Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

100 Days – Doing nothing might be the best approach!

May 1, 2017
Donald Trump signing executive orders

The first 100 days – there is a lot of talk about this and seemingly it has become a great way of assessing the success of a new President in the United States.

Why?

The media are locked into a frenzy about this “100 Day” thing and we all eagerly join in the conversations and somehow buy into this crude assessment of the new President.

Is this a really great yardstick of success and a good sign of what more is to come from the remainder of that person’s four-year term?

In the earliest days of his Presidency we saw Donald “Chump” Trump buying into this, breaking into a sweat signing as many Executive Orders as he could …”look at me, how great I am, look, look, I really mean business and will change the world and show everyone how a real President does it“.

It was quite awful watching the circus around this crude display of power.

100 days on after a frustrating “birth” poor Mr. Chump is now giving out about the American Constitution and blames it for hindering real progress and as always he turns his anger at the media and accuses them again of fake news.

His popularity has fallen since he took office and he really hates that because this bully still wants people to think he is doing great – sorry Donald, that isn’t happening!

The craziest thing of all is this fascination with “100 days”.

Apparently, the term was coined in a July 24, 1933, radio address by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, although he was, in fact, referring to the 100-day session of the 73rd United States Congress between March 9 and June 17, rather than the first 100 days of his administration.

However, it is a lot sexier if we apply the “100” to the first days of the Presidency so this measurement tool caught on.

A good measurement tool?

Managing a super power nation must be incredibly complicated and no matter who you are, no matter how well briefed you are, and no matter how intelligent you are I can imagine those big decisions should be taken in a very considered manner.

From my career experience of having been in business a long time and having managed many companies and worked for many companies, I shudder at the thought of any boss wanting to make as many changes as possible in this initial period.

I would feel an awful lot better if this person would have the sense to listen, learn, take stock and only when they have a full grasp of a situation do they start to make any changes. I have found that even the seemingly obvious things that look wrong can often have very good reasons why they are in place and cannot be changed easily.

I imagine that Donald if he had allowed himself the time and not been a pawn to the media his own bravado persona might have gone about things quite differently.

Next time for the safety and benefit of everyone in the world let’s judge the President positively when he makes no changes in his first 100 days.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Melania Trump, Dolce & Gabbana’s Hot Mess

January 27, 2017

Melania Trump D&G Dress

Melania Trump wore a stunning black Dolce & Gabbana dress at an event in Palm Beach, Florida on New Years Eve last. She was accompanying her (shy and often misunderstood!) husband, Donald Trump and the dress was pretty, elegant and quite sexy all at the same time.

Edel Cox from Fuzion did a blog post ‘When Fashion Meets Politics in December ’16 if you’d like a read more of the interesting topic that is fashion and politics.

The photo of Melania in the classy long black dress was everywhere, quickly, and Stefano Gabbana, one half of the dynamic Italian fashion duo, Dolce & Gabbana, picked up on Melania’s dress as soon as the pictures were published (it’s unclear whether he sent it to her, or she bought herself).

Stefano posted a picture on his Instagram account calling Melania a ‘beautiful woman’ and a ‘#DGwoman’ soon afterwards. Very quickly  the fangs were out and followers, who may or may not have been genuine customers erupted in anger at D&G’s positive recognition of Melania.

Over 1,000 followers and fans reacted.

Melania Trump - USA

Social Media Fashion Catfight

Comments by the D&G audience included those who believe Melania should only wear American brands, to those who said her wearing it and the subsequent post was ‘offensive to the core’.

One woman said ‘Yuck. I think I just bought my last Dolce piece’ to which Gabbana replied by writing: ‘Great.’ He also included a heart emoji.

So disappointed‘ said one person.

I don’t care‘ replied Gabbana.

Stefano GabbanaGabbana lashed out  “How many stupid and ignorant people r on Instagram!!!!

