Posts Tagged ‘Dublin’

Capturing your Story

February 23, 2018

In a previous post we outlined our Fuzion Process, which is a framework that we use with clients for their planning.

We use this “Story” framework and we find that it brings a very sharp focus to all marketing activity, to ensure the very best outcomes.

Our process follows some simple steps:
1. Understand your story
2. Capture your story
3. Make sure your story is found
4. Tell your story
5. Engage with your story online
6. Protect your story

In the last post we spoke about ‘Understanding your story‘ and the possible role of a brand workshop to help bring some clarity to exactly what you are trying to communicate to your target audience.

The next step is all about capturing this story.

Capture your Story

Once you understand the story that you want to tell, it’s important that this is captured visually in a way that connects with your target audience.

We judge things quickly by how they appear to us, so whenever and wherever anyone comes across your products or services in your website, promotional material, vehicles, premises and even the individuals in your team, that these tell the right, professional story.

Does it convey professionalism, is it modern, is it unique or is it very generic, does it convey your story simply and clearly, does it appeal to your target audience? Has the organisation moved on and is it time for a refresh?

Someone is always making up their mind about you by how you appear to them.

It is vital that the graphic design work and the execution of this needs to be sharp and consistent on all platforms when your brand is being presented so that your story is properly captured and told.

Click here to see some of the work that our Creative Team have been doing for clients

If we can be of help in any way you know where we are!

Greg Canty 

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

Understanding your ‘Story’

February 12, 2018

Fuzion - Brand Workshops, Dublin, Cork, Ireland

In a previous post we outlined our Fuzion Process, which is a framework that we use with clients for their planning.

We use this “Story” framework for all of our clients and we find that it brings a very sharp focus to all marketing activity, to ensure the very best outcomes.

Our process follows some simple steps:
1. Understand your story
2. Capture your story
3. Make sure your story is found
4. Tell your story
5. Engage with your story online
6. Protect your story

 

Understanding Your Story

In this blog post we will deal with the very first step, which is ‘Understanding Your Story‘.

It is our job as marketers to help our clients tell the story of their business, organisation, products and services effectively so that when people talk about these things they say exactly what we want them to say.

Before we create any plans, it is a crucial first step to understand exactly what the business is all about, what makes it special, where it is going and what it needs to do to get there.

To assist this step, we often conduct a Brand Workshop with clients, which is a very simple way of capturing all of this and defining their “story” or brand.

We also find that this powerful process helps to motivate the team, reminding them about what makes them special, providing them with clarity and defining exactly what needs to be communicated as part of the marketing process.

During this process we work together with the team to probe what it is that they do, how they go about this work and what the driving force or essence of the organisation is.

We look at the values, the core characteristics, the vision for the business and the mission that the team is on together to achieve this vision.

We even do some visualisation work to help the team crystallise what it is about them, that makes them special and different from competitors.

This work paints a clear picture of the brand or “the story” of the business, which must then be captured and told.

One of the outputs of this process is a Brand Brief, which we would give to our graphic/creative team to help them deliver this story visually for the client.

To find out more about our Brand ‘Promise’ Workshop click here

If we can be of help in any way you know where we are!

Greg Canty 

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

What do you think of Graphic Design?

February 8, 2018

Dark Side of the Moon

What do people think of Graphic Design?

Excuse us for this bizarre question but it is something that popped up in a conversation that we were having during an internal meeting in Fuzion, which we didn’t really have a clear answer for.

Framing this around some questions and observations about how people behave and make decisions about things might help.

Are you more inclined to buy something if it looks the part? 

I couldn’t tell you how many times I purchased an album (that was vinyl initially) because I thought the artwork looked “cool” and I remained excited until the needle was in the groove and I actually discovered what I had bought.

Needless to say I discovered some wonderful music in that random fashion and there is more than one album that were listened to just once!

Do you trust a poor website?

When we invest no time whatsoever searching online for something that we are looking for, do we judge the service or product by the quality of the website?

Years ago it would have been the Golden Pages, followed by a phone call and then maybe a visit to the showroom or offices for an appointment.

Now the website does all of this hard work for you. Without even knowing it your potential customer has popped through the door, had a look around and left and you never even realised it!

What does a business card say about you?

When someone hands you their business card is this a functional piece of paper that carries essential contact information or does it do a much bigger job at trying to create a powerful first impression?

Now there seems to be a shift with some preferring a virtual card that can be shared via smartphones – this is fine if it is about sharing essential contact details but is there some argument about having an opportunity to showcase your brand?

Does the smart van with professional graphics give you faith in the service provider?

