Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Clarity – is it too much to ask for?

August 30, 2021

There’s a saying I like – “any fool can make simple things complicated; it takes a genius to make complicated things simple

Communicating clearly can be surprisingly hard work. Clarity of communication drives action. Get it right and the right message is delivered and understood, the expectations are set. Clarity can dictate how we create and build relationships, trust and credibility.

Get it wrong and you have confusion, frustration, and mistrust.

Take, the recent chaotic scenes at Croker for the All Ireland hurling final. Stunned and confused, I sat in front of the telly watching thousands of unmasked fans sat side-by-side, as one, shouting, cheering, celebrating. Was I watching a rerun of ‘Reeling in the Years‘?

The anger, frustration and outcry from the entertainment industry that’s been left dormant for 18 months was to be expected. The rest of us were left confused and questioning the logic of the public health guidelines in place.

Where was the consistency? How was it fair? How could it be justified? It couldn’t. The Government’s credibility took another painful blow.

It came as the dust was just beginning to settle on the controversy surrounding the Tánaiste’s attendance at an outdoor event at the Merrion Hotel a few weeks earlier that had the hospitality industry up in arms. The Tánaiste felt he “probably” didn’t breach guidelines. The Taoiseach admitted the guidelines weren’t clear. And the expectations of everyone else were thrown up in the air.

At the core of all this frustration, anger and controversy was clarity. A lack of it.

To be fair, it would have been next to impossible for the Government to maintain effective and clear communication throughout a prolonged, complex and ever-changing pandemic. But these were heavy hits to take.

Undoubtedly, a level of credibility will be clawed back with the promised roadmap out of lockdown due in the coming days – clarity, which is all the public, the entertainment, the hospitality industry etc. need and are asking for.

The take home here is the importance and need for clarity and what can happen when you don’t have it.  

A few quicks tips for clear communication:

  • Define the purpose of the communication
  • What outcome do you want from the receiver of the message – set expectations
  • Be specific – The more specific you can are, the less chance there is of a misunderstanding
  • Be clear, concise, and consistent
  • Choose your words carefully – Don’t use big words when small ones will do

Remember, clarity in communication is in everyone’s best interest.

Aoibhinn

Crisis Communications & Lessons to be learned, The Ill Fated Announcement of a European Soccer Super League

April 23, 2021
European Super League

The announcement of a new Super League for the top European soccer clubs, was one of the key news stories breaking this week across Europe and here in Ireland, even overtaking pandemic media coverage – a very welcome distraction for most!

It was an emotional issue for soccer fans and pundits across Europe – and a textbook communications disaster unfolding on a global stage.

Here in Ireland, even though the issue didn’t relate directly to Irish soccer clubs, most UK clubs would have Irish supporters clubs and reactions from spokespeople from these organisations was in line with fans across Europe – and all Irish soccer pundits and journalists were also uniform in their condemnation of the concept.  

It was very difficult for Irish media to find anyone that was in support of the initiative.  Even our Taoiseach Michael Martin expressed solidarity. 

In a Tweet he posted “I will engage with other EU governments about possible common action against this Super League Proposal. “

The reaction came as no surprise as so many people in Ireland have a strong affiliation for soccer – Irish soccer fans may have their own home team they support, but most would also have a close affiliation to an English or Scottish team as well. 

The announcement of the Super League was doomed as there was no consideration for their internal audience and when managers and players were not in the loop, the concept came across as flimsy, arrogant and ill-considered.  

In Ireland we love to forgive the repentant sinner – which is why Liverpool FC’s owner, John Henry’s apology directly to the fans “I let you down”, has dampened some of the flames at Anfield – if not elsewhere.  

“I’m sorry” – are such powerful words in a crisis.

This episode has shown once again how effective people power can be and the power of communications. 

From now on every step the football club owners, directors and football authorities take and any communication they make, must be seen to be with the fans in mind. They must be seen to be listening to fans and acting on fans wishes.  Grass roots communications and activity will be so important going forward and will help heal the wounds.

What lessons can other people in power take from all of this? 

