Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

So you can teach an old dog new tricks after all!

May 22, 2017

Michael O'Leary - Ryamair

I’m still reeling from the shock of the great customer service I just experienced from Ryanair!

I found that there was a simple error on my flight booking for our summer holidays. Without much hope, I got onto the Ryanair “live chat” and after a relatively short wait, someone came on and solved my problem without an issue and – wait for it – are you sitting down? – without any additional charge – even though I had my credit card in my hand!

The Ryanair experience has improved so much that even Greg, my other half, isn’t complaining (well, not as much as usual) that we are using the airline to get us to Italy this year – in previous years he prefered to take an Aer Lingus flight to Paris and then take the train to Milan (beautiful journey by the way!).

So Michael, I applaud you, you turned the big ship (or plane) and set Ryanair on a new course towards good service, putting the customer first and you gotta be reaping the rewards…..

I think this is a big lesson for all of us.

Just because we do something one way, a way that might have built the success of the company, it doesn’t mean we have to stay doing the same thing, just because it’s the way we always did it.

It’s refreshing for everyone to change things up, it’s good to really listen to your customers and even more important, your potential customers and even if it goes against your original core values (or some might argue, lack of them in Ryanair’s case), consider adapting to suit your market in this very changing world.

When you are ready to make that change – the Fuzion team can be there with you every step of the way to help you 😉

Deirdre 

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

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

 

What is “Work Life Balance” to you?

April 18, 2017

Work Life Balance

Some people wake up at 6am to get a run or a workout in before they face the day, maybe do some yoga or meditation to start the day in a happier mindset or simply just because they like being up that early.

I wake up at 6am because I need to, to travel to work.

No, I am not complaining, it’s great to be working. I’m just saying that it would be nice to wake up at 6am and not run around my house like a mouse just after escaping the claws of the dreaded mouse trap because I need to get my train.

My point is that as industries grow and businesses get more and more tech savvy our jobs are changing with them. Remote work, sometimes seen as working from home/working from anywhere (depending on the role) is now part of a lot of job descriptions. This got me thinking about how we are now looking for newer ways to go to work and where to work from.

I see people every morning commuting to work on different modes of transport – bus, car, bicycle, moped, skateboard, electric scooter and regular train, bus, walkers like myself! (now I’m complaining!).

As employees, I feel we too (like consumers) are looking for new experiences in our jobs, our work environment and ways to achieve our full potential within our careers and personally, that achieve a positive “WORK LIFE BALANCE”.

The first question we need to ask ourselves is – What does “Work life balance” mean to you?

Someone recently asked me this and I was stumped. I knew I wanted it but what was it? So, I took myself aside and asked myself that very question.

Here’s what I came up with, for me work life balance is a lot of things…….but mainly it is being able to do my job to the best of my ability while having time for myself personally. It’s all about TIME!

There are so many articles telling us that working from home is bad or working from home is good, but I think it depends on the individual, their productivity and also accessibility outside of the office. A recent article from Silicon Republic referred to this luxury as a way of showing employees that the company they work for is flexible and trusts and values them.

So how is working from home a bad thing?

The same article quoted Michelle Hammond, senior lecturer in Occupational Behaviour at University of Limerick referring to the drawbacks of working from home, isolation being one of them. Full-time, I can understand this issue but part-time, isn’t it just that extra hour of rest in bed, the flexibility in the evenings or having more time with the family?

Irish Rail

Today, I am grateful for the work from home option since the trains decided to go on an unscheduled strike!

The remote access to my work allows me to do my job (time for a blog post!) in the exact same way as well as not letting down my team and supporting my clients. It also made me feel even more trusted and the flexibility spared me that feeling of always chasing time. I didn’t need to be finished at this time – to get to the next place – to get the Luas on time – to reach my train on time – to get home – Phew!

Everyone’s work, life balance is different and it is very much connected to mindfulness. For that reason, it is important to look at this and ask yourself that question – What does “Work life balance” mean to you?

