Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

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.

 

Facebook algorithms and posts not quite reaching your audience anymore

March 2, 2018

mark zuckerberg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is meaningful interaction to you and your business page?

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

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

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

Examples of “engagement-bait” include:

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

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

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

How can Business Pages get around this?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is this the real agenda of Mark Zucherberg?

Alma

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

Capturing your Story

February 23, 2018

In a previous post we outlined our Fuzion Process, which is a framework that we use with clients for their planning.

We use this “Story” framework and we find that it brings a very sharp focus to all marketing activity, to ensure the very best outcomes.

Our process follows some simple steps:
1. Understand your story
2. Capture your story
3. Make sure your story is found
4. Tell your story
5. Engage with your story online
6. Protect your story

In the last post we spoke about ‘Understanding your story‘ and the possible role of a brand workshop to help bring some clarity to exactly what you are trying to communicate to your target audience.

The next step is all about capturing this story.

Capture your Story

Once you understand the story that you want to tell, it’s important that this is captured visually in a way that connects with your target audience.

We judge things quickly by how they appear to us, so whenever and wherever anyone comes across your products or services in your website, promotional material, vehicles, premises and even the individuals in your team, that these tell the right, professional story.

Does it convey professionalism, is it modern, is it unique or is it very generic, does it convey your story simply and clearly, does it appeal to your target audience? Has the organisation moved on and is it time for a refresh?

Someone is always making up their mind about you by how you appear to them.

It is vital that the graphic design work and the execution of this needs to be sharp and consistent on all platforms when your brand is being presented so that your story is properly captured and told.

Click here to see some of the work that our Creative Team have been doing for clients

If we can be of help in any way you know where we are!

Greg Canty 

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

Understanding your ‘Story’

February 12, 2018

Fuzion - Brand Workshops, Dublin, Cork, Ireland

In a previous post we outlined our Fuzion Process, which is a framework that we use with clients for their planning.

We use this “Story” framework for all of our clients and we find that it brings a very sharp focus to all marketing activity, to ensure the very best outcomes.

Our process follows some simple steps:
1. Understand your story
2. Capture your story
3. Make sure your story is found
4. Tell your story
5. Engage with your story online
6. Protect your story

 

Understanding Your Story

In this blog post we will deal with the very first step, which is ‘Understanding Your Story‘.

It is our job as marketers to help our clients tell the story of their business, organisation, products and services effectively so that when people talk about these things they say exactly what we want them to say.

Before we create any plans, it is a crucial first step to understand exactly what the business is all about, what makes it special, where it is going and what it needs to do to get there.

To assist this step, we often conduct a Brand Workshop with clients, which is a very simple way of capturing all of this and defining their “story” or brand.

We also find that this powerful process helps to motivate the team, reminding them about what makes them special, providing them with clarity and defining exactly what needs to be communicated as part of the marketing process.

During this process we work together with the team to probe what it is that they do, how they go about this work and what the driving force or essence of the organisation is.

We look at the values, the core characteristics, the vision for the business and the mission that the team is on together to achieve this vision.

We even do some visualisation work to help the team crystallise what it is about them, that makes them special and different from competitors.

This work paints a clear picture of the brand or “the story” of the business, which must then be captured and told.

One of the outputs of this process is a Brand Brief, which we would give to our graphic/creative team to help them deliver this story visually for the client.

To find out more about our Brand ‘Promise’ Workshop click here

If we can be of help in any way you know where we are!

Greg Canty 

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

What do you think of Graphic Design?

February 8, 2018

Dark Side of the Moon

What do people think of Graphic Design?

Excuse us for this bizarre question but it is something that popped up in a conversation that we were having during an internal meeting in Fuzion, which we didn’t really have a clear answer for.

Framing this around some questions and observations about how people behave and make decisions about things might help.

Are you more inclined to buy something if it looks the part? 

I couldn’t tell you how many times I purchased an album (that was vinyl initially) because I thought the artwork looked “cool” and I remained excited until the needle was in the groove and I actually discovered what I had bought.

Needless to say I discovered some wonderful music in that random fashion and there is more than one album that were listened to just once!

Do you trust a poor website?

When we invest no time whatsoever searching online for something that we are looking for, do we judge the service or product by the quality of the website?

Years ago it would have been the Golden Pages, followed by a phone call and then maybe a visit to the showroom or offices for an appointment.

Now the website does all of this hard work for you. Without even knowing it your potential customer has popped through the door, had a look around and left and you never even realised it!

What does a business card say about you?

When someone hands you their business card is this a functional piece of paper that carries essential contact information or does it do a much bigger job at trying to create a powerful first impression?

Now there seems to be a shift with some preferring a virtual card that can be shared via smartphones – this is fine if it is about sharing essential contact details but is there some argument about having an opportunity to showcase your brand?

Does the smart van with professional graphics give you faith in the service provider?

The painter/decorator is working next door to you and their van is parked outside – it is immaculate and there are very tasteful graphics that carry the logo and contact details. Is he a professional?

What about the shift from print to online?

There is clearly a shift from print to online and maybe with this an argument for not investing too much in design if the output is never printed.

Looking good gets you noticed, it gets you read and it creates the right impression – at least this is what we believe.

Even more, we believe the printed version will always be read more than the online version – what do you think?

So….these were some of the ramblings from our conversation about Graphic Design.

We would love to know what you think – can we ask you to take a quick survey that we have created around the topic by clicking here.

Thank you…

Greg Canty 

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

Your “Story Telling” Process

February 7, 2018

Jeff Bezos

As part of your planning for this year we wanted to give you a simple Marketing framework using our Fuzion process, that might help to keep year on track.

