Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

What is the cost of being “influenced”?

July 30, 2019

influencers in PR- Fuzion Communications

I unlocked my phone, and my finger (without thinking) automatically clicked onto the Instagram app.

The first thing I saw was a stunningly beautiful girl in a bikini with an amazing figure, on a picturesque beach in some dreamy location, holding a bottle of sunscreen.

How random? Well actually, it’s not. The brand of sunscreen that this beautiful influencer is holding, paid her (quite a lot of money) to post a picture of herself with their product.

We like to think that we are clever and that we don’t buy into what these influencers are selling, but we do.

We love to follow them and we do seem to value their opinion. We know that these people are paid to promote products but once they say that they “love” them, we try to resist their “influence”, but more often than not, we will purchase the latest product off the back of our favourite influencer’s recommendation.

It is a guilty pleasure of mine that I love to follow some fabulous, Irish influencers.

However, when I scroll through their Instagram feed for some outfit inspiration for an upcoming event, I can’t help but notice the #AD #SP #AF at the end of a large number of their posts.

Okay, yes, they are acknowledging that their post is an AD or Sponsored but not everybody is aware of what these hashtags mean.

The Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) have enforced rules, which influencers MUST comply with when posting content which has been paid for by another brand/ company.

For a long time, influencers have been getting away with posting content and hiding the fact that they have been paid for it. With the rise of online influencing, the ASAI has been keeping a much closer eye on these posts and making sure that the “paid for” content is clearly marked and not misleading to the influencer’s followers.

It is quite clear that ITV’s, Love Island has been the most watched and talked about TV show of 2019, with over 3.4 million viewers per night, and the show takes over Twitter’s Trending and Moments sections every night.

Many of the contestants social media following has jumped from just a couple of hundreds or thousands to nearly hitting the million mark in just under eight weeks. So it is without a doubt that the Love Island contestants are set for “influencer-dom” and are guaranteed multiple sponsorship deals the moment they get out of the villa.

The ASA in the UK has partnered up with ITV to supply the contestants with a workshop and a “social media advertising” survival kit for when they leave the villa. This is to ensure that the contestants comply with all of the advertising rules and clearly mark that their posts are sponsored or an Ad.

It is quite difficult now to work with influencers and negotiate their job without having to go through their agents.

Many people wonder if it is worth paying Instagram/ Social Media Influencers such large amounts of money for one static post on their feed and three frames on their story (30 seconds)?

However, in my opinion, yes it is worth it (product dependant obviously) as long as this person is genuine about the product they are endorsing and is not there ‘just’ for the money.

Influencer’s are still able to “influence” their followers to purchase the product that they are paid to promote even with or without the #AD at the end of the post!

Abigail Shaw - Fuzion CommunicationsAbigail 

Abigail Shaw is a PR Executive with Fuzion Communications, a Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

PR Professionals navigating the world of Online Journalism 

July 25, 2019

Online Journalism

There is no denying that the face of the media industry is steadily changing over time.

Print journalism is in decline and the move to online journalism is the new age of media. Over the past few months alone we have witnessed the print edition of The Times Ireland close down to solely concentrate on its digital outlet, and there have been major changes in Independent News & Media as sadly redundancies took place across a number of its newspapers. 

As print media goes deeper into decline, a number of long term print journalists are making the more stable move to online media.

Leslie Ann Horgan, former Editor of Irish Independent Weekend Magazine is now Head of Content with Her.ie and Ellen Coyne, former Senior Political Correspondent with The Times Ireland has taken up a role as Political Correspondent with Joe.ie.

The changing face of traditional to online media is often lamented among PR people and this can come with good reason. As out of date as it may seem, the PR industry needs print media.

For many PR professionals having a client appear on the front page of a newspaper tends to win out over an online piece and is often still deemed as more valuable to the client. 

Perhaps it is the case that there is still a great amount of value placed on print media coverage as this is traditionally how positive PR was measured and there is a slight reluctance and slowness to treat online coverage with the same respect.