Arlene Foy, Fuzion PR, Marketing Graphic Design, DublinArlene

Arlene Foy is an Account Manager with Fuzion PR in our Dublin office.

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing”

August 9, 2016

Make it count - Nike

When researching for inspiration for this blog post, I came across a multitude of generic results such as ‘how to keep your morning coffee warmer than usual’ and ‘how to deal with a quarter/mid life crisis’. However, throughout my travels on the world wide web, I came across an extremely intriguing article about Nike’s newest campaign #MakeItCount.  

Helen Keller, the famous deaf and blind author and political activist once argued that “life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”

Taking this quote on board when planning their most recent campaign, NIKE decided to put their own spin on her wise words. Last month the renowned sports brand dared colleagues, Casey Neistat and Max Joseph to create a campaign promoting their newest product, the Nike Fuel Brand using the #MakeItCount mantra.

However, with an unexpected change in plan, Neistat and Joseph decided to ‘take the money and run’. Literally.

Instead of commissioning a Hollwoodesque, high-tech visual media advertising campaign, the dynamic duo combined with a pair of runners and a selfie stick, threw caution to the wind and created a video montage of them blowing their budget and #MakingItCount. Throughout the video we see the pair travel the world over the duration of 10 days. From America to Zambia, the two experience encounters that you couldn’t imagine in your wildest dreams.

For fear of sounding like a life coach or uncomfortably inquisitive psychoanalyst, I will stay away from any condemning statements such as, “this campaign really made me sit up and think” and wonder “how am I going to #MakeItCount?

Even so, following the video I could not shake the pestering notion of the campaign.

With thoughts of running marathons and travelling the world over 10 days, the prospect seemed like a very daunting prospect altogether. However, I soon realised that being an avid participant in life, rather than just an observer is just as important in contributing to the cause.  

Now while I would never condone running off with a monumental production budget and travelling the world to fulfill the inspiring mantra, I am still a firm believer in #MakingItCount each and everyday, whatever I do.

What are you doing?

#MakeItCount

Isabel 

Isabel Oliver is a PR intern in the Fuzion PR Dublin office

10 things you’ll see in Ireland in the summer!

June 2, 2016

Ireland really is the best country in the world when the sun shines. When the sun comes out everyone has a smile on their faces and the craic is 90 as they say.

Here’s why Ireland is so unique – 10 signs of an Irish Summer!

1. Topless men everywhere – The sun only has to threaten to come out in Ireland and men everywhere have their shirts off.

Topless

2. Tan Lines – We never learn, every summer you are sure to see people with ridiculous sun burn and horrific tan lines.

sunburn

3. Queues for 99’s are endless – Irish people tend to gravitate towards their nearest ice cream shop when the sun comes out – a sure sign of an Irish summer is a 99 with a flake!

99

4. BBQ season – Hail, rain or shine if its summer in Ireland the BBQs come out. We only get a few weeks of “summer” so we have to make use out of the very expensive BBQ we bought, if that means standing under an umbrella while eating your burger, so be it!

umbrella

5. Down Tools – Let’s face it the good Irish weather doesn’t come around that often so when it does, it’s time to down tools and get to the nearest beer garden ASAP.

Down tools

6. People complaining about how hot it is – We wait all year for a bit of sun and the minute it comes people start complaining that it’s too hot!

complaining

7. Endless chat about the weather – “Is the sun shining where you are?”, “It’s great to have a bit of sun isn’t it”, “enjoy it while it lasts”.

weather chat

8. Make swimming pools – Paddling pools, bins, buckets, baths etc. You name it anything and everything is turned into a swimming pool when the sun comes out!

swimming pools

9. The fun and banter is in full swing and the beer gardens are packed – Real life and responsibilities don’t seem to matter as holiday mode kicks in

banter

10. Jean Byrne can make or break your day – The RTE weather is a must see. For once the whole family is glued to the TV watching the weather, hanging on every word Jean Byrne says in the hope the sun is going to stay shining!!

jean byrne

Enjoy the summer!!

