Archive for the ‘Communications’ Category

Career Guidance Counsellors should try #WINHAPPY

February 25, 2019

Left or right

It was reported last week on Valentine’s Day by the Higher Education Authority that a number of Irish third-level courses have up to 80% drop-out rates.

The fact that there is a worrying percentage of students failing to complete their course naturally raises questions of student decision-making, and the level of advice and guidance they may be accessing in making informed decisions on their futures. The issue of the quality of career guidance in schools is suggested as a potential significant factor in this process.

This brought me back to when I was choosing my subjects for my Leaving Cert.

I met with my guidance counsellor in school and told her proudly I was going to be a journalist. I was expecting a response of “what a creative and exciting career, young Miss Jordan- go for it. Do what makes you happy.

Instead I was met a condescending answer of needing to follow a more “structured” and “safe” career path. “Study science and business studies for your leaving Cert, Miss Jordan,” she told me, “make sure you can get a job after college, work isn’t’ supposed to be exciting Miss Jordan. It is a job.”

My 15 year old self left that office deflated and picked subjects that were “safe, reliable and structured” for my Leaving Certificate. I then followed the same path by choosing to study Economics and Politics for my degree.

I am very much a case study of someone who is right-brained. If my creative muscles are not stretched or challenged it actually affects my mental health.

You can imagine how much I loved studying Economics!!

I thought college was supposed to be the time when young minds are challenged to question how the world works, and figure out how to make it better. Economics does that for many, it did not do it for me. While I did not drop out of college, it was certainly a struggle at times.

When I finished my degree I decided to pursue my 15-year-old self’s dream.

I would be a reporter. And I was. I worked for local newspapers in the west before moving to the “Big Smoke” to work for national titles.

I then discovered just how creative PR and communications can be, and worked for a number of International Aid organisations.

The experience gave me the opportunity to report on the biggest international crises of the past five years.

I reported on Ebola, as it happened, from West Africa. I travelled to the Syrian border, Jordan and Turkey to report on the Syria and refugee crises.  

I met with girls who had been abducted by Boko Haram in Nigeria, and I travelled to famine-stricken and war-torn South Sudan to tell the stories of displaced families.

Ciara Jordan

I think my fifteen year old self would be proud. I’m not so sure about the career guidance counsellor. There was very little about my career that was “safe and structured”.

When I met Greg and Deirdre, the principals of Fuzion Communications, where I recently joined as Account Director, they told me about their #WinHappy philosophy.

Here is that philosophy in a nutshell: work should not be something you dread, it should be something you are proud of. When you go home on Friday, you should feel like you have done something that was challenging and made you happy. Work might be hard, and it won’t always be plain sailing but you have still done worthwhile work.

It was like Fuzion was talking to my 15 year old self!

Perhaps the #WinHappy philosophy should be shared with Guidance Counsellors nationwide?

Perhaps then we would see a decrease in drop-out figures, along with an unprecedented rise in job satisfaction.

Ciara Jordan - Fuzion CommunicationsCiara

Ciara Jordan is an Account Director with Fuzion Communications, a full service agency who provide Marketing, PR and Graphic Design Services from offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland.

Note re image above: Ciara, reporting from an observation and Interim Care Centre (OICC) in Sierra Leon, where children who have been affected by Ebola, or who have come into contact with somebody with Ebola were observed and cared for.

 

Positive Vibes Only…

February 8, 2019

The INternStarting a new job can be daunting, especially as an intern!

You are at the bottom of the food chain, or so they say, but here, that is most certainly NOT the case.

First week. New faces. New names. Is there anything more frightening? (Well apart from snakes and spiders and birds – weird, I know!).

From the moment I walked in the door, I’ve never had a warmer welcome. Greeted by a beautiful, smiling face, I already feel like part of the team.

The first thing I was told was that Fuzion is ONE BIG TEAM.

