Posts Tagged ‘Fuzion Communications’

Our German Crisis Communications Partner, Engel & Zimmermann

May 17, 2021

Fuzion Communications are part of a European crisis communications network with the core purpose of providing clients with a network of experts in crisis communications should a pan-European issue occur.

The Crisis Communications Network is an association of European owner-managed PR agencies with unrivalled expertise in Crisis Prevention and Communication. As independent agencies it is highly flexible and is able to react immediately to clients’ needs and where necessary co-ordinate across different jurisdictions in Europe.

At the time of writing there are experienced agencies in 11 countries as part of the CCNE.

To give you some insight into these international partners we have asked each of them to give us some information about their business, the local “hot topics” and their general approach.

We start off with the founding partner of the CCNE.

Here is some information about our German partner agency, Engel & Zimmerman.

About them:
Engel & Zimmermann was founded in 1985 in Munich. Nowadays the owner-run consultancy has a second office in Osnabrück (Lower Saxony) and works for more than 60 companies as regular consulting clients. 50 employees take care of mostly midsized companies.

For these clients they set up systematic crisis prevention, e.g. training for the staff with camera-based media training, workshops for the crisis management team or risk analyses. When a crisis occurs they develop effective communication strategies and talk as spokespeople on behalf of the client to the press.

Engel & Zimmermann specialise in working for food and beverage producers, which account for about half of their regular consulting clients. Furthermore, they deal with compliance and cyber breaches for companies from various industry sectors.

Crisis Communications in Germany:
Communications is very challenging in Germany these days. They observe that social media and corporate communication departments in many companies are not well prepared for sensitive communications with the general public. One of the big topics they identified is that companies are struggling with what they refer to as identity politics.

Many of them are completely overwhelmed and need help in developing an attitude or position concerning political and social issues (e.g. racism and gender diversity), which is accepted by all of their customers. It is more and more obvious that no company can be unpolitical any longer. The reason why Engel & Zimmermann has so many clients from F&B is that this sector has been highly criticised in Germany for many years now. The expectation is that this development continues in the future.

Broadcast media, NGOs and parts of the general public have a huge focus on product quality problems, the use of additives and artificial flavourings or general consumer deception. Against this background, many F&B companies are under permanent pressure and communication mistakes have to be carefully avoided.

Their Approach:
From their perspective, crisis communications is a strategic and long-term task. They are convinced that systematic crisis prevention should be practiced by all companies, which is their groundwork for every kind of effective communications in the case of a crisis. They are available for their clients 24/7 and also help them with current issues. Because of their strategic approach they also believe that and crisis should be precisely analysed in the aftermath. They consider their strategic approach to be a holistic one – from crisis prevention to ad-hoc crisis communications and to crisis evaluation.

The Irish Comparison

While the basics that we follow are identical; be prepared, identity potential risks, have a plan, have a great, experienced team that can handle a crisis and a client team that is trained to handle media with support – it is clear that there are special conditions in each country that you need to be aware of if you are dealing with a crisis and it is at these times that you need a local experienced, agile partner to help you navigate these challenges when they occur.

If you would like any information about our crisis communications service or the Crisis Communications Network Europe feel free to contact me at deirdre@fuzion.ie.

Deirdre

Deirdre Waldron, founder of Fuzion heads up the Crisis Communications team, which operates from offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland.

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

How I survived a year of Working From Home!

April 16, 2021

Many of us have a variation on the story now, but in March of 2020 I found myself working from home as a full-time employee for the first time. I make the full-time distinction as I had worked for myself and on my own terms for a few years, but this was different.

Or was it?

In actuality it turned out that the lessons and good habits I had developed prior to re-joining full-time about 6 years ago, were very much still applicable.

When we decamped to our home workspaces in March of 2020 “for a few weeks” we weren’t to know what a paradigm shift it would be. At Fuzion, we had to hit the ground running as some of our clients became extra-busy, especially our design clients, so there wasn’t a lot of time to adapt. Luckily there were some quick hacks that could be applied to make for a productive and positive work from home situation. Here are some of my favourite tips that allowed me to survive and thrive in a year of WFH.

Segregate your work and home life, even if just in your head.