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

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

No breakfast before 9 on Achill Island !

March 15, 2013

Achill IslandTen past eight and I’m still lying in the hotel bed in Achill Island contemplating the day ahead.

My alarm went off over two hours ago – Yep, 6am is the first alarm setting and I have a second one set for 6:15, which is when I normally get up. The very odd time I might allow myself the luxury of another 15 minutes and then get up ..busy, busy!

That’s just the way it is these days – Monday to Friday I work my socks off , including most evenings and there is always some work to be done at the weekend. The joys of self employment!

Ten past eight ..I’m not here on holidays, I’m on Achill Island to deliver three days of social media training to the local business people, most of whom are involved in the tourism sector.

I have loads to do but the wifi only works in the reception area and my modem doesn’t have sufficient coverage to get any work done.

Breakfast isn’t served in the hotel until 9am – I’m not kidding!

There is plenty of time to do everything including taking in the most spectacular scenery you have ever seen in your whole life.

The sign at reception used say breakfast is served between 8:30 and 10 am but this was changed with a temporary sign changing the 8:30 till 9am. Yesterday morning I thought I would pop down and just grab some cereal but the dining area was all locked up – nothing for it but back to bed.

I give the course at the local IT centre from 10am – things don’t start too early around here.

Today is my last day and I’m starting to get to know some of the group quite well. The group is made up of born and bred locals, Julien the kite surfer (Pure Magic)from France, Ute from Germany, Padraig who jumped out of the rat race in Dublin and a bunch of other immigrants from all over Ireland.

During one of our numerous tea breaks (with gorgeous homemade scones) one of the immigrants explains to me how the place “gets a hold of you” and you just don’t want to leave.

Besides being very relaxed and friendly it helps when the suggestion of a visit to Lynotts pub (the greatest little pub ever) is accepted warmly.

I was expecting one or two to turn up for a pint but a good few came with their friends – the guitar was produced and we had songs in English and French ..well done Julien and Liam.

Dee is just after coming over to me as I am typing this “You’d get used to the pace of life here”.

I tend to agree ..

What can I say …come to Achill Island!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

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

Why We All Need to be a Little More Mr. Blue Sky….

August 27, 2012

I was delighted to read Paddy Clancy’s article in today’s Irish Examiner.

I was actually starting to get concerned about my unwavering optimism and general good feeling about Summer 2012. While the world and its mother have been giving out about this terrible Irish summer, I have been waxing lyrical about how surprisingly nice the weather has been over the past few months. I’ve been getting a few strange looks, but I honestly don’t know what people have been complaining about.

Almost every morning I have managed to walk to work without getting lashed on and most evenings I return home on foot in mild, warm weather. Fair enough there’s usually a downpour at some point during the day, but if you listened to MET Eireann they would have you believing that we’re up to our knees day in day out in flash flooding, heavy rainfall and thunderstorms. Not the case from where I’m standing….what about you?

Now, the mandatory Irish chit chat about our terrible climate doesn’t really bother me, it’s as natural as a morning cup of tea to discuss the weather in this country. But to me it feels as if MET Eireann and very often, the media, seem to focus so much on ‘where it’s going to rain’ as opposed to ‘where it’s going to shine’ and fair enough, I know it’s science, but couldn’t they cut us a break?!!

My attitude now is just look out your window in the morning and take it as it comes. (Unless you’re a golfer  it seems– my father lives by that forecast)

The most concerning thing is the impression it is giving out to international tourists and to all of our lovely family and friends who have emigrated and who, aside from the recession, are almost afraid to give up the sunny climes of Australia and America for ‘depressing Ireland’.

We depend, more than ever, on Tourism for simulating employment and revenue, yet we shoot ourselves in the foot day in day out by giving out about the climate. The whingers are feeding that perception and as per Paddy’s article today, I’m not the only one who believes that. Donegal has clearly enjoyed a fantastic summer, and if you spent any time at all in Dublin and Kerry over the last few months you would have enjoyed some amazing weather and quite a few ‘al fresco’ dining/drinking opportunities!

