Archive for the ‘Communications’ Category

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

What do you think of Graphic Design?

February 8, 2018

Dark Side of the Moon

What do people think of Graphic Design?

Excuse us for this bizarre question but it is something that popped up in a conversation that we were having during an internal meeting in Fuzion, which we didn’t really have a clear answer for.

Framing this around some questions and observations about how people behave and make decisions about things might help.

Are you more inclined to buy something if it looks the part? 

I couldn’t tell you how many times I purchased an album (that was vinyl initially) because I thought the artwork looked “cool” and I remained excited until the needle was in the groove and I actually discovered what I had bought.

Needless to say I discovered some wonderful music in that random fashion and there is more than one album that were listened to just once!

Do you trust a poor website?

When we invest no time whatsoever searching online for something that we are looking for, do we judge the service or product by the quality of the website?

Years ago it would have been the Golden Pages, followed by a phone call and then maybe a visit to the showroom or offices for an appointment.

Now the website does all of this hard work for you. Without even knowing it your potential customer has popped through the door, had a look around and left and you never even realised it!

What does a business card say about you?

When someone hands you their business card is this a functional piece of paper that carries essential contact information or does it do a much bigger job at trying to create a powerful first impression?

Now there seems to be a shift with some preferring a virtual card that can be shared via smartphones – this is fine if it is about sharing essential contact details but is there some argument about having an opportunity to showcase your brand?

Does the smart van with professional graphics give you faith in the service provider?

The painter/decorator is working next door to you and their van is parked outside – it is immaculate and there are very tasteful graphics that carry the logo and contact details. Is he a professional?

What about the shift from print to online?

There is clearly a shift from print to online and maybe with this an argument for not investing too much in design if the output is never printed.

Looking good gets you noticed, it gets you read and it creates the right impression – at least this is what we believe.

Even more, we believe the printed version will always be read more than the online version – what do you think?

So….these were some of the ramblings from our conversation about Graphic Design.

We would love to know what you think – can we ask you to take a quick survey that we have created around the topic by clicking here.

Thank you…

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

Your “Story Telling” Process

February 7, 2018

Jeff Bezos

As part of your planning for this year we wanted to give you a simple Marketing framework using our Fuzion process, that might help to keep year on track.

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.

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.

When Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon declared that “your brand is what people say about you when you leave the room” he cut through all of the jargon about communications, and left us with a very simple task:

Know your story and then tell it effectively to your target audience – Simple!!

The Fuzion process

Our Fuzion Story Process follows some simple steps:

1. Understand your story – make sure you have a deep understanding of what makes you unique

2. Capture your story – all logos, visuals, marketing materials and your website must convey your story

3. Make sure your story is found – if you cannot be found online you are not in the game!

4. Tell your story – you have to proactively push your story out there (your traditional marketing)

5. Engage with your story online – make sure you have your voice on social media

6. Protect your story – be ready to protect and proactive about protecting your reputation

Your plan should take into account all of these elements and they should work together to produce the results you are looking  for.

We’ll go into each of these elements in more detail in further posts.

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

Tackling that age-old question in our modern marketplace

November 27, 2017

Old and young

When it comes to age, I’m a firm proponent of “Don’t ask. Don’t tell.

Recently a journalist who was interviewing me asked me my age. I get it.

I used to be a newspaper reporter and I know it’s traditional to write, “So-and-so, age blah-blah, did fill-in-the-blank.” But I also know it’s not a hard and fast rule.

There are plenty of stories these days that don’t include a person’s age. Therefore, I politely said to the reporter, “I prefer not to give the number as it’s not germane to the story.

She accepted that and the story was printed no problem.

Likewise, if you’re in the jobs market and are of a certain age, you may find yourself struggling to overcome other people’s preconceived notions around your particular number.

Unless you’re a 102-year-old who swam the English Channel or a 12-year-old who graduated from university, age shouldn’t be the leading factor.

1 Stop referencing your age

At an event, a very lovely female participant came up to me and complimented my shoes. Then she lamented,”When I was your age, I could wear heels. But it’s been forever.

Another time, I heard a man say to colleagues at a project meeting, “Give that task to Peter. I’m too old.

How often do you reference your age? How often do you draw unnecessary attention to the distance between your age and that of your audience?

At first glance this might seem aimed at older folks. But the same goes for younger folks too. The whole, “Oh, I wasn’t even born back then” crowd.

It’s fine to talk about age with your best friend, but if you want to stay vigorous or be taken seriously in the workplace, then cease your own ageism. You might be your worst enemy.

Interviewers aren’t allowed to ask you your age. So, don’t out yourself.

Sure, put your universities and degrees on your CV. Just don’t put the dates.

2 Mine your contacts

A reader from western Ireland wrote to me saying he’s a 64-year-old former sales professional frustrated because he hasn’t found work in four years.

He’s convinced his age is part of the reason his CVs are not getting traction. He says he’s sent out more than 200 of them over the years but landed nothing.