Please if you don’t like my post unfollow me … thank u ❤”

Please don’t buy anymore of my fashion please!!! I don’t need an ignorant costumer!!!” before adding that he sees it as “just one dress” and therefore not a political talking point.

He shot back to one poster with the simple comment – ‘Ignorant

And then there was the person who told Gabbana: “Clearly I can’t buy your clothes any more. Good luck“.

Gabbana responded by writing: “good luck you too”

(the spelling and broken English above is his, not mine!!)

Later in the week Gabbana continued to post stories about the uproar over him pointing out that Melania, a former model, wore one of his dresses and looked good in the frock.

Some commentators did separate fashion and politics but in my opinion this negative reaction is bad brand news for D&G, particularly because of the way Gabbana handled it (or didn’t).

Brand Value

Surely this brand, being around for as long as it has, knows how to talk to people, customer or not, in a professional, polite manner?

Surely they are mature enough as individuals and a brand to rise above taunts and manage such social media chats without getting bitchy and offensive to anyone?

Or perhaps Stefano Gabbana is following Donald Trump’s methods and just being direct, extremely open and somewhat offensive – like it or not?

However surprising this fashion fight was to read, it’s very surprising that Stefano would stoop so low as to insult people, customers or not, in such an angry, aggressive and frankly, immature way.

I think this social media behaviour, being extremely rude to your audience is an awful one and although I’d still love to own some D&G (who wouldn’t!), it leaves a bad taste with me that a designer would get so personal, and then unapologetic and stubborn, with his audience.

Is he or the brand so big that it can simply tell people to stop buying it because they’re annoyed ‘in the moment’ with some negative remarks?

I don’t think any brand is that big that it can be so unpleasant with those who engage with it. The feeling I got from Gabbana’s overall  tirade on Instagram last week was that he came across as being arrogant and totally superior to everyone and I don’t think that should be in anyone’s communications strategy: angry, ’in the moment’ or not, whatever he was feeling it personally himself – don’t let it out there.

An online audience following, engaging with a brand or business is highly valuable – word of mouth, ambassadors, influencers are all in there and a business needs to care for this community and treat it with respect, which hopefully leads to an understanding of the brand, loyalty, and sales.

I would have thought Gabbana would have been well advised by his digital marketing professionals on how to handle bad press online and not get so overheated.

Melenia Trump wearing Ralph Lauren

(this time she is wearing the American brand, Ralph Lauren)

Aftershock

After the shock of reading the posts by D&G I’m assuming that they are typical red blooded, fiery Italians (which is mostly great!) and at the end of the day, it’s their business and they can feel and communicate the way they want to, about people making negative remarks online.

However I do think this kind of irrational behavior makes me, and perhaps many lose a good dose of respect for them. If they don’t value (customers) relationships, on or off line, why would anyone, customer or otherwise, feel good about buying or wearing their clothes? Or perhaps the exposure this got in global media was just the hot topic focus D&G wanted on the brand in order to stand out… would we dare ask him?!!

Great advice for Stefano (we do think it is great that he participates personally online – it’s a “real brand”) would have been to embrace the visibility and the free coverage that Melania Trump brought to the brand, be happy that a beautiful woman who has the world spotlight on her is choosing your brand over others. Then let anyone who wants to get upset about it have their voice but you stay out of it and maybe, just maybe..shut up!!

A simple piece of advice that we give clients about negative comments online is that very often the best thing to do is just..ignore them.

Anna Wymes, Fuzion CommunicationsAnna 

Anna Wymes is a PR intern with Fuzion Communications who have offices in Dublin and Cork

 

 

When Fashion meets Politics – Melania Trump

December 12, 2016

Melania Trump - When fashion meets politics

Fashion designers around the world are torn when it comes to Melania Trump as it looks like the soon to be First Lady is paying the price for her husband’s controversial reputation and comments on issues such racism, sexism etc.