How many times have you heard people say “We’d be the best country in the world if we only had the weather”. Well, newsflash: Ireland has an unpredictable climate and high levels of rainfall annually – get over it.

Ireland is a fantastic country, despite our current recession and perceived climate. Every day I experience optimism and positivity in the most unlikely places, and most importantly, a little bit of sunshine. I think we could all make a better attempt at encouraging people to come here, by complaining a little less and maybe taking some time to highlight the sunny days when we can. Don’t you think?

Gina Kelly is an Account Director at Fuzion

Gina on Twitter 

Gina Kelly operates from the Fuzion PR office in Dublin

The TripAdvisor debate – Would the Real Reviewer Please Stand Up?

August 7, 2012

Despite having never posted a review, I love TripAdvisor. Its success has reached such heights that it is now as important as packing your passport to review your holiday accommodation in advance of your trip. But let’s face it, we all know that any social media savvy hotel has probably written the odd positive review in order to boost its ratings. The trick is not to get caught right?

TripAdvisor image

But in the back of my mind I always wonder how much of this self-rating is going on and realistically how can TripAdvisor monitor every single review and mitigate against it. Similarly, the bad reviews – is it the nasty work of a rival hotel, an irate ex-employee or someone who simply exaggerates a bad experience?

The best thing about social media is the freedom it allows you to voice your opinion to a mass audience but with situations like the ‘Tom Daley Twittergate’ or the on-going cyber-bullying issue you have to ask, do we have too much freedom to hurt others, be it a business or another individual? At least with Twitter and Facebook, your opinion is entirely visible as your opinion – no hiding from it.

But TripAdvisor has the beauty of anonymity – a faceless platform in which to be as complimentary or derogatory as you like, without having to take any responsibility for giving your opinion, regardless of what it might mean for the reputation of a business struggling to survive. It seems almost cowardly in a way.

So, my question is, should we break down the wall that hides the reviewers from those they influence? Should we step out from our hiding place and be transparent in our opinions, just as we are on Twitter and Facebook? Or is that simply taking away from the whole ethos of these sites?

I’m pretty sure I know what the hospitality industry would vote for. Personally, I would like to see what review sites are out there offering transparency on reviewers and promote them as an alternative to the TripAdvisor mechanic.  Yes, it might be the biggest, but as with everything, not necessarily the best.

And who knows, maybe I’ll finally write that review!

Gina Kelly is an Account Director at Fuzion

Do we all need to be a Circus Act?

July 13, 2012
Circus Trick - Fuzion PR

Round of applause please!

On the last night of our holidays in Cuba we found ourselves watching a “circus” show as part of the entertainment that the resort puts on every night to satisfy all of the holiday makers including, young couples, newly weds, young families and older couples.

It must be a tough gig entertaining such a mixed crowd but this troop did really well. There were two really acrobatic guys who were skilled, flexible and strong as they worked a number of different routines.

There was a very attractive young woman (of course!) who was equally skilled with a mixture of acrobatics, operating a unicycle, juggling and joining in on some of the routines with the guys.

There was a older guy who was skilled with a whip, who could remove an item from your mouth with one lash and of course there was a Charlie Chaplin type character in an oversized suit with extra large shoes who joked, tripped, fell over, participating in the different tricks, adding humour in equal measure with getting the crowd involved in the show.

All of the performers as well as being really skilled at what they did were all very competent “showmen” (or women!).. for each trick, there was a moment of deliberate tension, a pose, a smile or some other crucial, perfectly timed gesture that gave that important cue to the crowd to applaud and fully appreciate the feats that they had just witnessed.

These crucial “show” elements transformed the demonstration of skills into a “wow” performance, which were the little pieces of magic that was needed to leave everyone knowing they had witnessed something extra special.

Art of the Pitch - Peter Coughter

Are you ready for the show?

