Archive for the ‘PR’ 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

It’s hard to find the perfect shade of yellow when you’re a blonde?

May 4, 2017

Lena Dunham at the Golden Globe Awards

For decades it was suggested that blondes simply can’t wear yellow, as it clashes with their hair and gives their skin an unpleasant, pallid undertone. This might be true of certain yellows (Lena Dunham is just not having a good day here), but sometimes when you find that perfect shade/tone it can look fantastic!

With that said, this can also be true when looking for the perfect supplier of a service you require for your business. In this scenario, the client is the blonde individual and the shade of yellow is the service you require – Procurement!

PR is a service that some businesses, not all, often don’t clearly understand in terms of what the service is or how it can benefit them.

There are many elements to a PR campaign and more and more agencies are now adapting to the changing world of technology as well as developing extensions such as design, social media, digital support, and training.

For a business, it is important to find your perfect PR agency match (your shade of YELLOW!), but you also must be ready for PR and understand what type of support you need from an agency.

The following are some tips that will help guide you before contacting any agency:

1. Are you ready to share your company’s expectations, your business plans and goals?

This is important. An agency will need to know what direction the company is looking to go in and where they see themselves in the future. This can decide the concepts and angle the agency may suggest to you – is it a project requirement or a more long term like a retainer?

2. How much time are you willing to give to the PR campaign?

Your agency will require ease of access to the information they need to tell your story. The campaign can only go so far and move at the pace agreed if all parties are willing to invest the required time. Be sure you have a strong team that can help facilitate this.

3. Be realistic with your expectations re: Return on investment

This will not happen overnight and in reality you should expect to see media interest within 2-6 months of the campaign (this can be industry sensitive).

4. Social Media should be your best friend!

It’s time to embrace the online social space. This can be supported by your agency but no one knows your company better than you and it would always be recommended that the voice of the company is visible across all platforms – strategic plans can be created here to give direction.

5. Prepare to be open minded and uncomfortable

If you are looking to stand out from a sea of similar companies, products etc then you must be open to thinking outside the box but also within relevance and respect to your brand identity. It’s important to grab some of the spotlight!

6. Who will be holding your hand?

When you first meet your prospective PR agency you will more than likely meet a senior, super professional senior team. Our super tip here is to request that you meet the full team who will actually be doing the work on your account – do you like them, are they right for your business, do they seem to grasp what you are trying to achieve?

7. Financial expectations

Be realistic! You’re a business person that has a particular value on the work you do and so does the PR agency. This all boils down to what your needs and expectations are, as well as the time that you’re willing to give. All these factors can make a huge difference to the value, not just in relation to cost but overall results.

 

Golden Globe Awards

Now it’s time to look fantastic!

If you take all of this on board, approaching an agency should be easier with these points in mind and you will be on the right road to finding your PR agency match!

Your perfect YELLOW!

Arlene

Arlene Foy is an Account Manager with Fuzion Communications in our Dublin office. Fuzion provide Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Social Media Management services from our office in Dublin and Cork.

 

 

PR is not a “one size fits all”

March 27, 2017

The perception of the PR industry is one we often have to fight against and to defend. Some people may take a cynical view that PR is an indulgent commodity, a drain on a marketing budget and that those working in the industry are experts on ‘spin‘ rather than communication.

It’s hard not to feel offended and disheartened when you look at it from the inside out, knowing the broad range of work and tasks our job entails.

For instance one client of mine depends on me for devising their strategy in line with their organisation’s objectives over the coming two years. I’ve carried out workshops with top level staff across divisions with the aim of helping them to refine their messaging, target audiences and objectives. I also act as their press office function which, for a public sector Statutory organisation, is a role of great responsibility that requires efficiency, accuracy and professionalism.

Another client of mine is a global company which requires profile building to raise its profile and understanding among the Irish market.I do this through liaising with their stakeholders, identifying interesting case study stories to pitch to the media, through office launch events and openings, media engagement and drafting and issuing press releases.

I work closely with the company’s global corporate communications team, which can significantly increase the level of liaison that is required but it is absolutely necessary to provide them with assurance, confidence and understanding of how we work and achieve results in Ireland. Building this relationship has built trust which is paramount.

We may have another project that is purely for internal communications to foster and enhance engagement with staff through events, workshops, communications, videos etc.

As an agency the varied and broad nature of our work and client base is significant. One size does not fit all – the only common ground our clients and work has, is enhancing and sometimes protecting their reputation which can be achieved through many diverse PR activities.

Aoibhinn Twomey - Fuzion PRAoibhinn

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

(Image taken from the very funny 2005 movie, “Thank You For Smoking” which presents a great example of spin)

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

New friends are Silver, old ones are Gold

January 10, 2017

Tour de Munster

Maybe it’s a sign of brighter economic times, maybe it’s a reflection of past experiences with us; whatever it is, I love to see our clients return. And over the last ten years in Fuzion I’ve seen my fair share.

Last September we got a call from the lovely Oonagh Levis and Mary Leahy from Town & Country Hampers, clients we hadn’t worked with since 2011 – but ones that I had fond memories of working with.

As they approached their busiest time of year in the hamper business they contacted us to help push their campaign that little bit further and spread the word that they were celebrating 25 successful years in business. I worked closely with Saidhbh, one of our newer team members on this account, and together we upped the ante in terms of social media activity, as well as securing numerous media competition and profiling opportunities for them.

