Archive for the ‘Reputation Management’ Category

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar has caused a reputation crisis for FIFA

December 8, 2022

“It’s the most controversial World Cup in recent history and a ball hasn’t even been kicked. Ever since FIFA chose Qatar back in 2010, the smallest nation to host football’s greatest competition has faced some big questions. 

From accusations of corruption in the bidding process to the treatment of migrant workers who’ve built the stadiums where many lost their lives. Homosexuality is illegal here and women’s rights are also in the spotlight. Also the decision to switch the tournament from summer to winter. 

Against that backdrop, there is a tournament to be played here that will be watched and enjoyed around the world. Stick to football, say FIFA, well we will – for a couple of minutes at least.” 

Those were the words of former England footballer turned BBC presenter Gary Lineker as he opened coverage of the world’s most illustrious football tournament. He made it clear to viewers that the World Cup being hosted in Qatar is surrounded by scandal and it is not just Qatar that should be under the spotlight but world football’s governing body FIFA. 

This is not just the view of Gary Lineker but many people in both the football world and outside of that. Roy Keane speaking live from Qatar told ITV viewers that, “It’s been mentioned about the corruption with FIFA, the way they treat migrant workers, gay people…it’s great that it’s been brought up. They shouldn’t have the World Cup here; you can’t treat people like that.” It is such comments from high-profile footballing names like Lineker and Keane that has helped to drive increased media spotlight on Qatar and FIFA. 

You might be asking now, ‘How the hell were they ever even selected to host the tournament?’. The US Department of Justice reportedly claims that bribes were taken by high-ranking officials during the selection of Russia and Qatar as the tournament hosts for both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. These are accusations that are denied by both Russian and Qatari officials. Of course, the words of these regimes have proven so honourable in the past!

FIFA’s reputation amongst football fans has always been one of caution in recent years. In 2015, FIFA headquarters were raided by the FBI and Swiss authorities in connection with an investigation into corruption by officials within the organisation and other associates connected. This investigation led to the removal of Sepp Blatter as FIFA President and investigations into the bidding process for both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, as mentioned above. 

When former UEFA official, Gianni Infantino, was elected President of FIFA in February 2016. He was elected to bring in a new dawn of respected and responsible governance to world football. However, his reign as president has failed to do just that. Infantino has instead overseen an organisation that has been dogmented by its past, failing to usher in that new dawn in which all football fans across the world hoped for.

Infantino remained silent when people criticised the holding of the 2018 World Cup in Russia despite Putin’s annexation of Crimea at the time and his regime’s anti-LGBTQ stance. Criticism of the bidding process into the 2018 World Cup and Russia’s holding of the tournament has become increasingly controversial post the event. Most partly due to the rise of what we now know as ‘sportswashing’ and Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.

In fact, these two issues have also contributed to the increased media scrutiny on current World Cup host Qatar this time round. A nation in which Amnesty International says, “Despite government reforms, migrant workers continued to face labour abuses and struggled to change jobs freely. Curtailment of freedom of expression increased in the run-up to FIFA World Cup 2022. Women and LGBTI people continued to face discrimination in law and practice.”

For Infantino, this is not Russia 2018 and he can no longer ignore the questions being asked by fans, players, football associations, and governments across the world. His and FIFA’s response to those questions centred around the issues described by Amnesty International, above, have left him and the organisation facing even further scrutiny and reputational damage.

On the eve of the tournament kicking off, Infantino held a press conference where hit out at the critics of FIFA, Qatar, and the decision to hold the World Cup there. He remarked, “What we Europeans have been doing for the last 3,000 years, we should be apologising for the next 3,000 years before starting to give moral lessons.” This comment was followed up with a series of personal confessions by Infantino in which he strangely said, “Today I feel Qatari. Today I feel Arab. Today I feel African. Today I feel gay. Today I feel disabled. Today I feel a migrant worker.” That was after Infantino told a packed press conference that he knew how it felt to be discriminated against because as a child he was teased for having red hair and freckles. 