The circus reminded me of the simple lesson that Peter Coughter gave in his book “The Art of the Pitch

Often the best plans never see the light of day..

When you are presenting your proposal to a prospect that you have put huge work into, always remember that’s it’s not enough to show that you are competent, skilled and can deliver what’s required.

You must deliver a performance to win the business… in his excellent book he tells you how!

Remember …. It’s Showtime!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a PR firm with offices in Dublin and Cork that specialise in campaigns integrating traditional media with social media

Are you doing Laps or going on a Journey?

July 7, 2012

Ballincollig Park, Cork

Often at weekends we meet our great friends Tommy and Joan Doyle down at the gorgeous Ballincollig Park in Cork.

It’s a huge facility with the River Lee flowing through it, it has football fields, river walks and the ruins from the Gunpowder Mills can be seen as you explore the different spots at the park.

When we go there myself and Dee like to take a full route around the park, moving from the first football field, along the river, exploring the fields further back and coming back via the river letting Bing (our four legged creature) to have a little splash and a drink.

We wander back via the main entrance and have a cuppa and a bun at the fabulous Cafe Chico (Margaret runs a terrific little business there). It’s a nice route and for the most part we don’t revisit any part of the park.

When we meet up with Tommy and Joan we always end up having an argument – Tommy is obsessed with doing laps!! I can’t stand it ….he is happy to do a particular walk at the start of the park and repeat it 10 times.

Tommy is a true Irish GAA legend, winner of 7 senior All Ireland Medals with Kerry, so I guess he spent a lifetime doing laps as part of his training, which is engrained into him (we have a funny friendship as I have zero interest in GAA – we started as workmates).

Sometimes we win the argument and we get  to take our route but often we end up doing his laps routine – it really is mindless repetition, it’s so boring , over and over. I really can’t stand it and only for Tommy’s colourful conversation (he is a great character despite his obsession with laps and routine) we’d never survive it! When we meet them in the evening it’s even a battle to get Tommy to go some place new or try something different.

I get really frustrated and it makes me wonder – why bother doing laps when you can go on a journey?

Isn’t life often like this as we can end up repeating ourselves over and over, the same routine, the same job, the same clients, the same restaurants, the same shops, the same holiday locations, the same walks on a Saturday!

Sometime routine is safe, comforting and dependable but at times we do have to break out and try something new. In the current climate change was forced on a lot of us and often people will tell you that the change has been a breath of fresh air.

I reflect back on my own journey and in many respects it has been colourful with lots of interesting twists and turns both personal and professional and of course I probably have done a few laps too many in some cases!

Tommy Doyle, GAA Star, Kerry  - 21st September 1986 v Tyrone

I think of my buddy Tommy and his obsession with laps and then when I Google him I see him holding up the Sam Maguire cup as Captain of the Kerry team  in 1986 in front of a crowd of 60,000 people! How many have taken that journey?

Today I must do something new …

Are you doing laps or going on a Journey?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion PR

Fuzion are a Marketing and PR Firm with Offices in Cork and Dublin

Vacations and waiting for the Big Idea?

June 3, 2012
Varadero Cuba

Big Idea …Where are you?

I know that whenever I get a break new ideas start coming to me.

The minute you step off that treadmill of “doing“, the minute you let your mind settle and unclutter those ideas come to you. It’s as if all the other “stuff” is a block that prevents that clear thinking that is needed to come up with those fresh ideas.

So what’s happening? … I’m here sitting on the beach in Varadero, Cuba, sipping on a Mojito listening to the waves roll in gently. I’m surrounded by holiday makers lying on the beach, some asleep, some reading, all of them relaxing. A few of the energetic ones are in the water and some are walking the fabulous beach in their bare feet.

I’ve been on holidays for nearly a week now , I’ve managed to unwind (at least I think so) pretty much fully so where are you?

Come on big idea , major insight, incredible revelation…. I’m waiting!!

Maybe the Big Idea is I need to take more breaks!!

If that big idea comes over the next few days, I’ll let you know!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion


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