“The strength of the team is each member. The strength of each member is the team.”

August 14, 2017 by

Pippa O'Connor and Brian Ormond at the Opening of The Oyster Bar

Nearly two weeks we had a fantastic night at the highly anticipated launch of the iconic Oyster Tavern, in Cork, just alongside the just as iconic, English Market. The launch welcomed a sea of famous faces and the ‘who’s who’ of the Irish social scene and sports world descended on Patrick Street to toast the new bar.

Stars such as Pippa O’Connor and her husband Brian Ormond and rugby legend,  Peter O’Mahony all donned the red carpet on the night and enjoyed an evening full of surprises as the new Oyster Tavern was finally revealed after a €1.5 million makeover.

However behind every fantastic event is a truck load of hard work, which at the time can be stressful and overwhelming but when it pays off, it is so worth it.

The last two/three weeks in the lead up to the highly successful event there was a huge amount of organisation and to-do lists to be completed and it meant that it was all hands on deck in the lead up to the event and on the night.

I really really enjoyed working on the event with the Oyster Tavern team (what a great team of people) but I couldn’t have done it without the help of my own Fuzion team.

We do event management day in, day out, from large scale high profile events such as the launch of The Oyster Tavern, the launch of One Albert Quay, the launch of Dunnes Stores, Simply Better Cook with Neven range and the launch of Nano Nagle Place to smaller scale ones such as the Summer Food & Craft Fair in Manor West Shopping Centre & Retail Park and the Official Public Dedication of the Kindred Spirits memorial with the Choctaw Nation.

In order for these events to run smoothly there is normally an account manager who takes the lead (which in this case was me) but we do depend heavily on the rest of the team to jump in when necessary and I have to say the team here at Fuzion had my back every step of the way with this launch.

They helped with invites, planning, media, and event management not to mention endless cups of tea, and on the night they came out in force to support the event and support me with any help I needed.

It was a night I felt proud to be part of such a solid and fun team.

“The strength of the team is each member. The strength of each member is the team.Phil Jackson

Edel Cox - FuzionEdel

Edel Cox is a PR Account Manager with Fuzion Communications who are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork

‘Great Taste’ and all the other things that flavour what we eat or drink

August 3, 2017 by

The Great Taste awards, described as the ‘Oscars’ of the food world are organised by the Guild of Fine Food.

They are the acknowledged benchmark for fine food and drink, and when a consumer sees the Great Taste logo on an item it is a sign that they will be buying a great tasting product.

This year (2017) Food and drink producers entered 12,300 products with 4,347 earning 3, 2 and 1 star ratings of which 444 originated from Ireland.

Overall just 165 products earned a 3 Star rating and 1,011 a 2 star rating with Irish products well represented in both of these categories.

PatWhelan, james Whelan Butchers - Great Taste Awards

The Golden Forks (the big winners) will be announced at a celebration dinner at the International Park Lane Hotel, London on the 4 September.

Great Taste, values taste above all else, with no regard for branding or packaging. Whether it is gin, biscuits, sausages or coffee being judged, all products are removed from their packaging, wrapper, jar, box or bottle before being tasted. Furthermore the judges have no idea the price that these products normally retail at.

It’s all about the taste!

The judges then savour, confer and re-taste to decide which products are worthy of a 1, 2, or 3 star award.

As you can imagine the judging panel is very illustrious and this year it included; chef, food writer and author, Gill Meller, MasterChef judge and restaurant critic, Charles Campion, author and Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen chef, Zoe Adjonyoh, baker, Tom Herbert, and food writer and baking columnist, Martha Collison, as well as food buyers from Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges, and Harvey Nichols.

These esteemed palates have together tasted and re-judged the 3-star winners and will finally agree on the 2017 Top 50 Foods, which will be announced in August, with the Golden Fork Trophy winners and the Great Taste 2017 Supreme Champion unveiled on the 4th September.

Just Taste!

Judging the food and drink products on their taste seems very fair and as you would expect – the packaging and branding is removed so that the judges are able to experience the products in their pure, true state, without any interference or bias.

Sunnes Stores - Sticky Toffee Pudding

When do we ever, truly taste anything?

The minute that award winning cake goes into a wrapper, it changes the taste for the consumer.

