Archive for the ‘Crisis PR’ Category

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

The Power of Communications in a Crisis – Updates from professionals across Europe

April 2, 2020

Fuzion Communications are members of a pan-European network, the Crisis Communications Network Europe, which is made up of independent Communications agencies who offer a significant Crisis PR service in each different country.

The rationale for this network is to have a strong group of like minded, connected agencies that can handle Crisis PR situations for clients when these crises extend beyond national borders.

When it comes to a crisis that extends beyond borders there is no better example than the COVID-19 crisis that has affected everyone.

On the Win Happy podcast, I invited a senior person from each agency in the network to discuss the crisis and in particular:

  • The status of the crisis in each country
  • How government have reacted
  • How good the communications have been
  • The media role in these communications
  • The reaction of the general public

It is clear listening to the really interesting discussion, that we can see the huge difference that strong communications can make in a crisis and and it can literally help to save lives.

Trusted, responsible government, leading by example, powerful gestures, quick action, honest briefings, strong and accurate media reporting and the public response are all key factors that determine the success of the communications and the fate of so many in each country.

The members that featured on the podcast were from Italy, Spain, Germany, Denmark, Ireland, England, Netherlands, Austria and Belgium.

You can listen to the show by clicking here.

Enjoy the show..

Greg

Greg Canty is a Managing Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer a full Crisis PR service from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland 

 

Not all heroes wear capes, some wear a press badge.

March 27, 2020

Media

I am very proud of Ireland and how we are responding to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Doctors, pharmacists and nursing staff are heroes and showing up to fight this crisis day in, day out, Ireland Vs Covid. As our Taoiseach said, “not all heroes wear capes”. Corny, but also very true.

The less championed hero is the media.

The Irish media are doing a stellar job. Behaviour change is essential in Ireland’s response to this pandemic and the press are key to this. They are the ones that set the tone and keep the message relevant and fresh in the public’s mind. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, keep your distance.

The media are also front line workers and putting their health and in some cases, lives, at risk in order to save lives.

On top of all of this, they have been forced to learn new ways to do their job.

From Newstalk’s Ciara Kelly reporting from her hot press, Claire Byrne hosting her show from her garden shed while at home suffering from Covid 19, to Ryan Tubridy presenting the Late Late Show to an empty audience.

This is all a stark reminder of the new reality of our lives. News media has been forced to work remotely and adapt and innovate in ways they never have. Print newspaper teams are working from home and are still managing to deliver breaking news and put together a daily paper from multiple locations.

Who said print news is dead and can’t adapt?

These are unprecedented times, and we all need to become accustomed to a new way of living.

It has been said several times that this is the calm before the storm. It is possible that we may all forget the new behaviours that have become our new normal as we settle into new patterns and routines. We may stop singing happy birthday every time we wash our hands. We may forget that touching our face is not allowed, or get sick of staying inside in a few weeks.

But it is the media who will ensure this does not happen by reinforcing the message and continuing to remind us that this is a marathon, not a sprint. We must all play our part.

The next time you are washing your hands for 20 seconds, think of the heroes reporting from around the country who are making sure you don’t become complacent and are who are literally saving lives by helping a nation to change its behaviour. The media play a key role in our society, and this crisis demonstrates that.

Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear a press badge.

#JournalismMatters

Ciara Jordan - Fuzion CommunicationsCiara

Ciara Jordan is an Account Director with Fuzion Communications and she leads the media training team, from our offices in Dublin and Cork.

Covid-19 Communications and Staying Safe

March 10, 2020

The recent news of Covid-19 or coronavirus coming to Ireland is of concern to us all. I am sure you are as glued to the quickly evolving story as we are. 

The HSE is advising the risk of catching Covid-19 in Ireland is still low to moderate, but this may change. However, most people continue to go to work, school and other public places, as usual.

While this advice is still in place, it is best practice to introduce some measures in your workplace such as hand sanitiser at entry points and clear advice about hand washing,  to keep your team and workplace visitors safe and to avoid any possible spread of the virus.  

It is also advisable at this stage to review contingencies around remote working, if this is feasible for all or some members of your team. Another practical approach would be considering remote business meetings, using tools such as Skype, Zoom, Google Meet or Microsoft Teams, so that travel is kept to a minimum. 

Our design team in Fuzion have created an infographic based on the HSE advice that you can use in your office to encourage good hand hygiene. You can get a high resolution version of this poster here

Covid-19 infographic

As well as the potential health impact of Covid-19, we are already seeing economic implications of the virus and your business could be affected during this time of uncertainty. 