The painter/decorator is working next door to you and their van is parked outside – it is immaculate and there are very tasteful graphics that carry the logo and contact details. Is he a professional?

What about the shift from print to online?

There is clearly a shift from print to online and maybe with this an argument for not investing too much in design if the output is never printed.

Looking good gets you noticed, it gets you read and it creates the right impression – at least this is what we believe.

Even more, we believe the printed version will always be read more than the online version – what do you think?

So….these were some of the ramblings from our conversation about Graphic Design.

We would love to know what you think – can we ask you to take a quick survey that we have created around the topic by clicking here.

Thank you…

Greg Canty 

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

Your “Story Telling” Process

February 7, 2018

Jeff Bezos

As part of your planning for this year we wanted to give you a simple Marketing framework using our Fuzion process, that might help to keep year on track.

We use this “story” framework for all of our clients and we find that it brings a very sharp focus to all marketing activity, to ensure the very best outcomes.

It is our job as marketers to help our clients tell the story of their business, organisation, products and services effectively so that when people talk about these things they say exactly what we want them to say.

When Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon declared that “your brand is what people say about you when you leave the room” he cut through all of the jargon about communications, and left us with a very simple task:

Know your story and then tell it effectively to your target audience – Simple!!

The Fuzion process

Our Fuzion Story Process follows some simple steps:

1. Understand your story – make sure you have a deep understanding of what makes you unique

2. Capture your story – all logos, visuals, marketing materials and your website must convey your story

3. Make sure your story is found – if you cannot be found online you are not in the game!

4. Tell your story – you have to proactively push your story out there (your traditional marketing)

5. Engage with your story online – make sure you have your voice on social media

6. Protect your story – be ready to protect and proactive about protecting your reputation

Your plan should take into account all of these elements and they should work together to produce the results you are looking  for.

We’ll go into each of these elements in more detail in further posts.

If we can be of help in any way you know where we are!

Greg Canty 

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

 

 

Maximising the value of your hidden Intellectual Property assets

January 24, 2018

Antiques roadshow BBC

I will admit to being an avid fan of Antiques Roadshow®, one of the most popular and long running television programmes produced by the BBC.

The format follows antique experts and appraisers as they travel throughout the United Kingdom reviewing and assessing the value of antiques brought in by locals where the show is airing.

The prospective location of the show is advertised well in advance by the BBC; thereby allowing locals in the area to trawl through their attics, lockups and garages to root out those forgotten assets for an assessment of value by one of the Antiques Roadshow® assessors.

I myself find it particularly gratifying when an assessor values an asset for more than the holder originally thought it was worth.

Like long lost and valuable antiques, the hidden value of Intellectual Property often gets overlooked by businesses. Many businesses do not even realise that they have valuable Intellectual Property assets in the first place.

So what precisely is ‘Intellectual Property’?

In a nutshell, Intellectual Property is the sum of all the intangible assets your business owns. It can encompass:

  • Trade Marks – e.g. brands, logos, slogans, advertising jingles
  • Patents – .i.e. technical inventions.
  • Copyright – e.g. written material like website text, manuals, music or artwork.
  • Designs – the aesthetic appearance of any products your business manufacturers.
  • Domain names – the url addresses that drive business to you via email and/or a website.
  • Trade Secrets – confidential information such as a recipe, customer lists or a way of doing something which you would not want revealed to the outside world.

All of the above are collectively known as Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) and are fully protectable in law.

In Ireland, Industrial Designs, Patents and Trade Marks can be protected through registration with the Patents Office in Kilkenny.

A registration grants exclusivity in the relevant IPR and makes it much easier to stop unauthorised use by others. In some instances, it may even be possible to protect the goodwill and reputation you have established under business.

Unlike tangible assets of a business, (e.g. plant and machinery), the value of IPRs does not diminish over time.

On the contrary, IPRs can actually add to the overall value of your business. Also, IPRs can be used, not just by your own business, but also by others with your permission as part of an overall monetisation strategy.

IPRs can also be particularly useful for businesses wishing to secure loan or investment capital as the law actually allows for security interests to be registered against patents, trade marks and designs.

As the value of an IPR does not diminish in time, a savvy investor and/or financier will see your IPR as having a relatively low risk profile with a positive return attribute.

Failure to properly identify and exploit your valuable IPR could result in a significant lost opportunity to your business.

More seriously, failure to identify and protect your IPR may actually result in serious financial loss to your business.

So, how can you tell if your business has protectable Intellectual Property and what steps can you take to protect and monetize such rights?

