Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Kevin Myers and the Gatekeepers

August 3, 2017

Gatekeepers

There’s been plenty written this week by far more learned/opinionated people than me about the Kevin Myers controversy. So I’m not really going to spend a whole lot of time on him, the anti-semetic rant that he sort of apologised for, or the vile misogyny that he didn’t feel any need to address.

If you feel like reading some really really good commentary around this topic, do yourself a favour and check out Kathy Sheridan and Fintan O’Toole in the Irish Times, or Stephen Kinsella’s excellently researched work in the Sunday Business Post.

One comment during Kevin Myers’ interview with RTE Radio One’s Sean O’Rourke piqued my interest. He said five or six people would have seen his Sunday column before it went to print.

And it’s this comment that leads to me writing this blog – how, if five or six people reviewed Kevin Myers work before it was printed in the Sunday Times, was it approved for publication?

Where was the gatekeeper?

Where is your gatekeeper?

Who is ensuring that your brand’s ethos matches the tone of voice that you, your colleagues, and your staff use when communicating with your target audience?

How do you ensure that the hard earned positive and inclusive, corporate culture that you’ve cultivated is shared in every conversation, every meeting, every tweet?

Who is the gatekeeper protecting your reputation?

Alison Nulty, Fuzion CommunicationsAlison Nulty

Alison Nulty is a Senior Account Manager with Fuzion Communications, a full service agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Don’t fear the darkside!

June 20, 2017

Fear of the darkside

As 2017 dawned, I found myself jobless.

This was ironic, considering I managed to hold onto a full time job throughout the recession, only to be made redundant as our economy turned the corner.

Instead of accepting one of the cool, interesting, and maybe most salient at the time, PAID opportunities that I was presented with in the immediate aftermath of my redundancy, I decided on the far riskier move, and take a career break.

After an enjoyable, rewarding but ultimately all-consuming role as Southern Correspondent with UTV Ireland, I was exhausted. I needed time to take stock, and re-charge before I set off on my next adventure.

Surprisingly, to myself more than anyone else, I absolutely loved my time-out.

I revelled in my free time, I read great books that had nothing to do with my profession. I allowed my mind to wander as I filled the black and white pages of my colouring book with doodles. I had some great conversations with great people including friends I long neglected as I chased story after story.

By April, I came around to the idea of hopping back on the 9-5 train…..Journalism no longer had the same draw. So I decided to do a stocktake of the skills I had accumulated, and evaluate how many of these were transferrable.

If you stick to one career path for too long, you can easily assume that your skillset isn’t particularly unique……or sought after. Taking a step out of the rat-race helped me understand that a career in journalism had allowed me to build a valuable list of transferable skills, not to mention an enviable contacts book.

When an opportunity to become part of the team at Fuzion Communications presented itself, thanks to my time-out, I felt ready and able to accept. I could see how I could, with my journalistic perspective, fit into and learn from a very talented and hard-working team.

It’s still early days, but I’m loving the role, a role that I wouldn’t have the skills for if I hadn’t spent so many years chasing stories!

My advice, for what it’s worth, if a career change or redundancy (or a desperate need for a change) looms on your horizon, don’t fear it.

Evaluate your talents and skills, and embrace your next adventure.

Alison Nulty, Fuzion CommunicationsAlison Nulty

Alison Nulty is a Senior Account Manager with Fuzion Communications, a full service agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Award season is not just for Tinsel Town 

January 27, 2017
The 2017 Oscars

As individuals, professionals and as companies we often use this time of year to evaluate and set out our plans and ambitions for the year ahead.

For instance in Fuzion, we kicked off our first week back to work after the Christmas with our individual and departmental reviews and planning which I must admit was initially a bit like pulling teeth until we actually got stuck into thinking about the year gone, what we did well, could have done better and how we can excel this year.
Ambition and drive means we naturally want to improve and to celebrate and build upon what we do well.

We also want to achieve big and better things for our clients which is why I’ve spent time this week researching award opportunities and working on award submissions not only for my clients but for our own company.

Across industries there are a great deal of award opportunities to grab hold of and it would be remiss not to be aware or put one’s name into the running for the credit, news, awareness building and achievement that awards have to offer.

