Author Archive

Resilience in the face of adversity

April 7, 2020

Push Up Challenge, Mercy Hospital Foundation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saidhbh Sweeney - Fuzion CommunicationsSaidhbh

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

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

April 2, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

..So I’ve started skipping.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finally, a note on the IOT.

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

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

Jonathan

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

 

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

March 27, 2020

Media

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

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

The less championed hero is the media.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#JournalismMatters

Ciara Jordan - Fuzion CommunicationsCiara

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

Top tips for Remote working – for leaders and their teams 

March 26, 2020

Working from home

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

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

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

So the first tip is of course Communication! 

Communication is key. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remote working

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

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

Fuzion Cuppa

Create a remote team culture

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

Exercise 

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

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

Know when to log off 

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

And last but not least: 

Embrace the perks of working from home. 

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

Michelle

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

Social Media and Punk Sanitiser in the time of Coronavirus

March 24, 2020

Punk Santiser

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

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

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

Don’t Hide!

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

Engage

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

What you can say?

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

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

Empathise

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

Is there a way you can help?

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

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

Is there any way we can help?

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

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

Be safe..

Alma Brosnan Social Media Consultant, Fuzion CommunicationsAlma

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

Just call me Sarah!

March 23, 2020

Sarah Connor

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

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

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

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

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

Here is how I am becoming my own Superhero:-

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

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

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

Deirdre 

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

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

An Innocent Rebrand?

March 18, 2020

Innocent’s social media team is back at it again, with their genius PR stunts.

After their ‘Pancake Tuesday‘ craze encouraging the public to use their lemon and lime sparkling drink rather than lemon on their pancakes, Innocent have hit us with a branding stunt. In terms of social media engagement and key messaging innocent hits the nail on the head with this stunt.

Innocent rebranding

Posting on their social media platforms, the juice brand announced new shiny labels for their smoothies, claiming the drinks are now boosted with even more vitamins than before. What looked like packaging created from WordArt, followers were left rather confused about their new, unoriginal designs.

As the online community often does, individuals quickly became critical of the new packaging, pointing out obvious errors.

Between the misuse of upper and lower case letters and simple spelling mistakes, not to mention the use of the comic sans font, the new labels were a complete disaster.

However, Innocent used the increased engagement to their advantage. Responding to one commenter ‘We wanted a fun font with a lot of energy. It might not be for everyone, but we think it really packs a punch, like the extra vitamins in our drinks.’ They were promoting their key messaging in their replies.

As more opinions flowed in, Innocent continued to announce more rebrands and new labels, exaggerating the comments they had received. When one individual said there weren’t enough pictures on the labels, Innocent came back with packaging with only pictures. Several joked that there wasn’t enough comic sans so Innocent went full throttle with the font and so on.

Innocent rebranding

Innocent re-branded a total of 12 times within 24 hours, with each rebrand as ridiculous as the next. 

While Innocent’s designs continued to receive a bashing, followers were delighted their opinions were being considered. The social media team continued to respond to their audience and made fun of the rebrand in the process mentioning over and over that their smoothies contained more vitamins, again reiterating their key messaging.

The stunt was completely genius! 

Some LinkedIn followers also copped on to their clever strategy “Looking at their Twitter, the Innocent team are responding to the hate with even more terrible designs, generating even more engagement. They know people love a moan and are quick to share their dislike so well played, as always innocent drinks! Great way to showcase the brand and flavours and get people talking!

Both rebranding and PR stunts can be risky business and are often open to backlash however, Innocent executed this stunt perfectly using the wit and satire, they are typically known for as well as running a clever experiment that showed them how people felt about their brand!

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.

Covid-19 Communications and Staying Safe

March 10, 2020

The recent news of Covid-19 or coronavirus coming to Ireland is of concern to us all. I am sure you are as glued to the quickly evolving story as we are. 

The HSE is advising the risk of catching Covid-19 in Ireland is still low to moderate, but this may change. However, most people continue to go to work, school and other public places, as usual.

While this advice is still in place, it is best practice to introduce some measures in your workplace such as hand sanitiser at entry points and clear advice about hand washing,  to keep your team and workplace visitors safe and to avoid any possible spread of the virus.  