By having an ‘IP Audit’ conducted of your business by an Intellectual Property lawyer, your IPRs can be readily identified and then assessed for the most effective method of protection and monetisation.

Niall Tierney

Niall Tierney is a Legal Brand Consultant to Fuzion Communications and an IP Lawyer located in Dublin, Ireland,  Managing Director of TIERNEY IP, a specialist law firm which assists and advises businesses in clearing, protecting, enforcing and monetising trade marks, designs and other Intellectual Property rights.

A New Way To Call To Action

November 20, 2017

A call to action is an instruction to your audience that is designed to provoke a response – ‘visit our website’, ‘follow us on Facebook’ etc.

But do you need to call your audience into action?

I came across this advert from Flavahans as I waited at the bus stop recently.

It is simple with a small bit of humour, but have you noticed anything missing? There is no website, no social media reference and no ‘buy now’, not even a hashtag!

There is a product, a tagline and minimal information.

I can imagine the meeting that occurred when the designer or marketer presented this to their managers.

Where’s the website?

You have to tell them to follow something, how will they know what to do?

We need to tell them everything about the product” – but do you?

I think it is brilliant!!

We already know every company has a digital presence and if we want to find them we will type their name in the search bar.

So why take up space?

Why tell people what to do?

People hate being told what to do – so let them make up their own minds.

This is a brave move, and one that goes against the grain – but it makes so much sense.

We live in a digital world, we know how to find information but I do not know about your product.

Tell me what I need to know, not what I already know.

Well played, Flavahans

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

The Future!

November 6, 2017

The Future Conference

I spent this weekend at The Future Conference in Dublin, with about 2000 of my peers, and a few of my heroes.

Like most design conferences, it was set on a range of stages, each with a difference agenda and mechanic, ranging from Q&A style platforms, individual presentations, staged interviews and a pop-up artist’s studio.

And like many design and creative conferences, there was a stellar line up (more about this in a bit) crammed into a packed schedule. Unlike any conference that I’ve been to, this one had an agenda, where the speakers were to talk about “The Future”, and what it meant to them, to our industry and our work, which largely meant that rather than the standard portfolio review, we got to have deeper insights into where things are going in the design world. 

Usually I come away from these events with a sense of both love and hate – a love for the work I’ve seen and a hate for my own work, but with a resolve to do more, work harder and be a better designer, and The Future was no different – but this time, as I watched the speakers talk about our collective futures, I found myself looking back and examining why I had chosen design as a career in the first place. 

Future Conference 2017

The Why?

There are various routes into design – many of us start out with either a flair for art, or an unhealthy obsession with pens, pencils and paper.

Mine was no different, I remember one particular art set I got in 1978 and the hours obsessing over colouring in, and I remember spending hours drawing band logos on my school bags. And looking back on it, it was really quite clear that there was only one industry that I was going to end up in!

And (long story short!) this has brought me full circle to thinking that I am so unbelievably fortunate to be part of this creative industry, one that keeps me awake at night trying to figure out solutions to projects, one that gets me talking about crazy sounding intangibles about why we chose fonts and colours, one that makes me passionate about other people’s businesses, sometimes in an almost obsessive manner, but one that rewards me, because as one speaker said “When I do my job well, my clients can do theirs better”.  

The Future was brilliantly illuminated with speakers such as international superstars Sagmeister (of Sagmeister & Walsh), Paula Scher (as seen on Netflix’s Abstract series, a must see!) and Steve Espo, and the incredible homegrown talent such as Brian and Paul from Detail, designers and educators Lara Hanlon, Bob Grey and David Smith who collectively showed us that design is a huge range of things: it is a partnership, solution building, a shared collective experience. It is informative, it can be beautiful, and it is a vehicle for ideas, profit, emotions and humanity.  

If you want me to tell more about some of the things I saw, or if you want to know how I can apply my learnings to your project, just get in touch.

The future is very, very bright!

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj - FuzionJonathan

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj leads the Graphic Design Department in Fuzion with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland 

Ophelia, Don’t go breaking my heart!

October 17, 2017

Alison Nulty Ophelia preparation

If Ophelia hit this time last year, I would have been one of those storm chasing journalists, imploring viewers not to make any unnecessary journeys…….while I made the same unnecessary journeys I was warning them not to!

What a difference a year makes…

Fortunately, I now have a job where I can work from home, and a boss that recognises and champions flexible working styles (thanks Dee!).

Now I was fairly prepared for ex-Hurricane Ophelia, I even made a to-do list on Sunday afternoon.

But as I sat at home this morning, listening to Ophelia bellow and roar, it got me thinking. How prepared are any of us for when a disaster strikes?