After all, how do you avoid bringing work home, when you work from home? Little mind-hacks can be a great help. For example, you can create a home mood or a work mood, through use of light and sound. I’ve back-lit my Mac, which is only on during work hours and I have taken our Fuzion Design favourite radio station BBC Six Music with me, which I only play during work hours.

After all, Techno Tuesday is great for focus and it just may save your life. When it’s time to stop, the Mac goes off, the lights change and I swap the radio for a playlist or TV.

A Good Workspace is Key.

Many of us kicked off last March on sofas or at kitchen tables. Try and avoid this, get a desk that you can keep just for work. Use a comfortable chair, that you can roll away at end of day. Pay attention to ergonomics as you’ll be sitting there 8 hours a day. Keep your workspace minimalist and uncluttered, distraction free. Apply the same to anything in your peripheral vision, if you can.

Remember to Stand.

Your back will thank you and your focus will thank you. Heck, if you have to, do as Haruki Murakami said and Dance, Dance, Dance. Especially if it’s techno Tuesday. Who’s to stop you? (Magic Carpet Ride by the Mighty Dub Katz is on the radio as I type, be right back).

Choose to Commute.

Take a walk in the morning or the evening straight after work. As much as you might think you don’t miss a commute, the post-work exercise helps reset your brain. Take a camera with you so that you’re always watching out for a good photo and engaged with and interested in your environment, even if you walk it every day. That’ll also help you stretch your eyes after a day of staring at a screen. Some days do the route in reverse! Every bit helps.

Keep good work practices.

Filing, admin, communication. Manage and track your time, keep notes to mitigate the COVID brain fog. Use tools that suit your new work environment. Whether for note taking, collaboration or file transfer. Don’t have a NAS server? Use Google or Dropbox or other collaborative file sharing tools to ensure that your shared files remain in a central location and are always up to date.

Have a department chat group or Slack (we use Google Chat). It’s great for quick questions or a bit of idle chit chat (not to be underestimated).

Get up, get dressed!

Get dressed for work every day, even if you’re only going to be seen on Zoom. If you have to plan what to wear the night before, you’ll instantly feel organised the next morning. Pride in your appearance is great for instilling some positivity and good for your mental health. The ritual of getting ready is familiar and helps you get in a work frame of mind. Don’t worry too much about dress code, but dress in a way that makes you feel good and ready to have a good day.

Watch your breaks

Have a good breakfast and stick to your lunch breaks. Taking breaks is important, even if to stand up and step out of the room. Don’t overdo the breaks either, remember you are at work and if you’re a designer too, you’ll know it ruins that sense of flow we so often need.

Don’t be a hermit

Network, stay in touch with peers, whether via social media or otherwise. Use organised feeds to ensure you’re getting enough good news and inspiration. Avoid doom-scrolling on social media by making lists that you can check in on. If you’ve to catch up with a colleague, take a few minutes extra and do it by video, studies have shown the positive effects of that level of human engagement (see wired article TBC). Even a short DM chat to touch base with a colleague can help your team grow.

Make time for the team. At Fuzion we have a semi-formal Monday morning catch up and briefing. At week’s end it’s Fuzion Friday – which is as informal as you get and a nice way to finish your week. When you’re out for a walk, arrange to meet a friend for a coffee or a chat, even just to feel normal. Especially if you live alone. Just because you’re WFH doesn’t mean you have to be be a hermit.

Be flexible.

For some people. Standard office hours won’t always work when you’re at home. Small people (children) and home life can interrupt. Plan your work when it’s practical, even if that’s earlier in the morning or later into the evening. Enjoy the flexibility, rather than fighting against it.

Take pride in achieving that balance.

Sh!t Happens

Remember, sh!t happens and it’s rarely the end of the world. If the server goes down, your Zoom will only show you as a cat, or a colleague can’t find files at the last second, don’t sweat it. You’re all doing brilliantly. We ARE all in it together. Stay positive. Positivity is contagious.

Thanks for coming to my TED talk!

Mark

Mark Kenny is a Senior Graphic Designer, part of the Graphic Design team with Fuzion Communications who provide a full print and digital design from offices in Dublin and Cork.

While it’s not guaranteed, it is possible

April 8, 2021

At Fuzion we strategically think about our approach to media opportunities and look for the best possible way to tell our clients’ story. While we cannot always guarantee national blanket media coverage with every story, that doesn’t always stop us from trying…

CRY Ireland has such a powerful story and Fuzion has been working with them for almost six years to help tell this in the best way possible while increasing awareness of the charity and the amazing work that they do. This time last year, Fuzion had the idea to reach out to the “top dog” of Irish Media, The Late Late Show to see if there was any interest. (Ambitious we know!)