Since it became clear that Donald Trump will be the next US President a number of high profile fashion designers have made a stance and refused to dress his wife Melania Trump when she takes on her role as First Lady in January.

Historically designers queue up to dress the First Lady.

The current First Lady, Michelle Obama, has become a fashion icon since she shot into the limelight and dazzles on every occasion. Fashion designers around the world are eager to dress her and to date she has worn what have since become iconic looks.

This time however it seems Melania has very few offers on the table as designers such as Marc Jacobs, Derek Lamb, Tom Ford and Sophie Theallet (who dresses Michelle Obama) have all refused to dress her.

Marc Jacobs stated “I have no interest whatsoever in dressing Melania Trump. Personally, I’d rather put my energy into helping out those who will be hurt by Donald] Trump and his supporters.”

Tom Ford stated “I was asked to dress Melania Trump quite a few years ago and I declined…She’s not necessarily my image.”

Derek Lam stated “I don’t know Melania Trump personally, so I don’t wish my comments to seem I am prejudging her personal values, but I really don’t see myself getting involved with the Trump presidency.”

Sophie Theallet stated “As one who celebrates and strives for diversity, individual freedom and respect for all lifestyles, I will not participate in dressing or associating in any way with the next First Lady. The rhetoric of racism, sexism, and xenophobia unleashed by her husband’s presidential campaign are incompatible with the shared values we live by. I encourage my fellow designers to do the same.”

On the other side other designers such as Tommy Hilfiger, Thom Browne and Diane Von Furstenberg are some of the few designers who see Melania as The First Lady rather than Donald Trump’s wife and would be delighted to dress her.

Melania Trump - Fashion and Politics

Tommy Hilfiger stated “I think Melania is a very beautiful woman and I think any designer should be proud to dress her.”

Thom Browne stated “Out of respect for the position of the first lady of our United States, I would be honoured to be considered to design for any first lady of the United States.” 

Diane von Furstenberg statedMelania deserves the respect of any first lady before her.”

Who knows who will eventually dress Melania but my guess is whoever does, will get huge positive exposure in the fashion world as despite her or her husband’s beliefs she is a beautiful woman who would look good in anything.

She is already a fashion icon due to her celebrity status and no doubt as she takes on her role as The First Lady her fashion icon status will shoot through the roof so I’d imagine whatever designer gets the job of dressing her will in no way regret it.

Edel

Edel Cox is a Senior PR Account Manager with Fuzion who have offices in Dubliun and Cork, Ireland

Sources for this blog: WWD, Huffington Post, The Irish Independent, Quartz

Where did it all go wrong?

November 9, 2016

Donald J Trump

I woke up this morning to the news that Donald Trump is the new President of The United States Of America!

At first I thought I was still dreaming but to my shock and horror I soon realised this was real.

Going to bed last night I was watching the results come in and saw that Trump was ahead by a few but went to bed quite content that Hillary Clinton would claw it back as there was no way a man who is hated and feared by millions around the world, would be voted in as one of the most powerful men in the world.

Listening to the fallout this morning on the radio and TV as presenters, journalists and civilians around the world reacted to the shock news, it’s clear that the pollsters and polling analysts got it incredibly wrong and I have to ask, how did this happen?

In the lead up to the election, Hillary was almost certain to be crowned the winner of this bizarre presidential race and yet here we are on the 9th November 2016 coming to terms with the fact that reality TV star Donald Trump is the new President.

The pollsters are certainly hanging their heads in shame this morning. In the lead up to the election the press reported on the polling predictions, The New York Times reported Hillary Clinton had an 85% chance of winning, The Huffington Post gave her 98.3% chance of winning and the list goes on, so what happened?

electoral-map

Were people not telling the truth and ashamed to admit they would vote for Trump and yet when they got to the polling stations gave him their number 1?