It also takes time for PR professionals to build relationships with journalists and we tend to have ‘go-to’ print journalists that we have worked with over the years depending on the content we are pitching. It is important for the implementation of successful PR that positive relationships with online journalists are formed in the same respect. 

Online news media is growing at a rapid pace in Ireland with companies such as Maximum Media continuing their expansion into areas such as politics. As the shape of the media industry continues to change, new adjustments and relationships need to be formed as the PR industry navigates how best to work with online news media.

Regardless of print or online, PR still shines through as a way of valuable third party verification of positive news for you and your brand adding momentum and credibility to your other promotional activities.

Michelle Lynch, Fuzion Communications, PR, DublinMichelle

Michelle Lynch is a PR Account Manager in the Dublin office of Fuzion Communications, a full service agency offering Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

The end of the Business Card?

July 3, 2019

Business Card etiquette

I was having a chat yesterday with a businessman who was saying how LinkedIn was his new business card – that when he meets a new business contact, instead of handing them a business card he connects with them on LinkedIn, so he has that electronic connection.

This is a perfect use of social media tools for business, but I think he is missing a big point of the business card.

For me my business card is an opportunity to showcase my brand to a new contact “Look who I am and where I work”, ““Look at what we can do”, “Look how well we look”.

I just love the Chinese and Japanese culture around business cards, how it is considered rude not to present your business card properly and then to examine a business card respectively and carefully when you are presented with one.

They almost have a ceremony around business cards – how they present it with two hands and you are expected to receive it in both hands, study it and put it beside you if you are at a meeting with them. The business card is considered to represents the person.

I remember 20 years ago when I first started Fuzion Communications, I didn’t have a fancy office, I was working with a borrowed laptop, but I invested in my branding and my business cards, as out and about meeting people, my business cards were my shop window!

Even in our digital age, I still like to present my business cards – and I always watch how they are received. I think it’s a great way to judge if someone is actually engaging with you, to see how they react when you hand them your business card.

So next time you present a card to someone, see how they receive it – and when someone gives you a business card, accept it with honour – you never know, they might have read this blog post too!!

Deirdre Waldron, Fuzion Communications, PR ConsultantDeirdre 

Deirdre Waldron is the founding partner of Fuzion Communications, a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Local Elections, old codgers and phone zapping…

May 21, 2019

Old codgers - Inniscarra Bar, Cork

We were in our local, the Inniscarra Bar, one of the most authentic old style pubs you will find in the country, part of that dying breed where the walls will talk warmly to you about everyone who has sat there before you and before them.

It was early on a Saturday evening and we were having a sneaky pint before heading home to cook some grub.

The two old codgers sitting at the bar sipped quietly on their  pints and every now and then there was some chit chat between them. One of the guys had a battle weary black dog with him who was busy going from one patron to the next, sniffing and being friendly.

For some strange reason there was a large election poster leaning up against the wall for one of the local candidates, Shane Fallon. I’m not really sure if this was a practical joke or if it was a serious election tactic by the candidate?!

Out of nowhere the two men got very animated and their conversation got louder and louder..

Those f##king posters are a f##king disgrace and they should be banned as they are ruining the environment

Wow….it went on..

Sure, don’t they have email and don’t they have the internet and..and don’t they have, you know yourself, can’t they just zap phones the way they do?

You are so right, a f##king disgrace!“, followed by lots of huffing and puffing and then back to their pints.

Were they right??  

It’s funny …just a few days beforehand I was standing in front of my Dublin Chamber Council colleagues presenting them an overview of our business sector.

To do this I reached out to many of the member companies, both large and small and looked for their feedback about trends in the sector.

A BIG MESSAGE was that there was a huge shift from traditional media to digital but this was loaded with a gentle warning that clients need to be very careful not to put all of their eggs into this one channel as you just won’t reach your audience in a way that your message will land.