This press conference by the FIFA President was met with much backlash, as many felt that he belittled the groups affected by the discriminations of the Qatari regime, especially members of the LBGTQ community and migrant workers. FIFA’s reputation took another hit only days later when it decided that it would book players who dared to wear the ‘OneLove’ armband onto the field of play during the course of the tournament. This came as many European nations had decided that the team captain would do this to show solidarity with the LGBTQ community in Qatar and across the world. 

On the back of this penalty, those countries who proposed to wear the armband decided not to do so. Subsequently, FIFA has remained relatively quiet on this decision but only to reinforce their ruling when asked to comment. It seems the approach of FIFA to negative publicity and public outcry over the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is to remain silent on the issues and when they do speak to defend their actions. Even if they are deemed to be extremely unpopular ones, especially in the West.

FIFA’s shaky reputation has taken a hammering in the last few weeks over the World Cup being held in Qatar. And it is clear that Gianni Infantino has not ushered in a new regime that many football fans would have hoped for when he became FIFA President in 2016. His actions of late are proven evidence of this.

Recently, the much disgraced former FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, admitted that it was a mistake to award Qatar the World Cup. If FIFA wants to start to repair its reputation, then its current president could follow Blatter’s lead by doing the same.

Despite all of this, the football continues and while money and corruption brought (or bought!) the tournament to this inappropriate location there has been some refreshing “purity” to the actual matches, The best players from a country play the best players from another country, and unlike club football where the teams such as Manchester City and PSG can buy success we are refreshingly seeing the opposite, with many surprises and shock exits.

So while football is actually winning, it is a real pity that the teams and the players did not come together, wear their armbands or even refuse to play at all. They are the attraction, the ones who have built the fantastic reputation of the World Cup and despite the best efforts of FIFA it still continues to be the most fantastic, celebration festival of football in the world..

Dylan

Dylan Morley is an Account Executive at Fuzion Communications, full service marketing and PR agency, with offices in Cork and Dublin.

LIV vs. PGA: How the Issue of Sportswashing Has Thrown the World of Golf into Disarray

June 16, 2022

The creation of the LIV Golf Invitational Series has sparked huge controversary and casts real
doubt over the future of golf.

This new golf tour is financed by the Public Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia. You may recognise the Saudi PIF, as it was also in the news late last year after its purchase of Premier League club, Newcastle United.

The LIV Golf tour, along with the purchase of Newcastle United, has sparked much public debate because it is seen as an attempt at sportswashing by the Saudi Arabian regime and its Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman.

Sportswashing is a relatively new concept, but the term itself derives from the more familiar ‘greenwashing’. The process of an organisation spending more time and money on marketing itself as environmentally friendly than on actually minimizing its environmental impact.

Sportswashing is just as deceitful as greenwashing. Sportswashing is the practice of an individual, group, corporation, or government using sports to improve their reputation, by either hosting a sporting event, the purchase or sponsorship of a sports team, or direct participation in the sport itself. For world leaders, the practice of sportswashing is a strategy of reputation management. It is being increasingly adopted by countries with historically poor records when it comes to human rights.

In the case of the LIV Golf Series, it is Saudi Arabia and its leadership that has come under intense media pressure within the sports world. Saudi Arabia is a particularly repressive regime, with an appalling human rights record. For those living in Saudi Arabia, ‘freedom of expression, association, and belief’ are not seen as basic human rights.

People who defy the rules of the Saudi regime, can suffer dire consequences as a result. The Saudi Crown Prince, Bin Salman, has been accused of committing several high-profile crimes including the killing of journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, in 2018.

Given the distance in belief systems from the Saudi regime and those of us in the West, it is surprising that so many prominent and successful golfers have agreed deals to participate in the inaugural LIV Golf Series. Some of the players that have committed to participate so far, include the likes of Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Louis Oosthuizen, Sergio Garcia, Bryson De Chambeau and Ireland’s own Graeme McDowell. All of those mentioned above are previous Major winners.

