Archive for the ‘Communications’ Category

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

 

Apple and the iOS 14 Update

October 20, 2020

iOS4 Update - Heather Lordan

Apple have released their latest iOS update – iOS 14, which comes with loads of new features that make your iPhone more accessible and aesthetically pleasing bringing a fresh look to the things you do most often.

The feature I found the most exciting on the new update is widgets.

Surprisingly, Apple was not the leader in this technology, with Android using widgets for years!

With widgets you can choose from different sizes and arrange them however you like. You can also choose what to have in your widget, for example I’ve put my step counter on my home screen to motivate me to walk more each time I open my phone. There’s more you can add to your home screen widget including clock, calendar, photo, battery icon,upcoming events, reminders, temperature, activity bar, sun rise/set and so much more.

Widgetsmith” is the app that tackles all things widgets and “Colour Widget” is what you use to modify your widget with personal preferences and design. I’ve added some prettier icons to my apps, this can be done through shortcuts.

The new App Library is a brilliant addition to iPhone automatically organising all your apps into one simple, easy-to-navigate view.

Apps are sorted by category and your most used apps are always one tap away. You can also hide apps so they won’t appear on your home screen but will still remain in your app library. I think this is perfect for Deliveroo and JustEat as I don’t want to see them on a Monday morning on my home screen but I’d like to think that they’ll be there for me on Friday evening when I need them!

There are so many cool additions that I still can’t comprehend!

The new iOS 14 includes a “Home” App which allows you to manage your smart home more intelligently and securely. The new Home Kit accessory includes adaptive lighting which enables you to change the colour temperature of your lights throughout the day, face recognition for video cameras and doorbells that can identify people you’ve tagged in your photos. You can also now unlock and start the car with your iPhone!!

iOS 14 also has new ways to track group conversations as well as keeping up with your most important ones.

You can now pin up to nine of your most important conversations to the top of your conversation list, so you can easily get to them. You can also personalise your group conversations with an image or emoji. You can type a name to direct a message to someone in the group as well as customise an active group so you only receive notifications when you’re mentioned.

There’s a lot of room for personalistion with this new update, and it may also take some time to get used to the new app navigation system, but overall the new iOS update is looking really helpful and user friendly.

I hope you found this post helpful!

Heather LordanHeather

Heather Lordan is a PR and Digital Marketing Executive with Fuzion Communications, a full service PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in both Dublin and Cork.

Buy a Newspaper..

September 21, 2020

Buy a newspaper

I was delighted to get a call from my local newspaper recently to let me know they had returned from their Covid 19 closure, and asking me if I had any stories for their next issue.

The local paper has always been the ultimate in county pride – getting the graduation picture in the local rag was bragging gold dust for many’s a mammy and daddy!

Regional media is the community cornerstone, the pulse of the town but Covid 19 has changed the media landscape forever.

It was the final nail in the coffin for many local and regional newspapers that were already just barely surviving. Many were forced to close, simply because there was no advertising and zero revenue. It left many journalists unemployed.

It is fantastic to see some return, but devastating to know that several never will. What a gaping hole those well-loved local newspapers leave.

The local newspaper is one of the most valuable media outlets, as well as one of the most credible. It tells the story of a local audience from an insiders perspective.

No Facebook, Instagram or Twitter will ever be able to do this.

The role it plays is essential to our society, our culture, and our democratic reporting. The free press are the gatekeepers for our democracy. With the rise in fake news, the press has never been more important.

But, we must also remember the reality that local newspapers are also businesses.

They must make a profit to stay alive. And they won’t make a profit if their value is not seen, including their advertising value. Advertisers won’t see their value if the public and the local audience don’t read the paper.

Buy a newspaper. Our democracy depends on it.

Ciara Jordan, Fuzion CommunicationsCiara

Ciara Jordan is an Account Director with Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing Agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland.

Body Image: The Covid-19 edition

September 17, 2020

Body Image

At the start of Lockdown I set myself loads of goals including trying to lose ten pounds in two weeks and dropping a dress size in one month.

When these inevitably didn’t work I challenged myself to drink 4 litres of water everyday and I got into a really bad habit of weighing myself everyday, hoping the scales would shift the tiniest bit to fuel my ego.

With so much idle time at home with nowhere to go and nobody to see, the only thing that seemed worth focusing on was bettering myself, and by that I mean my exterior, safe to say I wasn’t trying to improve my mindset!

All this extra time amounted to excess screen time. Endless scrolling through false realities, “Lockdown Glowups”, home workouts and low calorie meals was so damaging to thousands of girls/boys/women/men exactly like me.

TikTok was spitting out exercise videos at me as well as “two week transformations” with amazing results.

As Lockdown was such an isolating experience for everybody, we spent quite a lot of time with our thoughts: What you might have thought about yourself for a split second in February just got heightened by 1000% in April. Suddenly MyFitnessPal felt like my only pal.