Even though there are two offices at two different ends of the country, Dublin and Cork, “How is this going to work? Cork is so far away” were the first thoughts that popped into my head.

However, this thought was quickly wiped away when I received a call from EVERYONE in the Cork office. Yes, I most certainly feel like part of this team (well family) now.

How lovely would it be if every company treated their employees this way? Wouldn’t we all be so much happier in our jobs and happier in ourselves for that matter?

Our work is acknowledged on a regular basis- and honestly, there is nothing nicer than to hear that you’re doing a great job!

You feel valued.

When you are valued and appreciated, it automatically reflects in the work that you do, and when this is acknowledged, there honestly is no better feeling!

Having colleagues who are so passionate about what they do, really drives and motivates you to grow and learn so much more, as an individual and as part of the team.

Even though I am (technically) bottom of the food chain here, I do not feel that way at all.

Being treated as an equal, I believe, is the most important thing about having a successful team and having that special bond, that not a lot of companies have.

So here’s to all of the positive vibes only!

Abigail 

Abigail Shaw is a PR Intern with Fuzion Communications who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Nightclubbing and the end of Google+

February 4, 2019

Google+ is dead

So…Google have thrown their hat at their social media platform, Google+, which they launched in June 2011.

In December 2018, we announced our decision to shut down Google+ for consumers in April 2019 due to low usage and challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers’ expectations. We want to thank you for being part of Google+ and provide next steps, including how to download your photos and other content

It was clear that the search engine giant wanted a piece of the emerging social media action and they threw all of their expertise, intelligence, resources and weight behind their new platform.

They were able to leverage their colossal Gmail database and gently nudge users onto the platform.

The core idea was “circles” and you could create these unique circles and invite your contacts to join them and you had personal accounts and separate accounts for your business pages. We were all going to have incredibly engaging discussions in our circles, because isn’t that how the world works after all?

For a short while it did seem to have momentum, and every day you would receive a multitude of invitations to connect with other users – with the usual Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) we were all clicking, joining and posting and busy trying to figure out how we could leverage this new thing for our personal and business communications.

For starters it was never very “cool”, it never seemed to be enjoyable, it was clunky and it required effort and wasn’t really solving a problem that the other platforms couldn’t.

From a business point of view the advice was, you had to be on the platform to maximise your ranking on Google – that stick was definitely one worthy of paying attention to, but even that idea didn’t gain momentum.

In Fuzion, we have been providing social media courses since 2000 on the main platforms including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more recently Instagram – not once in that time were we ever asked to run a course on Google+.

If ever asked by a client about the platform, I would advise them to get their activity on the others right first and then get around to Google+ …it never happened.

The conclusion might be that social media was too saturated at this point and Google+ was just too late, but this argument doesn’t hold up when you consider Instagram was launched in 2010 and Snapchat in 2011.

Why did Google+ not work out?

Saturday Night Fever

My Nightclub theory!

Facebook was the new nightclub when it was launched – the cool crew went there, because they were cool, they loved being the first to try out the new place but soon the non-cool crew followed suit and even worse, Aunty Joan and Uncle Bill turned up and tried their moves on the dance floor.

The cool gang moved to club ‘Twitter’ and they had this to themselves but…. guess who followed them there eventually?

Then Instagram was cool and it loved your photos but….guess who showed up, Aunty Joan and Uncle Bill!!

Snapchat was ultra cool and ultra young and the functionality was totally loose and wild and posts disappeared after a while…what??!!

Poor Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook who had just spent some of his fortune on Instagram to try to win the cool kids back, realised that the young gang had already moved to the zany Snapchat.

Instead of sulking about the waste of money, he gambled big and just ripped off (even if you could would you just become an unashamed  copycat?) all of the functionality of Snapchat and he bolted it onto Instagram. He did this just in time as Instagram still had a large number of users and before there were mass defections from the platform, it gave them a new, fresh reason for staying with it and after all they had lots of followers already, so it was easier than starting again.