On the back of their participation in the Saudi PIF funded LIV Golf Series, all LIV players have been suspended from participating in PGA Tour events.

When questioned on their participation in this new tournament the LIV rebel golfers have rubbished claims that they hold any responsibility for allowing the Saudi regime to use the sport of golf in their own sportswashing game. Graeme McDowell argued at a LIV press conference that “as golfers if we tried to cure geopolitical situations in every country in the world, we played golf in, we wouldn’t play a lot of golf.” This remark, in turn, could be seen as a dig at golf’s traditional PGA Tour. Another Irish golfer, Rory McIlroy, has hit out at the LIV Golf Series on numerous occasions over the last few months and has backed the PGA Tour’s decision to suspend those participating in LIV events from the PGA. “I certainly don’t envy them, but I’ve always felt this is the best place to play golf, and I still believe that”, McIlroy said speaking to the media after winning the 2022 Canadian Open.

The establishment of the LIV Golf Invitational Series, along with the participation of some of golf’s most decorated and celebrated players has shaken the world of golf over the last week. Those players subsequent suspensions from the PGA Tour have led to speculation that they could be banned from playing in future Major tournaments and even, the Ryder Cup. Any ban from participating in golf’s four Majors and the Ryder Cup could signal the death of golf as we know it.

The ever-increasing debate around sportswashing will continue to fracture long-standing relationships in golf and across the world of sport, as this important societal issue continues to come to the forefront of not just sport, but business, civil and political society.

The issue of sportswashing will begin to show the true characters of our favourite sports stars, clubs, and competitions. The more instances of this kind, the more our loyalties will be tested as sports fans.

Is everything and everyone for sale, including our reputations?

Dylan

Dylan Morley is a Junior Account Executive with Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing and PR agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland.

Wine, emails and kind gestures

October 27, 2021

When the government pulled the plug on our supermarkets in the middle of Covid (if things weren’t miserable enough) from “multi-buy” offers on alcohol and including them in their “loyalty points” or “€10 off 50” deals, it was time to change my drinking habits!

The change of habit wasn’t drinking any less but it was a change as to where I was now going to purchase my wine!!

So instead of typically buying my six bottles as I was doing with my grocery shopping, I had now moved to purchasing a case of 12 from one of the online suppliers!!

The little piece of magic in this whole e-commerce transaction was a timely email (they send them approximately once per fortnight) from the wine supplier with the latest “20% off Italian wine” or “New wines from Portugal” teaser message, which would prompt me to click, click, click, start browsing and then selecting, then to checkout, credit card details please, confirm transaction and presto!

As we have all been working from home getting a case of wine dropped to the front door isn’t an issue as there is always someone here to take it in. Add to that the convenience and the joy of opening a case and seeing what you did actually order.

From the wine suppliers point of view their simple email was a powerful piece of marketing / promotion – their email hits my inbox in the middle of my busy days and it nudges me gently to consider stocking up and despite being really really busy I invariably get diverted for 5 minutes to quickly place the order (in truth it isprobably quicker than browsing the aisles in the wine section of the supermarket and there is extra information about each wine available to me).

Nudge, buy, nudge buy, nudge buy…

This company were emailing me for years BUT it was only when the supermarket scenario changed that they became relevant to me.

The whole process was very effective and efficient and on some days the mixed cases of wine would actually be delivered on the day I placed the order.

I was happily doing this for months and when the 5km restriction lifted I was looking forward to placing an order for some extra special wine as we were about to take a week’s break at beautiful Sheep’s Head in West Cork.

Just to be sure I rang the company the morning before we were due to head off to ask if the delivery would be with us before 2pm the following day – I wanted to be sure we had wine on time and also to be sure it wasn’t sitting outside the front door for a week!

I’m sorry but we can’t guarantee delivery before 48 hours” I was told by the voice that answered..