  • Once we see the packaging, the colours, the type of paper and the visuals, it changes the taste.
  • Once we see the brand name, it changes the taste.
  • Once we read where the product is made and we see the ingredients, it changes the taste.
  • Once the product is placed in a retail outlet, it changes the taste.
  • Once we see where it is placed in the store, it changes the taste.
  • Once we see some POS and the product displayed on a promotional stand, it changes the taste.
  • Once a price is put on the product, it changes the taste.
  • When the product is on special offer, it changes the taste.
  • When a well dressed sampling person invites you to taste a thumbnail of the product, it changes the taste.
  • When we see that the brand is endorsed by a well known personality, it changes the taste.
  • When we see adverts for the product in a newspaper, it changes the taste.
  • When we see adverts for the product in a glossy magazine, it changes the taste
  • When a respected food journalist tells you the product is superb, it changes the taste.
  • When we open the pack at home and we are in a great mood, it changes the taste.

Today’s consumer is influenced by everything they see, hear and taste. We are also influenced by a lifetime of experiences, good and bad, by our peers and we all carry with us a lorry load of biases.

With great products our job and the job of everyone else in the chain that brings the product to the consumer, is to make sure that person can actually ‘taste’ the product.

The Great Taste Awards and that big round logo that you will see on products will also help!

Congratulations to two of our clients, James Whelan Butchers and Simply Better by Dunnes Stores who scooped up Great Taste Awards, once again this year.

James Whelan Butchers are Great Taste 3-star winners with their Pork Lard, a natural and clear lard made from slowly rendered back fat, with a “fabulous long lasting and clean pork flavour” – it’s all about taste!

Greg Canty 

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

Kevin Myers and the Gatekeepers

August 3, 2017 by

Gatekeepers

There’s been plenty written this week by far more learned/opinionated people than me about the Kevin Myers controversy. So I’m not really going to spend a whole lot of time on him, the anti-semetic rant that he sort of apologised for, or the vile misogyny that he didn’t feel any need to address.

If you feel like reading some really really good commentary around this topic, do yourself a favour and check out Kathy Sheridan and Fintan O’Toole in the Irish Times, or Stephen Kinsella’s excellently researched work in the Sunday Business Post.

One comment during Kevin Myers’ interview with RTE Radio One’s Sean O’Rourke piqued my interest. He said five or six people would have seen his Sunday column before it went to print.

And it’s this comment that leads to me writing this blog – how, if five or six people reviewed Kevin Myers work before it was printed in the Sunday Times, was it approved for publication?

Where was the gatekeeper?

Where is your gatekeeper?

Who is ensuring that your brand’s ethos matches the tone of voice that you, your colleagues, and your staff use when communicating with your target audience?

How do you ensure that the hard earned positive and inclusive, corporate culture that you’ve cultivated is shared in every conversation, every meeting, every tweet?

Who is the gatekeeper protecting your reputation?

Alison Nulty, Fuzion CommunicationsAlison Nulty

Alison Nulty is a Senior Account Manager with Fuzion Communications, a full service agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Don’t forget about the books

July 17, 2017 by

There is an urban legend about an architect that designed a library.

In his calculations he forgot to factor in the weight of the books, so when the library was complete and filled with its contents it began to sink.

Although it is an urban legend the story hosts a very important point – Never forget about the purpose.

For example, when I design a logo and the client wants something beautiful and creative, it is easy to get carried away with aesthetics and forget about the purpose of a logo.

A logo is an anchor point for your business and it can often be the first impression a customer has with your business. It needs to represent you, what you stand for, who you are, what you do and what makes you unique – and it needs to do this immediately.

Always keep in mind the purpose of what you are doing.

Paul Wade - Fuzion Graphic DesignPaul Wade

Paul Wade is part of the Graphic Design team at Fuzion Communications who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

It’s nice to be nice!

July 17, 2017 by

It’s nice to be nice..

I strongly believe in the saying ‘it costs nothing to be nice’. If we can all remind ourselves of this every so often it can have such a positive impact.

In today’s world, often it seems to be all money money money, but it’s the simple things that are free and can make all the difference. When people are nice towards one another we are much happier people.

I believe that you can never go wrong with being nice.

You often see and hear of heartwarming stories of people helping another person or carrying out a simple gesture and although it may seem small to you it can mean the world to the other person.

Sometimes being nice can come down to a little understanding.

Just take a second to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and try and understand it from their perspective and as they say, treat others like you would like to be treated yourself.

Life is short so just be nice – you will be a better person for it.

Saidhbh Sweeney - Fuzion CommunicationsSaidhbh

Saidhbh Sweeney is a PR Executive with Fuzion Communications: PR, Marketing and Graphic Design

The Power of Belief – Let the Lions Roar!