As I walked back from the pub I noticed all of the election posters – who do I like the look of?

When I pushed opened the front door open I looked at the flyers that had been pushed through the letter box – who are you and what are you promising?

And if I believe you really care about the location I do expect you to knock on my door and chat to me.

I tweeted three of the candidates who had dropped in their literature and two responded. One just took herself out of the running!

It’s great that the old codgers got so animated about the environment (there probably should be a limit to how many they put up), but unfortunately a candidate who relies only on email (GDPR has that one squeezed to death!!) and zapping phones (I’m taking this to mean social media) will not be successful.

The candidates need to integrate their social media with their traditional media and however they manage it, they need to be recognised, liked and if possible connect in some real way with the voters.

Get out and vote this Friday!!

Greg 

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

Show your brands personality just like ASOS did!

May 13, 2019

Recently, online shopping giant ASOS received a lot of applause for backing one of their customers who had been disrespected online by a stranger.

The lady, who was wearing a dress from ASOS, was told by the male who she was messaging that the dress was awful and that she should shop somewhere decent!!

He then told her to grow up before politely signing off, “Thanks. Hope this helps.

 

Girl in ASOS dress on Twitter

 

Following this unpleasant remark, she decided to upload the conversation along with the picture of her wearing the so called “awful dress” to Twitter.

The Tweet, which has racked up over 100k likes and 9k RT’s, caught the attention of ASOS who decided to do something really great.

ASOS uploaded the photo of the lady wearing their dress to their website and in my opinion, she showcased the dress even better.

ASOS received a great deal of applause for uploading the photo to their website, showing their support for a more than likely loyal customer, who I can only imagine got a great boost from seeing her image featured on their website.

 

 

ASOS featuring customer pic

The situation, which was turned from a negative into a positive by ASOS, is a great example of a brand showcasing their personality and engaging with its customers.

In doing this, ASOS demonstrated their loyalty for their customers, while showing a caring but also fun side to the brand. With online trolling at an all-time high, along with the pressures of looking perfect on social media, ASOS really did a great job with this personal touch.

For all businesses, it’s good to show the personality behind your brand. Whether it’s supporting your customers like ASOS did, or showing the team behind the brand online, you increase trust with your customers leading to much better engagement.

Well done ASOS!

Saidhbh

Saidhbh Sweeney is a PR Account Manager with Fuzion Communications: PR, Marketing and Graphic Design, with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Is the future of social media to not be on social media?

April 17, 2019

Lush Cosmetics

Is the future of social media to not be on social media? 

That seems to be the viewpoint of Lush UK at the moment.

Out of nowhere, they announced recently that they would be shutting down their social media platforms and communicating with their customers through live chat on their website, email and over the phone.

Their reasoning behind it is due to all the algorithm changes from the various social media platforms making it harder for their content to be viewed by their audience.

As we all know, Facebook wants your advertising money and due to this organic posts (those with no advertising budget) don’t reach as many people as they would have previously by a huge margin.

So clearly Lush just reached the end of their digital marketing tether and gave up…. Or did they?

Lush UK may be closing down their social media operations but the main Lush accounts are not.

The @LushCosmetics Instagram account has 4.4 million followers, a huge difference from the now-defunct @Lush account with only 571 thousand followers.

Basically this is an experiment whereby they’re not risking losing their core audience but want to see if their direct communications with customers will benefit them in the long run.

We all know that the end goal of all communications is reaching your audience and achieving ‘that’ objective, which in their case is sales, and if the only way people can contact them is via their website, they’re already close to the bottom of the funnel and that bit closer to making a purchase.

By Lush encouraging their followers to communicate with them via their website, they’re effectively cutting out the middle-man.

One of the main reasons we encourage our clients to use social media is so that they can much better control their messaging and it also gives them a unique opportunity to demonstrate the personality of the brand or organisation and tell their story in a unique, authentic voice.

This is not just interacting with customers, but also “listening” to what they’re saying.