That’s ok, but I know your deliveries are really prompt. I order from you the whole time, can you at least check with someone?”

Em, no there is nothing I can do, that is our policy” (that response always sets me off…)

Can you please check at least?” …. “No, sorry, that is our policy“.

I was really disappointed and made a mental note to try to find an alternative supplier when we came back from our week’s holiday.

Despite this decision of mine the compelling, well timed emails kept coming every two weeks and I kept ordering until one day when I was making a brief visit to the office I popped into my favourite wine store in town and was delighted to chat to the friendly staff there and asked them to make a special recommendation for a meal that night.

As they were wrapping my purchases I apologised to them for not being in there for a while and explained that I had been working from home during lockdown and resorted to online ordering.

They politely informed me that they did online deliveries, something I never realised but I was surprised as I was sure that I was on some database of theirs.

I told them about the “trick” about the fortnightly e-newsletter that their competitor was employing to great effect and their response to me blew me away..

We don’t like to sell or force ourselves on anyone

Ah come on guys, are you for real? Have you any idea what you are missing out on. Of course it’s selling, but it is also informing and prompting and all part of their service

Eventually they considered what I was saying and said they would mention it to the franchise owner.

Because I really like them (and they do have great wines!) the next time I needed a wine top-up I looked for their website and ordered my case from them and not the other crew.

The order was delivered swiftly and the next time I ordered I was pleasantly surprised to see an extra bottle that I hadn’t ordered come with the delivery as a gift with a special note of thanks from the owner for giving them the business.

To wrap up my “wine story” I have continued to order wine from my favourite wine store, they still don’t send out e-newsletters with offers, news or suggestions which I would really appreciate but I am really happy to give them the business because they are nice and they do appreciate the business.

The biggest irony of all is that when the e-newsletter comes in from their competitor I use their well timed email as a prompt to order from them!

As for the competitor, their regular customer has disappeared and they will never know why unless they spot this change of trend and ask the question…

Mrs “sorry there is nothing I can do” sent me and my business on my way.

The e-commerce lessons we learn from this story:

  • Get online
  • Make sure your customers know about the service
  • Get an e-mail database going and use it tactically and frequently
  • Make it easy for people to sign up
  • Be efficient at processing orders
  • Look at patterns of ordering and try to figure out why when it changes
  • Build a relationship with the customer just like you do in person
  • and remember….there is always something you can do!!

Who is for red?

Greg Canty 

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

Brand reputation and consumer’s expectations.

October 11, 2021

It is quite clear that the pandemic hit industries and brands in diverse ways. Many organizations saw their budgets being cut down to half or nothing, conferences saw a move to digital stages and social justice movements such as BLM were in the spotlight more than ever before. This pivotal moment in history had led to a shift in the way brands interact with consumers.

A new study from FleishmanHillard examines the gap between consumers’ expectations and brands’ actions: 64% of consumers believe that a company is more authentic when they communicate about their behavior and their impact on society and the environment, instead of the benefits they offer to their customers.

The study also shows how 47% of consumer perceptions about a brand are driven by customer benefits, while 53% of consumers’ perceptions are shaped by social outcomes such as better environmental practices within the organization or the way a company cares about its employees, and management behaviors like acting ethically and responsibly.

An example of a troubled relationship between brands and consumers is the case of Wetherspoons, the company that owns pubs and hotels across the UK and Ireland. In this case, the Government ordered the closure of pubs in March 2020, and owner Tim Martin refused to pay employees until the Government reimbursed the company for the losses. Furthermore, he encouraged employees to find employment elsewhere, such as in Tesco supermarkets. This is a clear example of how a company is showing in their communications their lack of care towards the impact they have on employees, and on society.

On the other hand, a brand that keeps demonstrating how to marry consumer expectations with the brand’s activities is Nike. Days after the release of the horrific footage of George Floyd’s death in May 2020, the company launched an ad with a variation of their famous tagline. It went from “Just Do It” to “For Once, Don’t Do It.” This simple change in their communications delivered a positive sentiment across their customers regardless of income, age, and ethnicity.

