzion colleagues too.

This campaign sought to shine a light on men’s mental health, to break the stigma surrounding toxic masculinity and to encourage young men to see therapy as something they shouldn’t be ashamed of doing, and instead encourage each other to seek help if they need it.

There is no shame in asking for help, and although there is still a lot of work left to be done to break the stigma of therapy, we do hope this campaign started a conversation and even encouraged one person to seek help.

Not only did this campaign, I hope, help others but it also helped me achieve my sense of purpose. I would consider working on this campaign not only a highlight for me but the most noteworthy moment in my career thus far and I plan to be talking about it for years to come!

Michelle Harrison , Fuzion Communications

Michelle

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

Drip-feeding communications will not make us “Keep calm and carry on”

February 23, 2021

Drip feed of information

As someone who specialises in crisis communications, I know only too well the weight of words.

An Taoiseach should comprehend the added weight of his words during a crisis, and that a public comment could be “life or death” to some, but especially to those whose livelihoods are being ripped apart by this pandemic.

I refer, of course, to the vague comment made on Radio Na Gaeltachta by An Taoiseach over the weekend on the hospitality sector not re-opening until mid-summer.

A strategic approach to communications for a crisis should be constantly revised and revisited to ensure those who will be speaking to the press are advised on the best approach to filtering messages to the public and, above all, making these messages as clear and unambiguous as possible.

It seems to me that our current Government is lacking in effective strategic communications, and instead seems to be taking the “hoping for the best” approach. The mood of the country is at an all-time low, with what feels like no end in sight.

Now, more than ever, we need a leader who will speak to us directly, keep us informed, and reassure us that they know what they are doing and not hoping that leaking some information and drip- feeding communications will be sufficient for us to “keep calm and carry on”.

While empathetic leadership seems to be a foreign concept to the Irish Government, now, more than ever, we need to hear and see a true leader who communicates with us not through titbits in PR interviews, but regular press briefings and clear communication.

An Taoiseach should understand the weight of his words and the extreme consequences that they can have on those people going through what is, no doubt, one of the most difficult experiences they will have in their lifetime.

Ciara Jordan, Fuzion CommunicationsCiara

Ciara Jordan is Head of Communications with Fuzion Communications a full service agency offering Strategic Communications, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Avoiding the Snowball Effect

February 11, 2021

The beauty of the flurry of snowflakes falling outside my office/spare bedroom window is magical. Yet experience, and probably age, inspire a level of concern and consideration as to the knock effects a heavy and prolonged snowfall can have.

This may be the start of the snow that we’ve been warned was coming over the past week. We’ve been braced for ‘Beast from the East 2.0’ conjuring memories of the Siberian snowstorm that shut much of the country in 2018.

Little did we know that being restricted in movement would be so passé by 2021, having spent the last 12 months in some level of lockdown and what seems like a constant degree of crisis management and “pivoting” as a result of a global pandemic and Brexit, among other things.

As head of Communications back then for Dairygold, the ‘Beast from the East‘ posed immense risks and consequences to the logistics and operations of the business.

How to reach farms to collect milk when the rural roads were impassable, what of the milk that couldn’t be collected? How to support suppliers when they needed their Co-Operative most? Not to mention, the day-to-day operations of the international business, the welfare of hundreds of staff, its processing and manufacturing sites, retail stores etc.

Business continuity kicked into action early, with planning for such scenarios already in place to as much of an extent as possible. I was proud to have been part of the business continuity task force regularly updating management, assessing risks and addressing the complex requirements of all stakeholders. Again, little did we know that orchestrating remotely with efficiency and in collaboration would become a modus operandi for so many of us two years later.

Communications, both internal and external, is critical to linking the elements together. I’m grateful to Dairygold’s management and in particular its CEO Jim Woulfe who astutely valued and recognised the role communications plays in continuity planning and situation management. They led by example on the value of communication across the business.

Underestimating the importance of communications in continuity planning and situation management is one of the biggest risks to a business that can have serious and long-term consequences to safety, operations, reputation, staff morale, you name it.

If you’re a corporate working with an agency or have communications support internally, it’s vital that you see them as your partner. If you don’t have day-to-day support, it’s important to recognise when you may need it and where to go if/when you need Crisis Communication, Litigation Support Services.