And if you’re a business owner, how crisis-ready is your company?

Preparing for a Crisis

While the nature of the crisis remains unknown, there are plenty of steps that can be taken ahead of that crisis. Preparation is key, and being prepared can save you valuable time, when you feel like you don’t have any to spare.

We know only too well from our work with clients that a crisis isn’t always caused by a major incident either. An ill-conceived tweet, or a failure to respond to customer feedback can quickly snowball out of control. Again, having a plan in place to monitor and manage your social media, and customer feedback channels is vital to helping you protect your reputation.

At Fuzion we have a very specific and robust process that helps our clients to prepare in the event of a crisis situation, big or small occurring.

Ophelia’s flexing her muscles today, as she rages her destructive path through our little island. So, until she leaves us in her devastating wake, batten down the hatches, and keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

Are you prepared for when the storm clouds gather above your business?

How prepared are you for when a crisis strikes?

You know here we are…

Alison Nulty, Fuzion CommunicationsAlison Nulty is a Senior PR Manger, Media Trainer, and Crisis Communications Specialist with Fuzion Communications, a full service agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland.

Listening and doing nothing

October 11, 2017

Donald Trump - Twitter

Right now, we are living in an ever increasingly strange era.

A bright orange barely human is in charge of the largest nuclear arsenal in the world, and seemingly quite anxious to have a go at using it.

His counterpart in the East – with equally baffling hair – is egging him on and approximately 7 billion people are at the mercy of their moods. This will go down as the dumbest period of human life on earth, or at very least, as the dumbest period of untethered “leadership” in the developed world. 

On a somewhat lighter (but connected) note, both Twitter and Instagram have made some small but significant changes to their platforms recently, in an attempt to improve users’ experiences making them easier and faster to use. 

As users of social media for the past ten or so years, we should be ok with ongoing updates where features that we know and love are “updated” (i.e. removed or positioned elsewhere on the platform, in an non-linear manner – yes, I’m looking at you Facebook for all the things that you’ve done to the time-line. #smt). 

As recently as June 2017, Grace Kim, Twitter’s head of research and design said “…with lots of feedback and ideas from you, we’re refreshing our product… We listened closely and kept what you love. And for the things you didn’t, we took a new approach to fix and make better,”. 

But its quite apparent that these companies are not listening to their users. 

In this turbulent time, where people carrying swastika flags, can declare themselves NOT nazis, (note – we are deliberately not giving these words the respect of Uppercase first letter) and use Twitter to publish messages of hate and violence, where threats of sexual violence can be made against people for “offences” such as not shaving their legs, or wanting to be referred to as she/her or he/his, where people can be called offensive terms by the president (he doesn’t a capital “P” either!) of the USA for taking a knee protest, neither changing profile pictures to circles nor increasing the character limit to #280 was not on anyone’s agenda. 

Mike Monteiro has been an outspoken member of the Twitter community asking for DT’s removal for repeatedly touting the terms of service of Twitter, writing on Medium he says “DT has been violating Twitter’s “rules” for years. Calling out individuals, entire ethnic groups, dog whistling his violent white supremacist base, taking on a Gold Star family, a US judge of Mexican heritage, retweeting a gif of Hillary Clinton being attacked, going after journalists. This is hardly acceptable behaviour for a regular human being, much less a US President. Twitter has, rightfully albeit slowly, banned other users for similar behaviour. 

Monteiro intelligently and correctly has spent considerable amount of time and effort engaging with @Jack and @Biz (Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO & Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter) highlighting the many instances of misuse of their platform by extremists (I’m including DT in that description…) and what should be done with them, according to their own Terms of Service.

By the levels of engagement between them, they clearly see what he’s saying, but they aren’t listening or are deliberately choosing not to do anything having listened. If they were, there would be less hoo-haa about #280 (which, lets face it, just makes Twitter a rubbish Facebook) and more about ensuring that users behaviour on Twitter was appropriate, respectful and not warmongering. 

In a similar manner, Instagram recently updated its app, allowing users greater functionality (to use multiple images in a single post, landscape and portrait modes, and, errr,  stickers, similar to Snapchat – you know those annoying floral headdresses and bunny rabbit noses? Yeah, those!!).

Some of the updates have been great – threaded comments, the previously mentioned multiple images per post, and Instagram Stories, but there is one simple thing that users have been crying out for, and that is a chronological order of posts. 

Clearly Instagram, much like Twitter, is a commercial endeavour, not some sort of altruistic venture, and its algorithm is built so that the advertising (which thankfully has become less invasive in recent months) is aimed at the correct target audiences, but forcing users into a system that they have clearly expressed as not being something that they want, is a sign that a company is clearly not listening to its user base. 