The Department of Business, Enterprise  Industry have developed a Business Continuity Checklist that is well worth checking out here.

The Role of Communications

If your business is at risk of being affected, you may have a possible communications crisis issue. In this scenario it is best to ensure you follow the below important steps that we have shared with all of our clients. 

When a crisis occurs, the need to communicate is immediate. Simple steps to ensure this happens can streamline this process:

1- Agreed Spokespeople

When a crisis occurs, it is best to choose spokespeople most suitable for the situation. Identify your key spokesperson and brief them on what’s happening as well as how your organisation is going to move forward. Then move quickly to respond internally with those messages to your employees. The point here is to quickly alleviate any internal fears or concerns in the workforce. 

2– Set up a group on email or Whatsapp only reserved for the crisis with key spokespeople

Crises tend to happen when you least expect them so Whatsapp is recommended so spokespeople can be contacted out of office hours. This group should only have the spokespeople and appropriate decision makers. 

3- Act as soon as possible

If it is not possible to give a comment immediately, ensure the journalist is asked for a deadline and the organisation will get back to them asap. 

If required, Fuzion can assist you with the response to a crisis, or act as a “gatekeeper” for you with the media.  The earlier Fuzion is contacted, the better in order to effectively respond to a crisis or a journalist query for a statement and minimise any damage a crisis can create. 

4- Agree a response/Statement as soon a crisis occurs

In the case of Covid-19, it is best to have a statement prepared so your business demonstrates it is ready and prepared for such a serious issue. This statement should outline how the business has prepared for the crisis and plans to move forward. 

5- Social Media

If appropriate, share your statement on social media and if a crisis happens on social media, it is advised where possible to take the conversation offline and discuss matters either on direct mail or email. 

6- Create a means for monitoring

Once you’ve determined the channel of distribution for your message, monitoring responses is equally critical. 

Careful planning and preparation should encourage readiness for any possible crisis.

However, situations will arise in organisations that may require expert advice and in this case, you can contact Fuzion’s Crisis Communication team here

 

Advice on Covid-19

Advice on Covid -19 from Public Health bodies such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Health Service Executive (HSE) is to minimise infection risk thorough hand-washing, isolating ourselves if we are ill, and avoiding touching our faces. More information on personal care can be found here.

While the period ahead is uncertain, if we can calmly prepare for the unexpected we will be in a much better position to face any possible escalation of the crisis. 

Stay safe and with best wishes

Ciara Jordan and Deirdre Waldron on behalf of The Fuzion Team

 

Crisis communication, coronavirus and the communication tidal wave

February 17, 2020

coronavirus crisis pr

Camera crews filming outside the company headquarters, a mass of media enquiries and employees with a pressing need for information – when new viruses like the coronavirus run rampant and pictures also appear in the main news stories of a deserted Chinese city home to millions of people, stress levels rise in internationally active businesses and crisis units.

Because epidemics like SARS or the coronavirus can completely disrupt operational processes (https://www.manager-magazin.de/politik/weltwirtschaft/newsblog-zum-corona-virus-a-1304435.html), they can lead to temporary site closures, as in the case of the Bavarian automotive supplier.

Against this backdrop, many questions arise within crisis management, including:

  • How does working alongside health authorities actually work? Who speaks to whom and when? And who has authority over whom?
  • What do we do when the virus is directly associated with the company?
  • Which course of action do I choose: Only implement what has been arranged in consultation with the authorities? Or do we go above and beyond, taking additional measures that will be advantageous to our public image?
  • How best to include affected employees?
  • And how do we handle what experience shows will be a tidal wave of media interest?
  • What do pandemics actually mean for customer relations?
  • And what if the crisis team is sent into quarantine?

Crisis prevention is half the battle

In crisis communication, it is common knowledge that crisis prevention is half the battle. But are companies actually prepared for crisis situations associated with epidemics?

Probably not, because events like the coronavirus are rare. Crisis management generally has more experience with crises such as classic product recalls, serious industrial accidents, or economic issues involving site closures or job losses.

Nonetheless, simple rules also apply to pandemics and can be mapped with clever crisis prevention:

  1. Categorise: what does an identified virus mean for operations? In other words: who is affected by and who is involved in the crisis situation?
  2. Responsibility: who is responsible for communication with which target group? In other words: who communicates with employees, authorities, the media, customers, suppliers and third parties, in which way and how often?
  3. Monitoring: how do we immediately know who will comment on the crisis and how, and above all, which tone they will take? How do we catch false alarms?

