Archive for the ‘Corporate Social Responsibility – CSR’ Category

Learning from Emma!

March 19, 2018

Storm Emma

This St.Patrick’s weekend, the snow threatened once again and it brought the memories and huge impact of Storm Emma, The Beast from the East and our very own Snowmageddon flooding back.

While there was major disruption, which threw our little country into chaos the stories of communities banding together to look out for, and after each other during the worst of the snow was heartwarming to say the least and gives us a fantastic reason to celebrate our special Irishness!

Thanks to social media we were able to capture some of these gorgeous moments and preserve them forever.

 

 

 

Storm Emma

Across the country, businesses are still counting the cost of Storm Emma. For some, business may have been booming and for many others, their financial forecast may be gloomy.

So why don’t we try and reward that strong community spirit, witnessed by many of us during the storms and let’s focus on supporting local business!

Buying a coffee – why not try a local roast house instead of a chain, looking for bread, maybe think of your newsagent, or better yet, your neighbourhood bakery, looking for a good book, or even the newspaper, why not pop into your local bookshop?

Beast from the East

 

Beast from the East

Local spending is powerful, because it circulates within the local economy, paying wages for example, which are also…..yes, you’ve guessed it…..spent locally.  

So now that the memory of our storm has passed, let’s all do a little bit to keep supporting each other, at home, and in business…

Alison Nulty, Fuzion CommunicationsAlison

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

Listening and doing nothing

October 11, 2017

Donald Trump - Twitter

Right now, we are living in an ever increasingly strange era.

A bright orange barely human is in charge of the largest nuclear arsenal in the world, and seemingly quite anxious to have a go at using it.

His counterpart in the East – with equally baffling hair – is egging him on and approximately 7 billion people are at the mercy of their moods. This will go down as the dumbest period of human life on earth, or at very least, as the dumbest period of untethered “leadership” in the developed world. 

On a somewhat lighter (but connected) note, both Twitter and Instagram have made some small but significant changes to their platforms recently, in an attempt to improve users’ experiences making them easier and faster to use. 

As users of social media for the past ten or so years, we should be ok with ongoing updates where features that we know and love are “updated” (i.e. removed or positioned elsewhere on the platform, in an non-linear manner – yes, I’m looking at you Facebook for all the things that you’ve done to the time-line. #smt). 

As recently as June 2017, Grace Kim, Twitter’s head of research and design said “…with lots of feedback and ideas from you, we’re refreshing our product… We listened closely and kept what you love. And for the things you didn’t, we took a new approach to fix and make better,”. 

But its quite apparent that these companies are not listening to their users. 

In this turbulent time, where people carrying swastika flags, can declare themselves NOT nazis, (note – we are deliberately not giving these words the respect of Uppercase first letter) and use Twitter to publish messages of hate and violence, where threats of sexual violence can be made against people for “offences” such as not shaving their legs, or wanting to be referred to as she/her or he/his, where people can be called offensive terms by the president (he doesn’t a capital “P” either!) of the USA for taking a knee protest, neither changing profile pictures to circles nor increasing the character limit to #280 was not on anyone’s agenda. 

Mike Monteiro has been an outspoken member of the Twitter community asking for DT’s removal for repeatedly touting the terms of service of Twitter, writing on Medium he says “DT has been violating Twitter’s “rules” for years. Calling out individuals, entire ethnic groups, dog whistling his violent white supremacist base, taking on a Gold Star family, a US judge of Mexican heritage, retweeting a gif of Hillary Clinton being attacked, going after journalists. This is hardly acceptable behaviour for a regular human being, much less a US President. Twitter has, rightfully albeit slowly, banned other users for similar behaviour. 

Monteiro intelligently and correctly has spent considerable amount of time and effort engaging with @Jack and @Biz (Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO & Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter) highlighting the many instances of misuse of their platform by extremists (I’m including DT in that description…) and what should be done with them, according to their own Terms of Service.

By the levels of engagement between them, they clearly see what he’s saying, but they aren’t listening or are deliberately choosing not to do anything having listened. If they were, there would be less hoo-haa about #280 (which, lets face it, just makes Twitter a rubbish Facebook) and more about ensuring that users behaviour on Twitter was appropriate, respectful and not warmongering. 

In a similar manner, Instagram recently updated its app, allowing users greater functionality (to use multiple images in a single post, landscape and portrait modes, and, errr,  stickers, similar to Snapchat – you know those annoying floral headdresses and bunny rabbit noses? Yeah, those!!).