Perhaps the numbers won’t fall, perhaps we have all become immune to asking for something from a service, and never getting it, but surely that’s a strange set of behaviours to adhere to!

What does any of this to do with design?

Well, everything we do in Fuzion Communications is a reaction to a briefing from our clients.

They tell us what they need and what they want, and we take it from there. Design is a heavy mix of solution providing, communications and creativity, and as designers a huge part of our process is listening to our clients to provide them with creative work, that satisfies their brief. 

Ultimately, our design comes from listening.  

Phew…that’s off my chest!

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj - FuzionJonathan

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj leads the Graphic Design Department in Fuzion with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland 

 

New Business or Brand Name – Check first before you launch!

October 8, 2017

 

Coca Cola

I am perhaps betraying my age here, but when I was a young boy, I sang along enthusiastically to the ‘Safe, Cross, Code’ song, which was part of a road safety campaign on Irish TV fronted by ‘Judge’, a puppet dog with a patched eye.

The mantra of the road safety campaign was always to look left and right before you cross the road. The same rule applies when choosing a new name for your new business or launching a new branded product to the market. Always check first to ensure that your new business name or brand is not being used by somebody else.

Very often, many start-ups make the mistake in believing that a positive search result of the Companies and/or Business Name registers means they are free to trade under their desired name. This can be a fatal and very expensive mistake to make.

Only a comprehensive ‘Freedom to Operate’ search of the Trade Marks Registers in the territory where you propose to trade can provide you with a comprehensive risk assessment of whether you are free to operate under your desired business name.

The very same applies when you want to launch a new branded product to the market. You need to ensure that your proposed brand, in whatever forms it takes, be it a word or logo, does not clash with identical or similar existing brands already in the marketplace in your industry sector.

Wanderly Wagon - Judge

Why, you may ask, is it actually necessary to do a Trade Mark search?

The reason lies in the fact that a trade mark is a sign which distinguishes the goods and/or services of one trader from those of its competitors.

When a trade mark is registered in the territory where a trader operates or proposes to operate, it gives the trader a legally enforceable right to stop others from using, without consent, identical and similar signs in relation to goods and services which are identical or similar to those of the trader’s trade mark registration. You therefore need to be aware of these legally enforceable rights.

Undertaking and analysing trade mark and design searches is a highly specialised skill which only a Trade Mark and Design attorney with years of experience and knowledge of ‘risk of confusion’ law can provide.

Doing ‘DIY’ online searches runs the serious risk that the owner of an identical or confusingly similar trademark that you have not discovered will come out of the woodwork and sue you. You may either have to abandon your plans or incur significant expenditure in contesting a legal challenge from the owner of that earlier trademark.

In some cases, a legal challenge may result in the holder of an earlier trade mark obtaining a temporary injunction from the courts prohibiting you from trading under your chosen name or brand. This could be disastrous, particularly if you have already spent time and money in developing your brand. You may also be faced with the prospect of having to pay the earlier trade mark owner’s legal costs should they win in court against you.

In Ireland, a further complicating factor is that not all earlier rights may actually be on the Trade Marks register.

Ireland is a ‘First to Use’ country which means that the owner of an earlier brand may have sufficiently strong unregistered rights to sue you for ‘Passing Off‘. Passing Off is an action which protects the goodwill and reputation built up under a brand name. Additional non-trade mark register searches will therefore need to be carried out and analysed to provide you with a robust and comprehensive risk assessment.

I have many years of experience in undertaking ‘Freedom-to-Operate’ and Trade Mark clearance searches, having assisted some of the world’s largest companies in clearing their most important brands.

In a recent instruction, l assisted and advised an Irish based software company to clear its trading name in Ireland, the European Union and the United States. Also, in a complex instruction a number of years ago, I advised a large multi-national FMCG corporation to clear a brand for use throughout the European Union.

The brand I cleared is now highly successful and one of the leading pet snack food brands on the market. In both cases, it would have been highly risky for my clients to operate and launch their new brands without first undertaking a comprehensive trade mark search program.

The process is quite straight forward and relatively inexpensive, so its always much better to be sure before committing big budgets.

So…can you remember that song?

Niall Tierney - IP LawyerNiall Tierney

Niall Tierney is a Legal Brand Consultant to Fuzion Communications and an IP Lawyer located in Dublin, Ireland,  Managing Director of TIERNEY IP, a specialist law firm which assists and advises businesses in clearing, protecting, enforcing and monetising trade marks, designs and other Intellectual Property rights.

 


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