Bring your internal audience on the journey with you. Test sentiment towards the change and adapt your messaging taking in these learnings. If making changes that will have a great impact, start with a grassroots approach and a very soft launch. Have relatable spokespeople using relatable language.

And, very importantly if you get something wrong, admit to it, communicate how lessons will be taken from the mistakes and move on.

Deirdre Waldron

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

Ladies Sport in the Irish Media: 20×20 Campaign

August 20, 2019

Ladies in Sport 20 20

Over the past few weekends, and of course the next couple of weekends to come, we have been lucky enough to see some fantastic displays of Gaelic Football and Hurling on our National broadcaster RTÉ and of course, the newest addition, Sky Sports. 

However, there’s not a sign of a ladies GAA game to be shown.

A campaign presented by the Federation of Irish Sport is on a mission to create a change in the Irish public and media’s perception of women’s sport. 

The 20X20 campaign is calling on the Irish public to get behind women’s sport to increase media coverage, boost match attendance and to grow female involvement in sport by 20% at the end of 2020. 

Since the start of this campaign, people have been sharing their support on social media by using the hashtags #20X20 and #ShowYourStripes. With over 8,000 followers on Instagram, it is clear that the Irish public are getting behind the drive to end the gender bias which is presented in female sports in Ireland.

But, why do we need to campaign for this equality?

Large international companies such as AIG, Investec, Lidl and KPMG are regularly and actively showing their support for ladies sport.

With AIG as the official sponsor for Dublin GAA, they provided all of the Dublin teams with new, limited edition jerseys for a select number of games over the summer with the 20X20 logo as the main feature.

This was a major boost for the campaign with the logo being shown a number of times on National television. The ladies footballers wore the limited edition jersey against Waterford in the All-Ireland Senior Championship on July 13th.

The Dublin Senior footballers also wore the jersey on July 13 during their All-Ireland SFC Quarter-final Group Phase 1 against Cork and the camogie team sported the jersey on July 20 during their All-Ireland Senior Championships Group 2 match against Clare at home.

Ladies Dublin team

Another huge moment for the 20X20 movement was the 20X20 banner which was proudly displayed in Croke Park recently before the All-Ireland Semi Final between Dublin and Mayo. However, the 20X20 campaign isn’t the only major player in the efforts to support ladies sport, well GAA in particular.

From the beginning of this campaign, it has been amazing to see National broadcasters and online media such as RTÉ Sport, Off The Ball (Newstalk), Sports JOE and HER.ie show their support for ladies sport in Ireland. 

However, they are our “National Broadcaster”, and surely they have an obligation to fill by providing their support and showing equality to ladies sport and GAA in general.

In my opinion, the real champion supporters of this campaign are the smaller club and county channels such as the “WeAreMeath” and “TalkAGoodGame” podcasts and the Hogan Stand social media accounts. 

We are meath

Looking back at some of the recent phenomenal display of GAA, from both club and inter county championship, both men and women’s games were equally broadcast and commented on. TINY background teams (no more than four people) are able to commentate and share results and opinions from almost every game which took place in the Meath Football Championship over the weekend. Surely this is a step in the right direction to gain the credit and support which is well and truly deserved in ladies sport in Ireland. 

In 2015, Lidl commenced a three year partnership with the Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA).

A men’s Gaelic Football or Hurling Championship final sees Croke Park at capacity and typically receives 1.3 million TV viewers. It is hugely visible through multiple sponsorships and advertising.

Ladies Gaelic Football enjoyed no such support. It was largely not televised and fan turnout is significantly lower (under 30,000 at Championship Final- just about filled the lower tier of the stand).

Although the Lidl campaign was to primarily lead to more sponsorship for ladies teams, when working hand in hand with the 20X20 campaign, they have drastically changed the opinion of the Irish public towards ladies sports by achieving more sponsorship, media coverage, social media “chat” and attendance at games.  

Talk a Goog Game - podcast

However, even though a lot has changed in ladies sport, there is still a lot to be done.

To see more ladies games covered on RTÉ would be the ultimate goal rather than just on TG4, but the media is slowly but surely showing more support for ladies sport, be it through smaller, local club podcasts to larger online and national media outlets.

Keep fighting for ladies sports and #ShowYourStripes!