Many may think that award submissions require a great deal of an investment of time with the chance of no return but I don’t agree.

Below are a few reasons that might change your mind:

  • Being shortlisted or winning an award can boost your brand awareness through pre and post publicity.
  • Researching and working on a submission naturally forces you to assess, evaluate, refine and promote your wins. It also has the benefit of helping you to identify key areas that you’d like to focus on and grow for the year ahead.
  • Credibility – we at Fuzion know how to roll-out a successful lobbying campaign for clients but our PRII award for lobbying on behalf of Down Syndrome Ireland provided invaluable third party endorsement not only for us but for the charity that fought with grit and determination for an overturning of a controversial Government decision.
  • Reputation building – awards can give you the edge over your competitors. Would you rather work with an award-winning company or not?

Ruth Negga, Oscar Nominee

If you listen to the media coverage when anyone in Ireland gets nominated for an Oscar you can see the benefit to them of the publicity that they enjoy as a result.

This year Ruth Negga,  received a nomination for Best Actress for her role in “Loving.”  “The Lobster” – co-produced by Irish production company Element Pictures – scored a nomination for Best Original Screenplay and Consolata Boyle was nominated for Best Costume for her work on “Florence Foster Jenkins.”

Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. It’s worth spending some time to research what awards and opportunities there are now and over the year and mark them in your diary.

They say you only regret a chance you didn’t take.

Aoibhinn

Aoibhinn Twomey - Fuzion PRAoibhinn Twomey is a Senior Account Director with Fuzion Communications – PR, Marketing and Graphic Design  who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Body Shaming – Does the media go too far?

July 18, 2016

Body Shaming

Jennifer Aniston made the headlines this week when she blasted the media through a powerful essay on “body shaming” published by the Huffington Post.

In an open letter the former Friends star called out the media for constantly reporting on her figure and pregnancy status. The first line she wrote was “For the record I am not pregnant, what I am is fed up!” a powerful opening line that has made headlines around the world and has made people wake up and ask the question..

Does the media go too far?

A picture of Jennifer Aniston on holiday with her husband Justin Theroux, sporting what can only be described as a small rounded tummy was what prompted the tabloid story in the first place and lead to headlines all over the world which read ‘Finally Jens pregnancy dream comes true’ ‘Aniston Pregnant!’ ‘Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux are thrilled to be expecting first child together’ ‘Jennifer Aniston pregnant with miracle baby!

Jennifer Aniston

Picture source – Daily Mail

Jennifer Aniston is known for maintaining a dignified silence when it comes to rumours about herself, she is a very private person and very rarely responds to rumours or the media in general, however this time she has had enough and has decided to call out the media for body shaming women by claiming she is pregnant when she says herself she simply had a burger for lunch:

“I resent being made to feel “less than” because my body is changing and/or I had a burger for lunch and was photographed from a weird angle and therefore deemed one of two things: “pregnant” or “fat.”

The way I am portrayed by the media is simply a reflection of how we see and portray women in general, measured against some warped standard of beauty?

Is she pregnant? Is she eating too much? Has she let herself go? Is her marriage on the rocks because the camera detects some physical imperfection”

Since the publication of Aniston’s essay, females around the world have applauded her and backed her in every way, however on the flip side of this, a debate has since erupted as to whether Aniston has the right to privacy when she puts herself out there as a ‘celebrity’.

This is an ongoing debate where people argue that celebrities crave attention and put themselves out there in order to get press and publicity yet when they get any negative press they pull back and cry out that’s it’s an invasion of their privacy.

Fame stars

So where is the line? When does the media go too far?

This is a hard question to answer and each case is extremely different as you have celebrities like Jennifer Aniston who does not put herself out there for publicity, in fact does everything in her power to keep her personal life private and paid millions for security to make sure her recent wedding photos remained private, versus the fame hungry reality TV stars who are doing all they can to get in front of the camera and get publicity in any way they can.

So when should the media pull back?

Where is the line the media should not cross?