Some of the updates have been great – threaded comments, the previously mentioned multiple images per post, and Instagram Stories, but there is one simple thing that users have been crying out for, and that is a chronological order of posts. 

Clearly Instagram, much like Twitter, is a commercial endeavour, not some sort of altruistic venture, and its algorithm is built so that the advertising (which thankfully has become less invasive in recent months) is aimed at the correct target audiences, but forcing users into a system that they have clearly expressed as not being something that they want, is a sign that a company is clearly not listening to its user base. 

Perhaps the numbers won’t fall, perhaps we have all become immune to asking for something from a service, and never getting it, but surely that’s a strange set of behaviours to adhere to!

What does any of this to do with design?

Well, everything we do in Fuzion Communications is a reaction to a briefing from our clients.

They tell us what they need and what they want, and we take it from there. Design is a heavy mix of solution providing, communications and creativity, and as designers a huge part of our process is listening to our clients to provide them with creative work, that satisfies their brief. 

Ultimately, our design comes from listening.  

Phew…that’s off my chest!

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj - FuzionJonathan

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

 

How little is too little? Nothing!

March 21, 2017

Patrick Jones, Fuzion PR in Belarus

Many years ago, or at least it feels like it, I took part in a charity trip with my Alma Mater, Dublin Institute of Technology that would change my perspective on life for the better.

In my youth, my mind was set that only the big things counted and if you could only do something small, it won’t make much of an impact. How my mind was changed.

It was this trip to Post- Chernobyl Belarus, where I first realised how incorrect I was and that so much could be achieved with so little. An old rugby buddy from D.I.T organised and led the troop of my bright eyed and bushy tailed students from D.I.T and Ulster University Magee, Derry. None of us had been to this part of the world before and to our shame, knew a lot less about it than we should have.

The experience centred on raising money prior to the trip, and cycling from orphanage to orphanage to see what the money would be used for. Before we left for Belarus, we were cautioned that some of the young people we would be meeting were disabled, both physically and mentally, but in our naivety, little did we know what was in store.

When we arrived into the first orphanage in Rechista, the whole convoy was stopped in our tracks at the reception we received; hundreds of people, small children to young adults were standing outside waving flags and cheering to welcome us. Those who could, ran and walked to greet us, the others had little other choice but to wait till we moved up to them. (We found out later, the children had been waiting for this day since the previous year.)

The children put on a magnificent show to welcome us, and then the tour. After the initial shock was over, we noticed the disrepair the building and grounds were in, how little they had and how much they needed.

In the week we were there, and with the intention of just raising money for the orphanages; two disabled ramps got completed, a playground got finished, a garden area covered in clay got cleared and we put as many smiles as we could put on faces that truly needed them. Anything that needed to be done, we did, if we didn’t have the tools, we made do, but we did it.

By the end of the week, there were no tears left, nor were there regrets as even though we could only do a little, I know it meant a hell of a lot!

Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a littleEdmund Burke

Patrick Jones - Fuzion CommunicationsPatrick

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

 

What we do when no one is looking…

October 17, 2016

Cafe Velo - Cork

Rob runs Café Velo, one of the loveliest breakfast and lunch cafes here in Cork, Ireland. When I’m there, it’s as if I’ve walked back in time to when I lived in the 15th arrondissement in Paris.

Pastries are arranged behind the counter glass with artistic flair. The servers are just the right blend of warmth and chatty and the tea is served in delicate china.

I ran into Rob unexpectedly this week downtown – in a rare moment when he was not in his cafe. We stopped and chatted a bit and I casually asked about the single large book I glimpsed in the white shopping bag he was holding. Rob smiled and told me the book was for an elderly customer.

The man, in his eighties, reported in to Velo every morning for his daily scone. Except for this week when he suddenly did not appear. Rob inquired and learned the customer had had a stroke. And was in the hospital.

The man has no family to speak of. So Rob went out of his way on his own time to buy a book he thought the man would enjoy during his recovery. Now Rob was off to the hospital to pay the man a visit.

I was touched by the story and asked if I could write about it. Rob looked at me a bit embarrassed, but said, “Sure, go for it.”

So here it is!

I want to contrast a man like Rob with another man.

Rob was simply doing a kind thing. Without, in our day of Social Media marketing, even posting about it. Doing a kind thing when no one, he thought, was looking.

Donald Trump and his lewd comments

Compare that with that now notorious video, of a certain person running for US president objectifying women when the women weren’t present. Then he steps out of the van and “politely greets” one of the same women he had just talked so horribly about.

What we do when we think no one is looking says a lot about our true character, doesn’t it?