Almost a year later, The Late Late Show dedicated Friday’s show on the 12th of March to raising awareness of sudden cardiac death. As we worked more with the producers of The Late Late Show, the more they bought into the story of CRY and quickly realised how valuable the work that they do is. The show featured CRY Ambassador and Downton Abbey star, Allen Leech, Model and jewellery designer Emily MacKeogh and Founder of CRY, Marie Greene with each telling their experience of losing someone to Sudden Cardiac Death and their link to the charity.

With CRY’s major fundraising events being cancelled due to the pandemic, not only was the charity’s revenue adversely affected but so were the families of CRY. Many families that have lost someone to sudden cardiac death were left in isolation without the support of friends and family. Often, communities used regional fundraisers for CRY as an opportunity to come together in support of losing someone in their community. Many now left to grieve alone.

Over the last year CRY have been working vigorously to improve their family support services including the development of an all-island helpline. It was estimated that it would cost €150,000 for CRY to continue providing their cardiac screening and bereavement services for free over the next three years.

From the Late Late Show segment and the media coverage that came with it, CRY managed to reach their goal and more, raising over €155,000, while also reaching many homes who weren’t aware of the charity, but had lost someone to sudden cardiac death.

When the idea came about to pitch into the Late Late Show, we could have never imagined the amount of support CRY would receive and we are delighted to be a part of the footwork that helped achieve this. No idea is too big and we always try to reach for the stars with our clients.

While it’s not guaranteed, it is possible!

Note: A huge thanks to the fantastic team at The Late Late Show for taking the time to listen to us, for understanding how important the work of CRY is and for working so hard to deliver this message to viewers of the show – you have made an incredible difference to so many people that are supported by CRY.

Niamh 

Niamh Lawlor is an Account Executive with Fuzion Communications, a full service PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork.

Social Media Updates and Trends

March 22, 2021

It’s been a busy year for social media platforms so far!

From sea shanties taking over TikTok to newish platform Clubhouse gaining traction and our great friend Trump getting banned from every social media platform – remember that? It feels like forever ago!.

Social media is still as prevalent as ever and necessary for businesses to help build their online presence and we can help keep you focused and up to date!

We offer training to help create focused social media strategies and plans and then specific, bespoke training on the relevant social media platforms for individuals or teams to execute that strategy.

(Click here to learn more)

Facebook just can’t help getting into hot water these days… Their most recent foray into angering everyone has been to ban Australian news publishers from the platform after a disagreement with the government there about some new commercial and payment rules they were introducing.

They have finally come to an agreement or compromise depending on how you’d like to look at it with the Australian government including 4 amendments to their new Media Buying Code which should give Facebook more time to negotiate with the separate media publishers in Australia. It’ll be interesting to see how this progresses and affects worldwide news publishers – one to keep an eye on!

Remember the panic in January when WhatsApp announced they would be changing their terms of service and everyone started downloading Telegram and Signal? They’re currently launching their second attempt to update their terms and conditions but this time making everything much clearer to avoid any backlash. This change in no way affects personal accounts, it is only meant to make business to consumer conversations easier and they’ll be adding the below banners in the app to ensure their customers of this.

Instagram are continuing to try and make Reels popular within the app. Their newest move is to limit the reach of people repurposing their TikTok content to encourage creators to use the Reels software to create their content. However the TikTok sharers have figured out ways around this by removing the watermark… It’ll be interesting to see how this progresses. I personally find that the content on Reels is about two weeks behind a popular TikTok trend, so if Instagram can use this new content creation effort to force users to create original content, it might start making the platform more engaging!

In other Instagram news, they have just announced that they’ll be expanding the amount of people who can participate in a “live” stream calling it “live rooms”. Now the person hosting can add up to the three more guests to contribute to the stream, which could be very useful for businesses looking to engage with their followers and their online community. An idea could be to host a “live” with three other accounts that could give valuable insights to your followers and through this your Instagram account can build itself as a leading voice within your community.

For more information click here

Are you sick of every platform jumping on the “Stories” bandwagon?