It’s a question you feel won’t ever be answered and will be debated for years to come, however I take my hat off to Jennifer Aniston for raising the issue especially when it comes to body shaming, as it seems these days’ women in the media are either too fat or too thin and simply can’t win!

Where do you stand on the issue?

Edel

Edel Cox is a Senior Account Manager with Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork

Ronnie Corbett and 10 PR Tips

April 4, 2016

Ronnie Corbett and 10 PR Tips

Words and all their meanings were delivered straight to the camera from Ronnie Corbett’s arm chair.

His marvellous meandering monologues (The Two Ronnies) came to mind this week as I reflected on his passing. His super, well constructed easy humour had a certain innocence that did not offend.

It did get me thinking about the English language and how important it is to be clear. The incredibly funny skit with Ronnie Barker in the hardware store, where only after much toing and froing does it become apparent that he wanted to buy “fork handles” instead of the “four candles” highlights this perfectly.

There was also a really funny interaction within a conversation about purchasing ‘O’s. Ronnie Barker first supplies a garden hoe, then a length of hose & finally Ronnie Corbett says “no, the letter “O”!”.

It got me thinking about PR and press releases and pitching to the media and how important it is to be clear when pitching a news story about..eh..a new range of candles:

  1. Get to the point: Tell the journalists what has happened, what is being launched or who is doing what. Add some brief context about the company, the product and perhaps the market that both either addresses. Flowery, descriptive stuff in the first paragraphs is like fog on a sea-rescue mission!
  2. Basic facts: Are you launching a product? How much it is? Where is it available?
  3. Conciseness and readability wins: A brief succinct summary of the event, product, executive or story at the top of the release makes you the PR star of the day.
  4. Fonts: Don’t try to be fancy or use special effects. Your goal is to be readable and as clear as possible, not to win a digital calligraphy contest.
  5. Avoid making your pitch sound like an awards speech: Try not to use adverbs and descriptive terms to make it ‘sound better’. This dilutes the credibility of your pitch. For example do not say that you are launching an amazing, must-have new app that taps into the latest cloud computing paradigm in the industry. I thought you were launching candles??? Be clear that you are launching an app that does A,B and C, in the context of D, E and F: that the market is currently G and that your client is available to contact at H (email) and I (mobile)
  6. Journalists advice: A well known, wonderful journalist in The Irish Independent (now a friend) once rang me after I sent in a pitch saying “Aisling, I will decide if the PRODUCT/SERVICE? is amazing and if it will work in the feature!
  7. Personalise: Always personalise your email pitch and take the time to acknowledge something the journalist has written or some other personalised note.
  8. Follow up: Be friendly, polite and happy when you follow up with a phone call. Know their deadlines and always ask if they have time to talk.
  9. Smile: Remember, they can hear a smile in your voice.
  10. Manners: Say thank you when a journalist covers something for you – it takes so little time and means a lot.

While writing this, I’ve just heard that a cement lorry has collided with a minibus carrying prisoners to Portlaoise Jail. Gardai are now looking for 13 hardened criminals.

Ronnie Corbett RIP ..we will miss you!

Aisling White - FuzionAisling White 

Aisling White is an Account Director with Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design based in our office in Dublin, Ireland

Tell Your Story with Integrity and Soul

July 16, 2015

Caitlyn Jenner Arthur Ashe Award

The odd time, in between watching Kevin McCloud and his Grand Designs and the News, I sneak a peek at Keeping up with the Kardashians just to see what ridiculous subject they are talking about.

The way they seem to leave their whole life open to the public I find often crude, staged and so far from any sense of reality I know or would like to know!

The car crash show is about a blended family with Kris Jenner (The Momanager), her adult children from her first marriage, her (now former) husband, Olympian and great American hero Bruce Jenner, with his kids from his second marriage (the kids from his first marriage had the sense not to get involved with the show) and into the mix Kris and Bruce’s own two young daughters, who have grown up with cameras on them 24 seven.

It’s total drivel and I find it so fake – and just when us voyeurs thought it couldn’t get any more off the wall, Bruce, the all American hero,  announced to the world (via TV of course) that from now on he was a she; Bruce was now Caitlyn and proud to come out of the closet!