Whenever the health authorities are involved in a crisis situation triggered by a virus, a company doesn’t necessarily maintain control of its communications. For this reason, companies should run through these kinds of cases with the authorities in good time.

The current coverage of the coronavirus has brought the fact that health risks for employees present their very own crisis topic to the attention of those responsible for communications.

In the actual crisis situation, adjusting to this crisis scenario means having more time available for crisis communication. In the age of global goods flows and an increasingly networked economy, crises like the coronavirus or SARS will recur. For this reason, clever crisis prevention  is useful in limiting potential reputational damage, giving the crisis unit the assurance it needs to be well prepared and avoiding any blunders in the actual crisis situation.

Frank Schroedter

Frank Schroedter is a Crisis Communications specialist with Engel & Zimmermann AG who are part of the CCNE (Crisis Communications Network for Europe), of which Fuzion are a member

 

How Innocent was the ‘Conker’ publicity stunt?

November 11, 2019

Innocent Conkers

The Coca-Cola owned brand Innocent, famous for its smoothies and juices, is a great recent example of how a communication’s team careful management of a publicity stunt gone wrong can save the reputation of the brand.

Running a very satirical social media narrative, Innocent have a habit of coming up with some “fake news” or stunt products such as ‘100% bits orange juice’ and ‘Marmite Smoothies’, however their autumn themed drink didn’t have the same success.

Innocent came up with the idea to poke fun at dairy free products by creating ‘Conker Milk’. They quickly received backlash as horse chestnuts are poisonous and could seriously harm those who consume them. Although they disclaimed they used edible chestnuts rather than horse chestnuts, people still didn’t really get the stunt.

They responded quickly announcing on Twitter their intentions for a clever advertisement and how it didn’t go to plan, tweeting ‘‘Hello everyone. Yesterday we made a mistake. Now we’re trying to put things right. Long story short: PLEASE DO NOT EAT OR MILK CONKERS

People forgave the brand rather quickly, responding lightly to their blunder, asking whether they should take the conkers out of the oven or if they should use acorns instead.

Innocent turned it into a campaign, urging people not to consume Conkers!

‘CONKERS. Don’t eat or milk them. In fact, avoid them at all costs, creating videos on how Conker Milk isn’t real and posting a fake campaign poster by the ‘Conkervatives’.

They made their message very clear. Innocent’s witty responses to their mistake and reiteration to not eat conkers, resulted in greater publicity than they previously imagined. This gave the brand the opportunity to shed light onto their very real and edible nut-based milk products.

Publicity stunts can be great to get people talking, to draw attention and create news but when they go wrong it’s crucial to handle it effectively. The results of a publicity stunt can be unpredictable so it’s important to take calculated risks every step of the way.

At Fuzion we love to push boundaries and be brave, and have done some stunts to create awareness of taboo subjects such as this Maxi Zoo stunt from their #ScoopThePoop campaign. However we always do a risk assessment (promise!!) before a stunt and we plan for the unexpected.

Innocent’s transparency and ability to make light of a situation, overshadowed their lack of thought and research behind the faux product. While their slip could have been detrimental, the bursting personality of their social media team saved the brands blushes and reputation.

Niamh 

Niamh Lawlor is a PR intern with Fuzion Communications, a full service PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork.

 

It’s all about integration!

September 4, 2019

Donald Draper

A big shift has happened with media in the last 10 years.

I remember 10 years ago when the wheels well and truly fell off the economy, we had a thing called social media, which effectively had become a “free” (except for your time and effort of course) way to promote you and your business.

At Fuzion we were quick out of the traps offering people training on the various social media platforms and when it came to our own clients we were doing our very best to get them up and running and fully embracing this new and exciting medium.

I remember at that time when we devised marketing plans for prospects, complete with a range of different tactics to achieve their objectives, we would always have social media as one of the first tactics to discuss. After all it was free, it was new and it provided another great way to reach their target audiences but in a special and unique way demonstrating the personality of the organisation and those working there.

We discovered very quickly that we shouldn’t have social media as one of the first tactics because with many people we presented to you could visibly see the “shutters coming down” and we would lose their attention.

Quite simply they didn’t want to hear about this ‘new fangled’ thing called social media.

As usual there were a few who broke from the pack and made it work really well for them and bit by bit the word spread that social media could be great for business.

We find ourselves 10 years down the road and with many people, the whole thing with social media has flipped.

In many cases now, prospects call and their request is for Digital Marketing and they don’t want to hear anything about other forms of, let us call it ‘Traditional Marketing’ … the way it used be in the old days!!

So, where are we and where should we be on this Digital to Traditional spectrum?