These two examples represent the two sides of how companies can impact society.

Brands are now expected to be proactive to be part of the solution, not only part of the conversation – Issues such as racial inequality or climate justice will need to be at the forefront of any company’s communications strategy.

According to IBM’s research, 71% of consumers will consider transparency one of the most important brand attributes.

Knowing this what are you doing in your business to communicate better?

Patricia

Patricia Perera is a Communications intern with Fuzion Communications 

It’s all about integration!

September 4, 2019

Donald Draper

A big shift has happened with media in the last 10 years.

I remember 10 years ago when the wheels well and truly fell off the economy, we had a thing called social media, which effectively had become a “free” (except for your time and effort of course) way to promote you and your business.

At Fuzion we were quick out of the traps offering people training on the various social media platforms and when it came to our own clients we were doing our very best to get them up and running and fully embracing this new and exciting medium.

I remember at that time when we devised marketing plans for prospects, complete with a range of different tactics to achieve their objectives, we would always have social media as one of the first tactics to discuss. After all it was free, it was new and it provided another great way to reach their target audiences but in a special and unique way demonstrating the personality of the organisation and those working there.

We discovered very quickly that we shouldn’t have social media as one of the first tactics because with many people we presented to you could visibly see the “shutters coming down” and we would lose their attention.

Quite simply they didn’t want to hear about this ‘new fangled’ thing called social media.

As usual there were a few who broke from the pack and made it work really well for them and bit by bit the word spread that social media could be great for business.

We find ourselves 10 years down the road and with many people, the whole thing with social media has flipped.

In many cases now, prospects call and their request is for Digital Marketing and they don’t want to hear anything about other forms of, let us call it ‘Traditional Marketing’ … the way it used be in the old days!!

So, where are we and where should we be on this Digital to Traditional spectrum?

While digital is great and on the face of it, very measurable, the truth is the social media platforms are overloaded with low quality content, the algorithms have squeezed the life out of “organic” (non paid for posts) and to reach your audiences you must invest in advertising, which is increasing in cost all the time.

The resulting problem that we face is that your social media post, that you have had to resort to putting budget behind now appears as a “sponsored” or “promoted” post and has effectively just become an advert of sorts.

However, social media is very powerful as it allows you demonstrate your personality in a way that other media can’t, it allows you to interact with other users and when you are advertising, it does allow you to target very precisely, depending on the type of audience you need to reach and the social media platform that you are using.

When we talk about Traditional media I am talking about PR, print and outdoor advertising, direct marketing, events, sponsorship and I even include email marketing in this boat.

All of these methods for reaching your audience can be really effective and depending on your objective they can be powerful ways of generating brand awareness or generating leads.

And we have PR sitting in the middle of all of this activity, that art and craft of getting your organisation covered positively in the media, which can be in print or online – at this stage it really doesn’t matter which, as long as you are able to reach your target audience. PR kicks in as well, where the objective might be to try to keep an organisation out of the media or to navigate it through a time where there might be a situation, which could potentially damage their reputation and business.

Trying to cope with all of this can be very difficult, so it’s very important to know your audience and figure out how you can reach them – rarely is this a silver bullet situation with one audience and one perfect method of reaching them.

For example attracting the attention of talent could be just as important to the organisation as selling goods and services to customers.

All paid for media (advertising) comes from the organisation and our savvy consumers know this and as a result may not believe the “sales pitch”.

The sales pitch becomes much more believable when there is some form of 3rd Party verification, which could be an article by a journalist or a review by a customer.

In effect, PR can be the valuable trigger in the middle that increases the return from both advertising and other forms of promotional activity, social media and other online activity, because the customer is more convinced because of this third party verification that we referred to.

So … what’s the magic formula for success?