Not all men are the same. Rob’s act when he thought no one was looking was kind. And it was more than caring for a regular paying customer, it was caring of a fellow human being on this planet.

The more we can strive to get past race, religion and gender, and consider that we’re all just people together on this planet, perhaps we can all be a little kinder too.

Thank you, Rob, for a lesson all of us can learn from.

Gina London - Fuzion PRGina London

Gina London, a former Emmy award winning CNN anchor is a Strategic Communications specialist with Fuzion

Who is your most important customer?

August 15, 2016

Cakes - Fuzion

Last week our fantastic and very lovely graphic design intern, Marianne sent everyone in the team this mouthwatering email:

Morning, there are some home-made buns in the reception area should you fancy something sweet. They are cinnamon sugar and amaretto sugar buns (hope no one has nut allergies). Enjoy!

Enjoy?!!

They were absolutely delicious but more than that, this fantastic gesture by her was a brilliant way to make a connection with her fellow teammates on her first week.

This huge gesture blew me away and it got me thinking about customers and customer service.

The most important customers aren’t the crew out there that buy our goods and services, they are the people who work alongside us, day in and day out. Our bosses, our peers, our trainees, our interns – our relationship with these individuals is the most important one of all.

We spend most of our waking hours together and ultimately it is this group who will help to deliver your personal success, who will generate your income, who will make your days more enjoyable, who we need when we have problems and are under pressure.

Most of us can’t do it by ourselves and isn’t it much more fun when we do it together?

The most important customer is the person who works with you – look after them, treasure them.

Well done Marianne and thank you. You get it.

#WinHappy 

Greg Canty 

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

The Power of You – You have the Power!

August 3, 2016

Bressie - Cork Chamber , Power of You

I took some time out earlier this summer to go along to Cork Chamber’s 2016 Forum entitled, ‘The Power of You’, which looked at the benefits and importance of well-being in the workplace.

We heard from expert speakers including Mental Health champion & TV Personality, Niall ‘Bressie’ Breslin; World Champion and Olympic athlete, Olive Loughnane; Cork Football Performance Coach and Partner at Gazing Performance Systems, Conor McCarthy; Nutritionist, Lucy Hyland; and executive business coach, Barbara Nugent about the importance of Food, Fitness, and Focus and how making small changes can greatly enhance the professional performance of individuals and teams.

Power of You - Cork Chamber

There were a few things that stuck with me after the morning session, and if I’m feeling overwhelmed or stressed out now, which I’m sure many of you feel every so often, I bear these in mind.

They’re worth considering, so take a look and see what you think:

  • Conor discussed how multitasking is myth! The maximum number of things your brain can really focus on is three to four at any one time, so do just that, and stay on task.
  • Olive recommended spending at least 150 minutes on moderate exercise, or 75 minutes on high intensity exercise per week. This may seem like a lot, but when Olive put it in terms of taking this time out of the 144 hours there are in a week, it doesn’t seem like so much, and your excuse is just invalid!
  • Lucy reminded us that we all have the ability to make choices and we all have the ability to choose the things we control. It’s up to you to decide for yourself, so make sure you do.
  • Bressie spoke about how we should approach our brain and mental health in the same way as physical fitness, and understand that training takes years! He shared his five tips for creating a positive mindset and suggested trying them out for ten days;

These were:

  1. Limit/ avoid toxic people and environments
  2. Practice self-compassion – say one thing you’ve done that day that you’re proud of
  3. Gratitude – every morning before you hop out of bed, in your mind say 30 things that you’re thankful for
  4. Mindfulness – have 30 mindful moments each day
  5. Stop judging people!

Realise the Power Of You, and appreciate that you have that power!

Alison O'Brien - FuzionAlison O’Brien

Alison O’Brien is an Account Director with Fuzion PR & Marketing, who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

CSR – Starting from the ground up

February 1, 2016

Unless you were hiding under a rock in late January, you probably spotted details of a heart-warming story about how a “mystery” Cork bus driver helped a little old lady, making her day… and that of lots of people who heard the “heroic” tale.

In case you missed it, here’s a snapshot of the Facebook post that brought this little act of kindness to light…

Kind bus driver

Thanks to Clara’s post, news of this good deed spread around Cork and the entire country (and the world!) quickly… as you can see from the screengrab above, this number escalated and the post on Bus Éireann’s Facebook page has now been liked almost 100,000 times. The bus driver was quickly identified online by his sister and sister-in-law as William Harris.

Now I’m sure when William took just a minute out of his day to help his passenger it didn’t cross his mind again… after all this was just a genuine act of human kindness that I’d like to think any of us could have, and would have done.