While digital is great and on the face of it, very measurable, the truth is the social media platforms are overloaded with low quality content, the algorithms have squeezed the life out of “organic” (non paid for posts) and to reach your audiences you must invest in advertising, which is increasing in cost all the time.

The resulting problem that we face is that your social media post, that you have had to resort to putting budget behind now appears as a “sponsored” or “promoted” post and has effectively just become an advert of sorts.

However, social media is very powerful as it allows you demonstrate your personality in a way that other media can’t, it allows you to interact with other users and when you are advertising, it does allow you to target very precisely, depending on the type of audience you need to reach and the social media platform that you are using.

When we talk about Traditional media I am talking about PR, print and outdoor advertising, direct marketing, events, sponsorship and I even include email marketing in this boat.

All of these methods for reaching your audience can be really effective and depending on your objective they can be powerful ways of generating brand awareness or generating leads.

And we have PR sitting in the middle of all of this activity, that art and craft of getting your organisation covered positively in the media, which can be in print or online – at this stage it really doesn’t matter which, as long as you are able to reach your target audience. PR kicks in as well, where the objective might be to try to keep an organisation out of the media or to navigate it through a time where there might be a situation, which could potentially damage their reputation and business.

Trying to cope with all of this can be very difficult, so it’s very important to know your audience and figure out how you can reach them – rarely is this a silver bullet situation with one audience and one perfect method of reaching them.

For example attracting the attention of talent could be just as important to the organisation as selling goods and services to customers.

All paid for media (advertising) comes from the organisation and our savvy consumers know this and as a result may not believe the “sales pitch”.

The sales pitch becomes much more believable when there is some form of 3rd Party verification, which could be an article by a journalist or a review by a customer.

In effect, PR can be the valuable trigger in the middle that increases the return from both advertising and other forms of promotional activity, social media and other online activity, because the customer is more convinced because of this third party verification that we referred to.

So … what’s the magic formula for success?

It’s knowing your audience, figuring out how to target them, choosing that mix of Digital and Traditional tactics to reach them effectively and then carefully monitoring the results to figure out what worked and what didn’t.

While digital marketing can provide great analytics and stats, be careful that you don’t avoid traditional activity just because it’s not as easy to measure.

As a full service agency it is our role to create fully integrated campaigns with that special mix that we believe will deliver optimum results for our clients.

By carefully planning, coordinating, weaving and executing all of these elements together, we believe clients will get an exponential return on their investment. So can you !

If we can help you let us know!

The very best of luck!….

Greg

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

Career Guidance Counsellors should try #WINHAPPY

February 25, 2019

Left or right

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can imagine how much I loved studying Economics!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ciara Jordan

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ciara Jordan - Fuzion CommunicationsCiara

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

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

 

What should Bank of Ireland do with their sponsorship of the Ulster Rugby team?

April 12, 2018

Ulster Rugby

Today, Bank of Ireland issued a statement to the media concerning their sponsorship of Ulster Rugby.

They have said that it is ‘highly concerned‘ and is reviewing its partnership with the province following the Belfast rape trial.

In their statement the bank confirmed that it has conveyed concerns to Ulster CEO Shane Logan following the high-profile trial.

As a sponsor of Ulster Rugby, Bank of Ireland is highly concerned regarding the serious behaviour and conduct issues which have emerged as a result of the recent high profile trial,” read a Bank of Ireland statement.

The Bank has formally conveyed these concerns to the CEO of Ulster Rugby.

It is of paramount importance to Bank of Ireland that our sponsorship activity aligns with and supports our core values, and reflects positively on Bank of Ireland through association.

We understand that an internal review is underway. We expect this review to be robust, to fully address the issues raised, and that decisions will be taken – and policies and protocols be put in place – that fully address the issues that have arisen.

“Given that a review is underway, we won’t comment further on this issue at this time.

What do you think of what Bank of Ireland have done here?

Let’s look at what they have said first..

They are highly concerned regarding the serious behaviour and conduct issues..

At least this shows their position about what emerged during the court case – in truth, while “highly concerned” is strong language it is probably not going far enough considering what did emerge during the trial.

During the trial the court heard about a series of WhatsApp messages in which Mr Olding said “we are all top shaggers”

Mr Jackson wrote: “There was a lot of spit roasting last night.”

Olding told the WhatsApp group: “It was like a merry-go-round at a carnival.”

The Bank has formally conveyed these concerns to the CEO of Ulster Rugby..

They are letting us know in advance of any decision by Ulster Rugby their position with this issue.

It is of paramount importance to Bank of Ireland that our sponsorship activity aligns with and supports our core values..