  • Did Trumps campaign of ‘Making America Great Again’, prove to be an exciting prospect that voters craved?
  • Did Trump get into the heads of the white working class American community who Hillary may have dismissed as they don’t have a history of voting?
  • Were people just voting against Hillary instead of voting ‘for’ Trump?
  • Did Hillary lose because America was not ready for a female President?

So many questions that leave not only America, but the world baffled. The experts got it totally wrong so lets hope that with the benefit of hindsight that the same experts can figure out why.

It certainly is a crazy time to be alive and it will be very interesting to see what lies ahead!

Edel

Edel Cox - FuzionEdel Cox is a Senior PR Account Manager with Fuzion

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

Donald Trump and Simple Messages that connect

November 9, 2016

Donald Trump

What in the name of God is MAGA?

Of course it is an acronym for “Make America Great Again” used for hashtag purposes by Donald Trump with his social media posts.

This phrase is that one thing, that tag line if you will, which his whole campaign was built around – it is that one message that he kept pumping out over and over, in every speech and in every social media post.

Functionally when he uses #MAGA or any hashtag it pops out at you as it appears in a different colour and when you click on it you will see a listing of all of the social media posts where that was used. This makes it easy to track all of the posts.

People are bewildered about the success of this brash, uncouth, abrasive and insulting man who is now incredily the “Leader of the Free World“.

How is this possible?

While it is unbelievable I have a simple theory that I think partly explains the Trump pheonomena.

Here goes …

In this fast paced internet age where we are being assaulted 24/7 by messages and news via many media platforms it is very difficult to focus one’s attention properly.

As a result our attention spans are tiny and if you have a message that you want people to grasp then you must have one simple, clear message that is memorable and used consistently over and over.

This can be really effective because most people do not have the time or the inclination to dig deeper, to do their own research and properly inform themselves of all the facts about issues that are important such as who becomes the next President of the United States.

This key message should become your tagline and if possible it should be capable of being used as a hashtag in your social media posts.

BREXIT - We want our country back

For example in the recent BREXIT campaign the ‘leave’ campaigners put out a consistent campaign about “getting our country back“.

This simple message was pumped out over and over resulting in a majority of voters opting for ‘leave‘. What was clear afterwards was that many of these voters admitted that they had no idea about the consequences of their vote as will definitely be the case in the United States.

The ‘stay’ campaign had no clarity about their message so they made it easy for the opposition and with Hillary Clinton it was the same as “Stronger Together” just lacked enough punch and enough reasons for people to connect with it and vite for her.

A key learning for all of us in this ‘short attention span era‘ is that a simple clear message that connects with your audience used consistently will most definitely help you to connect and win.

I’m worried ….

Greg Canty 

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

What we do when no one is looking…

October 17, 2016

Cafe Velo - Cork

Rob runs Café Velo, one of the loveliest breakfast and lunch cafes here in Cork, Ireland. When I’m there, it’s as if I’ve walked back in time to when I lived in the 15th arrondissement in Paris.

Pastries are arranged behind the counter glass with artistic flair. The servers are just the right blend of warmth and chatty and the tea is served in delicate china.

I ran into Rob unexpectedly this week downtown – in a rare moment when he was not in his cafe. We stopped and chatted a bit and I casually asked about the single large book I glimpsed in the white shopping bag he was holding. Rob smiled and told me the book was for an elderly customer.

The man, in his eighties, reported in to Velo every morning for his daily scone. Except for this week when he suddenly did not appear. Rob inquired and learned the customer had had a stroke. And was in the hospital.

The man has no family to speak of. So Rob went out of his way on his own time to buy a book he thought the man would enjoy during his recovery. Now Rob was off to the hospital to pay the man a visit.

I was touched by the story and asked if I could write about it. Rob looked at me a bit embarrassed, but said, “Sure, go for it.”

So here it is!

I want to contrast a man like Rob with another man.

Rob was simply doing a kind thing. Without, in our day of Social Media marketing, even posting about it. Doing a kind thing when no one, he thought, was looking.