Abigail Shaw - Fuzion CommunicationsAbigail 

Abigail Shaw is a PR Executive with Fuzion Communications, a Marketing, PR , Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

From a rugby career ending injury at 28 to a global successful software business with Conor O’Loughlin, CEO of Glofox

September 25, 2018

Conor O'Loughlin, IBYE Winner 208

In this episode of the Fuzion Win Happy podcast, Greg chats with Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur 2018, Conor O’Loughlin, CEO and Founder of Glofox, who shares his story of huge disappointment with an injury, which finished his rugby career with Connacht at the age of 28 to a new career in computer software.

Realising that his rugby career and dream was over, he started a web development company where through his client work he discovered an untapped niche in bespoke software solutions for the gym and fitness sector.

With the help of a Competitive Startup Fund from Enterprise Ireland he managed to start developing a bespoke solution and later accessed further funding as part of the High Potential Startup Fund.

Fuzion Win Happy podcast thumbnail

This business has expanded globally from Ireland thanks to the hard work and focus of Conor and his team and the careful navigation of the complex world of funding with Enterprise Ireland, Angel Investors and VCs.

Despite the huge demand for IT talent in Ireland and in Dublin, Glofox have managed to continue to attract great people to their team who are enjoying the excitement of being part of a place where they can make a real difference.

You can listen to the episode by clicking the link below:

From a rugby career ending injury at 28 to a global successful software business with Conor O’Loughlin, CEO of Glofox

We hope you enjoy Conor’s and the Glofox fascinating story!

The Fuzion Win Happy Podcast is produced by Greg Canty

 

What should Bank of Ireland do with their sponsorship of the Ulster Rugby team?

April 12, 2018

Ulster Rugby

Today, Bank of Ireland issued a statement to the media concerning their sponsorship of Ulster Rugby.

They have said that it is ‘highly concerned‘ and is reviewing its partnership with the province following the Belfast rape trial.

In their statement the bank confirmed that it has conveyed concerns to Ulster CEO Shane Logan following the high-profile trial.

As a sponsor of Ulster Rugby, Bank of Ireland is highly concerned regarding the serious behaviour and conduct issues which have emerged as a result of the recent high profile trial,” read a Bank of Ireland statement.

The Bank has formally conveyed these concerns to the CEO of Ulster Rugby.

It is of paramount importance to Bank of Ireland that our sponsorship activity aligns with and supports our core values, and reflects positively on Bank of Ireland through association.

We understand that an internal review is underway. We expect this review to be robust, to fully address the issues raised, and that decisions will be taken – and policies and protocols be put in place – that fully address the issues that have arisen.

“Given that a review is underway, we won’t comment further on this issue at this time.

What do you think of what Bank of Ireland have done here?

Let’s look at what they have said first..

They are highly concerned regarding the serious behaviour and conduct issues..

At least this shows their position about what emerged during the court case – in truth, while “highly concerned” is strong language it is probably not going far enough considering what did emerge during the trial.

During the trial the court heard about a series of WhatsApp messages in which Mr Olding said “we are all top shaggers”

Mr Jackson wrote: “There was a lot of spit roasting last night.”

Olding told the WhatsApp group: “It was like a merry-go-round at a carnival.”

The Bank has formally conveyed these concerns to the CEO of Ulster Rugby..

They are letting us know in advance of any decision by Ulster Rugby their position with this issue.

It is of paramount importance to Bank of Ireland that our sponsorship activity aligns with and supports our core values..

The reason any brand sponsors anything is to associate with the brand values and gain something positive from this – the bank are saying clearly here that what has happened here does not align with the core values.

The sponsorship is of huge importance to the sport and if it was pulled, without doubt this would have an impact on many.

Given that a review is underway, we won’t comment further on this issue at this time..

By acknowledging the review by Ulster Rugby (they mention the robust process) they are sort of saying “lets wait and see and we’ll decide what to do next“.

OK…

Let’s be clear – the statement issued to the media was written for the public’s benefit – they want us, their target audience to know that they have core values, that they aren’t happy with what happened and how this may impact on them and that they have conveyed this to Ulster Rugby.