It’s knowing your audience, figuring out how to target them, choosing that mix of Digital and Traditional tactics to reach them effectively and then carefully monitoring the results to figure out what worked and what didn’t.

While digital marketing can provide great analytics and stats, be careful that you don’t avoid traditional activity just because it’s not as easy to measure.

As a full service agency it is our role to create fully integrated campaigns with that special mix that we believe will deliver optimum results for our clients.

By carefully planning, coordinating, weaving and executing all of these elements together, we believe clients will get an exponential return on their investment. So can you !

If we can help you let us know!

The very best of luck!….

Greg

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

Show Me The Money!!!!!

July 31, 2019

Show me the money

My poor colleagues (you know who you are!) over the last few days have had to put up with me and a gripe I have re certain Social Media Influencers.

Working in communications, I know that Social Media Influencers can be such an important part of the marketing mix and such an effective way to reach target audiences. We work with celebrities and influencers constantly and achieve great results working in partnership with them and they deserve to be rewarded for the work they do for clients – it’s their livelihood!

But for me, a professional in this industry a long time, I think sometimes with certain influencers, when there is budget involved, it often comes across as inauthentic and mercenary.

An typical example – say we have a client organising a sports day – we pick an influencer that we know has a keen interest in this particular sport; pay them a four figure sum to participate in the event – and then we are told that their limit to social media engagement is “One static Instagram Post”!!

So basically they are saying, even though it is something that would be of interest to them, they won’t (really) engage digitally with the event, or the client or the people attending the event, who could be followers or potential followers. 

I think by not connecting authentically and being so rigid, in the long term it will cost these influencers in revenue, clients and followers.

It reminds me of the days back before social media.

We were working with an amazing Danish female fashion brand, who had really beautiful collections, totally current fashion, which were available nationwide. The brand provided us with high quality fashion and product images every season and budget to spend on advertising and PR. We got amazing PR coverage for the brand as the images as well as the price points were really attractive.

We had a five figure sum to spend with one of the high end fashion magazines, but for many seasons the title never took any fashion or product shots or editorial from us for the brand – but the title was more than happy to publish the full page adverts our client were paying for.

I spoke with the editor to see if there was anything she could do, to be told that the brand didn’t suit their editorial content, so I advised my client to pull the advertising!

Basically, the editor was telling me that my client’s brand was not of interest to their readers, and obviously we were fools spending the advertising budget there as well.  

Of course that was before the economic crash and the age of digital – when print titles perhaps could afford to act like this.

For me this Social Media Influencer is saying the same thing as the magazine did.

By only agreeing to do “One Static Instagram Post”, they are saying that my client’s event is not really relevant to them or their followers. 

I don’t expect or want them to bombard their followers with lots of posts and updates about the event, but it would be nice to think that they would want to tell their followers that they were going to attend , perhaps on their Instagram Story, share a live update while they are there and then post some nice photos of the special day out, meeting their followers and new people at something that is relevant to them.

If it’s just “One Static Instagram Post” then forget it!

They are saying to me clearly that they really are there just to collect the money, not to engage digitally with the brand or the people attending on the day.  

I’m at this too long now to compromise. 

I really want to work with authentic people and brands and that includes the third party suppliers and influencers we introduce and recommend to our clients.  We always go the extra mile for our clients and we expect the people that we recommend to do likewise.

So, in this case I advised our client not to go with this influencer and instead to work with Influencers who have already connected with the brand organically, who have shown that they are connected and willing to really be part of a very special day. 

My client’s four figure cheque will be addressed to one of them if I have anything to do with it……

Deirdre Waldron, Fuzion Communications, PR ConsultantDeirdre 

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

Media Training Tips

July 28, 2019

So you’ve been asked to take part in a press interview…

Interviews, be it on radio, TV or with a journalist face to face for a print article, can be very daunting.

Even for those who are very experienced, nerves are normal – you are human after all!! Often it can feel like you have no control and could be entering the lion’s den but with some simple techniques, you can master any interview and even better come across believable and communicate your key messages.