Donald Trump and his lewd comments

Compare that with that now notorious video, of a certain person running for US president objectifying women when the women weren’t present. Then he steps out of the van and “politely greets” one of the same women he had just talked so horribly about.

What we do when we think no one is looking says a lot about our true character, doesn’t it?

Not all men are the same. Rob’s act when he thought no one was looking was kind. And it was more than caring for a regular paying customer, it was caring of a fellow human being on this planet.

The more we can strive to get past race, religion and gender, and consider that we’re all just people together on this planet, perhaps we can all be a little kinder too.

Thank you, Rob, for a lesson all of us can learn from.

Gina London - Fuzion PRGina London

Gina London, a former Emmy award winning CNN anchor is a Strategic Communications specialist with Fuzion

Hillary – get over your glass ceilings!  

July 27, 2016

Hillary Clinton

OK, it is really great that for the first time there is a female candidate for the US Presidential Election, long overdue and everyone bar middle America is in agreement that she is the best person for the job – probably by default!  

But.. I am so over “glass ceilings”.

Hillary heralded her nomination victory as the “biggest crack in that glass ceiling” with a montage of the previous 44 male US presidents accompanied by the sound and vision of breaking glass.

I groaned when I saw it so my other half said (as he always says!) – “OK write a blog about it”.

Hillary went on to say “Little girls, who stayed up late to watch, I may be the first woman President but one of you is next”.

Can we please get rid of this idea of a glass ceiling now!

Personally I don’t believe in them and I never have. I think there are some professions out there, like politics, that are not conducive to women, especially women who have young families. I think it’s not the glass ceiling we need to break, but we need to re-set the foundations by looking at the rules, social norms, conventions and structures that are in place preventing talented women getting to whatever level they want to get to.

I also believe that as women we have to take some responsibility for this.  

Sheryl Sandberg told a great story in her book – ‘Lean In‘. She was heavily pregnant, running late for a meeting and couldn’t find a parking space near the office, so she had to trek a long distance from the back of the car park to get to her meeting. She barged into the meeting, late, uncomfortable and probably a little cranky and asked why there weren’t any allocated parking slots nearer the office, for pregnant employees.

The answer was no one ever asked for them!

The ‘powers that be’ thought this was a great idea and very soon afterwards this policy was implemented.

If we want to get to the top – be it in our business or in our careers, I believe we, as women, need to ask for what we need or help to facilitate change – we must be proactive in resetting the foundations.

I have been working very closely with Enterprise Ireland (EI) over the past few months in my role as President of Network Ireland.

They recognise the fact that as women we need to be more assertive – but they use a much more positive word: “ambitious”.  

Enterprise Ireland have put programmes in place to encourage female entrepreneurs, as they know that businesses run by women have a better chance of succeeding. Their stats prove that women are hesitant about applying for grants and supports, unless they tick every single box – whereas a male counterpart in general will go for every opportunity and worry about matching the criteria afterwards!  

EI’s strategies around nurturing ambition in female entrepreneurs are working and they have seen the number of females on their programmes jump from 7% in 2011 to 22% in 2015.  

We also have a responsibility to support each other.

Hillary, instead of giving the “little girls at home” a ‘call to action’ she should be looking behind her or in front of her at the podium and saying “your turn is next”. It’s the responsibility of all of us to help others up the ladder or pass the torch.

As Madeleine Albright, another US Secretary of State put it ”There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women”.

Let’s hope Hillary will remember Madeleine’s wise words and has less of the breaking glass and more of the actions that really support other women to get as far as they can.  

Actions speak so much louder than words or cool AV effects!