Any decent publicist worth their salt would have predicted the death of the programme, with people turning away in their droves from this far fetched, totally manufactured story line.

But you know what…..I think the whole family have handled it (OK there were a few fake tears from the former Mrs Jenner – Kris) with great compassion, honesty and openness.  Most celebrities would have hidden away and licked their wounds, far from the public they once courted.  That’s what I expected.

Not the Kardashians and Jenners!

Kim / Caitlyn Jenner tweet

Coming up trumps is Kim Kardashian and Caitlyn’s youngest girls Kylie and Kendall.  Kim, who got the whole Kardashian merry-go-round going with her infamous sex tape is coming across as supportive, understanding and so articulate and honest.  I’m seriously impressed and I never, ever thought I would say that about a Kardashian!

The two  youngest girls, still in their teens and living in such a high beam spotlight, obviously are having more trouble with it, but they are communicating in such a dignified way on TV and on their social media pages and it’s clear that they remain proud of their dad.

And there is a lot to be proud of.  Bruce/Caitlyn is out there telling her story with integrity and soul.  She is putting her hands up to the past failings as a father and a husband and she has sought and is finding redemption through her coming out.  The relief is all over her much surgically manipulated face.

Last night America showed its acceptance by awarding her the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs, an award presented annually to individuals, usually high profile sporting personalities, whose contributions to society transcend sports.  The respected reporter Diane Sawyer, the last person to interview Bruce as he announced his transition to Caitlyn was was in the crowd, cheering Caitlyn on; her presence at the Awards spoke volumes, supporting Caitlyn and her actions.

But the big thing for me was the presence of all of Caitlyn’s children, step children and his 88 year old mother, up front and centre supporting her.  Caitlyn will be an example to other people who are thinking of making a difficult transition – and her family I have to say I now kinda respect a little!

Kim Kardashian cheering on Caitlyn Jenner at Arthus Ashe Awards

It just makes me think of the odd client we have, who hesitate about telling their own story – nothing in anyway intrusive like the Kardashians, just their business story.

They really need to jump over the fear hurdle and just go for it. They have nothing to fear if they are honest and communicate with soul and integrity.  As long as this can be demonstrated people will want to connect with them and their businesses.  That is what PR is for –  It helps clients to tell the story of their business and allows them to connect with people.

Don’t shy away from any opportunity that could benefit your business.

Don’t think – what if; I shouldn’t; what would my peers think?  Because if you don’t take up the opportunities to tell your own unique story, you can be sure that your competitors are talking to us or agencies like us (but obviously not as great as us!) without that fear of telling their story.

Be brave, be honest, have soul and command your own airwaves – and if you need some help with that, you know where we are …

Deirdre Waldron - Fuzion PRDeirdre Waldron is the founding partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

A picture paints 1,000 words ..

July 7, 2015

Homeless man

How many times have we used the expression that “a picture paints a 1,000 words?

Arthur Brisbane - New York Editor and JournalistArthur Brisbane a high profile journalist and editor in New York is first credited with an expression close to this “Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.”

This very clever quote appeared in a 1911 newspaper article discussing journalism and publicity.

In our very busy, frantic, no time to stop, no time to read or study anything properly world with multiple media coming at us non-stop does this expression this hold up?

The idea that a picture is a powerful way to convey a message certainly holds up. The idea of using a multiple of 1,000 words is interesting – already I have used 116 words in this piece.

When I read that Arthur Brisbane penned this quotation I wanted to know what he looked like for some reason. He looks like James Stewart in the ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ era. He looks like a wise man!

As an editor and a journalist Arthur probably had a very strong instinct about how many words it took to deliver a message and what job an equivalent image would do.

If you consider the likelihood of something grabbing our attention today and you think about the job an image can do and the equivalent article (or articles) to do the same job it makes you think about that multiple.

Is it more than 1,000? Is it 10,000? Is it 100,000.

Of course it all depends on the image and how well this is constructed to deliver the necessary message.

At Fuzion when we issue a press release to the media we will often insist that a strong photo accompanies the release – sometimes the picture will be the thing that will get the big space in the newspaper and sometimes we will get both the picture and the article.