Well, it looks like they’re here to stay so get used to seeing Fleets, LinkedIn Stories and soon Story Pins will be coming to Pinterest!

Do you use Tweetdeck to monitor Twitter and schedule your Tweets? There’s a rumour that they’re looking into charging for this very useful tool so just keep an eye on our social media for an update on this because it’s the one tool I can’t do without!

To stay informed of any social media updates, keep an eye on our @FuzionComms and @AlmaBrosnan Twitter accounts, as we’ll be sharing any new information. You might also tune into our latest Win Happy social media episode with me, Ciara Jordan, our Head of Communications and Greg Canty (the vocal one, who you all know!) where we discuss these trends and censorship online.

Until next time..

Alma

Alma Brosnan is part of the Digital Marketing and Social Media Consultancy team at Fuzion operating from offices in Dublin and Cork in Ireland.

Why is having a sense of purpose so important?

March 15, 2021
Joe Caslin - IACP Mural

Why is having a sense of purpose so important?

What is ‘purpose’ and why is having one so important? Purpose can be described as the reason for which something exists or is done, made, or used.

To me, I don’t think anyone has a set purpose for their whole life, I think it changes throughout our lifetime, naturally changing as our life ebbs and flows. I see purpose as both striving to achieve a goal and a specific outcome but also enjoying the journey while you’re on it, working towards something but enjoying what you hope you will someday achieve.

Working on your ambitions and personal goals while also potentially changing the lives of other people, is one of the reasons I enjoy what I do. Feeling like the work you do has a purpose and a meaning is one of life’s greatest joys.

I’m a strong believer in manifesting what you want in life, and last year, when I began my journey with Fuzion I wrote down a goal of mine; to work with a mental health organisation. Being a big advocate for mental health myself, I wanted to feel as though I was doing some good and helping others as much as I could in my day-to-day life; any little part I could play.

Joe Caslin - IACP Mural

When we got to pitch to work with the IACP I knew it was an account I had to work on.

Working alongside them last year and launching their national ‘Look After Yourself‘ campaign was one of the highlights of my year. From team brainstorms to reaching out to strangers, with notes in their door to see if we could put a mural on the side of their house (we’ll do anything to get the job done, us PR folk!) to reaching out to Joe Caslin and seeing his vision of the campaign come to life in a mural on Montague Lane in Dublin was an exceptional moment for me and no doubt my Fuzion colleagues too.

This campaign sought to shine a light on men’s mental health, to break the stigma surrounding toxic masculinity and to encourage young men to see therapy as something they shouldn’t be ashamed of doing, and instead encourage each other to seek help if they need it.

There is no shame in asking for help, and although there is still a lot of work left to be done to break the stigma of therapy, we do hope this campaign started a conversation and even encouraged one person to seek help.

Not only did this campaign, I hope, help others but it also helped me achieve my sense of purpose. I would consider working on this campaign not only a highlight for me but the most noteworthy moment in my career thus far and I plan to be talking about it for years to come!

Michelle Harrison , Fuzion Communications

Michelle

Michelle Harrison is part of PR team at Fuzion Communications, working from our Dublin office

Choose to Challenge – International Women’s Day

March 8, 2021

International Women's Day - Choose to Challenge

On international Women’s Day 2021, there is a particular theme that was calling women to action with a very proactive ask, “Choose to Challenge” which came with an explanation:

A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change – So let’s all choose to challenge!

With this “call to action” there were some other specific asks of women as outlined further in the IWD website:

How will you help forge a gender equal world?

  • Celebrate women’s achievement.
  • Raise awareness against bias
  • Take action for equality.

Within Fuzion we encourage a challenging environment for all of the team, which is part of our core values, Bravery.

In every job description that we write, you will see it written and to us it is an important attribute, every bit as important as the basic skill sets required for each role.

We challenge each other, our opinions, our views and our ideas and we will challenge our clients to think differently and not to be afraid to disagree when we believe something is going in a wrong direction – you get that with us!

So, with all of that in mind I asked the team to record an episode of the Win Happy podcast to mark this years International Women’s Day, to discuss the theme and the different elements and to see how they felt about them.

For the record, I did offer to pass the hosting duty to anyone else and in the spirit of Fuzion, everyone, male and female were invited to participate but due to workload issues (and maybe a little shyness!) this episode featured Dee (Deirdre Waldron), Suzanne Meade and Niamh Lawlor who are all part of our Communications team.