As to Hillary becoming the next President of the USA – I hope she is successful in her campaign, not because she is a woman, or the best possible candidate, but because like most people in Ireland I’m an anything but Trump girl!  But that’s for another blog……

Deirdre 

Deirdre Waldron - Network Ireland PresidentDeirdre Waldron is the founding partner of Fuzion

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

Acknowledge and Engage with your audience

February 18, 2016

Stephen Donnelly - Social Democrats

Stephen Donnelly of the Social Democrats did really well during the General Election Leaders Debate on RTE this week. He comes across as an articulate, intelligent and impressive individual and his performance was one of the things that many people were talking about after.

He won over some of the audience!

While he is very impressive it is very hard to buy into a manifesto that wants to keep taxation high and let the state use those funds. If I thought the public service was capable of spending this money wisely and efficiently there might be some merit in his arguments but this just isn’t the case.

Also this high personal taxation philosophy is a huge deterrent for human talent to work and live in Ireland. Sorry Stephen – people want to be able to enjoy the spoils of their labour and will move to more favourable regimes such as the UK to make that possible.

However, Stephen did impress..

My other half, Deirdre Waldron said as much on Twitter (I would consider her to have a lot of influential followers) and effectively she gave his performance a big ‘thumbs up‘ publicly. She wasn’t the only one who did this I noticed.

The Golden Opportunity

While this online endorsement is great for Stephen it leaves a huge ‘Opportunity‘ door wide open for him to walk through. Of course it’s up to him and his team to grab this opportunity.

What if he could do something really simple to grab this tangible goodwill and take it to a higher level?

What if he could do something really easy to take this positive feedback and convert it into a supporter or a fan even?

What if he could take a few little seconds and grab a simple chance to show an online audience that he is a really great and very popular guy?

What if he decides to do nothing?

Do does nothing ..

Dee is thinking …hmm, I said something complimentary and it wasn’t even acknowledged. That’s not very nice, I won’t do that again.

That positive impression has wilted a little

He likes the post..

Dee is thinking…hmm, It’s nice to see that he acknowledged the positive thing that I said. He is one of the good guys.

That positive impression has been reinforced and she might even repeat the positive posts about him in the future.

He engages with the post..

This is the ‘Holy Grail‘ of social media and it is the big prize, the gift, the one thing that is waiting there to be easily plucked from the tree.

Stephen tweets back: “thanks a million” or even better “thanks a million Dee, I appreciate the positive feedback” or even better again “thanks a million Dee, our campaign is really connecting with people

Dee is thinking..hmm, this guy is the real deal, he would be a great person to have working for us in Dail Eireann. I’m going to follow him and listen carefully to all of his proposals and arguments and I might take his local candidates more seriously.

Now Stephen has won her over and one vote turns into two and so on..

Why is it not happening?

Maybe this very sharp and intelligent guy who is out there giving it everything, just doesn’t get this simple trick? Maybe he just doesn’t have the time? – I’m sure he doesn’t but he can surely get someone who understands his message intimately enough to assist him with his Twitter account.

These are easy wins for Stephen and so many of the other politicians who have positive momentum. If they are serious about getting each of those precious votes then grab the golden opportunities by jumping in – Acknowledge and Engage.

For the rest of us the argument is exactly the same with our online communications:

  • Acknowledge your nice posts
  • Don’t be afraid to have a conversation
  • Say thank you!

The opportunities are there …grab them!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer Social Media Consultancy and Training from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Deadline 21st January – Register your lobbying activity

January 12, 2016

Lobbying

There’s nothing like a deadline to inspire action!

Maybe it’s the former journalist in me but I work best when to a deadline so I am quite partial to working against the clock (I accept this is both a strength of mine but also an annoyance for those who know and work with me!).

The first submissions for the lobbying register are due on January 21st so I’ve been working on behalf of Fuzion to compile our own submissions of activity on behalf of clients.

I’ve also been dealing with our various clients in relation to how and whether they are involved in lobbying and if there’s an onus on them to submit their own reports. (It’s comforting to see I’m not the only one who works on a ‘needs must’ basis.)