But he also tells me that in four years he has probably only reached out to ‘two or three’ of his former contacts. So, I am working with him to strengthen his strategy.

Think about the wide-range of people you have met over the years. Talk to them. Ask them for people you can call. Cold resumes don’t result in jobs nearly as much as warm referrals do.

3 Mix it up

In addition to tapping into your friends and contacts from throughout your career, you can also network with people younger than you. Is there a business incubator you can join? Is there a project they’re working on that could benefit from your experience?

You might want to think less about a full-time job and more about piecing together consulting work.

4 Power up your profile

You don’t have to have a zillion followers, but, you should immediately set up a LinkedIn profile and a Twitter account. We can chat Facebook and Instagram and whatever else later. For now, let’s focus on these two.

First, I recommend Canva.com to create a polished header for your social media accounts. Then you should spend some time crafting words about you and your experience that are strong, punchy and engaging.

Also be sure to Google professionals you admire to see what they’re doing.

Don’t completely plagiarise, but do borrow ideas, formatting and/or a few keywords from others. Don’t be afraid to be creative. You can always adjust your copy.

But if you write the same old, same old, you’ll sound the same as everyone else and, well, “old”.

In short, if you’re not online, you’re not relevant.

5 Shape up

If you’re not eating right and exercising regularly, do not blame your age alone for gaining weight. Your physical health is connected to your mental health.

This is a scientific fact and it’s also the perception of many potential employers.

The more fit you are physically, the more you will be perceived as someone who is fit for the job.

The same goes for your wardrobe and grooming. Wear something sharp and current. And for heaven’s sake, if you have hair growing out of your ears, get rid of it!

We can be put in a box once our number becomes the lead of our story.

Like, “She looks great for 45….” Or “He appears much younger than 50….

Whose opinions are these? Why can’t it just be, “You’re doing great“, period? It can.

A 65-year-old client of mine, who is right on top of each of my suggestions, told me this week that a friend of his remarked, “I have never seen you have so much energy!

That’s a great report. And it can be yours too. Your experience combined with applying these strategies actively will make it so.

Is your age holding back your career?

Gina London - Fuzion CommunicationsGina London

From presentations, to one-on-one scenarios, from spoken to written if you have a question about communications that you would like me to deal with in my column in the Sunday Independent please send me an email at gina@fuzion.ie .

Gina London is a former CNN anchor and international campaign strategist who is now a Strategic Communications director with Fuzion Communications. She serves as media commentator, emcee and corporate consultant. @TheGinaLondon

A New Way To Call To Action

November 20, 2017

A call to action is an instruction to your audience that is designed to provoke a response – ‘visit our website’, ‘follow us on Facebook’ etc.

But do you need to call your audience into action?

I came across this advert from Flavahans as I waited at the bus stop recently.

It is simple with a small bit of humour, but have you noticed anything missing? There is no website, no social media reference and no ‘buy now’, not even a hashtag!

There is a product, a tagline and minimal information.

I can imagine the meeting that occurred when the designer or marketer presented this to their managers.

Where’s the website?

You have to tell them to follow something, how will they know what to do?

We need to tell them everything about the product” – but do you?

I think it is brilliant!!

We already know every company has a digital presence and if we want to find them we will type their name in the search bar.

So why take up space?

Why tell people what to do?

People hate being told what to do – so let them make up their own minds.

This is a brave move, and one that goes against the grain – but it makes so much sense.

We live in a digital world, we know how to find information but I do not know about your product.

Tell me what I need to know, not what I already know.

Well played, Flavahans

Paul Wade - Fuzion Graphic DesignPaul Wade

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

Millennials -The Good, The Bad, and The Selfies

November 8, 2017

Millennials are a generation of lazy, entitled, fame obsessed, technology worshiping, narcissists.

Sound about right?

Baby Boomers out there, think we (yes, I am one of “the” M crew) have been handed life and its obstacles on a silver platter, meaning we have grown up with a sense of entitlement, brought up to believe that we deserve the best (even when we don’t) and crave praise and attention, all of the time!

Subsequently, it is not difficult to see why we are stereotyped as lazy, entitled and selfish.

But to you, the Baby Boomers reading this, shocked at the expectations and entitlements of my generation, you may also be shocked to learn, we are not all that different after all.

Now as we fast forward ten, fifteen years, Millennials have the same high expectations in the workplace. But what is so wrong with having confidence in yourself and your work?

It is not that we, as Millennials, have created a revolution in workplace and life expectations, but rather evolved to this world of abundance. We have not developed new personality traits from Baby Boomers when they were our age. Most teenagers and young adults, from any era compared to their parents, are selfish, can be lazy, and at the very least narcissistic, now and again.

Baby Boomers say we are consumed by social media. We check our phones, at minimum, once every hour. But how many times a day do you check your email? Now I can hear you say in that voice at the back of your head “But emails are far more important that social media”. Are they?

I believe we are evolving to the point now that they are both equally as important (especially in the world of PR).