You can measure column inches, analyse social media statistics, but at the end of the day it’s sales that count for a business like Town & Country Hampers, so we were thrilled when they told us they had their busiest Christmas in years…. Success!

Sometimes we see clients return for a yearly project, the Tour de Munster charity cycle is a great example of this, and that’s a testament to our work and the relationships we build with them. Tour de Munster, led by Paul Sheridan, first teamed up (and that’s what we’ve formed, a team!) with us in its 7th year in 2007, and have worked with us every year since. I was lucky enough to work on this project in the very beginning, and it has been an honour to work on it in some capacity ever since.

Having raised over €2.4 million to date for its various beneficiaries over the last 16 years, this year alone the 600km charity cycle raised €285,655.37 for its beneficiary, the Munster branches of Down Syndrome Ireland (DSI). This was the 7th successive year that DSI benefited from the popular cycle. The hard work and dedication from the cyclists and volunteers is been truly incredible, and I am so proud to say that the work we do in Fuzion contributes in some way to the enduring success of Tour.

Over the last three years I’ve met and been inspired by some of Cork’s best and brightest young entrepreneurs through our work on the Local Enterprise Offices’ regional campaign in the search for Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur. This year saw the largest number of entries to date, and I was thrilled to see so many new faces involved. For me this project gives me the chance to support young business people starting out on their journey who might not ordinarily have the resources to work with a PR company.

Who knows, maybe they could be my “returning clients” in a few years’ time!

Alison O'Brien - FuzionAlison O’Brien

Alison O’Brien is an Account Director with Fuzion PR, Marketing & Design, who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

My first month in PR!

May 21, 2016

Word PR.Wooden cubes on newspaper. Close up studio shot

So my first month in Fuzion has nearly come to an end and I have really enjoyed it so far. Prior to joining Fuzion I completed a small amount of work experience in PR when I was in college in Maynooth University, but during that short term I really did enjoy it.

Fuzion as a PR Company really stood out to me from the rest. Their online presence is fantastic, it is current, easy to find and there is a high level of engagement and they have a large portfolio of high profile clients.

Fuzion is also an award winning PR Agency so when I saw the job vacancy I jumped at the opportunity to apply straight away, then hoped and prayed I would be successful.

I love the fact that there is variety in what you can do in PR. It’s not the same mundane repetition day in day out. The wide range of clients and different projects are really interesting, which means we are always thinking of new and quirky ideas for different clients and most importantly their target audiences.

One of the many things that I find great are the brainstorming sessions, which are a really good way to bounce ideas off each other and to develop ideas as well. It’s amazing how you can start with nothing at all, and within a short period of time with the help of some simple ‘start-off’ suggestions and a fantastic group dynamic that feeds off each other, we can end up with some ‘gems’ of ideas!

I got the chance to attend some photo calls for the first time, which was great experience and one that has definitely been one of my favourite things to do so far. I have also gotten to meet some really great characters who always seem to come back with a funny story to tell!

It’s a great feeling to see the pictures the next day and throughout the week in the various newspapers. I also attended a client event where I took social pictures in order to use them for social media (we keep on talking about “Parallel Media” at Fuzion – all the channels work parallel) . Getting the chance to go to some really nice locations and meet some really interesting people isn’t exactly “hard work“!!

So one month in, I’m loving it and I’m looking forward to learning much more about the world of PR and communications!

Saidhbh

Saidhbh Sweeney is a PR intern with Fuzion who offer PR, Marketing and Graphic Design Services from our 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

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

Blogging and PR – Top Tips

November 25, 2015

Blogging and PR

I was recently asked to speak at one of the National Blogging conferences that was held in Cork.

As a blogger myself (www.thebeautydial.com) and a PR account Manager at Fuzion I was asked to speak about PR and Blogging and how they are linked.

I first started out with how bloggers can use PR to grow their own blogs. PR is such a fantastic way to build your reputation, create awareness and create a loyal following.

Top Tips for getting your blog out there through PR

  1. Capture your story by “looking the part” (your branding/layouts etc)
  2. Identify your target market
  3. Never waste a good media opportunity/news story – timely topical posts
  4. Seek out profile pieces in media – pitch your expertise
  5. Be proactive & engage on Social Media – don’t wait for them to find you!
  6. Attend Networking/Blogger events
  7. Mix and interact with other key influencers (including other bloggers)
  8. Guest Blog on other blogs and ask for people to guest blog on yours

I then moved on to the best practices when working with PR Companies.

There are hundreds of bloggers around now and more and more are popping up each day. Many of those who are new to blogging don’t know where to begin, so I explained (having been on both sides of the fence) the best practice for bloggers when engaging or working with PR Companies.

Top Tips for Bloggers working with PR Companies

Create a Media Kit – which should contain:

  • An overview of your blog including your target audience etc.
  • The stats/demographics on your Blog (Be honest!)
  • Blog Achievements
  • Brand Affiliations
  • Social Media usernames
  • Sample Blog Posts/ Adverts
  • Photos, Logos etc.
  • Testimonials
  • Contact Details

Blogger reviews

  • Give honest & timely reviews
  • Promote via social media outlets
  • Disclose all sponsored blog posts

Responding to press releases

  • Ensure relevance to your Blog audience
  • You don’t need to respond to all
  • Don’t be rude, build relationships

I hope this helps and feel free to contact me with any questions at edelc@fuzion.ie.

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

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

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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