The clients range from charity to childcare, legal to education and each of their queries, knowledge and attitudes to the register is different – some have registered as a ‘ticking the box’ exercise, another wants to leverage it for brand awareness, another was unsure as to whether they may be exempt from the register while a fourth client has an interesting scenario whereby Government officials engaged and approached them in relation to their service. What do they do?

It’s interesting to see how clients from across completely different sectors have had to engage in lobbying activity.

This new Regulation of Lobbying Act and the register will shine a light on lobbying – who is engaging in it, with whom and for what purposes.

Fuzion is among those who will submit a return detailing, on behalf of clients, what public officials we have contacted, the subject matter and the intended result of this communication. January 21st, will be our first of three returns that we will file this year.

My advice to each of our relevant clients is to register and to ensure that their submissions are complete and transparent. Of course there is a period of grace of one year to allow the legislation to bed down which means that no penalties will be incurred but our advice is to start as you mean to go on.

You should also know your obligations in relation to the Lobbying Act and if unsure, it would be prudent to register and submit reports relating to activity.

The reputational effect and consequences of not filing – having to answer questions by the media and officials as to why certain correspondence was not logged, is a high price to pay for innocence.

Register now ..

Aoibhinn Twomey - Fuzion PRAoibhinn Twomey

Check out another great post by Aoibhinn “The Changing face of lobbying

Aoibhinn Twomey is a Senior Account Director with Fuzion PR & Marketing which has offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

The changing face of lobbying in Ireland

September 7, 2015

Down Syndrome Ireland

What comes to mind when you think of lobbying?

People’s protests, petitions, media campaigns? Or perhaps you picture scenes of back-slapping behind closed doors between people with power and those with influence?

Whatever your views and opinions are of lobbying and lobbyists, it’s fair to say that the lobbying landscape will become far more transparent with the Regulation of Lobbying Act that comes into effect in this month.

Fuzion is among those who have registered as a lobbyist and as such we will be required to record details of relevant clients that we have engaged in lobbying activity on behalf of, the names of public officials we have contacted, the subject matter and the intended results of communications.

The legislation will require us and all other lobbyists to submit returns three times a year, beginning in January 2016.

Those affected by the new legislation include third-party lobbyists paid to engage with public representatives; companies with 10 or more employees, representative bodies and advocacy groups discussing relevant issues; and anyone lobbying about the development or zoning of land.

Lobbying has been a feature of our business and political landscape for centuries. However, the highly publicised corruption revelations and investigations give context and merit to the new regulations, which aims to give lobbying a robust ethical framework.

But it’s not just business leaders that use and value lobbying as an important tool to influencing decision makers.

Interestingly and perhaps it’s that time of year (pre Budget) but we’ve noticed increasing numbers of clients across various sectors – public and private, coming to us looking for support in relation to lobbying so the new legislation is certainly one we are keeping abreast of.

We also have a number of charities on our books and most, if not all, engage in lobbying at some level. Down Syndrome Ireland is a prime example of how lobbying can achieve significant changes.

We worked with them last year on one of the most critical and significant public awareness campaigns that gripped Ireland where we were tasked with being the voice of thousands of children with Down syndrome who were in danger of losing their discretionary medical cards.

The crucial mix of an unrelenting and determined media campaign and political lobbying gave the issue the attention it deserved.

With a clear strategy, many man hours (despite a modest budget) and sheer determination we were relieved to successfully secure a Government U-Turn on the issue months later.

It’s a lobbying campaign we are immensely proud of and we were also honoured to have won this year’s PRII award for Excellence in Lobbying for our work on that campaign.

Napoleon Bonaparte is quoted to have said: “ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent,” which is very true.

One should never underestimate the potential of people power – if you believe, then use your voice.

Aoibhinn Twomey - Fuzion PRAoibhinn Twomey

Aoibhinn Twomey is a Senior Account Director with Fuzion PR & Marketing who lobbies on behalf of our clients from our offices in Cork and Dublin, Ireland


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