Why not the Google+ nightclub?

So…in the middle of all these nightclubs opening why didn’t Google+ work? I’m sure many heads in Google are scratching about this one!

The people who try something new are the innovators, the leap froggers, they are curious and they explore, those with a thirst for a new experience, something that says something about who they are.

With Google+, they came through the door on opening night, they danced, they tried the cocktails and they even invited their friends but discovered really quickly that it wasn’t very different, they heard all of those tunes before, it wasn’t very cool and to be honest it was a little bit boring!

Will we ever see another social media platform? I definitely think so as there are always the innovators who are thirsty for something new.

Does a giant like Google have the people and culture to be able to produce an innovative social media platform that will be so radically different that people will flock to it?

Would they dare to try again?

Let’s see….

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Social Media Consultancy Services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

The secrets that are revealed in “Soft” communications – Recruitment and much more

February 1, 2019

You are hired

We’ve done a lot of recruiting in the last while, pushing our vacancy notices on social media and in adverts on LinkedIn and Facebook (As a piece of feedbackI’ll never use the job facility on Facebook again for recruitment).

In each case applicants send a CV and often with some sort of a cover note or email.

I have found that this “discretionary” cover note or email is so important as a part of the process as it is the opportunity to communicate directly and connect with you the recruiter, and a chance to show some personality, to highlight a special point of difference and demonstrate your real interest in the role.

If we want to reach out to that candidate to arrange an interview you end up corresponding with the person either by phone or email.

This simple interaction is “gold” as it is another great soft opportunity to communicate, and for the candidate that opportunity to once again show their personality and interest in the role – if that’s you, be sure to take it and be proactive and grab the early opportunity to stand out.

Even if it’s 2nd or 3rd interviews make sure that every interaction is positive and use them as opportunities to show yourself in the best light.

You haven’t got the job and you get the disappointing “Dear John or Dear Mary” email – I know you are deflated but there is actually another opportunity here.

Even if you don’t feel like it, be sure to take that last chance to show you are a great candidate!!

Send a positive email back, thank them for their time and be sure you put it in their heads that you could have been a great candidate for the role after all.

The world is small and life is short, things don’t always work out and they could well be recruiting again soon – put yourself on the top of that list by being so nice.

If you are recruiting try to include lots of opportunities to communicate with the candidates as part of your process so they can get a sense of your culture and you can hopefully reveal what they are really like and in future make this a key part of your evaluation criteria.

The “soft” communications in business are a huge opportunity for all of us, regardless of which side of the table you are sitting at. It’s a valuable skill if you can master it!

Note re the image:

I was trying to grab a clever image from the web to go with this post and I found this one, which I did think was appropriate and quite funny. 

I was not going to use it because it was all men in the image, so I had a double think, which is probably a good thing. This had me putting up a stupid anaemic “stock” photo and I said no, enough!!  If the gender police get all offended and go off on one, at Fuzion we do employ more women than men. It’s not because we have a preference for one gender over the other, it’s because they are great people who do great work..the world is a funny place!!

Greg 

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

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 

The Business of Blogging

August 7, 2018

Blogging Tips

Blogging has seen a huge rise in recent years and doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

The way people blog is evolving and adapting constantly. For many businesses, engagement with bloggers and influencers now plays a major role in their marketing strategy and is producing fantastic results.

I recently attended a really interesting event hosted by Network Cork called “The Business of Blogging”.

The lineup of speakers included international blogger Erika Fox of Retro Flame, Cliona O’Connor of Lean Mean Momma and Stephanie Lynch of OnTheQT.

Erica, Cliona and Stephanie all shared some fantastic tips that apply to both businesses and individual bloggers in order to grow their social media presence and get results. Below are some top tips from the event:

  • Consistency – It’s all about consistency and quality, if you’re not posting regularly on your online platforms people will forget about you.
  • Be authentic – Don’t copy what other people are doing, be true to your brand whether it’s a personal or business brand. We love to see the people behind a brand and social media is a great way to do this.
  • Branding – If possible, have the same username across all social media channels with a similar style on all channels as well.
  • Value your followers – Don’t be afraid to ask your followers for feedback on what they want to see.