The reason any brand sponsors anything is to associate with the brand values and gain something positive from this – the bank are saying clearly here that what has happened here does not align with the core values.

The sponsorship is of huge importance to the sport and if it was pulled, without doubt this would have an impact on many.

Given that a review is underway, we won’t comment further on this issue at this time..

By acknowledging the review by Ulster Rugby (they mention the robust process) they are sort of saying “lets wait and see and we’ll decide what to do next“.

OK…

Let’s be clear – the statement issued to the media was written for the public’s benefit – they want us, their target audience to know that they have core values, that they aren’t happy with what happened and how this may impact on them and that they have conveyed this to Ulster Rugby.

While the statement from them has come a little bit too late (they could be accused of reacting now because of the public backlash) it is clever to a point as it gives them advance “wiggle room” around any decision coming from Ulster Rugby.

If Ulster Rugby go light on the two rugby players Bank of Ireland can kill their sponsorship (potentially damaging to the sport) and they are off the hook. They would possibly have to consider the possible backlash of avid sporting fans.

If Ulster Rugby go heavy and fire the players then the bank have already made their position clear in advance and can count this as a “core values” win.

Our advice..

Their blatant disrespect for a young woman, as demonstrated through their deplorable messaging to each other,  cannot be tolerated under any circumstances.

People, young and old look up to their sports-stars and they must be held to very high standards.  We expect that of our heroes.

If Bank Of Ireland are really concerned about their brand (for legal reasons they may have to go easy) they should state categorically and with no uncertainty that they will pull their sponsorship if these players are allowed to play for the team again.

These men demonstrated without question the most horrible behaviour and disrespect to women and this should be called out plain and simple, for all our sake.

Bank of Ireland must really think of their brand and not wait in the wings to see what action Ulster Rugby will take.

Be brave Bank of Ireland..

Greg Canty 

 

Ryanair – Is the biggest crisis the attitude?

October 1, 2017

Ryanair - Always Getting Better

Early last week we were asked to comment by the publication Fora.ie about the whole Ryanair fiasco and what we thought of how they handled their crisis.

In a crisis situation we always advise –

  • Don’t hide
  • Quickly establish the facts
  • Be 100% truthful
  • Always provide a solution (or a least be honest about working hard to find one)
  • Don’t be afraid to say sorry (as long as you mean it)
  • Don’t be shy about telling people the good things you are doing

This can be achieved with a combination of holding statements, follow up statements, interviews and implementing any necessary changes.

In the case of Ryanair there wasn’t really a formal apology but Michael O’Leary was door stopped by reporters and did say it was “clearly a mess” but he went on to point out that it was just 2% of their passengers that had been affected. I think Michael is missing the point here about focussing on the good things!

On their website where they have a page dedicated to the cancelled flights they also remind people of this “2%” as well as listing the flights that have been cancelled. They also provide a ‘link’ to a page that directs people to an EU legislation document about entitlements to refunds and compensation.

The words “sorry” or “apologise” don’t appear anywhere!

Ryanair - Cancelled Flights

Understandably customers are irate – Ryanair are not helping the situation by drip feeding news about cancelled flights, their customer contact lines not being managed efficiently and are still overheating their situation by promoting flights at “€19.99”.

Furthermore, they have been denying that part of the problem is pilots leaving to take jobs in other airlines.

This scenario has got even worse with pilots going public with their gripes and painting a pretty awful picture about what life is like working for the ‘low care’ airline.

All of this comes at a time when the airline has been trying to refocus it’s brand with their “Always Getting Better” campaign.

A different scenario? 

So – would it have made a difference if Ryanair were upfront, issued a formal apology and showed genuine empathy with inconvenienced customers and were honest about solutions and assurances going forward?

The answer would be a big “Yes” but there is also a big “But” to contend with.

The effectiveness of this approach will depend on what people feel about the company when embarks on such a course –

  • Do people feel warmly towards the airline?
  • Do they believe that there is a genuine concern for customers?
  • Do they believe that staff at the airline are treated well?
  • Do they believe that this company does charitable work?
  • Do they believe there is a strong moral compass at the airline?
  • Have they communicated the great things (if such things exist) they have been doing to the general public and stakeholders?

Maybe realising this Michael felt there was no point pretending to care?

In a crisis a robust process will definitely help but the best preparation for a crisis is to be good and do good things and communicate this effectively – it is only then that people will be willing to listen to your apology and accept it.

Leopards don’t change their spots and not caring will bite you in the butt eventually.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Crisis Consultancy Services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland


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