Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

So you want a new logo?

June 22, 2022

You’re beginning a new business or rebranding a program in the education industry. You want to get the most out of your time and money spent on a logo, but you’re not sure where to begin or how to proceed.

Here are a few pointers from our team at Fuzion and how crucial you are to representing your brand:

  1. Strategise

Establish goals and a strategy with your designer and creative team. To ensure that everyone is on the same page, start with a creative brief. A creative brief defines your goals and how you intend to achieve them.

Who do you want to communicate with and what do you want to convey to them? Your creative brief identifies your target audience, establishes measurable goals, and specifies the steps you’ll take to reach them, as well as the resources you’ll employ. This guide will be used by you and your team as you work together to create your new brand identity.

  1. Do your homework

Getting a sense of what’s out there in the market and figuring out where you fit in is a good place to start. It’s critical to understand your “story”, the core values and the organisation culture, who you want to appeal to, and what those people respond to.

Discuss your customers with your designer. What are their customs, habits, needs and interests and how would you define their culture? Your logo must appeal to them, foremost. Also, who are your competitors and what does their brand say about them? Are you familiar with the standard branding conventions in your target market? Should you follow suit or be the business that stands out by not following trends and thinking outside the box?

  1. Communicate your brand’s narrative in a compelling way

Often, first impressions with a new prospective customer are defined and represented by your logo and the other supporting branding . You and the design team will collaborate to ensure that your identity properly communicates your brand story, armed with a solid understanding of your brand. Your new visual identity should reflect your company’s culture and product, service, or idea, what you do and who you are. What you show the world—your logo and any other encounters your customer has with your brand—must create credibility, build relationships, foster loyalty, and drive action in your audience. The designer’s role is to turn your story into a visual symbol that expresses what you’re trying to say. Your assistance is critical in making that translation possible.

  1. The Design Methodology

Creating an image that communicates non-verbally is the goal of logo design. You and our designers will communicate in a way that goes beyond the written word. You want your customer to feel good about themselves and be motivated. This can be accomplished by appealing to a person’s existing visual vocabulary or by challenging them with a new association.

Fluency in this style of communication is crucial when selecting colours, typeface(s), and image material, as well as deciding on shape, form, line, movement, pattern, and texture. Sensitivity to cliché, overuse, market trends, and what is tried and true for your audience are all important considerations. Your designer is aware of this and can assist you in sorting through all of the possibilities.

Collaboration, education, open-mindedness, exploration, and trust will all be part of partnering with our team of experienced designers. The whole project will benefit. Don’t be scared to push yourself beyond your comfort zone. Comfort can sometimes lead to something that appears to be an off-the-shelf solution…boring!!

Remember, your business is as interesting and one-of-a-kind as the clients you’re designing for! Few design decisions are made at random, so don’t be hesitant to inquire about the rationale or reasoning behind any aspect of the designer’s work. You’ll get an informed response every time.

Bringing examples of what you like and don’t like, to your designer, is a smart place to start. Often, the designer will provide an overview of the competitors logos as well as other design samples in your field. Being objective might be difficult at times, but keep in mind that you’re designing for your client. Try to keep an open mind if for example you hate green but all research points to it and your designer proposes it. Conversely, if you’re seeing a lot of green and you know your customers prefer a different colour scheme, don’t be afraid to tell us. When it comes to achieving the proper design for a project, everyone needs to be open-minded.

  1. Different types of logo designs

A simple Google search will demonstrate just how many different kinds of logo design approaches are out there. It’s an important question to ask your designer what style they feel will work for you, as certain styles may be more suited to your brand than others—stylistically, historically, and for practical reasons such as cost, timing, and as explained below, usage. Go ahead, have some fun, explore some different types of logos named below and see what resonates.

EXAMPLES: Symbols, The Wordmark, Initials, Seals, Crests, Enclosures, Combination Logos, Certification, Accreditation, and Network Logos.

