Archive for the ‘Communications’ 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 

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 

We need to talk about…abortion

April 25, 2018

lets talk about it

The Belfast rape trial inspired a national conversation. The debate evolved from the trial to the verdict to how sex education is taught in our schools.

Almost everyone had a view.

Not everyone agreed with each other, but at least – or at least in my opinion, the majority of people listened to each other with a modicum of respect.

In one month, the Irish electorate will go to the polls to vote in arguably one of the most divisive referenda has ever held.

While the conversation in print, on air, and online is in full flow, I wonder is that same conversation happening among our friends and families? And if it isn’t, why isn’t it?

There are many, on both sides of the argument, completely convinced body and soul, that they are 100% right in their views. But are we in danger of underestimating the amount of people that remain undecided and uncertain and afraid to have a conversation about their uncertainty for fear they’ll alienate…or be alienated?

On May 25th you have an opportunity to shape the outcome of this referendum.

If you’ve already decided how you’ll vote, be gentle with your views and opinions as not everyone will share your point of view, but that doesn’t mean their opinions hold less weight than yours.

Listen with grace and empathy, even if the opposing view is unpalatable, and completely foreign to you – no one ever won hearts and minds by shouting the other side down.


Between now and May 25th, you have a chance to be part of a national conversation – and by voting, you’ll play an active part in the outcome.

On May 26th, we’ll know the outcome of this referendum, and our nation as we know it will be a changed one…for better or for worse.

Be part of that change.

Alison Nulty, Fuzion CommunicationsAlison

Alison Nulty, of Fuzion Communications is a Senior PR Account Manager, Media Trainer and part of the Crisis PR team.

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

 

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.

 

10 Things you didn’t know about Jane Foley

March 5, 2018

In this series of blogs we thought it might be a good idea to let you know some of our team a little bit better…that could be scary!

This week we’d like you to get to know the latest Fuzion recruit, Jane Foley, who has joined the PR team in our Dublin office from Irish radio station, Newstalk.

Describe yourself in 5 words

Organised, friendly, energetic, thoughtful and loyal.

My favourite holiday

The summer before last we spent a week on a small Greek island called Poros. We didn’t have WiFi so instead of wasting our time online we filled our days with books, music and swimming as we explored every inch of the island and ate and drank the most amazing Greek food and wine.

Poros, Greece

I’ve also been lucky enough to have lived in the Netherlands, the Alps, the South of France and Paris at different points over the years, which weren’t exactly holidays but I made sure not to work too hard while I was in any of those places so they felt like they were!

My dream car

I think I have to learn to drive first before I even think about what my dream car would be!

I blame my parents for the fact that I still don’t drive, as neither of them drove so we didn’t have a car growing up.

We lived so close to everything in Galway, it was just not something we never needed. I appreciate our slightly-reduced carbon footprint as a result of this, but I also wish I had gotten my licence when I was 17 so that it was just over and done with.

But it’s on the to-do list for this year!

My worst habit

I can definitely overthink and worry about things when there is no need.

When I put a lot of effort into something I always want it to be perfect, which can be a positive, but I also need to learn where to draw the line and just accept that some things are out of my control.

My first album

I think the first album I ever bought was Britney Spears’ Baby One More Time (of course, being a 90’s child).

Britney Spears

But the album I first obsessed over was one I stole from my mum – The Beatles’ Red Album.

I listened to those two tapes over and over again and still to this day when I hear one of those songs end, I start singing the next one on the tape automatically – it’s burned into my memory!

My hobbies

I love food, and cooking and baking is something I do a lot of in my spare time.

I try to mostly bake healthy treats so I don’t feel too guilty about doing it regularly, but I also have to admit to myself that just because it is ‘healthy’, it doesn’t justify me eating the entire loaf of chocolate chip banana bread by myself…

The best advice I was given

As I was writing this I was struggling to think of the single best piece of advice I have been given over the years.

I think certain advice resonates with you at different times in your life, but as I was walking down the street at lunchtime I was struck by something spray-painted on the wall:

“Be Kind, Tell the Truth and Don’t be Afraid”.