Unfortunately though you don’t come across “William” on every bus journey, or train journey, or restaurant visit you make. But if I was “William’s” employer, I would certainly encourage all my staff to take a leaf out of his book – it’s nice to be nice, and it doesn’t cost a thing. A big message is that CSR doesn’t always require budgets!

Working in PR we see companies strive for Best Practice when it comes to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), but really if you think about it, it starts at grassroots level and is so simple. Once the foundations are in place and people buy into the idea, everything will fall into place. I’ve worked with so many clients over the years who have implemented simple, yet very effective, CSR initiatives and activities that genuinely make the staff feel good but also make a real difference.

Remember to do the little things, for one day you will look back and realise they were the big things!

Alison O'Brien - FuzionAlison O’Brien

Alison O’Brien is a Senior Account Director with Fuzion PR & Marketing who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Dunnes Stores – Building your Reputation

April 2, 2015

Dunnes Stores Strike

It was a strange thing – I heard news of the Dunnes Stores strike first thing this morning on Newstalk and immediately without hearing any of the detail I was on the side of the workers.

I wondered why did I think that automatically?

The truth is I never hear any good things about the company.

I don’t hear about charities they support, I don’t hear about a focus on Irish products,  I don’t hear about how they work closely with suppliers, I don’t see them being helpful on social media, I don’t hear about how much they contribute to the Irish economy and I don’t hear about new jobs that have created.

Instead I remember the strikes of old and the trouble and controversy that the company has had down through the years.

This doesn’t mean for a second that they do none of these things – it just means I don’t know about the good things they do and as a result when I hear a negative about them I tend to believe it.

When we use the words ‘building your reputation‘ it is a powerful analogy because your reputation is something that is built over time.

It is a culmination of all of the things you do; how you look after suppliers, your team and most importantly your customers. It also includes how you interact with the general community – while we are all in business to make a profit it is vital that we respect our environment and those around us and genuinely try to be a good, responsible corporate citizen.

Besides doing good it is vital that this is communicated clearly and effectively so that people understand that this is a business that genuinely cares about something more than just making money.

When an ill wind blows it is vital that your reputation has been built carefully and robustly so that it can withstand it easily and that you will have the support of your customers, investors, the media and the general public in these circumstances.

There is a strike at Dunnes

If a good job was done here our first thought when we hear this should be “They are a great company who are really responsible and fair – there must be two sides to that story

Build your reputation … it will protect you

Greg Canty

Fuzion with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland offer a full Crisis PR Service. Deirdre Waldron, (Partner) heads up the Crisis PR team, which includes former journalists, media training and social media expertise.

 

 

 

The Sponsor/Charity balance

November 17, 2014

Michael Flatley HB Hazelbrook Farm

The mutually advantageous alignment of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) with individual charities (i.e corporate financial involvement in return for charity association) is becoming more and more an integral part of corporate business strategies.

The benefits for both the charity and the commercial brand can be significant and cyclical. Alignment with a good cause can enhance brand consumer credibility while, in return, the charity receives funding and increased  awareness for campaigns. Brands may also donate a percentage of product sales and carry the charity branding on their products.

Support for a good cause creates awareness, changes perceptions of the corporate brand and draws new customers to the product, which provides opportunities for the corporate to engage with these new consumers in a positive way – and so on.

The compatibility of the sponsor to the charity is key to the success of any future relationship. That said, it is imperative that a ‘heads of agreement’ document is signed in advance of the launch of any campaign. This details the parameters within which all parties work and what is expected of and from the relationship. This will help to eliminate unnecessary misunderstandings at a later date.

When working for a charity on a corporate sponsorship campaign, I am mindful that while all parties must be paid due consideration, the charity is ultimately my client. Particular care must be taken where the client feels perhaps overly indebted to the sponsors, which could result in the charity’s message being diluted by the commercial message. If this happens it is detrimental to both parties as any association must appear as genuine to consumers.

From my experience, where this goals ranking is not followed, the CSR campaign may be incorrectly viewed as a paid promotions campaign. The charity and indeed the public accept the mutually beneficial relationship in most CSR campaigns but sponsors must also play their part in preserving the balance in this equation. Ideally the role of the corporate sponsor would be agreed as being an advisory one.

It is worth mentioning that there are other intangible corporate benefits to the CSR campaign including positive internal communication and an internal social contribution culture, which encourages employee engagement and motivation and increases company pride. Corporates would benefit further by actively involving its staff in its CSR campaign, so this should be built into the plans.