  1. What is your main use case?

It is critical to consider all of your identity’s applications when designing. These are usually mentioned in your creative brief. Knowing these current and future use cases will aid the designers in making decisions that will ensure optimum legibility, consistency in appearance and impact, and the capacity for the logo to be reproduced accurately across all media. A brand guide can assist you and your team in directing the usage and use of your logo and identity materials in all scenarios, and is one of the components that Fuzion offer as part of a full visual identity package.

Here are a few identity-related use-cases:

Marketing Collateral: stationery, print brochures, posters, point of purchase displays

Online Marketing Materials: website banners, email header, email signature, social media avatars or icons

In-Motion: video, titling, animation, broadcast, 3D, motion graphics, etc.

Apparel: uniforms, name-tags, hats, tee-shirts and accessories

Signage: in-store signs, exterior signs, trade-show displays, vinyl banners, vehicle wraps, decals, badges, flags and more

Premium Items: printing on fabric, plastic, wood, glass, metal items, in single, multiple, or full-colour versions; engraving logo on glass, wood, or stone, etc.

Packaging: printing on paper, label stock, plastic, etc.

Product: durable impressions (printing, moulded, embossed, engraved) on glass, metal, fabric

  1. Make a great impression every time

How can you make your logo operate in a variety of settings? In the vast majority of circumstances, you’ll require multiple versions of your final logo, here are some examples:

• Horizontal and vertical proportioned copies of your brand mark.

• Full-colour, single-colour, grayscale, and black-and-white versions.

• A version without the tagline. If you want to produce different taglines for different market categories, do so now, in the proper style, rather than later.

• For smaller applications, create simpler versions (like a 10mm-wide mark on a credit card, for example)

• Simplified or abbreviated versions for various applications, such as dropping the name and only using the symbol on a product.

  1. How much should it cost?

Your logo is an investment—in your company, in your brand, in your team and in your customer.

As with any investment, how much you spend and where you spend it are critical to getting a good return for your money. Our responsible and experienced design team can structure a quote with line items for any or all of the project phases: strategy, research, preliminary sketches, meetings, revisions, final artwork, file preparation, style guide and more. The prices for each phase are typically based on estimated hours @ an hourly rate. Our estimates allow you to see how the fee is being allocated—for what service, and how much you are investing. Or you may receive a flat fee, with a description of what is included.

Last but not least

Your company and your customers’ relationship to you is symbolised by your logo. A thorough, informed, and thoughtful partnership on building a new identity, as well as competent brand execution and maintenance, can ensure that both you and your customer has a seamless experience with your brand.

Mark

Mark Kenny is part of the graphic design team with Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing and PR team with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland.

The Importance of Visual Assets in Effective Public Relations

May 11, 2022

A recent photocall by our wonderful Account Executive, Heather Lordan for Southern Comfort

As one of my favourite saying goes, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, and this couldn’t be more true when it comes to conveying an impactful PR campaign

Photocalls and visual assets are essential in PR to accompany a pitch for an article, case study, or press release. Strong imagery immediately amplifies the content, catching the reader’s eye straight away, and prompting their curiosity. 

Strong visual content can propel both the story and brand in a fun and effective way. My favourite part of building any campaign is brainstorming photocall ideas with the team and watching the story come to life from there.

Here are my top three reasons why I believe a striking photocall image is a worthwhile addition to any PR campaign:

Visual Storytelling 

A strong image will strengthen your campaign and engage the consumer in your brand story.

A flat image with a person holding up a branded sign offers nothing to the journalist or the reader. I always like to think outside the box here, exploring the use of dramatic colours, unusual props, and picturesque locations.

A photograph sets expectations about the tone and subject but It shouldn’t give away the whole story. The image should engage the curiosity, prompt the question and the caption and press release should offer the answer.  

Shareability

Social media is a great way to increase the reach of PR campaigns and create a conversation with your target audience.

Images are processed in the brain’s long-term memory, while words are processed in the short-term memory. If the image is captivating, people will be more likely to share which encourages their followers to find out more about the story.

I always encourage brands to share assets internally as it brings the team on the journey too.

A recent photocall by our creative Account Manager, Michelle Harrison for IACP

Increased Brand Awareness

Images make an immediate connection with your audience because they are less taxing on your attention.

