Archive for the ‘Branding’ Category

Space Force or Space farce?!!

August 27, 2018

Space Force

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stefan - Space Force

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

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

It’s a work of art and pure genius.

Check out the Bloomberg article.


alt Space Force - Milton Glaser

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

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj - FuzionJonathan

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

Don’t be a Commodity, be Remarkable!

July 31, 2018

Health Bars in Multiples

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

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

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

Health bars have become a commodity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deirdre 

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

Ireland’s recycling campaign – what campaign?

July 9, 2018

Recycling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Only time will tell….

Patrick Jones - Fuzion CommunicationsPatrick

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

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

April 12, 2018

Ulster Rugby

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OK…

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

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

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

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

Our advice..

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

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

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

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

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

Be brave Bank of Ireland..

Greg Canty 

 

Consumer Branding and JK Rowling

March 7, 2018

Britney Spears

As I sit at home on a snow day working like many others across the country, which is all made possible by the glorious Google Drive, I started wondering about what my next blog should be about – something riveting, meaningful and life-changing?

But instead I decided to write about the fact that I was obviously unaware of two things that other people seem to have already known, and I’m going to use those things to talk about what we do for our clients.

For instance, did you know that:

1 – Britney Spears has subliminal messaging in her lyrics – GENIUS!

2 – JK Rowling is actually Robert Galbraith?

Well I didn’t, and the fact that I didn’t know is probably the mind-blowing part.

Also, if you are not watching the TV series BBC’s Strike (which is based on the books) you need to.

Knowing the Britney fact has now altered part of my youth and I wish I could go back to that time to see what this would have meant to me then and if it would have made a difference?!

Britney was and still is so influential, but I’m sure it would have made for an epic OMG conversation between friends!

The second mind-blowing fact is one that I feel is a reflection of what so many of us would like to do – trying something new and not being held to a certain level of expectation, which is the whole reason JK Rowling chose to write a series of crime novels under a fictitious name.

She wanted to begin a new writing career in a new genre and to release her crime novels to a neutral audience, free of expectation or hype.

Consumers can see examples of this on a daily basis with “Umbrella Brands”.

This is where a big brand buys another brand or launches a similar product under a different brand name, some of which fall into the affordable price range.

This happens so often in the beauty industry and it is why there are so many “dupes” of different products or cheaper alternatives.

L’Oréal do this very well with a portfolio of international brands such as NYX, Maybelline, Essie and Garnier to name a few – Full list here: www.loreal.com/brand

An Irish brand that has done this very well is Bellamianta, the brain child of Linda Stinson and Lisa McDermott. Last year we saw these two amazing business minds launch Iconic Bronze, a more affordable tanning product, less than three years after the launch of Bellamianta.

 

With the help of their Irish brand ambassadors, Jade and Laura Mullett, this tan became so sought after than it made its way onto the shelves of Primark.

In communications we encourage our clients to think outside the box and try new things.

Whether that is how we launch a new product or campaign, the way we plan on revealing new company branding or working with a brand ambassador for the first time, or it could even be with a social media strategy and how to reach new audiences.

At Fuzion, when we meet a client for the first time it is important that we get to know them and have a clear understanding of what they do and what their objectives are.

From here, as a team, we put our heads together using the many years of experience we have to generate concepts and formulate a strategic plan that will work to the client’s benefit, delivering consistent and cohesive messaging that will help them get noticed and make an impact in a crowded market.

Our creative design team is also on hand to develop outstanding, eye catching and conversation starting designs that will leave the target audience remembering your brand.

Maybe we can help you to be like Britney or JK?!

Arlene

Arlene Foy is an Account Manager with Fuzion Communications, a full service agency who have offices in Dublin and Cork.

 

The Beginning of Our Journey

March 2, 2018

Fuzion DesignRecently myself and Fuzion’s Creative Director, Jonathan, held an internal presentation.

We added a few new members to the team, some of whom had not worked directly with designers before. So to introduce ourselves, what we do, and how we do it we came up with a little presentation.

The presentation itself was not all that different to what we do for clients.