It is also advisable at this stage to review contingencies around remote working, if this is feasible for all or some members of your team. Another practical approach would be considering remote business meetings, using tools such as Skype, Zoom, Google Meet or Microsoft Teams, so that travel is kept to a minimum. 

Our design team in Fuzion have created an infographic based on the HSE advice that you can use in your office to encourage good hand hygiene. You can get a high resolution version of this poster here

Covid-19 infographic

As well as the potential health impact of Covid-19, we are already seeing economic implications of the virus and your business could be affected during this time of uncertainty. 

The Department of Business, Enterprise  Industry have developed a Business Continuity Checklist that is well worth checking out here.

The Role of Communications

If your business is at risk of being affected, you may have a possible communications crisis issue. In this scenario it is best to ensure you follow the below important steps that we have shared with all of our clients. 

When a crisis occurs, the need to communicate is immediate. Simple steps to ensure this happens can streamline this process:

1- Agreed Spokespeople

When a crisis occurs, it is best to choose spokespeople most suitable for the situation. Identify your key spokesperson and brief them on what’s happening as well as how your organisation is going to move forward. Then move quickly to respond internally with those messages to your employees. The point here is to quickly alleviate any internal fears or concerns in the workforce. 

2– Set up a group on email or Whatsapp only reserved for the crisis with key spokespeople

Crises tend to happen when you least expect them so Whatsapp is recommended so spokespeople can be contacted out of office hours. This group should only have the spokespeople and appropriate decision makers. 

3- Act as soon as possible

If it is not possible to give a comment immediately, ensure the journalist is asked for a deadline and the organisation will get back to them asap. 

If required, Fuzion can assist you with the response to a crisis, or act as a “gatekeeper” for you with the media.  The earlier Fuzion is contacted, the better in order to effectively respond to a crisis or a journalist query for a statement and minimise any damage a crisis can create. 

4- Agree a response/Statement as soon a crisis occurs

In the case of Covid-19, it is best to have a statement prepared so your business demonstrates it is ready and prepared for such a serious issue. This statement should outline how the business has prepared for the crisis and plans to move forward. 

5- Social Media

If appropriate, share your statement on social media and if a crisis happens on social media, it is advised where possible to take the conversation offline and discuss matters either on direct mail or email. 

6- Create a means for monitoring

Once you’ve determined the channel of distribution for your message, monitoring responses is equally critical. 

Careful planning and preparation should encourage readiness for any possible crisis.

However, situations will arise in organisations that may require expert advice and in this case, you can contact Fuzion’s Crisis Communication team here

 

Advice on Covid-19

Advice on Covid -19 from Public Health bodies such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Health Service Executive (HSE) is to minimise infection risk thorough hand-washing, isolating ourselves if we are ill, and avoiding touching our faces. More information on personal care can be found here.

While the period ahead is uncertain, if we can calmly prepare for the unexpected we will be in a much better position to face any possible escalation of the crisis. 

Stay safe and with best wishes

Ciara Jordan and Deirdre Waldron on behalf of The Fuzion Team

 

How PR and Advertising Work Better Together

February 18, 2020

Integrated PR, Fuzion

For many years we have seen brands and agencies focusing on one discipline as part of their marketing strategy, thinking PR alone will encourage sales with no advertising (be that digital or traditional) or vice versa. But with the rise of the internet and social media, brands and companies are now realising that they need to use PR and Advertising together to be more strategic when it comes to their marketing approach.

There is no longer a one-way channel between brands and consumers.

Advertising no longer controls the distribution of your message and PR is not the only channel telling your brand’s story. Consumers have more power than ever and are somewhat in control of the message your brand tells.

The general public can get a message out about your brand or company in a matter of seconds or tune in to your marketing messages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn,YouTube, or other online forums. The list is endless.

This is why it is now more important than ever to ensure your PR and Advertising are working cohesively together.