If you have a great image to go with your story you will recieve more media coverage and as media coverage grows your brand will garner much more attention.

Quality media coverage not only secures share of voice for your brand but also establishes expertise and credibility – a priority in the world of Public Relations.

So, next time you have a great story that is worthy of media attention spend time and attention with your team and your press photographer to capture those special images, because they are probably worth more than 1,000 words!

Stephanie Stafford 

Stephanie is an Account Director with Fuzion Communications, a full service PR agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland. Stephanie is known for her innovative approach to PR as well as her diverse range of agency and in-house communications experience. 

Dinner is at Olivia’s ….!

January 31, 2022

At Fuzion, we like to share lots of things between the team, not just work related, so, recently we asked the team to share their favourite food to cook, and we got an insight into all of our cooking skills, some good, some bad and some great!

My favourite is slow cooked Spaghetti Bolognese, in particular because when cooked this way the mince tastes so delicious.

I could tell you that it was a family recipe handed down from generation to generation but I saw it on Instagram posted by the lovely Sandra Murphy (@sandrainthecity), the ex proprietor of The Rising Tide bar and restaurant and now a friend.

For me it can be either a treat or an every day meal, but it is glorious on a chilled out day when you have the time to potter around and allow the delicious smell of the dish to get those hunger pangs going.

While many would drink a fine red with this dish I just love it with a glass of chardonnay and my perfect guests for this very special meal are my lovely family!

The how to.. Slow cooked Bolognese

Ingredients – for 4 people

1 large onion

3 garlic cloves

1 red chilli

Carton of passata

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tin of plum tomatoes

1 tablespoon of tomato puree

1 beef stock cube

Mixed herbs / oregano (optional)

500g beef mince – less than 5% fat

Chop the onion, garlic and chilli – add to a pan, heat them, do not brown them, just soften. Add the mince meat

Once the mince is browned, add a carton of passata, the tin of tomatoes, the tomato puree and the beef stock cube.

Then add the mixed herbs. Cook on a medium heat for approx 3 hours, keep checking so that it’s not bubbling too much. The sauce will reduce here. Once ready, boil the spaghetti to your liking and serve…

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Olivia

Olivia Trought is the Office Manager with Fuzion Communications, Marketing, PR and Graphic Design from offices in Dublin and Cork.

When passion meets work, work becomes a hobby!

June 8, 2021

Ever since I was a young child I loved creating things.

Drawing pads, colouring pencils, glue and scissors were my best friends. I was one of those kids that was never bored and always felt like there weren’t enough hours in a day to do everything that I wanted to do and bring all my crazy ideas to life.

I was keeping myself occupied making cardboard furniture for Barbie dolls, big cardboard houses, cars and trains for me and all the kids living in the apartment blocks nearby. I even made sure that each of them had a name and badge like real cars did, except they were all made up by me. When I think of it now, they were very similar to the cardboard colouring houses that a lot of supermarkets were selling lately to keep children busy during the lockdown. If there was such a thing as Covid back then I would have made a fortune on them!

When I was 10 I started making exercise books for young children. They included colouring pages, crosswords, handwriting exercises and anything else I could think of. I used to “design” and draw every single page of the book by hand and get it photocopied so that I could give a copy to all my neighbours with young kids.

When I got older I got more into drawing, painting and writing. I have a collection of short stories and poems that I wrote as a teenager. My creativity had no limits and I had this never-ending urge to express it in every possible way.

My brain never takes a break and is always “on the go”, constantly coming up with new ideas. I wish my body didn’t need any rest so that I could work on them and bring them to life as soon as the light bulb lights up in my head. It’s so frustrating when you want to do so many things and your body refuses to cooperate!

When I was finishing secondary school and needed to pick a career path, I had no doubt about what to choose. I picked the Visual Communications course in Cork Institute of Technology and loved every single minute of it and when I say every single minute I really mean it… that also includes all the sleepless nights that I spent working on college projects in order to meet the deadlines. Nothing beats the feeling I got the following day when I was treating myself to a delicious hot chocolate, minutes after handing in the project that I worked on until 5am that morning! It felt good because I knew I put all my heart into it and the satisfaction I got out of it was stronger than the tiredness. 