For the reader if the image is strong enough it will convey the message or story that we wanted and it may be the hook that will make the reader stop and actually read the ‘words’.

Does a picture paint 1,000 words?

We guess it does and much more besides ..

The story of the photo (top of the blog post)

A family of a missing man spotted him in a photo taken of homeless men that appeared in a Sunday newspaper. Nicholas Simmons, 20, was in upstate New York on New Year’s Day, but he vanished leaving all his belongings behind, according to Fox News on Jan. 6.

Someone in his family spotted Nick in a picture that showed a group of homeless men. The men hovered around a steam grate trying to get warm on the streets of Washington D.C. recently. The homeless men looked destitute, including Nick, trying to get warm in the frigid temperatures. Nick’s parents called the police, who were able to locate their son.

The photographer who took the picture conveyed more than 1,000 words ..

For your website, brochures, posters, press releases get great photos that tell your story.

Greg Canty 

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

Praying Media Mantis

March 24, 2015

Praying Mantis

I was trying to figure out what a visitor from Mars would make of the situation.

A long moving tube squashed with human beings, all of whom were striking the same pose,  the only difference being some were on their feet and some were seated.

Seated folk had their necks bent and focussed –  as if praying  – on a small rectangular shape, with wires plugged into their ears. Standing folk echoed the same pose, neck bent, face fully focussed on the same rectangular shape but with one hand.

One could easily assume this was a religious cult and perhaps the leader was giving the morning gospel to all members? Such intense focus and concentration on this small rectangular shape. Passengers could be jostled and pushed but still, they remained intensely silent and incredibly focussed.

Perception is not always reality..

I realised the pose reminded me of a Praying Mantis and yet the folk were regular Luas passengers on their morning commute. As it is early in the working day, brains and minds are clear – yet hungry to absorb, either with eyes or ears. From time to time I understood that passengers were listening to the same channel, as they smiled in time with each other.

Thought for the day..

Morning commuters are edgier and ready to absorb more than at any other time of the day. Think about it and communicate early with your audience – time to prey on your praying media mantis!

Let us go in peace..

Aisling White - FuzionAisling White 

Aisling White is an Account Director with Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design based in our office in Dublin, Ireland

 

 

Is anyone a born natural when it comes to the media?

May 27, 2014

media interviewPeople who contact the Fuzion Media Training team frequently feel  embarrassed at  having to do so and our answer to them is always the same, “why do you think you should automatically know how to do this? It’s a skill just like any other that has to be learned and mastered.

I have seen the most experienced spokespeople and politicians fluff lines, panic under pressure and crumble in the face of harsh interrogation. I’ve seen guests come in to do an interview that could have gone out to one million people – but the piece (and worse the opportunity) was canned because they weren’t prepared.  Fascinated by what just happened, I have also, where possible, asked them what they think just went wrong?

Without exception the answer has always been –”I didn’t think through or practice what I wanted to say before going on!”

There are no naturals in this business; very experienced TV presenters rehearse a script 50 if not a 100 times before mastering it.  Most broadcasters are not better at communicating than the rest of us; they’ve just made a career out of practising their content and by extension perfecting their performance.  They also receive constant and, let’s be honest, not always welcome constructive criticism from their production team.

You can work with a media trainer to adopt a similar approach and you don’t have to be facing an imminent broadcast interview to do it.   Media now means much more than it used to, it’s not just newspapers, TV and radio it’s YouTube, Facebook, Twitter. You need the same media skills to succeed, no matter what the platform, and it’s our job and privilege to show you how.

Our media training includes:

Realising it’s all part of PR

If you have your own business, if you have something to sell, you need to be someone clients will like, know and trust.  We encourage people to identify who their real clients are and how they can connect with them and knowing your clients means knowing which media to use to connect with them too.

You are your own best PR, and any opportunity to promote yourself will be an opportunity to promote your business.  And if you don’t have any desire to be an entrepreneur, you may wish to highlight an essential cause or create a buzz about a charity project.

Whatever the reason, there are always times in life where you need to make the right impression.  As a result, Fuzion offers media training both in isolation and as part of integrated PR packages.