And just think what if the world of technology had evolved a generation earlier? Is it possible that Baby Boomers would have been just as social media obsessed as us? We didn’t choose this life, but rather it was selected for us by Apple, Samsung, and Facebook, and we simply evolved and adapted.

So what can we bring to the world of PR?

We know Millennials don’t see technology and social media as a chore but rather part of their everyday routine being switched on and connected, close to 24 hours a day.

We are a troop of networkers, ready to shout and scream to get our message across. We want to work hard, make a difference for our clients and reap the results, even if that does mean sharing it on Insta Stories, Facebook posts, Snap Stories, Tweets, and the list goes on.

As a generation, we don’t have high levels of respect for authority. But because we don’t respect authority we don’t resent it, and therefore we feel as if we can approach and create relationships with our leaders.

We are a generation of dreamers, meaning we are optimistic, thinkers, and life hackers.

We inspire and find new ways to deal with on-going issues. We believe that we can in fact “change the world” and want to bring your business to the next level. We stand up and combat the stereotypes by continuing to show up to work with enthusiasm and ambition.Actions speak louder than words after all!

Let’s not forget that Baby Boomers, you too were a problematic generation, and you turned out alright.

Didn’t you?

Blaithín

Blaithín Gallagher is a PR intern with Fuzion Communications, a full service agency who have 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 

Time to stop playing politics

October 31, 2017

Jeff Flake speech

In the earlier part of my career as an accountant I used to hear people talk about “Being Political” and naively I never quite got what it meant.

Did it mean being sneaky, being dishonest, playing silly buggers instead of just doing your job?

I never quite got it, and I did think that, if it did exist it was something that happened in large organisations or literally in politics, where it sadly seemed to be a necessary part of that game.

As far as I was concerned. as long as I worked hard I would get ahead and there was no reason for me to believe that I needed to act otherwise.

I worked hard in a busy accountancy and management consultants office and progressed well. I worked hard in an American subsidiary of a multinational and progressed well. I worked hard in a subsidiary of Guinness and progressed well and I found myself promoted to the role of General Manager at the age of 28.

I could see “politics” happening externally around me but it was still a case of, work hard and you will always progress.

I then took up a role with the fantastic Guinness company in Dublin and six months later I discovered that my ‘hard work’ previously effective instrument was no longer sufficient to progress – I had to learn how to play politics to get on!

I never quite cracked this skill and while I had a fantastic time working at St.James Gate I can quite honestly admit that I never fulfilled my potential, even though I did learn a lot and make some contribution to the business.

I guess I was never the type that was suited to playing games and I guess this is why I was always suited to entrepreneurship, where you make your own bed and lie in it.

What does “being political” actually mean?

Being apolitical refers to situations in which people take an unbiased position in regard to a political matter.

I guess if you are being political it means you give up on your own views and principles, you take positions on things that are not yours to stay in some sort of favour with others, for some other benefit (a promotion, a raise maybe?).

Once this creeps in, as I saw in Guinness you never get to see all of the potential of the people there. Many will leave frustrated and those that stay will be the ones who are good at surviving in that environment. A lot of positive energy gets suppressed and the business never performs at the level that was possible.

At a certain point it is accepted that “this is the norm” and something bad creeps in forever.

Republican Senator Jeff Flake

I watched the speech last week given by Senator Jeff Flake of the Republican Party in the United States whereby he was declaring that he was ‘turning his back‘ on politics and not running again.

He used the words “the new normal” and how we must not let what is happening now become ‘the new normal‘.

If you listen to the content of his speech it is very interesting and quite sad with some very basic points, which illuminate how bad things have become when you ‘play politics‘ at the very highest level with the dangerous potential of affecting the whole world.

There are times when you must risk your career in favour of your principles” – the opposite is a scary place to be. Who are we if we don’t follow principles – do you want that person working with you?

We are all complicit when we don’t stand up when we know wrong things are happening” – this should be something basic you would want in everyone you work with.

The flagrant disregard for truth and decency“`- the new norm?

The reckless provocations, most often for the pettiest and most personal reasons” – the schoolyard bully?

Heaven help us if this is politics as usual” – this feels like a huge cry for help and something higher to intervene

Reckless, outrageous and undignified behaviour has become excused as telling it as it is” – politics in all its glory

When this come from the top it is something else, it is dangerous to democracy

Our strength comes from our values” – the most powerful statement of all.

It is often said that children are watching” – We are setting an awful example for the next generation

Remaining silent and failing to act in fear of making enemies is dishonouring our principles” – Yep!

I think you get the idea…

If you want your business to flourish then be proactive about creating a culture that brings out the very best of people. and one where no one is afraid of speaking their mind in fear of the consequences.

Stop playing politics…

Well done to Jeff Flake for standing up to the biggest bully of them all, potentially the most powerful and most dangerous man in the world today, Donald Trump.

Check out the full speech by Jeff Flake, which already many are considering to be one of the most important of our age.

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


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