To pass the day I spent my time entering the bowl of fruit I ate for breakfast into a calorie calculating app that constantly notified me that I didn’t weigh myself this morning and to “Jump On The Scales!”. The constant restrict-binge cycle was exhausting, but it was okay because my favourite “influencers” said it happens to them all the time (sarcasm intended!).

So as if people weren’t going through enough hardship with a global pandemic and all the frills that come with that, we were given mixed messages regarding health and fitness advice every day; There was – work from home, but don’t sit down all day, get out and exercise – but make sure it’s in your 5km radius and you should have no contact with others.

While at the same time we were bombarded with banana bread recipes, homemade cocktail ingredients and of course that thing that happened in the middle of all this that nobody seems to remember, Easter and those delicious yet deadly hollow brown eggs!!

After a few months had passed and the “new normal” had set in, the calorie counting stopped.

Safe to say at least 100 of the accounts I used to follow online have gotten a big unfollow from me, because they weren’t there for me when I slipped up -They were still drinking kale smoothies and getting their ten thousand steps everyday, while I faced my second serving of carbs that morning.

I asked myself, why would you follow someone who makes you feel bad about yourself?

I’ve learned that you can be healthy without weighing out your spinach, and I’ve learned that I don’t need to look like those girls we see all over our feeds, because that’s how they make their living and I just want to focus on living.

Be careful with who and what you follow..

Heather LordanHeather

Heather Lordan is a PR intern with Fuzion Communications, a full service PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in both Dublin and Cork.

Twitter Advertising?

September 15, 2020

I’ve just received some “useful advice” from Twitter about an ad campaign we kicked off last week for a client as well as some performance data.

Twitter Advertising

 

It kindly suggested that we should be running more variations of the creative and also that we should consider adding video as an option.

All great advice Twitter… thank you.

Now Twitter some advice back at you..

We took an hour and a half to run a simple advert on your social media channel that broke our hearts. It is clunky, inefficient and wasn’t working and for no good reason.

It worked in the end … not because we did anything different, but we kept doing what we were supposed to be doing in the first place and it eventually worked.

Considering the budget we were spending on a mini “test campaign” our time spent on it was definitely not worth it and the very painful experience left two of us very frustrated and vowing… never again!

More creatives, add video.?.. as I said, great advice, but we didn’t have a whole day to run a simple advert!    

If your target audience is on Twitter, think long and hard about alternative ways of reaching them and if you do go ahead give yourself an age to create your campaign.

I had no intention of writing this piece but the helpful advice was a straw too many..

Phew..

Greg Canty - FuzionGreg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Social Media Update: Reels, Live Shopping and Snap Camera

September 7, 2020

In this blog post our digital guru, Alma Brosnan, brings us some recent recent developments from the world of social media that you might find interesting and might just work for you and your business!

Changes with Instagram: Reels

One thing that always stands true for Facebook is that they want to be the king in the space of social media and yet again they have duplicated another social media platform into one of their own.

In August, Instagram (which is owned by the social media giant) introduced ‘Reels’ onto the platform, which are short 15 second video clips that can have a musical background…

Sound familiar to anyone? (It’s not so long ago when they literally copied all of the very cool, fun functionality from SnapChat to wrestle young users over to them).

This is Facebook’s attempt to compete with TikTok, the popular short-form video creation app which is especially popular with Gen Z and has garnered more attention from the older generation during the year.

Reels - Social Media Consultancy

The timing of releasing Reels has been perfect by Instagram as President Donald Trump is getting closer to banning TikTok in the United States as a national security threat, and with this popular TikTokers might move to Reels to keep their audience and momentum going.

However, Reels may seem like TikTok but does not have the same functionality and ease of use of the popular app.

Click here for an article from the New York Times that goes through the differences between Reels and TikTok, and TikTok comes out the winner, so we’ll see what happens if Trump goes through on his threat to ban TikTok on September 20th.

The United States wanting to ban a social media platform from another country – that idea is a whole other debate!

Changes with Facebook: Desktop and “Live Shopping”

Have you noticed the new change to Facebook on the desktop version?

From September 1st, the “New” Facebook design was rolled out to everyone. It’s an update to the interface that is now placing a bigger emphasis on Stories, Groups and Events, with the traditional News feed still appearing in the middle of the page, but users have easier access to the above-mentioned activities.

You can also choose to have a “dark mode” as some users prefer to use on their mobile devices but this is usable on the desktop version too.

Facebook changes, Social media consultancy

During Covid-19 and the lockdown periods, Facebook have begun to put a lot more effort in their Facebook and Instagram Shop offerings.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the shift to online shopping has rapidly accelerated, with an estimated 85% of people worldwide now shopping online.