The conversation was really interesting and revealing.

The team loved the “bold” call to action and spoke about how women can often be more reluctant than men to challenge.

They spoke about emotional leadership, a huge strength that women can bring to any organisation, Dee’s work and initiatives as President of Network Ireland, the huge role of mothers and friends as influencers, that men should be part of the conversation and not excluded, and thankfully they have not experienced bias in their careers.

However, they did acknowledge that the industry that we operate in might lend itself to that.

It makes for good listening.

Click on the link here or search for Win Happy on Apple podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen to your podcasts – we will be there!

For the record, some of the very best people that I work with are women and if I thought for a second that they were not prepared to challenge there would be something very wrong.

Just this morning on our weekly “hello” Monday morning team Zoom call, we had a very robust conversation about an opinion that I shared and they came at me in force!!

….if I told you what it was, I could have a busy day getting nothing done except arguing!

So today, I salute the brilliant women that I work with and the many brilliant women that I deal with on an ongoing basis. In particular, I salute my mum who is just incredible, such a positive driving force – you have no idea!

#ChooseToChallenge 

(you won’t find me wanting!)

Greg Canty 

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

Avoiding the Snowball Effect

February 11, 2021

The beauty of the flurry of snowflakes falling outside my office/spare bedroom window is magical. Yet experience, and probably age, inspire a level of concern and consideration as to the knock effects a heavy and prolonged snowfall can have.

This may be the start of the snow that we’ve been warned was coming over the past week. We’ve been braced for ‘Beast from the East 2.0’ conjuring memories of the Siberian snowstorm that shut much of the country in 2018.

Little did we know that being restricted in movement would be so passé by 2021, having spent the last 12 months in some level of lockdown and what seems like a constant degree of crisis management and “pivoting” as a result of a global pandemic and Brexit, among other things.

As head of Communications back then for Dairygold, the ‘Beast from the East‘ posed immense risks and consequences to the logistics and operations of the business.

How to reach farms to collect milk when the rural roads were impassable, what of the milk that couldn’t be collected? How to support suppliers when they needed their Co-Operative most? Not to mention, the day-to-day operations of the international business, the welfare of hundreds of staff, its processing and manufacturing sites, retail stores etc.

Business continuity kicked into action early, with planning for such scenarios already in place to as much of an extent as possible. I was proud to have been part of the business continuity task force regularly updating management, assessing risks and addressing the complex requirements of all stakeholders. Again, little did we know that orchestrating remotely with efficiency and in collaboration would become a modus operandi for so many of us two years later.

Communications, both internal and external, is critical to linking the elements together. I’m grateful to Dairygold’s management and in particular its CEO Jim Woulfe who astutely valued and recognised the role communications plays in continuity planning and situation management. They led by example on the value of communication across the business.

Underestimating the importance of communications in continuity planning and situation management is one of the biggest risks to a business that can have serious and long-term consequences to safety, operations, reputation, staff morale, you name it.

If you’re a corporate working with an agency or have communications support internally, it’s vital that you see them as your partner. If you don’t have day-to-day support, it’s important to recognise when you may need it and where to go if/when you need Crisis Communication, Litigation Support Services.

We may not always know, or need to know, the nitty gritty but it’s crucial to know enough to devise a strategy, trouble-shoot effectively and be as proactive as possible. From our perspective, business continuity planning, Crisis PR and situation management is a heady mix of proactive and reactive communications. Above all, for it to work, clear and effective channels of communication must be open.

At times we remind and reassure clients that we’ve got their back.

We’re there 24/7 to support, prevent and mitigate adverse outcomes for our clients but we can’t support if we’re in the dark. A quick call or line to your communications partner helps to identify and tease out the risks and the requirements, if there are any.

It gets the cogs turning and can be one of the most important calls that’s made. Communication is not the enemy, it’s the solution. If you have time on your side, media training is also a hugely worthwhile exercise for preparedness which you’ll hope you never need.

Whether it’s for reasons of a lack of time, clarity, silo mentality or containment, communications support can fall down the priority list and it can snowball from there...

Aoibhinn

Aoibhinn Twomey, former journalist, is an Account Director with Fuzion Communications and is part of the Crisis Communications team, offering Crisis Consultancy services from offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland 

The Importance of Staying Visible..