I always knew that whatever I end up doing in life, it will have to be something creative, and so, the exercise books that I used to make as a child turned into brochures, annual reports and all kind of booklets. The cardboard cars turned into innovative signage solutions and the made up car badges’ turned into powerful and professional brands that serve clients for years. I turned my life-long passion into a way of living and the fact that it brings me money is like winning a lottery. 

I love bringing clients’ ideas to life and seeing their excitement when what I’m giving them is exactly what they needed and more.

Graphic design is a combination of art, creative thinking, problem solving and a little bit of mind reading!

As a designer you really have to tune into the client’s thoughts to figure out what they’re looking for, and a lot of the time they don’t even know what they’re looking for until you show it to them! Getting it right the first time is the best feeling ever and to get it right the first time you have to truly love and enjoy what you do. If you put your heart into something you can never fail.

Make sure that whatever you do in life, it sparks your soul and makes you feel alive.

#WinHappy

Martyna

How I survived a year of Working From Home!

April 16, 2021

Many of us have a variation on the story now, but in March of 2020 I found myself working from home as a full-time employee for the first time. I make the full-time distinction as I had worked for myself and on my own terms for a few years, but this was different.

Or was it?

In actuality it turned out that the lessons and good habits I had developed prior to re-joining full-time about 6 years ago, were very much still applicable.

When we decamped to our home workspaces in March of 2020 “for a few weeks” we weren’t to know what a paradigm shift it would be. At Fuzion, we had to hit the ground running as some of our clients became extra-busy, especially our design clients, so there wasn’t a lot of time to adapt. Luckily there were some quick hacks that could be applied to make for a productive and positive work from home situation. Here are some of my favourite tips that allowed me to survive and thrive in a year of WFH.

Segregate your work and home life, even if just in your head.

After all, how do you avoid bringing work home, when you work from home? Little mind-hacks can be a great help. For example, you can create a home mood or a work mood, through use of light and sound. I’ve back-lit my Mac, which is only on during work hours and I have taken our Fuzion Design favourite radio station BBC Six Music with me, which I only play during work hours.

After all, Techno Tuesday is great for focus and it just may save your life. When it’s time to stop, the Mac goes off, the lights change and I swap the radio for a playlist or TV.

A Good Workspace is Key.

Many of us kicked off last March on sofas or at kitchen tables. Try and avoid this, get a desk that you can keep just for work. Use a comfortable chair, that you can roll away at end of day. Pay attention to ergonomics as you’ll be sitting there 8 hours a day. Keep your workspace minimalist and uncluttered, distraction free. Apply the same to anything in your peripheral vision, if you can.

Remember to Stand.

Your back will thank you and your focus will thank you. Heck, if you have to, do as Haruki Murakami said and Dance, Dance, Dance. Especially if it’s techno Tuesday. Who’s to stop you? (Magic Carpet Ride by the Mighty Dub Katz is on the radio as I type, be right back).

Choose to Commute.

Take a walk in the morning or the evening straight after work. As much as you might think you don’t miss a commute, the post-work exercise helps reset your brain. Take a camera with you so that you’re always watching out for a good photo and engaged with and interested in your environment, even if you walk it every day. That’ll also help you stretch your eyes after a day of staring at a screen. Some days do the route in reverse! Every bit helps.

Keep good work practices.

Filing, admin, communication. Manage and track your time, keep notes to mitigate the COVID brain fog. Use tools that suit your new work environment. Whether for note taking, collaboration or file transfer. Don’t have a NAS server? Use Google or Dropbox or other collaborative file sharing tools to ensure that your shared files remain in a central location and are always up to date.

Have a department chat group or Slack (we use Google Chat). It’s great for quick questions or a bit of idle chit chat (not to be underestimated).

Get up, get dressed!

Get dressed for work every day, even if you’re only going to be seen on Zoom. If you have to plan what to wear the night before, you’ll instantly feel organised the next morning. Pride in your appearance is great for instilling some positivity and good for your mental health. The ritual of getting ready is familiar and helps you get in a work frame of mind. Don’t worry too much about dress code, but dress in a way that makes you feel good and ready to have a good day.