July 7, 2017 by

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 

 

Gina London: You are who you choose to be, so change is possible

July 5, 2017 by

Best mans speech

It was my brother’s wedding and as the best man,” my Dublin taxi driver tells me, “I’m supposed to give the toast.”

Now, I’m not a reserved individual. I’m normally outgoing and confident. I’m a national handball champion,” he says. “But when I stood up to speak, I suddenly blanked. I couldn’t remember a word. I looked down at the notes I was holding but my hands were shaking so much, I couldn’t read. I bombed.”

That was 21 years ago, he says as the taxi nears my destination. My handball-champion driver says he lives in dread considering that one day in the future he will be expected to give the eulogy at his elderly father’s funeral.

Do you label your public-speaking ability or leadership style by a single experience? During the recent Fine Gael debates, one of the candidates stated: “I am what I am” when asked about himself.

Are we? Is it that all there is?

I am who I am” sounds like a passage from God in the Bible or Popeye in the cartoons,” retorts Alan Weiss, PhD, an American thought-leader in career coaching and consulting whom the New York Post describes as “one of the most highly-respected independent consultants in the country” and whom I interviewed via email.

His latest book, co-authored with another notable American executive coach, Dr Marshall Goldsmith, is Lifestorming, Creating Meaning and Achievement in Your Career and Life. Between the two of them they have written more than 100 books on human behaviour.

Your past does not define your future.

When I asked Alan if he wanted to share any Irish experiences he may have had, he wrote: “I love the joy of the Irish and I loved driving through the Northwest, but I never had a question answered without the prefix, ‘After 800 years’ of British oppression‘.”

I hear that prefix all the time, too. Of course, experiences from our past may be part of our story.

But we can learn from them and move forward. They do not need to define us.

We can change.

Acting in any way and denying the ability to change and alter for the right occasions bespeaks someone who is so completely inflexible and self-centred as to be oblivious to others.” Alan says. “Who chooses to be boring?

I would expand upon that adjective by adding, fearful, or timid, or cynical, or whatever other limiting label we – or perhaps others – may attach to ourselves. We do not have to stay married to it. If a personality label is holding you back, take action to start unloading it now.

You can change.

Character can be developed. Lifestorming identifies six building attributes which can be improved on with respect to others,” Alan says.

There is no balance between competence and warmth. They are both rheostats. Not on/off switches.”

Leaders are made, not born. Most of the literature shows that the critical feature of successful leadership is flexibility, not some perfect style.”

Machiavelli said that successful people adapt their manner to the times.

Consider a single bold action to reboot your character in a positive way

For instance, I met Alan four years ago, when I was living in Italy. I had read a couple of his books and reached out to him to say how much I appreciated what I had learned.

If you ever come over here to visit,” I tagged, “I’d be delighted to buy you a cup of coffee.”

A few months later, he and his wife came over on summer holiday and I caught up with him in the marbled lobby of the Four Seasons in Florence where they were staying.

He didn’t take me up on that coffee, but he did give me invaluable advice.

Understanding that my inability to speak Italian at a professional level was limiting my ability to properly network and develop my own consulting business, Alan encouraged me to seek out an English-speaking country.

I did. And now, after two years living here in Ireland, it has made a world of difference. I am grateful.

So, to my taxi-driver, don’t wait until your father is dearly departed.

Take charge of your fear of delivering a speech in public. Write a rip-roaring eulogy for your dad.

Invite over loads of friends and family. Present your speech to everyone gathered while your dad’s alive to hear it.

He’ll thank you for it and you will thank yourself for taking the step toward changing your personal outlook.

What about you?

What is your limiting label? What can you do today to shed it?

We are who we choose to be.

From presentations, to one-on-one scenarios, from spoken to written if you have a question about communications that you would like me to deal with in my column in the Sunday Independent please send me an email at gina@fuzion.ie .

Gina London - Fuzion CommunicationsGina London

Gina London is a former CNN anchor and international campaign strategist who is now a Strategic Communications director with Fuzion Communications. She serves as media commentator, emcee and corporate consultant. @TheGinaLondon

Expressing what you think of others online

July 4, 2017 by

Trump

Sometimes when you make your feelings known about others it can end up saying even more about you than it does about them:

Trump tweets

Be careful what you say online..

Greg Canty 

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

 

Emojis and other informal communications: Why you must say it with feeling!!!