We explain the research, driving ideas, the process and how we deliver our final result – but there was a key difference.

Jonathan had the idea of putting in one slide of how we got into the design, day one, what sparked our interest, what visuals or interaction fuelled our love for design.

This exercise became the most fun part of the presentation, and an interesting insight for each other into our reasons why.

Have a look at the visual above..

I am not going to dive into who liked what and for what reason but it was nice to look back and see the beginning of our journey, to remind us of why we started and even question if it was still relevant..

It was.

Paul Wade

Paul Wade is part of the Graphic Design team at Fuzion Communications who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Capturing your Story

February 23, 2018

In a previous post we outlined our Fuzion Process, which is a framework that we use with clients for their planning.

We use this “Story” framework and we find that it brings a very sharp focus to all marketing activity, to ensure the very best outcomes.

Our process follows some simple steps:
1. Understand your story
2. Capture your story
3. Make sure your story is found
4. Tell your story
5. Engage with your story online
6. Protect your story

In the last post we spoke about ‘Understanding your story‘ and the possible role of a brand workshop to help bring some clarity to exactly what you are trying to communicate to your target audience.

The next step is all about capturing this story.

Capture your Story

Once you understand the story that you want to tell, it’s important that this is captured visually in a way that connects with your target audience.

We judge things quickly by how they appear to us, so whenever and wherever anyone comes across your products or services in your website, promotional material, vehicles, premises and even the individuals in your team, that these tell the right, professional story.

Does it convey professionalism, is it modern, is it unique or is it very generic, does it convey your story simply and clearly, does it appeal to your target audience? Has the organisation moved on and is it time for a refresh?

Someone is always making up their mind about you by how you appear to them.

It is vital that the graphic design work and the execution of this needs to be sharp and consistent on all platforms when your brand is being presented so that your story is properly captured and told.

Click here to see some of the work that our Creative Team have been doing for clients

If we can be of help in any way you know where we are!

Greg Canty 

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

Understanding your ‘Story’

February 12, 2018

Fuzion - Brand Workshops, Dublin, Cork, Ireland

In a previous post we outlined our Fuzion Process, which is a framework that we use with clients for their planning.

We use this “Story” framework for all of our clients and we find that it brings a very sharp focus to all marketing activity, to ensure the very best outcomes.

Our process follows some simple steps:
1. Understand your story
2. Capture your story
3. Make sure your story is found
4. Tell your story
5. Engage with your story online
6. Protect your story

 

Understanding Your Story

In this blog post we will deal with the very first step, which is ‘Understanding Your Story‘.

It is our job as marketers to help our clients tell the story of their business, organisation, products and services effectively so that when people talk about these things they say exactly what we want them to say.

Before we create any plans, it is a crucial first step to understand exactly what the business is all about, what makes it special, where it is going and what it needs to do to get there.

To assist this step, we often conduct a Brand Workshop with clients, which is a very simple way of capturing all of this and defining their “story” or brand.

We also find that this powerful process helps to motivate the team, reminding them about what makes them special, providing them with clarity and defining exactly what needs to be communicated as part of the marketing process.

During this process we work together with the team to probe what it is that they do, how they go about this work and what the driving force or essence of the organisation is.

We look at the values, the core characteristics, the vision for the business and the mission that the team is on together to achieve this vision.

We even do some visualisation work to help the team crystallise what it is about them, that makes them special and different from competitors.

This work paints a clear picture of the brand or “the story” of the business, which must then be captured and told.

One of the outputs of this process is a Brand Brief, which we would give to our graphic/creative team to help them deliver this story visually for the client.

To find out more about our Brand ‘Promise’ Workshop click here

If we can be of help in any way you know where we are!

Greg Canty 

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

Don’t be a Monkey!! – Personalise your Email Marketing

December 3, 2017

Monkey 2

I just received an email with an attachment from a firm of Accountants – instead of having their desired reaction and me reading it, I felt compelled to use the same amount of time and actually write a blog post that someone might feel is useful.

The body of the email read:

Dear All,

Attached please find our Newsletter which we trust will be of interest to you.