Watch your breaks

Have a good breakfast and stick to your lunch breaks. Taking breaks is important, even if to stand up and step out of the room. Don’t overdo the breaks either, remember you are at work and if you’re a designer too, you’ll know it ruins that sense of flow we so often need.

Don’t be a hermit

Network, stay in touch with peers, whether via social media or otherwise. Use organised feeds to ensure you’re getting enough good news and inspiration. Avoid doom-scrolling on social media by making lists that you can check in on. If you’ve to catch up with a colleague, take a few minutes extra and do it by video, studies have shown the positive effects of that level of human engagement (see wired article TBC). Even a short DM chat to touch base with a colleague can help your team grow.

Make time for the team. At Fuzion we have a semi-formal Monday morning catch up and briefing. At week’s end it’s Fuzion Friday – which is as informal as you get and a nice way to finish your week. When you’re out for a walk, arrange to meet a friend for a coffee or a chat, even just to feel normal. Especially if you live alone. Just because you’re WFH doesn’t mean you have to be be a hermit.

Be flexible.

For some people. Standard office hours won’t always work when you’re at home. Small people (children) and home life can interrupt. Plan your work when it’s practical, even if that’s earlier in the morning or later into the evening. Enjoy the flexibility, rather than fighting against it.

Take pride in achieving that balance.

Sh!t Happens

Remember, sh!t happens and it’s rarely the end of the world. If the server goes down, your Zoom will only show you as a cat, or a colleague can’t find files at the last second, don’t sweat it. You’re all doing brilliantly. We ARE all in it together. Stay positive. Positivity is contagious.

Thanks for coming to my TED talk!

Mark

Mark Kenny is a Senior Graphic Designer, part of the Graphic Design team with Fuzion Communications who provide a full print and digital design from offices in Dublin and Cork.

A Clever way to use a podcast: Nano Nagle Place

April 15, 2021

When it comes to your Digital Marketing, a very clever way of making your organisation or brand stand out could be to start your own “Podcast Show“, effectively creating your own unique Media Channel to reach your target audience.

Podcasts can be a very powerful addition to your digital assets, whereby your audience get to hear from your team, hear about the important issues and how you are unique, all in your own voice. Someone listening to just one episode can be worth so much more than ‘liking’ an image on Instagram or Facebook and will create a much deeper, long lasting connection with you

Internationally, there are about 800,000 podcasts, making up almost 30 million episodes in 100 languages. Just 250,000 of these are “active” using the criteria of published in the last month. The people that subscribe and listen to podcasts tend to be extremely loyal to them and follow a listening routine.

Podcasts are perfect for the commuting, gym going demographic who want to be entertained and educated while they go about their daily tasks but can’t watch their screens and also those who are curious and want to delve into topics in a much deeper and more meaningful way.

The beauty of the podcast format is that it is so flexible and it can be used in so many special ways to do quite different jobs, from listening to an expert talking about their subject matter to even bedtime stories for children!

The podcasts can be featured on your website, included in email campaigns and used as very valuable social media content.

Nano Nagle Place Podcast

In the case of the Nano Nagle Place podcast, we were approached by the very innovative team there and they wanted to tell the very special story of the transformation of the near derelict, but hugely significant South Pres site in Cork city, to the fantastic place that they have today including a Visitor Centre, Gardens, Restaurant, Archives, Meeting Rooms and home to the Ministry, which includes the Lantern Project, the Men’s Group and the Cork Migrant Centre.

In order to tell this very special story we agreed to record a series of interviews with a large cast of very special characters and we created a podcast “Show” and a sequential series of “episodes” , each telling the story of the transformation of the place, but also providing a huge insight into the history, the characters, the personalities, the diversity, the ethos, the vision and the sacredness of Nano Nagle Place, which touches everyone that works and visits there.