February 8, 2021

No matter what way you look at it, the Covid-19 pandemic has been a trying time for everyone. But as the saying goes, ‘with every cloud there is a silver lining’ – which in my view has been the drastic business transformation and surge of digitisation that we have experienced over the past year.

There has never been a time when staying visible online has been more important for business survival.

With doors closing around the country due to the on-going Covid-19 level 5 restrictions, many businesses have had no choice but to adapt ‘from bricks to clicks’ in order to remain viable.

At Fuzion, we work closely with the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs), to help share the stories of the hundreds of micro-enterprises and SMEs around the country with media – in the hope that it will encourage and inspire others who may be looking to start or grow their business – or for those struggling, to contact their Local Enterprise Office for support.

Through this work, I have been fortunate enough to work with some amazing LEO client businesses from all over Ireland – helping to share their stories of how they have adapted / pivoted (…..even battled) through the pandemic and how they have come out the other side with the help and guidance of the LEOs.

The LEO Trading Online Voucher has had particular impact across the country – with over 13,000 TOV’s approved in 2020…… That’s a whopping 13,000 businesses supported with developing or enhancing their online presence!

From this work, my little nuggets of advice to any small business would be:

  • If you haven’t already, contact your nearest LEO – they provide so much support in terms of business advice, mentoring and grants such as the TOV mentioned above, Business Continuity Vouchers, Feasibility Grants and so much more
  • Again, if you haven’t already – get online! A website ideally or a social media channel where you can keep your customers updated, share new products, blogs etc.
  • Try to think outside the box – now is the time to create a new branch for your business or solution for your customers – take the chance it could pay off!
  • Work on your ‘story’ in three short paragraphs & engage with local media to share your story or share via short blogs / social posts
    • How/Why you started the business
    • How your business adapted / transformed – (including any relevant figures such as online sale growth Vs 2019)
    • Any future plans that you have for your business – ie. new employees, overseas expansion, new stockists etc.
  • Good quality, high resolution photography is a must if engaging in any PR / online activity
    • Know your angles
    • Use colourful props or something that explains your business in the shots
    • Images can be taken by a PR photographer or on your smartphone with a family member or friend if taken landscape
  • Create video content – whether it’s short 30’ second “Meet the Team” videos or a “Hero Video” explaining your business proposition – it is an engaging way to reach your audience
  • If you are a sole trader or very small business – it can be an isolating place – join a network or reach out to professionals (such as ourselves 😉) if you need a sounding board or business support
  • Be consistent and persistent
    • Stay visible & keep plugging and reminding people of why you are so great and why they need your products / services!
    • Use social media advertising and Google Ads to your advantage – with so much competition online – it pays off to pay a little!
    • Connect and talk to your audience online – ask them questions and engage – you might learn something new!

Much of this you may already know – but I hope it has helped just to be reminded or re-energised your motivation!

Most of all it is important to know that the opportunity is there for those who wish to dive head first into the challenges – the decision is ultimately yours whether to stay the way you are or take the plunge!

Suzanne Meade, Fuzion CommunicationsSuzanne

Suzanne Meade is an Account Manager with  Fuzion Communications, who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

My Fuzion highlights by Alison O’Brien

November 26, 2020

Irish War Crimes

Fresh out of college in October 2006, having just graduated with my Masters in Public Relations from Dublin Institute of Technology, I moved home to Cork with the ambition of bagging myself my dream job in PR. After doing my research and seeing who was who in Cork, I was delighted when Dee and Greg said they would meet me for a coffee.

I had my first “official interview”, which thankfully was more like having a chat with old friends, in The White Horse in Ballincollig, which incidentally became one of my very first clients!

I liked the sound of Fuzion, and they liked the sound of me, and so my PR career was borne!

On January 7th, 2007, I joined Dee and Greg in Fuzion as their first employee, working from their home. Dee and I shared an office, and I learned the ropes from one of the best in the business. I was thrown straight into the midst of consumer PR working on Danish fashion brands b.young and ICHI

Days were filled with drafting press releases, coordinating advertising campaigns, and creating press packs, which at that time involved hours of burning product images onto CDs, and packing up lovely goodies to send to fashion journalists in Ireland’s top titles. The reward was when I would get big envelopes in the post in the weeks that followed, these envelopes contained press coverage!