While the statement from them has come a little bit too late (they could be accused of reacting now because of the public backlash) it is clever to a point as it gives them advance “wiggle room” around any decision coming from Ulster Rugby.

If Ulster Rugby go light on the two rugby players Bank of Ireland can kill their sponsorship (potentially damaging to the sport) and they are off the hook. They would possibly have to consider the possible backlash of avid sporting fans.

If Ulster Rugby go heavy and fire the players then the bank have already made their position clear in advance and can count this as a “core values” win.

Our advice..

Their blatant disrespect for a young woman, as demonstrated through their deplorable messaging to each other,  cannot be tolerated under any circumstances.

People, young and old look up to their sports-stars and they must be held to very high standards.  We expect that of our heroes.

If Bank Of Ireland are really concerned about their brand (for legal reasons they may have to go easy) they should state categorically and with no uncertainty that they will pull their sponsorship if these players are allowed to play for the team again.

These men demonstrated without question the most horrible behaviour and disrespect to women and this should be called out plain and simple, for all our sake.

Bank of Ireland must really think of their brand and not wait in the wings to see what action Ulster Rugby will take.

Be brave Bank of Ireland..

Greg Canty 

 

The Power of Belief – Let the Lions Roar!

July 7, 2017

Conor Murray and Alun Wyn Jones

As the British and Irish Lions set their sights on the weekend, what seemed impossible before the tour, is now only 80 minutes away. A series win against the Webb Ellis Champions!

The All Blacks, are the undisputed force in World Rugby, from schools, club/provincial and ladies competitions; and before the tournament they were 1/6 to win the series outright, 3-0.

After the first test, the usual hard luck stories come out from Northern Hemisphere media; ‘we need to be more clinical’, ‘give away fewer penalties’, ‘make first up tackles’, and all was riding on the second test, a do or die, all eggs in one basket scenario.

As with the All Blacks time and time again, they strangled the opposition with their forward pack, pummeled them into submission and then let their silky backs don the jazz hands and do the pretty stuff. They always believe they can do it and have done it consistently for years.

That’s what they tried to do this time, but the Lions fronted up and limited their effectiveness as much as they could but just as the tide was turning in the All Black favour as it generally does, BOOM! (thanks Jurgen Klopp!!)

The behemoth that is Sonny Bill Williams had a rush of blood to the head, or shoulder in this case and in the process of tackling Anthony Watson’s head without wrapping his arms, he copped a red card. The first one in 50 years for an All Black in a test match.

Where am I going with this, you might ask?

The power of belief for the Lions started then! They now had a chance, 14 vs 15 for the 55 remaining minutes and they made it count!!

They played unlike most of what we had seen from them in the previous six weeks, they played with confidence and outscored the All Blacks with Trys, 2-0. Even down a man, the AB’s don’t cough up tries that easily and ones from Falateau and Murray, along with Owen Farrell’s boot, sealed the day.

Now is when the real belief will need to come in!

The series is drawn one a piece and the Lions are facing the All Blacks in the final test with their full complement returned however, the Lions now know they are beatable, Ireland did it in November 2017 in historic fashion in Chicago, Australia the year before and South Africa before that.

The stage is set, battle lines have been drawn and at 8.35 am on Saturday, 8th July, 30 players will go head to head to be crowned series champions, the odds are in the All Blacks favour once again but if the Lions believe they can, who knows, the odds may be turned.

If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right” Henry Ford

No matter what you do if you can make people believe you can do achieve anything.

#Believe

Patrick Jones - Fuzion CommunicationsPatrick

Patrick Jones is an Account Manager in Dublin with Fuzion Communications, Marketing, PR & Graphic Design 

 

Changing from Doubters to Believers

July 1, 2017

Jurgen Klopp - Doubters and Believers

When Jurgen Klopp took over as manager of Liverpool FC in October 2015 he made a huge statement to the worldwide fan base through the media with a simple message:

We have to change from doubters to believers

Jurgen is clever, he quickly picked up on the mood at this famous, previously successful club and he knew that very often it is strangled by the quick loss of faith by the fans if something doesn’t go the team’s way on the pitch during a game.