In the clever series we hear about:

  • Nano Nagle’s Story
  • Life as a nun in a closed order
  • The love of teaching and the need for creativity
  • Life in inner city Cork
  • The planning and thinking behind the development
  • The challenges with the redevelopment of the old buildings
  • Planning permission, funding challenges and rebuilding
  • The special work of the Presentation Order in Ireland and overseas
  • The passion of everyone involved
  • The retirees who volunteer as tour guides and as coordinators in other activities
  • Transformational and innovative work with migrants
  • Famous Cork DJs bringing joy to migrant children through Hip Hop
  • A vision to take Nano’s work into the future

All of this story is delivered with passion by the cast of Sisters, team members and volunteers from all walks of life, who have all fallen under Nano Nagle’s spell, as you will hear in the podcast series.

We are really proud to have been part of this podcast series, all of which was recorded during Covid in conditions that were not ideal, over Zoom, in rooms with socially distanced guests and open windows, but I hope you agree they have captured the magic of the Nano Nagle story.

We were part of the planning, we created the show graphics, we recorded and edited all episodes and I had the privilege of hosting these wonderful conversations.

You can hear the first episode of the podcast series here featuring he very special Sr. Mary Dineen who said goodbye to her mum and walked into South Pres as a novitiate on a sunny day in September 1955, a closed order at the time. She tells her fascinating story in huge detail, providing a unique perspective of her life and insights into educating children from inner city, working class Cork.

Click here to hear the episode with Sr. Mary Dineen

This is just a small example of the power of podcasting, a unique way to reach your audiences and tell a story in a special way that is captured for today and for posterity.

Greg 

Greg Canty is the producer of this and other client podcasts and his own, ‘Win Happy’ podcast. We offer a full podcasting production service to clients..

Why is having a sense of purpose so important?

March 15, 2021
Joe Caslin - IACP Mural

Why is having a sense of purpose so important?

What is ‘purpose’ and why is having one so important? Purpose can be described as the reason for which something exists or is done, made, or used.

To me, I don’t think anyone has a set purpose for their whole life, I think it changes throughout our lifetime, naturally changing as our life ebbs and flows. I see purpose as both striving to achieve a goal and a specific outcome but also enjoying the journey while you’re on it, working towards something but enjoying what you hope you will someday achieve.

Working on your ambitions and personal goals while also potentially changing the lives of other people, is one of the reasons I enjoy what I do. Feeling like the work you do has a purpose and a meaning is one of life’s greatest joys.

I’m a strong believer in manifesting what you want in life, and last year, when I began my journey with Fuzion I wrote down a goal of mine; to work with a mental health organisation. Being a big advocate for mental health myself, I wanted to feel as though I was doing some good and helping others as much as I could in my day-to-day life; any little part I could play.

Joe Caslin - IACP Mural

When we got to pitch to work with the IACP I knew it was an account I had to work on.

Working alongside them last year and launching their national ‘Look After Yourself‘ campaign was one of the highlights of my year. From team brainstorms to reaching out to strangers, with notes in their door to see if we could put a mural on the side of their house (we’ll do anything to get the job done, us PR folk!) to reaching out to Joe Caslin and seeing his vision of the campaign come to life in a mural on Montague Lane in Dublin was an exceptional moment for me and no doubt my Fuzion colleagues too.

This campaign sought to shine a light on men’s mental health, to break the stigma surrounding toxic masculinity and to encourage young men to see therapy as something they shouldn’t be ashamed of doing, and instead encourage each other to seek help if they need it.

There is no shame in asking for help, and although there is still a lot of work left to be done to break the stigma of therapy, we do hope this campaign started a conversation and even encouraged one person to seek help.

Not only did this campaign, I hope, help others but it also helped me achieve my sense of purpose. I would consider working on this campaign not only a highlight for me but the most noteworthy moment in my career thus far and I plan to be talking about it for years to come!

Michelle Harrison , Fuzion Communications

Michelle

Michelle Harrison is part of PR team at Fuzion Communications, working from our Dublin office

The Importance of Staying Visible..

February 8, 2021

No matter what way you look at it, the Covid-19 pandemic has been a trying time for everyone. But as the saying goes, ‘with every cloud there is a silver lining’ – which in my view has been the drastic business transformation and surge of digitisation that we have experienced over the past year.

There has never been a time when staying visible online has been more important for business survival.