Yes actual press clippings; there was no such thing as receiving a daily email with your clippings automatically uploaded onto a server for you – you had to scan each one carefully and save every column inch of coverage for the client – but I loved it. There was the work I was doing, featured in national titles!

Early in 2007, we had our first team planning meeting to discuss how we were going to put Fuzion on the map, and get ourselves noticed. This meeting also happened to be the first ever Fuzion Friday! Ideas flowed, and so did the wine.. and the rest is history!!

Fuzion Friday became a regular fixture on the Fuzion weekly calendar, and to this day is an opportunity for the Fuzion team to sit back, share time together and relax after putting in a hard week’s work. On the odd occasion Fuzion Friday lunches turned into Fuzion Friday after work drinks – but as the saying goes, “work hard, play hard”!

In my early years with Fuzion, I would say that my car could have driven on autopilot to Killarney, as I was up and down the road so often, working on a variety of clients in The Kingdom, from the Killarney Outlet Centre to Killarney Golf and Fishing Club to Christmas in Killarney. All these projects gave me great experience, and I worked with lots of people who were passionate about doing great work in their community. 

The summer of 2007 saw Fuzion work on Tour de Munster for the very first time, which today remains Fuzion’s longest standing client!

Tour de Munster

It has been an honour to work on this charity cycle, which has raised phenomenal funds for various beneficiaries over the years. Today the main beneficiaries are the Munster branches of Down Syndrome Ireland; but the beneficiary in 2007 was the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland (CFAI), and our work with them through Tour de Munster led to us working with the association on an ongoing basis for a number of years.

Working on charity campaigns has been a highlight of my time with Fuzion, but none more so than when we worked with CFAI on what was, literally, a life changing campaign for so many in 2009.

After years of empty and broken promises, the CFAI had lost total and utter confidence in the Department of Health, the HSE and Minister Harney; and decided to take action into their own hands. They challenged the HSE/ Department of Health to honour the commitment given publicly in 2008 to fulfil the promise of having the dedicated CF Unit operational in St Vincent’s by 2010.

We worked with CFAI on a very high profile and evocative campaign, fronted by CF Campaigner Orla Tinsley, entitled  ‘Irish War Crimes’. I was at home one evening when I got a call from Dee to say that the government agreed to honour the commitment to deliver on the vital, dedicated CF unit – this was the proudest moment of my PR career to date and I cried with joy – what we were doing was making a real difference. Our work on this campaign was acknowledged with an Award For Excellence in PR in 2010 for “Best Public Affairs Campaign”.

Mid 2010 saw me take a sabbatical, when I worked with The Hope Foundation for one year as PR/ Media Coordinator, putting into practice everything I had learned on working on charity campaigns to that point. But I missed the variety of working with an agency on a broad range of clients; and so I was fortunate to be able to rejoin Fuzion in 2011 with a refreshed mindset!

Since then I’ve been lucky to work on great clients in an industry that’s changing constantly. There’s so much more to the job than pure PR nowadays, and managing successful campaigns includes everything from strategic planning and implementation to event conceptualisation and management; media relations to sponsorship negotiation; crisis management to social media management, implementing national advertising campaigns to graphic design liaison; so much more, and everything in between.

Over the last few years I’ve been particularly inspired by young entrepreneurs I’ve worked with through UCC’s IGNITE programme and the Local Enterprise Offices’ ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ competition – these startups are Ireland’s future, and it’s been an honour to help them and advise them on their journeys.

One of the highlights of my time in Fuzion has to be the great colleagues I’ve worked with, many of whom have become what I know will be lifelong friends.

Doreen O’Mahony deserves a special mention as she was my first “Fuzion friend”. She started a few months after me, and was my partner in crime for the first few years. Together, we “held down the fort” when Dee and Greg took a well earned break for their honeymoon in December 2007. We still talk about how we were having nightly dreams about work, so concerned that we would do everything right so that Dee and Greg could return home knowing their baby was in safe hands! 

Today, as Fuzion celebrates 20 years in business, it still is in safe hands, with a passionate, dedicated, and much larger team behind Dee and Greg, helping to “drive the bus”!

Alison O'Brien, Fuzion CommunicationsAlison O’Brien

Alison O’Brien is an Account Director with Fuzion PR, Marketing & Design, who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland


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