Here are five simple media training techniques that I use to prepare and calm clients for an interview:

 

1.Remember; You are “the” expert

Media training Tip 1 - Media Training Dublin, Fuzion Communications

Remember you might not know the questions, but you definitely know the answer.

A journalist is interviewing you because you know something they don’t, you are the expert so remind yourself of this before any interview.

 

2.Never say no comment!

Media Training Tips - Fuzion Communications, Dublin, Cork

No comment is like a red flag to a journalist.

It makes them think you are hiding something if you don’t have anything to say. More importantly it makes your audience think you are hiding something if you are quoted saying “no comment”.

 

3.Silence is golden

Media Training Tips - Fuzion Communications, Dublin, Cork

It is best to keep your tone steady and also keep your sentences short.

Don’t feel like you have to fill silence as silence shows confidence and credibility – don’t be afraid to have the confidence to stop talking!

 

4 Watch your body language

Media Training Tips , Fuzion Communications, Dubl;n, Cork

Body language can often show you are nervous.

Everyone has little habits they do subconsciously. This can be a dead giveaway for nerves, so I recommend that you record yourself on camera or get someone else to record you, and try to correct your body language. 

 

5. Breathe!

Media Training Tips, Fuzion Communications, Dublin, Cork

It might sound silly, but remind yourself to take a moment to breathe to calm yourself down!

Training..

If you would like to find out more techniques for controlling and preparing for press interviews, we provide media training services from our offices in Dublin and Cork.

Our training is very practical and we always prepare thoroughly in advance to ensure that the sessions are relevant to you and your sector and that you are given tips to keep you on message and in control of the interview, even when it could be a pressurised situation.

I lead the media training team at Fuzion and my experience as a former journalist will help to carefully support you and your team in those interview situations, allowing you to achieve best results for you and your organisation.

With our help, you will learn how to speak authentically and memorably, making you a more polished spokesperson, business leader or elected official. You will learn how to plan and prepare your media strategy and once “live” we will show you how to stay on message, how to turn a hostile interview into a positive outcome and how to rise above the white noise of everything else.

Whether on-camera or on radio you will become calmer, confident, engaging, personable and most importantly believable.

As part of our training we will digitally record you in front of a live camera for immediate feedback and help you to skill-up faster than you ever thought possible.

Our media training includes;

  • Interview techniques for in-studio, and telephone interviews, familiarisation with the interviewer
  • Interviewing methods to stay ahead of all journalistic approaches
  • Simulated interviews with hard hitting questions and helping to analyse answer direction
  • Introducing an opponent for interview and hone your combat technique

If you are interested in our Media Training services please contact us and we can create a bespoke training solution for your needs.

Ciara Jordan - Fuzion CommunicationsCiara

Ciara Jordan is an Account Director with Fuzion Communications and she leads the media training team, from our offices in Dublin and Cork.

The Power of ‘Cancel-Culture’

May 22, 2019

Tati

‘Cancel-culture’ is a social media movement that ultimately ‘cancels’ a person, boycotting both the individual and their brand.

This term has been thrown around a lot in the online world and most recently can be seen in the online beauty community.

When someone is “cancelled” you can expect to see them being virtually excommunicated by their followers and subscribers, as well as by other social media influencers.

The recent feud between James Charles and Tati Westbrook, professional YouTubers, influencers and entrepreneurs, tore the internet in two and had an unimaginable impact on social media.

Tati Westbrook announced the recent betrayal of her so-called best friend, James Charles, being the final straw in their tumultuous relationship by publicly shaming him on both Twitter and YouTube.

Along with bashing James’ character, Tati made serious accusations against him, one of which was accusing him of being a predator. This fuelled a fire that engulfed social media platforms and attracted the attention of millions.

James Charles was deemed ‘cancelled’ by onlookers, losing millions of followers, until he finally addressed all of the allegations made against him. He responded with two videos to clear his name, he had ‘receipts’ and screenshots of conversations contradicting almost everything that had been thrown at him.