Should you have any queries regarding the attached, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Yours sincerely,

(Not signed by anyone)

Ok…some email marketing tips if want to have any chance of success.

Dear All

This is insulting and pointless. You have my email address and you more than likely have my name. There is a much bigger chance of me reading it if you personalise it.

Attached please find our Newsletter which we trust will be of interest to you

Jesus, make some attempt at talking to me instead of opening with “attached”.

By the way, the trust part is just silly..

Should you have any queries regarding the attached, please do not hesitate to contact us.

The only query I have is why you are sending out such a pointless newsletter that is just making you look bad instead of the opposite.

Yours sincerely,

How can it be sincere when you haven’t used my name and you haven’t used yours. It’s lazy, not sincere.

Use E-Marketing Software

The big tip is to use simple, low cost, easy to use, easy to customise Email Marketing software that makes all of the above really easy to do.

  1. You can design really nice looking e-newsletters without too much trouble
  2. You can easily personalise the emails to each individual
  3. There are no attachments so it won’t get blocked by some servers
  4. It will tell you how many people opened it and who they are
  5. It will tell you how many clicked the links to your website and who
  6. It lets people unsubscribe easily by just clicking a button

We use a really great service called Mailchimp for our client campaigns – It’s easy to use and quite economical.

Think!!

My last tip, and probably the biggest one of all is to take just 30 seconds and think about the person you are sending it to – how would they feel if they got a generic, cold, patronising email?

There is no doubt that they would have put a lot of time and effort into this newsletter, but instead of it doing a positive job for them, it actually does the opposite.

What’s worse is that most of the recipients will either be clients, prospects or business connections.

Something we always say to clients is…Never write a cheque to make yourself look bad!

Rant over..

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

The Future!

November 6, 2017

The Future Conference

I spent this weekend at The Future Conference in Dublin, with about 2000 of my peers, and a few of my heroes.

Like most design conferences, it was set on a range of stages, each with a difference agenda and mechanic, ranging from Q&A style platforms, individual presentations, staged interviews and a pop-up artist’s studio.

And like many design and creative conferences, there was a stellar line up (more about this in a bit) crammed into a packed schedule. Unlike any conference that I’ve been to, this one had an agenda, where the speakers were to talk about “The Future”, and what it meant to them, to our industry and our work, which largely meant that rather than the standard portfolio review, we got to have deeper insights into where things are going in the design world. 

Usually I come away from these events with a sense of both love and hate – a love for the work I’ve seen and a hate for my own work, but with a resolve to do more, work harder and be a better designer, and The Future was no different – but this time, as I watched the speakers talk about our collective futures, I found myself looking back and examining why I had chosen design as a career in the first place. 

Future Conference 2017

The Why?

There are various routes into design – many of us start out with either a flair for art, or an unhealthy obsession with pens, pencils and paper.

Mine was no different, I remember one particular art set I got in 1978 and the hours obsessing over colouring in, and I remember spending hours drawing band logos on my school bags. And looking back on it, it was really quite clear that there was only one industry that I was going to end up in!

And (long story short!) this has brought me full circle to thinking that I am so unbelievably fortunate to be part of this creative industry, one that keeps me awake at night trying to figure out solutions to projects, one that gets me talking about crazy sounding intangibles about why we chose fonts and colours, one that makes me passionate about other people’s businesses, sometimes in an almost obsessive manner, but one that rewards me, because as one speaker said “When I do my job well, my clients can do theirs better”.  

The Future was brilliantly illuminated with speakers such as international superstars Sagmeister (of Sagmeister & Walsh), Paula Scher (as seen on Netflix’s Abstract series, a must see!) and Steve Espo, and the incredible homegrown talent such as Brian and Paul from Detail, designers and educators Lara Hanlon, Bob Grey and David Smith who collectively showed us that design is a huge range of things: it is a partnership, solution building, a shared collective experience. It is informative, it can be beautiful, and it is a vehicle for ideas, profit, emotions and humanity.  

If you want me to tell more about some of the things I saw, or if you want to know how I can apply my learnings to your project, just get in touch.

The future is very, very bright!

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj - FuzionJonathan

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


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