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon is quoted as saying, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room”, and this is always something I will refer back to with clients.

Telling your story online, being able to converse “socially” and being able to respond to negative or positive comments will help to build the brand and hopefully build trust and a much better connection with your customers (as long as you get it right, of course!).

Social media is one of the many powerful communication tools offering you a special way of telling your story and by removing yourself from these platforms, will you hurt your brand in the long run?

Let’s see how is plays out for Lush?

Alma Brosnan Social Media Consultant, Fuzion CommunicationsAlma

Alma Brosnan is part of the Social Media Consultancy and Training team at Fuzion Communications who provide our services from offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

The Business of Blogging

August 7, 2018

Blogging Tips

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

13 Tips about Blogging and Making some Noise

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

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

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

Saidhbh Sweeney - Fuzion CommunicationsSaidhbh

Saidhbh Sweeney is part of the PR team at Fuzion Communications, who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland 

Don’t be a Commodity, be Remarkable!

July 31, 2018

Health Bars in Multiples

Queuing for my salad at lunchtime in the corner store near our office today in Dublin, I couldn’t help but notice the piles of health bars above the sandwich bar.

Even if I wanted one, I wouldn’t have a clue which one to pick as there were so many different brands, all offering the same thing!

A few years ago, health bars didn’t even exist and now they are competing for space at every till across Ireland. So much noise and so little differentiation.

Health bars have become a commodity.

How can you make sure this doesn’t happen to you and your business?

You have to keep on reinventing, reinvesting – in you, in your business and in your brands.

You have to continually give your target audience good reasons to engage with you. You have to create compelling stories about your products and your business.

As Seth Godin says in his Marketing Bible ‘The Purple Cow’ – you have to be ‘remarkable’ to stand out.

Looking at the image (above) of all these health bars, despite the investment in packaging, despite negotiating shelf space, despite “magical” ingredients that will make you leaner, fitter, healthier, not one of them is remarkable.

Why not make it a resolution to ask yourself right now – what steps could you take today to make your business more remarkable?

If you need any help guiding you towards the answers –  I’d love to help…….

Deirdre 

Deirdre Waldron - Network Ireland PresidentDeirdre Waldron is the founding partner of Fuzion Communications, a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Is the age of influencers coming to an end?

May 7, 2018

 

We’ve always loved seeing what celebrities get up to and in this digital age we can see every aspect of their lives through Snapchat and Instagram.

These days “regular” people can become celebrities by building up huge followings on social media channels and having a niche area that they specialise in from beauty to travel and most vague of all “lifestyle”.

We watch their stories every day and most importantly of all we believe everything they say. They influence us!

A certain brand of soft drink is declared the best – It’s sold out straight away.

This nightclub is where all the celebs go – Good luck trying to get in for the next month!

Companies are always told that user generated content is the best type of promotion as it is deemed to be genuine and an authentic view declared by impartial people.

People are cynical now so they don’t necessarily believe advertisements and especially not what the companies tell them directly.

There’s nothing better than the perfect girl next door “type” recommending your product and even better if she’s doing it off her own back!

Brands quickly realised this, which has led to the deliberate romancing of social media influencers, which has been a very effective tactic for the brands that know how to play the game.

However now everybody wants in.

Everyone wants access to that social media influencer that can help boost their products, services or message but in the “rush” very few are doing their due diligence on the influencers they are targeting.

Inevitably this has resulted in anonymous social media accounts like @bullshitcallerouter and @bloggersunveiled who are determined to call out these not so genuine accounts.

 

So far, these accounts have revealed the influencers that buy followers, don’t use the #ad code and more seriously the ones that are flouting the road safety rules but were part of a road safety campaign.

The people that follow those influencers are obviously disappointed with their behaviour but it all comes back to the companies who have chosen them.

By not doing the research on the influencers that they have chosen to work with, have they inadvertently harmed their brands?

A recent example comes from the Road Safety Authority (RSA).