Being clear on your USP and becoming visible

The very first thing to get people to be really clear on is their USP [unique selling point] and a surprising number of people struggle with this. We help you work out this essential information which we then use to build your core message.

We work with a lot of business professionals and when I ask them about their own qualities, they often say “It’s not about me; it’s the product that’s important.” I ask them to think about why they choose one shop over another and the answer is always they go where the person gives the best service.  Of course personality matters. People do business with people they trust and they do so when they get to know the face behind the brand.

Showing you how not to be defensive

This is the make or break of most media interviews. It’s the journalist’s job to ask the questions you want to be asked but equally the ones you don’t.

99% of these questions are easily predicted but we hide behind the pretence that we didn’t know what we were going to be asked. As part of our service we’ll tell you everything you’re going to be asked and we’ll get you to complete a media grid which includes everything you hope to be asked, what you don’t want to be asked and the stories and examples you will use to back up what you are saying!

We’ll then put you through your paces in an intensive mock interview which leaves no stone unturned and which just like the broadcasters will be analysed in minute but always constructive detail! This coupled with some assertive responses will completely eliminate the temptation to get defensive.

Above all else media training will make sure you’re relaxed, memorable and quotable. It’s an investment in both your brand and yourself that will completely transform those opportunities when they come along. 

Amanda Dunleavy, Media Training Dublin, Fuzion Amanda Dunleavy

Amanda Dunleavy is part of the Fuzion Media Training team operating from our offices in both Cork and Dublin.

 

Turning Dreaded Interviews into Media Opportunities

April 22, 2014

Gina London, Media Training, Fuzion Communications, Ireland, Cork, Dublin

Working as part of the Fuzion Media Training team is one of the most rewarding, diverse and challenging parts of the job.

It’s even more interesting from the perspective of being a former journalist as I hadn’t much considered just how difficult and nerve wrecking it is to deal with the unpredictability of media from the interviewee’s perspective!

People from all walks of life seek Fuzion’s expertise in this area for many different reasons – be it an upcoming TV appearance on Dragon’s Den, business leaders wanting to work on their elevator pitch for investors, upcoming radio interviews or as part of an organisation’s crisis management strategy.

Regardless of why they require support, one thing is common to all of our Media Training clients, they entrust in us. This is incredibly humbling and comes with a weight of responsibility on our side that we never underestimate.

Our clients lay their cards on the table for us, warts and all, and we’re tasked to honestly analyse and strategically advise on their strengths, weaknesses and the best approach for them to communicate as individuals and/or as an organisation.

Often it’s a tricky position to be in when you have to take the ‘no holds barred’ approach but almost always, the honesty is appreciated by our clients who know that the goal is to lay the groundwork for effective communication.

Demonstrating the unpredictability of a media interview and the importance of staying ‘on message’ is one of the most intense parts of the training.

I temporarily jump back into the role of a journalist to interrogate, nit-pick and manipulate with my own agenda to give the client an idea of worse-case scenario media interviews. This is where the cracks will be apparent in their verbal and visual communication. It’s tough love!

It’s not easy but it’s necessary to sometimes tell clients that they mumble, sound monotone, are too defensive both in their words and their body language, have a nervous tick and/or if the interview had been live, they could have left their organisation open to controversy. appearing in a very poor light or even a possible lawsuit.

No one takes offence, more often, they’re glad of the honesty of how they sound and appear, looking from the outside in.

From there we work with our clients so that they can effectively, calmly and confidently communicate using their core business strategy to set the agenda and achieve clear communication objectives in all media interviews and opportunities. We work with them to establish their core messages to stay on track (e.g. who they are, what they stand for, why people should care or be interested in them, the positive work do they do, how they are pro-actively working to resolve issues etc.)

Once the client establishes these core messages clearly and concisely, they’re on a sound footing. The tables soon turn to when the client is able to set their own agenda and manage the media opportunity to benefit their goals and business.

With some training every media opportunity can be a golden one.

Aoibhinn Twomey - Fuzion PRAoibhinn Twomey

Aobhinn Twomey is part of the Fuzion Media Training team operating from  our offices in both Cork and Dublin.

 

 

 

 


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