The fans groan “same old story“, “we’ll throw this one away“, “that fella’s useless” ..when that negativity creeps in it spreads like a virus and before you know it everyone is a doubter.

Fans stop cheering, fans leave early, players get nervous, they choke, fans stop attending, the team starts losing, corporates stop entertaining clients at games, sponsors move on, the best players at the club want to leave and others don’t want to come to the club, success gets further and further away.

Jurgen understood this and from the beginning he sent messages to fans in his press conferences, in the match programmes and during the games he encourages them (by gesturing frantically!) to support and scolds them for not doing so – at a match that wasn’t going according to plan at the very beginning of his reign he scolded the fans who left early in his post message press conference – you can play your vital part in the success of this team.

We are all like Jurgen with the teams that work with us, with our customers (or clients if we are being posh) with those who we would like to be customers and all other stakeholders.

We have to change them from Doubters to Believers.

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

 

 

“I don’t want publicity this time but next time, yes… “

May 8, 2017

Rory McIlroy and Erica Stoll wedding

Looking at the media coverage of the recent nuptials of one of golf’s hottest properties Rory McIlroy, something struck me as odd, well less odd than the reported price tag of over half a million Euro spent on it, but still strange nonetheless.

There were no photos of it. The lavish four-day wedding was veiled in such secrecy that very few details have been or could be made public.

Reportedly, some of the steps the McIlroy’s went to stop leaks were anti-drone technology to stop them flying overhead and taking photos, people working at the event had to check in their phones and guests had to leave their mobile phones behind entirely, just in case one of them decided to ‘check in’ to the wedding of the decade or post a photo.

This all begs the question, where does the public interest start and finish when it comes to celebrities?

Rory for example, has sponsorship deals with Omega, Bose and has just signed a new 10 year deal with Nike valued at around €100 million. Publicising these, Rory can be seen sporting the new exclusive Omega watch and on the course, he is branded from head to toe in the newest Nike gear and is all too happy to pose for the cameras while wearing them.

To protect the couple, there was reportedly three levels of security around the grounds of the beautiful Ashford Castle and McIlroy’s management team worked overtime to ensure that the wedding details remained top secret from the large media entourage that arrived at Cong.

Ashford Castle staff, lauded for their discretion with the hotel’s celebrity clientele, even refused to make any comment on the wedding celebrations.

The phone hacking scandal a number of years ago ignited the question of how far media can go, and the recent demands of €1.5 million in compensation from Prince William over photos taken during a three-day break in a chateau in southern France in 2012, is bringing the topic of invasion of privacy of celebrities to the fore once more.

Prince William expressed his anger at the incident in a statement read to a court in Paris, where six media personnel, including three photographers, are on trial for alleged invasion of privacy.

In McIlroys instance, what would have happened if a ‘lucky’ photographer managed to get a snap of the happy couple in their finery – an invasion of privacy lawsuit?

I’m not saying that prying into the personal lives of public figures is correct or not, the question is, is it right that celebrities can have their cake and eat it too?

Patrick Jones - Fuzion CommunicationsPatrick

Patrick Jones is an Account Manager in Dublin with Fuzion Communications, Marketing, PR & Graphic Design 

Winning is all about Mindset

November 30, 2015

Change Your Mindset Concept

Not only am I part of the Fuzion team I am also a self confessed GAA obsessed Kerryman who has been exiled in Cork since 2008!

My background prior to joining Fuzion was in the Fitness and Leisure industry. Though my career pathway has changed radically I still maintain a deep rooted interest in the area of Strength and Conditioning and helping athletes realise their potential.

Having played both hurling and football I was always conscious of the ways and methods of the numerous coaches and trainers I encountered along the way.  I always wondered why we trained the way we did and what was the reasoning behind the often wild and wacky routines that were endured rather than enjoyed.

Ultimately success bypassed teams I played with more often than not though.

And so 2015 began with my first opportunity to train an adult team and mould and lead a group of players to their perceived promised land. My approach was very much along the lines of how business leaders take a concept, develop it, lead a team of people each with the common aim of achieving success and growth.