For more tips about blogging check out a blog post that our Greg Canty wrote over six years ago!!

13 Tips about Blogging and Making some Noise

There was also some discussion at the event about working with bloggers and influencers and some criteria you might take into account when deciding to engage with them:

  • Understand the influencers’ followers, check out what their followers are asking them.
  • Look at the influencers/bloggers engagement, this is much more important than huge follower numbers.
  • When you have identified an influencer that fits with your brand, try and meet with them to iron out what you are looking for from the collaboration.
  • Don’t be afraid to work with smaller bloggers as they often have high engagement.
  • After a collaboration, ask for analytics to understand what worked best and what didn’t work so well.

A big thanks to Karen Fleming and Network Cork for organising another interesting and insightful event.

Saidhbh Sweeney - Fuzion CommunicationsSaidhbh

Saidhbh Sweeney is part of the PR team at Fuzion Communications, who have 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 

Why are Podcasts booming?

April 2, 2018

Podcasting

Podcasts are in demand, they are becoming increasing popular and for good reason..

According to research last year nearly 400,000 Irish adults listen to a podcast once a week with 128,000 listening once a day.

While podcasts have been around for a while the “boom” in part is due to Smartphones, which have made accessing these really easy and in 2014 Apple introduced a specific podcast APP on all their devices.

The audience in King” , which is the real driving force as they are carefully curating their own content – Podcasts are to Radio, the same as Netflix is to TV!

Podcasts are outperforming their competition because they are relevant and they are succeeding in connecting with their audiences in a very different way.

It’s simple, you can hear your chosen show (podcast) whenever you want.

Podcasts have few, if any commercials and only consist of the material that you are interested in. The variety is huge and growing by the day – literally, there is something for everyone from Love Stories, to American politics, to Eamon Dunphy to Blindboy to the Irish Famine. The list goes on and on.

Podcasts are extremely personal.

Many go beyond the “15” minute segments of an interesting interview that you would expect on a radio show and as a result you have an opportunity to really get to know the presenter, the guest and the subject matter.

They can be a much more intimate way of getting information and it is also a nice change from peering at a screen, perfect for those busy commuters who want to make the most of every valuable minute!

Podcasts are convenient and easy to consume.

Once you subscribe to a podcast “show”, new podcasts are automatically downloaded or available to stream to your device as soon as they are available.

You can listen to them at your convenience.

When you are getting ready for a journey you can queue up your podcasts to create your own entertainment and learning, to pass that time a little quicker!

Listeners are now deciding what they want to hear and when.

On one hand, this means you are competing for their listening time but on the other hand, this means that if they are subscribing to your podcasts, you have an opportunity to really build a strong connection with your audience.

Podcasts can also make extra valuable content to deliver as part of your social media strategy.

If you have a big social media following podcasts might be a way to introduce some new and very interesting content, which will immediately differentiate you from your competition.

Your podcast subscribers could be the core of your community and over time they could become your best ambassadors or even clients.

The best way to understand the potential for podcasts is to tune in and discover the huge variety that is available – you can access them via the podcast APP on Apple devices, on iTunes, Soundcloud or on Spotify or directly via the podcast host.

Why not check out our Fuzion Win Happy Podcast , which is hosted by our very own Greg Canty!

http://fuzionwinhappy.libsyn.com

Fuzion Win Happy podcast thumbnail

Happy listening..

Ciara O’Sullivan

Ciara is a PR intern with Fuzion Communications

Cracking the “Social Media” Training Code

April 2, 2018

Social Media e-learning

Incredibly we have been running social media courses since May 2010!