We may not always know, or need to know, the nitty gritty but it’s crucial to know enough to devise a strategy, trouble-shoot effectively and be as proactive as possible. From our perspective, business continuity planning, Crisis PR and situation management is a heady mix of proactive and reactive communications. Above all, for it to work, clear and effective channels of communication must be open.

At times we remind and reassure clients that we’ve got their back.

We’re there 24/7 to support, prevent and mitigate adverse outcomes for our clients but we can’t support if we’re in the dark. A quick call or line to your communications partner helps to identify and tease out the risks and the requirements, if there are any.

It gets the cogs turning and can be one of the most important calls that’s made. Communication is not the enemy, it’s the solution. If you have time on your side, media training is also a hugely worthwhile exercise for preparedness which you’ll hope you never need.

Whether it’s for reasons of a lack of time, clarity, silo mentality or containment, communications support can fall down the priority list and it can snowball from there...

Aoibhinn

Aoibhinn Twomey, former journalist, is an Account Director with Fuzion Communications and is part of the Crisis Communications team, offering Crisis Consultancy services from offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland 

The Importance of Staying Visible..

February 8, 2021

No matter what way you look at it, the Covid-19 pandemic has been a trying time for everyone. But as the saying goes, ‘with every cloud there is a silver lining’ – which in my view has been the drastic business transformation and surge of digitisation that we have experienced over the past year.

There has never been a time when staying visible online has been more important for business survival.

With doors closing around the country due to the on-going Covid-19 level 5 restrictions, many businesses have had no choice but to adapt ‘from bricks to clicks’ in order to remain viable.

At Fuzion, we work closely with the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs), to help share the stories of the hundreds of micro-enterprises and SMEs around the country with media – in the hope that it will encourage and inspire others who may be looking to start or grow their business – or for those struggling, to contact their Local Enterprise Office for support.

Through this work, I have been fortunate enough to work with some amazing LEO client businesses from all over Ireland – helping to share their stories of how they have adapted / pivoted (…..even battled) through the pandemic and how they have come out the other side with the help and guidance of the LEOs.

The LEO Trading Online Voucher has had particular impact across the country – with over 13,000 TOV’s approved in 2020…… That’s a whopping 13,000 businesses supported with developing or enhancing their online presence!

From this work, my little nuggets of advice to any small business would be:

  • If you haven’t already, contact your nearest LEO – they provide so much support in terms of business advice, mentoring and grants such as the TOV mentioned above, Business Continuity Vouchers, Feasibility Grants and so much more
  • Again, if you haven’t already – get online! A website ideally or a social media channel where you can keep your customers updated, share new products, blogs etc.
  • Try to think outside the box – now is the time to create a new branch for your business or solution for your customers – take the chance it could pay off!
  • Work on your ‘story’ in three short paragraphs & engage with local media to share your story or share via short blogs / social posts
    • How/Why you started the business
    • How your business adapted / transformed – (including any relevant figures such as online sale growth Vs 2019)
    • Any future plans that you have for your business – ie. new employees, overseas expansion, new stockists etc.
  • Good quality, high resolution photography is a must if engaging in any PR / online activity
    • Know your angles
    • Use colourful props or something that explains your business in the shots
    • Images can be taken by a PR photographer or on your smartphone with a family member or friend if taken landscape
  • Create video content – whether it’s short 30’ second “Meet the Team” videos or a “Hero Video” explaining your business proposition – it is an engaging way to reach your audience
  • If you are a sole trader or very small business – it can be an isolating place – join a network or reach out to professionals (such as ourselves 😉) if you need a sounding board or business support
  • Be consistent and persistent
    • Stay visible & keep plugging and reminding people of why you are so great and why they need your products / services!
    • Use social media advertising and Google Ads to your advantage – with so much competition online – it pays off to pay a little!
    • Connect and talk to your audience online – ask them questions and engage – you might learn something new!

Much of this you may already know – but I hope it has helped just to be reminded or re-energised your motivation!

Most of all it is important to know that the opportunity is there for those who wish to dive head first into the challenges – the decision is ultimately yours whether to stay the way you are or take the plunge!

Suzanne Meade, Fuzion CommunicationsSuzanne

Suzanne Meade is an Account Manager with  Fuzion Communications, who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 


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