With doors closing around the country due to the on-going Covid-19 level 5 restrictions, many businesses have had no choice but to adapt ‘from bricks to clicks’ in order to remain viable.

At Fuzion, we work closely with the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs), to help share the stories of the hundreds of micro-enterprises and SMEs around the country with media – in the hope that it will encourage and inspire others who may be looking to start or grow their business – or for those struggling, to contact their Local Enterprise Office for support.

Through this work, I have been fortunate enough to work with some amazing LEO client businesses from all over Ireland – helping to share their stories of how they have adapted / pivoted (…..even battled) through the pandemic and how they have come out the other side with the help and guidance of the LEOs.

The LEO Trading Online Voucher has had particular impact across the country – with over 13,000 TOV’s approved in 2020…… That’s a whopping 13,000 businesses supported with developing or enhancing their online presence!

From this work, my little nuggets of advice to any small business would be:

  • If you haven’t already, contact your nearest LEO – they provide so much support in terms of business advice, mentoring and grants such as the TOV mentioned above, Business Continuity Vouchers, Feasibility Grants and so much more
  • Again, if you haven’t already – get online! A website ideally or a social media channel where you can keep your customers updated, share new products, blogs etc.
  • Try to think outside the box – now is the time to create a new branch for your business or solution for your customers – take the chance it could pay off!
  • Work on your ‘story’ in three short paragraphs & engage with local media to share your story or share via short blogs / social posts
    • How/Why you started the business
    • How your business adapted / transformed – (including any relevant figures such as online sale growth Vs 2019)
    • Any future plans that you have for your business – ie. new employees, overseas expansion, new stockists etc.
  • Good quality, high resolution photography is a must if engaging in any PR / online activity
    • Know your angles
    • Use colourful props or something that explains your business in the shots
    • Images can be taken by a PR photographer or on your smartphone with a family member or friend if taken landscape
  • Create video content – whether it’s short 30’ second “Meet the Team” videos or a “Hero Video” explaining your business proposition – it is an engaging way to reach your audience
  • If you are a sole trader or very small business – it can be an isolating place – join a network or reach out to professionals (such as ourselves 😉) if you need a sounding board or business support
  • Be consistent and persistent
    • Stay visible & keep plugging and reminding people of why you are so great and why they need your products / services!
    • Use social media advertising and Google Ads to your advantage – with so much competition online – it pays off to pay a little!
    • Connect and talk to your audience online – ask them questions and engage – you might learn something new!

Much of this you may already know – but I hope it has helped just to be reminded or re-energised your motivation!

Most of all it is important to know that the opportunity is there for those who wish to dive head first into the challenges – the decision is ultimately yours whether to stay the way you are or take the plunge!

Suzanne Meade, Fuzion CommunicationsSuzanne

Suzanne Meade is an Account Manager with  Fuzion Communications, who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

My Fuzion highlights by Alison O’Brien

November 26, 2020

Irish War Crimes

Fresh out of college in October 2006, having just graduated with my Masters in Public Relations from Dublin Institute of Technology, I moved home to Cork with the ambition of bagging myself my dream job in PR. After doing my research and seeing who was who in Cork, I was delighted when Dee and Greg said they would meet me for a coffee.

I had my first “official interview”, which thankfully was more like having a chat with old friends, in The White Horse in Ballincollig, which incidentally became one of my very first clients!

I liked the sound of Fuzion, and they liked the sound of me, and so my PR career was borne!

On January 7th, 2007, I joined Dee and Greg in Fuzion as their first employee, working from their home. Dee and I shared an office, and I learned the ropes from one of the best in the business. I was thrown straight into the midst of consumer PR working on Danish fashion brands b.young and ICHI

Days were filled with drafting press releases, coordinating advertising campaigns, and creating press packs, which at that time involved hours of burning product images onto CDs, and packing up lovely goodies to send to fashion journalists in Ireland’s top titles. The reward was when I would get big envelopes in the post in the weeks that followed, these envelopes contained press coverage!