We use this “story” framework for all of our clients and we find that it brings a very sharp focus to all marketing activity, to ensure the very best outcomes.

It is our job as marketers to help our clients tell the story of their business, organisation, products and services effectively so that when people talk about these things they say exactly what we want them to say.

When Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon declared that “your brand is what people say about you when you leave the room” he cut through all of the jargon about communications, and left us with a very simple task:

Know your story and then tell it effectively to your target audience – Simple!!

The Fuzion process

Our Fuzion Story Process follows some simple steps:

1. Understand your story – make sure you have a deep understanding of what makes you unique

2. Capture your story – all logos, visuals, marketing materials and your website must convey your story

3. Make sure your story is found – if you cannot be found online you are not in the game!

4. Tell your story – you have to proactively push your story out there (your traditional marketing)

5. Engage with your story online – make sure you have your voice on social media

6. Protect your story – be ready to protect and proactive about protecting your reputation

Your plan should take into account all of these elements and they should work together to produce the results you are looking  for.

We’ll go into each of these elements in more detail in further posts.

If we can be of help in any way you know where we are!

Greg Canty 

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

 

 

Tackling that age-old question in our modern marketplace

November 27, 2017

Old and young

When it comes to age, I’m a firm proponent of “Don’t ask. Don’t tell.

Recently a journalist who was interviewing me asked me my age. I get it.

I used to be a newspaper reporter and I know it’s traditional to write, “So-and-so, age blah-blah, did fill-in-the-blank.” But I also know it’s not a hard and fast rule.

There are plenty of stories these days that don’t include a person’s age. Therefore, I politely said to the reporter, “I prefer not to give the number as it’s not germane to the story.

She accepted that and the story was printed no problem.

Likewise, if you’re in the jobs market and are of a certain age, you may find yourself struggling to overcome other people’s preconceived notions around your particular number.

Unless you’re a 102-year-old who swam the English Channel or a 12-year-old who graduated from university, age shouldn’t be the leading factor.

1 Stop referencing your age

At an event, a very lovely female participant came up to me and complimented my shoes. Then she lamented,”When I was your age, I could wear heels. But it’s been forever.

Another time, I heard a man say to colleagues at a project meeting, “Give that task to Peter. I’m too old.

How often do you reference your age? How often do you draw unnecessary attention to the distance between your age and that of your audience?

At first glance this might seem aimed at older folks. But the same goes for younger folks too. The whole, “Oh, I wasn’t even born back then” crowd.

It’s fine to talk about age with your best friend, but if you want to stay vigorous or be taken seriously in the workplace, then cease your own ageism. You might be your worst enemy.

Interviewers aren’t allowed to ask you your age. So, don’t out yourself.

Sure, put your universities and degrees on your CV. Just don’t put the dates.

2 Mine your contacts

A reader from western Ireland wrote to me saying he’s a 64-year-old former sales professional frustrated because he hasn’t found work in four years.

He’s convinced his age is part of the reason his CVs are not getting traction. He says he’s sent out more than 200 of them over the years but landed nothing.

But he also tells me that in four years he has probably only reached out to ‘two or three’ of his former contacts. So, I am working with him to strengthen his strategy.

Think about the wide-range of people you have met over the years. Talk to them. Ask them for people you can call. Cold resumes don’t result in jobs nearly as much as warm referrals do.

3 Mix it up

In addition to tapping into your friends and contacts from throughout your career, you can also network with people younger than you. Is there a business incubator you can join? Is there a project they’re working on that could benefit from your experience?

You might want to think less about a full-time job and more about piecing together consulting work.

4 Power up your profile

You don’t have to have a zillion followers, but, you should immediately set up a LinkedIn profile and a Twitter account. We can chat Facebook and Instagram and whatever else later. For now, let’s focus on these two.

First, I recommend Canva.com to create a polished header for your social media accounts. Then you should spend some time crafting words about you and your experience that are strong, punchy and engaging.

Also be sure to Google professionals you admire to see what they’re doing.

Don’t completely plagiarise, but do borrow ideas, formatting and/or a few keywords from others. Don’t be afraid to be creative. You can always adjust your copy.

But if you write the same old, same old, you’ll sound the same as everyone else and, well, “old”.

In short, if you’re not online, you’re not relevant.

5 Shape up

If you’re not eating right and exercising regularly, do not blame your age alone for gaining weight. Your physical health is connected to your mental health.

This is a scientific fact and it’s also the perception of many potential employers.

The more fit you are physically, the more you will be perceived as someone who is fit for the job.

The same goes for your wardrobe and grooming. Wear something sharp and current. And for heaven’s sake, if you have hair growing out of your ears, get rid of it!

We can be put in a box once our number becomes the lead of our story.

Like, “She looks great for 45….” Or “He appears much younger than 50….

Whose opinions are these? Why can’t it just be, “You’re doing great“, period? It can.

A 65-year-old client of mine, who is right on top of each of my suggestions, told me this week that a friend of his remarked, “I have never seen you have so much energy!

That’s a great report. And it can be yours too. Your experience combined with applying these strategies actively will make it so.

Is your age holding back your career?

Gina London - Fuzion CommunicationsGina London

From presentations, to one-on-one scenarios, from spoken to written if you have a question about communications that you would like me to deal with in my column in the Sunday Independent please send me an email at gina@fuzion.ie .

Gina London is a former CNN anchor and international campaign strategist who is now a Strategic Communications director with Fuzion Communications. She serves as media commentator, emcee and corporate consultant. @TheGinaLondon


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