Advertising versus PR

Paid for advertising needs to promote and reach the people most willing to pay for a company’s products or services and entice them to buy. PR helps to make this advertising more effective as it cultivates a positive reputation with the public through various unpaid or earned communications, including traditional media, social media, and in-person engagements. By using them strategically together you hopefully create both awareness and trust with your target audience.

A great example of a brand using PR and advertising together is Paddy Power.

Whether you love them or hate them, you can’t deny they are forever in the media for something they have done. Not only do their marketing stunts get them noticed by their target audience, but they are also often the topic of conversation among other audiences too, spreading their message far and wide.

Paddy Power

Not only does this PR activity keep them top of mind with the public, but it is enhanced by their paid for ads ensuring that they are forever being seen by the people most likely to place a bet. This strategy has transformed them from local betting shop business to global betting giant.

By allowing PR and Advertising to work together you create one consistent message and a synergy effect, so customers see one brand whether they see you on the TV, radio, in print, or online.

Whether you are working in an Insurance company or working on ‘the next big thing’ you have an opportunity to maximize your brand through great cohesive brand building and ensure you are always moving with the times.

At Fuzion Communications we love fully integrated campaigns because we know these achieve the best results and we encourage this with all our clients.

If you would like to find out more about what we can offer, please contact us at info@fuzion.ie or visit our website www.fuzion.ie

Michelle

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

 

Crisis communication, coronavirus and the communication tidal wave

February 17, 2020

coronavirus crisis pr

Camera crews filming outside the company headquarters, a mass of media enquiries and employees with a pressing need for information – when new viruses like the coronavirus run rampant and pictures also appear in the main news stories of a deserted Chinese city home to millions of people, stress levels rise in internationally active businesses and crisis units.

Because epidemics like SARS or the coronavirus can completely disrupt operational processes (https://www.manager-magazin.de/politik/weltwirtschaft/newsblog-zum-corona-virus-a-1304435.html), they can lead to temporary site closures, as in the case of the Bavarian automotive supplier.

Against this backdrop, many questions arise within crisis management, including:

  • How does working alongside health authorities actually work? Who speaks to whom and when? And who has authority over whom?
  • What do we do when the virus is directly associated with the company?
  • Which course of action do I choose: Only implement what has been arranged in consultation with the authorities? Or do we go above and beyond, taking additional measures that will be advantageous to our public image?
  • How best to include affected employees?
  • And how do we handle what experience shows will be a tidal wave of media interest?
  • What do pandemics actually mean for customer relations?
  • And what if the crisis team is sent into quarantine?

Crisis prevention is half the battle

In crisis communication, it is common knowledge that crisis prevention is half the battle. But are companies actually prepared for crisis situations associated with epidemics?

Probably not, because events like the coronavirus are rare. Crisis management generally has more experience with crises such as classic product recalls, serious industrial accidents, or economic issues involving site closures or job losses.

Nonetheless, simple rules also apply to pandemics and can be mapped with clever crisis prevention:

  1. Categorise: what does an identified virus mean for operations? In other words: who is affected by and who is involved in the crisis situation?
  2. Responsibility: who is responsible for communication with which target group? In other words: who communicates with employees, authorities, the media, customers, suppliers and third parties, in which way and how often?
  3. Monitoring: how do we immediately know who will comment on the crisis and how, and above all, which tone they will take? How do we catch false alarms?

Whenever the health authorities are involved in a crisis situation triggered by a virus, a company doesn’t necessarily maintain control of its communications. For this reason, companies should run through these kinds of cases with the authorities in good time.

The current coverage of the coronavirus has brought the fact that health risks for employees present their very own crisis topic to the attention of those responsible for communications.

In the actual crisis situation, adjusting to this crisis scenario means having more time available for crisis communication. In the age of global goods flows and an increasingly networked economy, crises like the coronavirus or SARS will recur. For this reason, clever crisis prevention  is useful in limiting potential reputational damage, giving the crisis unit the assurance it needs to be well prepared and avoiding any blunders in the actual crisis situation.

Frank Schroedter

Frank Schroedter is a Crisis Communications specialist with Engel & Zimmermann AG who are part of the CCNE (Crisis Communications Network for Europe), of which Fuzion are a member

 


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