Yes actual press clippings; there was no such thing as receiving a daily email with your clippings automatically uploaded onto a server for you – you had to scan each one carefully and save every column inch of coverage for the client – but I loved it. There was the work I was doing, featured in national titles!

Early in 2007, we had our first team planning meeting to discuss how we were going to put Fuzion on the map, and get ourselves noticed. This meeting also happened to be the first ever Fuzion Friday! Ideas flowed, and so did the wine.. and the rest is history!!

Fuzion Friday became a regular fixture on the Fuzion weekly calendar, and to this day is an opportunity for the Fuzion team to sit back, share time together and relax after putting in a hard week’s work. On the odd occasion Fuzion Friday lunches turned into Fuzion Friday after work drinks – but as the saying goes, “work hard, play hard”!

In my early years with Fuzion, I would say that my car could have driven on autopilot to Killarney, as I was up and down the road so often, working on a variety of clients in The Kingdom, from the Killarney Outlet Centre to Killarney Golf and Fishing Club to Christmas in Killarney. All these projects gave me great experience, and I worked with lots of people who were passionate about doing great work in their community. 

The summer of 2007 saw Fuzion work on Tour de Munster for the very first time, which today remains Fuzion’s longest standing client!

Tour de Munster

It has been an honour to work on this charity cycle, which has raised phenomenal funds for various beneficiaries over the years. Today the main beneficiaries are the Munster branches of Down Syndrome Ireland; but the beneficiary in 2007 was the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland (CFAI), and our work with them through Tour de Munster led to us working with the association on an ongoing basis for a number of years.

Working on charity campaigns has been a highlight of my time with Fuzion, but none more so than when we worked with CFAI on what was, literally, a life changing campaign for so many in 2009.

After years of empty and broken promises, the CFAI had lost total and utter confidence in the Department of Health, the HSE and Minister Harney; and decided to take action into their own hands. They challenged the HSE/ Department of Health to honour the commitment given publicly in 2008 to fulfil the promise of having the dedicated CF Unit operational in St Vincent’s by 2010.

We worked with CFAI on a very high profile and evocative campaign, fronted by CF Campaigner Orla Tinsley, entitled  ‘Irish War Crimes’. I was at home one evening when I got a call from Dee to say that the government agreed to honour the commitment to deliver on the vital, dedicated CF unit – this was the proudest moment of my PR career to date and I cried with joy – what we were doing was making a real difference. Our work on this campaign was acknowledged with an Award For Excellence in PR in 2010 for “Best Public Affairs Campaign”.

Mid 2010 saw me take a sabbatical, when I worked with The Hope Foundation for one year as PR/ Media Coordinator, putting into practice everything I had learned on working on charity campaigns to that point. But I missed the variety of working with an agency on a broad range of clients; and so I was fortunate to be able to rejoin Fuzion in 2011 with a refreshed mindset!

Since then I’ve been lucky to work on great clients in an industry that’s changing constantly. There’s so much more to the job than pure PR nowadays, and managing successful campaigns includes everything from strategic planning and implementation to event conceptualisation and management; media relations to sponsorship negotiation; crisis management to social media management, implementing national advertising campaigns to graphic design liaison; so much more, and everything in between.

Over the last few years I’ve been particularly inspired by young entrepreneurs I’ve worked with through UCC’s IGNITE programme and the Local Enterprise Offices’ ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ competition – these startups are Ireland’s future, and it’s been an honour to help them and advise them on their journeys.

One of the highlights of my time in Fuzion has to be the great colleagues I’ve worked with, many of whom have become what I know will be lifelong friends.

Doreen O’Mahony deserves a special mention as she was my first “Fuzion friend”. She started a few months after me, and was my partner in crime for the first few years. Together, we “held down the fort” when Dee and Greg took a well earned break for their honeymoon in December 2007. We still talk about how we were having nightly dreams about work, so concerned that we would do everything right so that Dee and Greg could return home knowing their baby was in safe hands! 

Today, as Fuzion celebrates 20 years in business, it still is in safe hands, with a passionate, dedicated, and much larger team behind Dee and Greg, helping to “drive the bus”!

Alison O'Brien, Fuzion CommunicationsAlison O’Brien

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


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