This was the new thing, the new way to reach your customers and promote you and your business and it was free to use!!

I do think a big part of the reason it exploded at the time was because we were immersed in an awful recession and most people had virtually no funds to do anything, let alone promote their business.

So the simple advice was, grab the relevant platforms (at the time it was Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) and use them to tell your story and engage with your target audience.

In the earliest training that we delivered, it was all about the functionality – step by step we would show all the participants how to do everything on each of the platforms.

As time went on we changed the emphasis on “why” first and then “how“.

This approach was designed to get people engaged with the simple idea that, if you knew what you could achieve with social media and you understood the special role it could play in your communications mix, then you were more likely to dive in and apply the learnings.

I think this approach worked much better but there was still a problem, and I put this down to what I call the “teeth brushing” aspect of social media.

When you leave the half day or full day social media course (or any training for that matter) it is up to you and you alone to implement the learnings and make room in your life for a new habit, a social media habit.

To be effective for you, it should be just like teeth brushing, you just do it automatically as part of your routine.

To this day, I still believe that using social media effectively can be one of the most powerful ways of promoting you and your business as well as a brilliant way to make valuable connections.

So why are people not grabbing the opportunity?

The big challenge for me is getting those who take my courses to squeeze all of the potential from the social media platforms, and for the training to go beyond the initial sessions and integrate into their daily routines.

To crack the “training code” we have invested in an e-learning platform, which has enabled us to create unique follow-on programmes that consist of a series of short, practical exercises on each of the social media platforms.

These exercises are delivered to the trainees over a period of time to ensure that they can really learn, through daily implementation away from the classroom and in their own work environment.

If you want to make sure that you and your team, really, really learn let us know!

Check out our Social Media Training services by clicking here.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, who offer Social Media Consultancy and Training  from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Is social media taking over our lives?

March 26, 2018

social media wedding

In a recent survey carried out by renowned bridal store, Kadee Bride, it revealed that 72% of brides-to-be feel pressure to lose weight ahead of their big day, while 10% also admitted to asking their bridesmaids to do the same!

The shocking statistic emerges in an era where social media plays a huge role in wedding planning, seeing it influence brides who want to look their best on their wedding day, not only for their guests, but also for their online presence.

Speaking to the two owners of Kadee Bride, Dee and Katt Shine, who have been in the industry for over twenty years they advised that this statistic doesn’t surprise them and how many brides compare themselves to other brides and other bridal parties who they see online on daily basis.

Speaking about the survey findings, co-owner of Kadee Bride, Dee Shine said “This stat comes as no shock to me as the majority of our brides at their first fitting will discuss what their dress will look like in a few months’ time when they’ve lost weight, with most telling us they plan to drop at least a dress size before the big day. We have noticed this trend creeping in over the years”.

Posting wedding photos on social media has now become the norm with photos going up on social media platforms within minutes of being taken, which has resulted in a new trend of brides and grooms either mentioning it at their ceremonies or printing it on their invites or booklets to:

please refrain from posting any images to social media’,

a request that would have once been a common courtesy, but instead nowadays has to be requested.

It begs the question, is social media taking over our lives and instead of a wedding being solely about the bride and groom and the guests they have chosen to share their day with, it is now shared with millions around the world within seconds.

I have used weddings as an example however it’s not only weddings where this comes into play, when you think about it we use social media for everything these days.

  • News Updates – Twitter and Facebook
  • Communication with friends – WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Viber
  • Interior design – Pinterest and Instagram
  • Wedding planning – Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest
  • Food reviews/recommendations – Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram
  • Travel Suggestions – Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest
  • Sports Results – Twitter
  • Missing People – Twitter and Facebook
  • Traffic Updates – Twitter

Social media has well and truly taken over nearly every aspect of our lives…

Is this a good or a bad thing? Let the debate begin! 

Edel Cox - FuzionEdel

Edel Cox is an Account Director with Fuzion Communications who are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork

 


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