Dungourney GAA County Final winners

In leading a team to win a county title for the first time in 106 long years I followed these guiding principles to create the platform for our success.

  1. Dare to believe and you will achieve

“The person who gets the farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The ‘sure-thing’ boat never gets far from shore.”
Dale Carnegie

There should never be a time in your life when you’re not attempting something impossible. It is the impossible dream that stretches your imagination and shows you what you can become.

Get out of your comfort zone and stretch yourself.  Stretch the amount of work you do, stretch your expectations, and stretch your imagination no matter how outlandish your thoughts may seem.

  1. Embrace past failures

If you want to succeed, you need to fail.  No one succeeds with just a handful of failures. You need to fail, and fail, and fail again.  Failure is the path to success and it is through failure that the pathway to success becomes clear and you learn how to succeed.

  1. Use Your Will

“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.”

–Vincent T. Lombardi

Another word for “will” is “desire.”  To succeed you must desire to succeed more than you desire anything else.  Successful people aren’t stronger than others, and they aren’t necessarily anymore intelligent than others, but they have a burning desire to see their goal realised.  Motivation will only come from desire. Don’t try to motivate yourself if the desire is missing!

  1. You need Determination and Commitment

Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s the determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”

–Mario Andretti

You must have the determination and commitment to latch on to your goal and refuse to let go.  Desire, determination and commitment will put you in the position to achieve your goal.

  1. Excellence is Required

“No one ever attains very eminent success by simply doing what is required of him; it is the amount and excellence of what is over and above the required that determines the greatness of ultimate distinction.”

–Charles Kendall Adams

Are you striving for excellence in everything you do? Your preparation, your work, your lifestyle, your training and learning, and your relationships all demand excellence.

With every action you undertake ask yourself the question ‘Is it excellent’? To be the best you must be the best that you can be and be ‘excellent’. In addition perfect practice makes practice perfect in your quest for excellence.

  1. Vision is Necessary

To succeed, you must immerse yourself in being successful. Visualise winning at every given opportunity. Only through clear visualisation will you create the desire and belief to make success a reality.

  1. Go To Success

“Success doesn’t come to you, you go to it.”

–Marva Collins

Success won’t fall out of the sky and land at your feet; you have to go after it.  You have to hunt it down. You have to want it more than anything else and you have to work, work and work some more.  Go towards your goal and leave no stone unturned on your journey to success. Believe that you will win and that winning breeds success.

As the year 2015 comes to an end the journey that commenced last November has one final stop in this magical year.

We have achieved our goal of winning a county title but next Sunday sees a group of very special players vie for a Munster Junior A Hurling Championship. They dared to believe and displayed a will to go towards their goal and are now on the cusp achieving a success that didn’t seem possible just twelve months ago.

Dare to believe and you just might end up winning a most unexpected prize!

Dave FitzmauriceDave Fitzmaurice

Dave Fitzmaurice is a social media consultant with Fuzion – Social Media Consultancy and the proud coach of Dungourney GAA Junior Hurling team

Bringing your game face

February 18, 2014

Ireland v Wales, Six Nations 2014

Six Nations 2014.

Ireland V Wales.

Front row (seats, not player!).

5 yard line…

I was conscious that there was a slight chance my face might appear on the big screen.. subconsciously I had myself prepared, and yes, in the 67th minute there I was!

Within 20 seconds my phone had lit up…7 new texts. And it wasn’t just me, my husband Eoin and my friend Jess were ‘famous’ too.

Alison O'Brien - Fuzion PR

Perth, Canada, Johannesburg, Cape Town, and even the Cayman Islands… friends worldwide had spotted us, and they let us know…. and this made me think.

Even unbeknownst to us, someone is always watching, analysing, and more than likely judging (be it positively or negatively). You need to look like you’re meant to be there, know exactly what you’re doing, and are in complete control.

Whether in a work situation, or in personal circumstances, a certain amount of awareness won’t ever go astray.

Benjamin Franklin once said By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”, and I think he had it sussed… sounds like he always brought his game face.

Do you?

Alison O’Brien

Alison O’Brien is a Senior Account Director with Fuzion PR & Marketing which has offices in Cork and Dublin, Ireland


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