The @bloggersunveiled account has been sharing images from the last couple of weeks of influencers that have worked with the RSA on their campaign last year but are not following the basic rules of the road as demonstrated clearly by images they shared on social media.

Over the weekend the RSA announced that two of the influencers they worked with last year on their “Killer Look” campaign will return their fees.

They have dealt with this well by stepping out in front of this and are working on protecting their brand and the message they are trying to send to the public.

The sentence from their statement that stood out to me the most was this:

There’ll be a lot more rigour around and due diligence done around influencers if they are being used in future,” the spokesperson said. “This medium is maturing.

Is it time for us all to be more diligent in who we choose to represent our brands?

Should companies have guidelines and codes of conduct for campaigns with influencers going forward?

It’s definitely time for us to be more aware and alert about those we choose to follow.

With the growth of fake news, fake followers and now, insincere influencers do we need to take everything with a pinch of salt?

Alma Brosnan - Fuzion CommunicationsAlma

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

Check out the full article by Journal.ie on the topic

 

 

Consumer Branding and JK Rowling

March 7, 2018

Britney Spears

As I sit at home on a snow day working like many others across the country, which is all made possible by the glorious Google Drive, I started wondering about what my next blog should be about – something riveting, meaningful and life-changing?

But instead I decided to write about the fact that I was obviously unaware of two things that other people seem to have already known, and I’m going to use those things to talk about what we do for our clients.

For instance, did you know that:

1 – Britney Spears has subliminal messaging in her lyrics – GENIUS!

2 – JK Rowling is actually Robert Galbraith?

Well I didn’t, and the fact that I didn’t know is probably the mind-blowing part.

Also, if you are not watching the TV series BBC’s Strike (which is based on the books) you need to.

Knowing the Britney fact has now altered part of my youth and I wish I could go back to that time to see what this would have meant to me then and if it would have made a difference?!

Britney was and still is so influential, but I’m sure it would have made for an epic OMG conversation between friends!

The second mind-blowing fact is one that I feel is a reflection of what so many of us would like to do – trying something new and not being held to a certain level of expectation, which is the whole reason JK Rowling chose to write a series of crime novels under a fictitious name.

She wanted to begin a new writing career in a new genre and to release her crime novels to a neutral audience, free of expectation or hype.

Consumers can see examples of this on a daily basis with “Umbrella Brands”.

This is where a big brand buys another brand or launches a similar product under a different brand name, some of which fall into the affordable price range.

This happens so often in the beauty industry and it is why there are so many “dupes” of different products or cheaper alternatives.

L’Oréal do this very well with a portfolio of international brands such as NYX, Maybelline, Essie and Garnier to name a few – Full list here: www.loreal.com/brand

An Irish brand that has done this very well is Bellamianta, the brain child of Linda Stinson and Lisa McDermott. Last year we saw these two amazing business minds launch Iconic Bronze, a more affordable tanning product, less than three years after the launch of Bellamianta.

 

With the help of their Irish brand ambassadors, Jade and Laura Mullett, this tan became so sought after than it made its way onto the shelves of Primark.

In communications we encourage our clients to think outside the box and try new things.

Whether that is how we launch a new product or campaign, the way we plan on revealing new company branding or working with a brand ambassador for the first time, or it could even be with a social media strategy and how to reach new audiences.

At Fuzion, when we meet a client for the first time it is important that we get to know them and have a clear understanding of what they do and what their objectives are.

From here, as a team, we put our heads together using the many years of experience we have to generate concepts and formulate a strategic plan that will work to the client’s benefit, delivering consistent and cohesive messaging that will help them get noticed and make an impact in a crowded market.

Our creative design team is also on hand to develop outstanding, eye catching and conversation starting designs that will leave the target audience remembering your brand.

Maybe we can help you to be like Britney or JK?!

Arlene

Arlene Foy is an Account Manager with Fuzion Communications, a full service agency who have offices in Dublin and Cork.

 


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