His video is currently trending at number one on YouTube and has over 36 million views. While James’ followers started to replenish, it was now Tati who was labelled ‘cancelled’ and whose follower count was and continues to dwindle.

Jeffree Star, another beauty YouTuber, influencer and entrepreneur, jumped on the bandwagon of attacking James Charles and has, along with Tati, been ‘cancelled’.

James Charles

However, Tati, Jeffree and James have since tweeted that they have settled the dispute behind closed doors and announced that they will not be commenting any further on the matter to the public again, mentioning hopes of their relationships one day recovering.

Some people question whether or not it was all a publicity stunt to boost their fame but it is to be left up in the air with viewers questions unanswered.

All that is clear is that within days the internet saw the bumpy rise and fall of these internet stars, the potential making and breaking of careers through the simple, yet fatal, term..

..’cancelled’.

Emer Healy, Fuzion CommunicationsEmer

Emer Healy is an Account Executive with Fuzion Communications, a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Show your brands personality just like ASOS did!

May 13, 2019

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

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

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

 

Girl in ASOS dress on Twitter

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

ASOS featuring customer pic

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

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

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

Well done ASOS!

Saidhbh

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

Ryanair – Is the biggest crisis the attitude?

October 1, 2017

Ryanair - Always Getting Better

Early last week we were asked to comment by the publication Fora.ie about the whole Ryanair fiasco and what we thought of how they handled their crisis.

In a crisis situation we always advise –

  • Don’t hide
  • Quickly establish the facts
  • Be 100% truthful
  • Always provide a solution (or a least be honest about working hard to find one)
  • Don’t be afraid to say sorry (as long as you mean it)
  • Don’t be shy about telling people the good things you are doing

This can be achieved with a combination of holding statements, follow up statements, interviews and implementing any necessary changes.

In the case of Ryanair there wasn’t really a formal apology but Michael O’Leary was door stopped by reporters and did say it was “clearly a mess” but he went on to point out that it was just 2% of their passengers that had been affected. I think Michael is missing the point here about focussing on the good things!

On their website where they have a page dedicated to the cancelled flights they also remind people of this “2%” as well as listing the flights that have been cancelled. They also provide a ‘link’ to a page that directs people to an EU legislation document about entitlements to refunds and compensation.

The words “sorry” or “apologise” don’t appear anywhere!

Ryanair - Cancelled Flights

Understandably customers are irate – Ryanair are not helping the situation by drip feeding news about cancelled flights, their customer contact lines not being managed efficiently and are still overheating their situation by promoting flights at “€19.99”.

Furthermore, they have been denying that part of the problem is pilots leaving to take jobs in other airlines.

This scenario has got even worse with pilots going public with their gripes and painting a pretty awful picture about what life is like working for the ‘low care’ airline.

All of this comes at a time when the airline has been trying to refocus it’s brand with their “Always Getting Better” campaign.

A different scenario? 

So – would it have made a difference if Ryanair were upfront, issued a formal apology and showed genuine empathy with inconvenienced customers and were honest about solutions and assurances going forward?

The answer would be a big “Yes” but there is also a big “But” to contend with.

The effectiveness of this approach will depend on what people feel about the company when embarks on such a course –

  • Do people feel warmly towards the airline?
  • Do they believe that there is a genuine concern for customers?
  • Do they believe that staff at the airline are treated well?
  • Do they believe that this company does charitable work?
  • Do they believe there is a strong moral compass at the airline?
  • Have they communicated the great things (if such things exist) they have been doing to the general public and stakeholders?

Maybe realising this Michael felt there was no point pretending to care?

In a crisis a robust process will definitely help but the best preparation for a crisis is to be good and do good things and communicate this effectively – it is only then that people will be willing to listen to your apology and accept it.

Leopards don’t change their spots and not caring will bite you in the butt eventually.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Crisis Consultancy Services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland


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