I don’t know who wrote it, and it wasn’t exactly advice that was given to me, but there is something about its simplicity that stuck with me.

If you were stranded on a desert island what three items would you bring?

A good book, an iPod full of podcasts and music, and a really comfortable hammock.

What was your first ever job?

I worked in our local corner shop when I was 13. I remember being delighted with myself, working four hours a week after school and not knowing what to do with all the extra money I had (€26).

The part of my job I love most

I love the variety of my job and the fact that no two days are ever the same.

And of course the people. I appreciate the wonderful colleagues and clients that I work with and it definitely makes getting up on a Monday morning that bit easier!

Jane Foley, Fuzion CommunicationsJane

Jane Foley is a PR Executive with Fuzion Communications who have offices in Dublin and Cork

 

 

Facebook algorithms and posts not quite reaching your audience anymore

March 2, 2018

mark zuckerberg

Algorithms, algorithms…. It’s the buzzword when it comes to social media these days but do the people talking about it even know what an algorithm is?

It’s not used just by people in the digital world now.

Your annoying Aunt Mary who posts her whole life to Facebook and thinks that when people post they’re sending it directly to her, is now sharing posts telling people to comment on her feed because Facebook will hide you away forever, otherwise!

This is slightly dramatic and not what the new Facebook algorithm is about…. Mark Zuckerberg actually wants you to see what your friends are up to.

In his announcement on January 11th MZ said that Facebook had changed the news feed algorithm to prioritise content from “friends, family and groups.”

Fuzion Win Happy podcast thumbnail [Check out the episode of the Fuzion Win Happy Podcast “Frustrated about Facebook where Greg Canty and Alma Brosnan from our digital team chat about this issue]

Since last June, he has placed a huge push on Facebook groups and using those to build communities.

The algorithm is just another one of those changes to (theoretically at least) help users see content they want to see (however, you may not want to see an album of Aunt Mary’s holiday pictures!) and interact meaningfully with their friends and family.

The only users being negatively impacted by these changes are Business Pages who have already built a solid audience through organic reach and engagement.

Facebook are now saying that Business Pages will still be able to reach customers through “meaningful interaction”.

What is meaningful interaction to you and your business page?

  • To some businesses, it’s posting special offers for their followers
  • To others, it can be rewarding followers with a competition and prize giveaway

Both of these types of posts are affected by the new algorithm.

Facebook have said using “engagement-bait” (deliberate content to get people engaging) to encourage users to comment or share is not a meaningful interaction and these posts will be demoted in the News Feed of users (eg – they won’t see these posts!!).

Examples of “engagement-bait” include:

  • React baiting: Asking people to react to the post (includes like, love, haha, wow, sad, and angry)
  • Comment baiting: Asking people to comment with specific answers (words, numbers, phrases, or emojis)
  • Share baiting: Asking people to share the post with their friends
  • Tag baiting: Asking people to tag their friends

So, all those competitions that pages ran asking people to “like, comment & share” are exactly what Facebook don’t want to see anymore.

(ironically most of these tactics were being used to “beat” the previous algorithms!)

How can Business Pages get around this?

You should follow what Facebook wants from you, and post relevant content that they believe your followers want to see.

Begin by creating quality content (in our view this should always be your number one priority, regardless of social media platform) that you believe will start a conversation on your page (ideally this will be a conversation between fans of your page).

Highlight the personality of the business and use that voice and tone consistently throughout your posts.

Include questions in your posts that will generate interesting answers in the comments so that you can then interact with your audience.

What we seem to have forgotten in all of this is that the point of creating a Business Page was to interact and promote your offerings to customers.

We all just got too caught up in counting the number of followers and wondering who those three people from Malaysia looking at your page were!!

It’s time to bring it back to basics and start building relationships with the followers on your Pages again.

Or if all else fails…. Just turn to Facebook Advertising!  

Is this the real agenda of Mark Zucherberg?

Alma

Alma Brosnan is part of the Social Media Consultancy team at Fuzion Communications who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland


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