July 3, 2017 by

EmojisRecently, US President Donald Trump visited Israel’s holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem. Having visited there myself, I remember it as heart-wrenching experience.

Trump signed the guest book, “It is a great honour to be here with all my friends. So amazing and will NEVER FORGET!

The short message touting “all my friends” with the unlikely upbeat “amazing” adjective angered some, with it being described as adolescent or thoughtless.

Media outlets contrasted it with a variety of more eloquent notes written by US government officials who visited in the past.

When you write a thing like that in a place like that, it’s permanent. But so, too, for those of us whose jobs haven’t put us in the White House!

If you write as a habit without thought or intention, it can become a liability. You don’t want to communicate unconsciously. But that is precisely what many of us do.

Let’s explore two sides of the coin:

1: Uber-informal  – I made up that term, but you know what I mean.

A new business contact sent me an email on Wednesday. It has one, two, three, four smiley face emojis and one thumbs-up emoji. (And yes, I had to look it up, the preferred English plural for emoji is emojis.)

I use emojis too. Generally, however, I reserve them for casual emails to friends or social media posts.

For business writing, while I always aim for a friendly and warm tone in my word choice, I probably wouldn’t pop in an emoji unless I know the client very well and believe they are the emoji type.

To be fair to the person who sent me that emoji-filled email, we had met briefly face-to-face at an event I spoke at recently and since I have an amiable, energetic style of delivery, he must have presumed – correctly – that I would welcome them.

Decide what works for you. For instance, I can’t bring myself to use “LOL”, but I unapologetically roll out an exclamation mark when I want to add enthusiasm to the written word. Compare, “It was great to meet you yesterday.” with “It was great to meet you yesterday!

Sometimes, I even go for more than one. But never five out of respect to author Terry Pratchett who wrote that five exclamation marks is the “sure sign of an insane mind”.

Our written style of business communication is changing. Don’t be a dinosaur and dismiss new forms of expression as a “fad” – like an older member of the Sunday’s Marian Finucane Show panel I sat on did as we discussed social media. The influence is real. If you want to be relevant, consider social media writing style tools.

2: Uber-formal  – The other side of the business-writing coin is devoid of emotion.

One of my clients, preparing to establish a new company-wide email protocol, sent me a sample email to review. Without revealing who it’s from, here’s my review. “Dear all, IT will be changing our printer in the morning to badge print setup. Instructions are below on how to use the badge printing. ‘Bob Smith’ will also be around in the morning to answer any queries. I have also left some leaflets on the stationery press for your reference. Best regards,”

At face value this is fine. It’s a straight-forward “informative” business email. It delivers information. Nothing else.

But, if you consider the themes we have been exploring in my column for the past several weeks – employee engagement, leadership warmth, kindness, and building a sense of one-team, there are a variety of things that could be applied here.

1 Salutation/Greeting: A desire to establish a protocol around emails may include a single, directed salutation. “Dear all” for every e-mail is fine. Realise however, that over time, no one sees this anymore. The reader’s eyes simply move directly to the next sentence. Consider an agreed upon range of salutations, or deliberately allow salutations to be customised for the reader.

2 Body: This is very straightforward, as I mentioned. I wonder if the body would change once the audience’s reaction is considered. Does everyone understand what is happening with the printers? Do they know this change is coming? Will anyone possibly be confused by this? What will happen next when someone reads this? If there are concerns that could be perceived before writing, then referring to concerns in the body would demonstrate care.

3 Sign Off: Same as with the salutation. The way a written correspondence is signed off can become so rote as to have people not even see it. Even within protocol, here’s another opportunity to connect in a thoughtful variety: “Have a great rest of your day”, “Kindly”, “Cheers”, etc.

4 Bonus: What if you make “new email protocol” a campaign? Have people submit their top three “Greetings and Sign-offs for internal and external emails. Announce all the entries. Then announce and reward winners. Introduce some fun and engagement.

You can align your written communications to reflect your professional corporate brand. Becoming a more deliberate communicator means learning to tailor your communications style to the appropriate audience and platform.

From presentations, to one-on-one scenarios, from spoken to written if you have a question about communications that you would like me to deal with in my column in the Sunday Independent please send me an email at gina@fuzion.ie .

Gina London - Fuzion CommunicationsGina London

Gina London is a former CNN anchor and international campaign strategist who is now a Strategic Communications director with Fuzion Communications. She serves as media commentator, emcee and corporate consultant. @TheGinaLondon

Changing from Doubters to Believers

July 1, 2017 by

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

 

 


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