To quote them:: “We want to make shopping easier for people and empower anyone, from an entrepreneur to the largest brand, to use our apps to connect with customers and grow their business. That’s why we’re creating new ways for people to shop on our apps and providing tools to help businesses sell online

With these new tools, they have now added new customisation features, messaging tools and new insights to help measure results.

A cool new tool introduced with all of these features is “Live Shopping”.

The user hosting the live video will be able to tag the product they’re speaking about which will enable the users watching the video to purchase the product directly.

Changes to Snapchat: Clever integration tool for Zoom 

Sick of Zoom meetings? We’ve all been in at least two Zoom calls a week since lockdown and they’ve varied from professional business meetings to quizzes with families at the weekend.

Snap Camera - Social Media Consultancy, Fuzion Communications

Now as the boredom of those kicks in, we have a fun way to jazz up all your Zoom calls from now on! You can download the Snap Camera from Snapchat as a desktop program and play around with all the different filters to make your calls more entertaining.

That’s it from me until next time … 

Alma

Alma Brosnan is part of the Digital Marketing team providing Social Media Consultancy and Training services at Fuzion Communications from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Internships during Covid19

August 31, 2020

Finishing college and entering the workforce is a difficult time in general. Throw in a global pandemic, widespread job cuts and you’ve got yourself the Month of June for over 225,000 third-level graduates!

Trying to seek employment is tough, regardless of qualifications or stage of life.

I spent four years in college, writing reports, working on projects and completing modules with a lecturer always on hand to help. Then, all of a sudden on some sunny, yet wet day in mid-March, I get told to leave the college and go home.

Just like that, I felt robbed of my last year in college.

What I had been working towards for the past four years no longer seemed important. Online lectures, shared Google Docs, hours of sitting in the sun feeling guilty for not sitting in front of the laptop, was the reality of my last few months of education. The focus then was on getting it done. Getting my degree, which I had been so set on. The notion of finding a job only filled my body with anxiety, so I put my focus into doing the best I could to finish my course.

Having completed two previous internships, I am pretty familiar with expectations of the intern and the company. I think they are such a great opportunity, both for the student to get insight into the running of a business and for the business to seek and train new talent as well as getting some fresh insights and enthusiasm.

Throughout my time in CIT lecturers always mentioned Fuzion Communications, a full service PR agency with offices in Dublin and Cork. It wasn’t until the end of July that it really clicked with me – Get a job you love, put some confidence into yourself and your abilities and email them!

My mam always told me growing up that I should pick a place I really want to work in and get a job there, easy as that she said!

I have been interning with Fuzion Communications for almost a month now. Time flies when you’re having fun! Initially I thought it would be difficult working from home without being able to ask someone at the desk behind a quick question. However, fortunately for me I work in a communications company and the team here are more helpful and available to talk throughout the day.

Zoom has become my best friend!

Only having to wear office wear from the hips up is a joy. I couldn’t be happier with my first job after college. I’m learning more than I ever thought I could as an intern, and I’m really getting a taste of what a career in PR would be like.

Safe to say I’m very excited for what the future holds.

Heather JordanHeather

Heather Lordan is a PR intern with Fuzion Communications, a full service PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in both Dublin and Cork.

The LinkedIn “headbutt”

August 11, 2020

LinkedIn Tips

It starts with the “connection request” from someone on LinkedIn – after a quick glance over the person’s profile I make a decision whether I will accept or not.

As I keep saying to people in our social media training courses these are not wedding proposals, so my own approach is to give the person the benefit of doubt, thank them for connecting and hopefully they will be another person in your ever extending network that you have had a positive interaction with.

Of course, some people will connect with you with the objective of selling us something – I have no issue with that really as in truth most of us want to make good connections, which hopefully could lead to more awareness and even a good business lead at some point.

I always say to people that in a world of social media there should be no need for “cold calling” and instead think of it as a place for “warm calling“.

Connect with someone relevant, try to have some positive interactions with them, build up some rapport and when and if the time is right gently introduce your services to them.

However, with many that idea just floats high above their heads and instead of taking the “warm calling” approach you get what I call the “headbutt“.

Boom…you didn’t see it coming, right into the forehead and you are left dazed – and you want to do business with me??

I connected with this guy just the other day (XXX is where his name was) and this is what I immediately got back, complete with getting my name wrong:

 Hi Grey

I’m XXX.

My client can bridge funds for your New or Ongoing Business. Do let me know when you receive this message for further procedures.

I am available. Thank you for your anticipated response.

Regards,

XXX

On what planet am I going to do business with this person?

Social media is brilliant for making valuable connections for you and your business – Use it to “warm call” and not to “headbutt”!

Greg

Greg Canty heads up the Digital Marketing team at Fuzion Communications and as part of our suite of digital services we offer social media training and social media consultancy, both face to face and online

 

 


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