In terms of choosing a charity to work with there may be a cause that the employees have a particular affiliation with or there may be a natural association or connection with some specific charity?

This and other such questions should be explored at the initial stage in order that the corporate sponsor/charity partnership will be a good ‘fit’ for both parties. The prospective sponsor must decide what benefits might accrue from such an association with the elected charity. The selected charity must closely evaluate whether the package on offer is in their best interests including a good fit for the cause.

Helping any charity is a great thing to do. By carefully choosing that charity and working in partnership with them with the objective of maximising the benefits on both sides is where substantial long lasting value can be created.

Niamh McCarthy - Fuzion PR, DublinNiamh McCarthy

Niamh McCarthy is part of the Fuzion team who offer CSR consultancy  from  our offices in both Dublin and Cork.

CSR – A Reality, not a Buzzword

October 8, 2014

Tom's - Join our Movement

CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) has moved from being dismissed as a new-fangled buzzword to being regarded as a key business practice.

However, there remains a perception that larger companies are more likely to undertake Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives than SME’s as they have greater resources and capacity.

That isn’t and can’t be the case when you consider that over 99% of all enterprises in Ireland are SME’s that together employ over 800,000 people. CSR should apply to organisations of all sizes and sectors, while realising that the levels of CSR maturity and resources involved will naturally differ.

It’s more than bag-packing and community clean-ups, increasingly we at Fuzion are being asked by companies to provide root and branch evaluations of their CSR activities – an analysis of everything from how they communicate to, and treat, their employees, the environment and society to how they conduct their business and their relationships with customers.

From our consultancy work in this area, we know that CSR is a powerful branding and reputation driver that provides tangible benefits for businesses across the board.

This may seem very business focussed but whether we are consciously aware of it or not, we as consumers also pay increasingly more attention to how organisations operate, where and how they source and produce their services and goods, all of which influence our purchasing decisions. We are now much quicker to question intent and integrity. Just think of the evocative power of the phrase ‘locally sourced’.

That said, CSR programmes should not be pursued by businesses with the goal of profit making. They should be realistic and above all they must fit with the ethos and core values of the business.

But while it’s strength will be in its subtlety, a CSR programme must also stay relevant to the changing business environment, which is why planning and implementing a coherent strategy is chiefly important.

In our analysis, we look at the key pillars of CSR such as the Environment, Community, Marketplace and Workplace.

Environment

An environmental stewardship is how a company mitigates the negative impact it has on the landscape.

Recycling, waste and energy resource efficiency will not impact positively on the environment but a company’s bottom line in the long term. One of our clients, The River Lee Hotel, recently won the award of ‘Eco-Friendly Hotel of the Year’ which is a proud accreditation and testament to the hotel’s dedicated ‘green team’.

As customers, we want to see organisations taking their responsibility to the environment seriously so in turn this enhances consumer sentiment.

Safebook - Be safe online Community

Community is the pillar we most associate with CSR and while the vast majority of companies in Ireland engage in initiatives to support and finance local communities, they do so on an ad-hoc and informal basis which can lead to difficulties and a dilution of its effectiveness.

At Fuzion, we won a national Chambers Ireland CSR award for our international Safebook campaign, which was designed to encourage the responsible use of social media by young people.

Marketplace

The marketplace relates to how a company manages its relationship with its customers, suppliers and business partners. This centres on whether and how a company operates with societal and environmental consideration and ethics in the production and sourcing of its goods and services.

An incredible example of this is Tom’s Shoes. When you buy a pair of shoes a free pair is provided to someone in need!

 Workplace

The workplace underpins every successful business. To attract and retain the best talent, you must demonstrate a commitment to good workplace practices. Motivated and engaged employees deliver productivity, innovation and great customer service which contribute to a business’s reputation and success.

There are many practices that can help to achieve this such as offering flexible working arrangements, professional development opportunities and providing effective communication, leadership and people management to the more obvious and common health, sports and social benefits. Organisation culture and participation in award schemes also play a role in staff retention and talent acquisition which is hugely important for corporations in an ever competitive marketplace.

Zappos, the huge online shoe business have developed their own culture book which is available online.

From this overview, you’ll see that the power and scope of CSR activities as well as the benefits to society and businesses are immense and ever changing. Generating an understanding of its power and importance among companies is one of Fuzion’s goals, while practicing what we preach is our ethos.

Organisations who take a lead in CSR tend to be leaders in everything they do

Aoibhinn Twomey

Aobhinn Twomey is part of the Fuzion team who offer CSR consultancy  from  our offices in both Dublin and Cork.

 

 


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