Posts Tagged ‘Ireland’

The Importance of Visual Assets in Effective Public Relations

May 11, 2022

A recent photocall by our wonderful Account Executive, Heather Lordan for Southern Comfort

As one of my favourite saying goes, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, and this couldn’t be more true when it comes to conveying an impactful PR campaign

Photocalls and visual assets are essential in PR to accompany a pitch for an article, case study, or press release. Strong imagery immediately amplifies the content, catching the reader’s eye straight away, and prompting their curiosity. 

Strong visual content can propel both the story and brand in a fun and effective way. My favourite part of building any campaign is brainstorming photocall ideas with the team and watching the story come to life from there.

Here are my top three reasons why I believe a striking photocall image is a worthwhile addition to any PR campaign:

Visual Storytelling 

A strong image will strengthen your campaign and engage the consumer in your brand story.

A flat image with a person holding up a branded sign offers nothing to the journalist or the reader. I always like to think outside the box here, exploring the use of dramatic colours, unusual props, and picturesque locations.

A photograph sets expectations about the tone and subject but It shouldn’t give away the whole story. The image should engage the curiosity, prompt the question and the caption and press release should offer the answer.  

Shareability

Social media is a great way to increase the reach of PR campaigns and create a conversation with your target audience.

Images are processed in the brain’s long-term memory, while words are processed in the short-term memory. If the image is captivating, people will be more likely to share which encourages their followers to find out more about the story.

I always encourage brands to share assets internally as it brings the team on the journey too.

A recent photocall by our creative Account Manager, Michelle Harrison for IACP

Increased Brand Awareness

Images make an immediate connection with your audience because they are less taxing on your attention.

If you have a great image to go with your story you will recieve more media coverage and as media coverage grows your brand will garner much more attention.

Quality media coverage not only secures share of voice for your brand but also establishes expertise and credibility – a priority in the world of Public Relations.

So, next time you have a great story that is worthy of media attention spend time and attention with your team and your press photographer to capture those special images, because they are probably worth more than 1,000 words!

Stephanie Stafford 

Stephanie is an Account Director with Fuzion Communications, a full service PR agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland. Stephanie is known for her innovative approach to PR as well as her diverse range of agency and in-house communications experience. 

Back to Branding

March 14, 2022

To gain a deeper understanding of branding, consider your emerging identity – your adolescent brand.

You may not have realised it when you were younger, but we all had a brand!

Back then, your brand was developed by pushing your personal boundaries of fashion and music, ethics, morality, and friendships, as well as objectives and ambitions for the future.

Thinking about your youthful brand is important because it allows you to merge the numerous pieces that came together to form your identity – the image you had of yourself, and the image others had of you. It’s a riddle — and it’s crucial.

People create opinions of one another. It’s difficult to avoid it. As a result, people developed opinions about me. To those folks, those perceptions were my brand.

The way I interacted with them, the clothing I wore, the music I listened to, my principles and opinions, as well as what they expected of me, all became part of my brand.

Some people knew me well, while others didn’t, yet my brand was built by first impressions.

Others would create my brand for me, if I didn’t invest in clothes, music, and culture. And in today’s environment, social media, blogs, and online presence are just as much part of defining an adolescent brand.

My adolescent brand was more about face-to-face encounters, behaviours, ethos, attitude, outlook, what I did or didn’t do, and my values. These fundamentals are vital to the development of a brand.

At different times, different people perceived me in different ways.

As a result, for various people, I needed to have a distinct brand perspective. There would have been many similarities, but there would have been some differences as well.

Parents, for example, might have seen me differently from my friends in several respects. For instance, if I talked to my Mum in the same tone of voice as I talked to my friends, there would have been a serious communication breakdown!

It’s exciting to imagine how your brand will touch so many different sorts of individuals. It isn’t about deception or claiming to be someone else to please people or to fit in. That doesn’t go as planned.

No one is able to deceive a huge group of people for very long. When it comes to your brand, it’s all about being yourself.

Growing up is a lot like piecing together your business or organisation’s identity jigsaw, but from a different, more mature perspective, and just as when I was younger, the best way to get to the truth is to ask the most basic questions.

Who are you?

Neill

Neill MacCann is a senior graphic designer with Fuzion Communications who provide a full suite of print and digital graphic design services from offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland.

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.

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 Power of Communications in a Crisis – Updates from professionals across Europe

April 2, 2020

Fuzion Communications are members of a pan-European network, the Crisis Communications Network Europe, which is made up of independent Communications agencies who offer a significant Crisis PR service in each different country.

The rationale for this network is to have a strong group of like minded, connected agencies that can handle Crisis PR situations for clients when these crises extend beyond national borders.

When it comes to a crisis that extends beyond borders there is no better example than the COVID-19 crisis that has affected everyone.

On the Win Happy podcast, I invited a senior person from each agency in the network to discuss the crisis and in particular:

  • The status of the crisis in each country
  • How government have reacted
  • How good the communications have been
  • The media role in these communications
  • The reaction of the general public

It is clear listening to the really interesting discussion, that we can see the huge difference that strong communications can make in a crisis and and it can literally help to save lives.

Trusted, responsible government, leading by example, powerful gestures, quick action, honest briefings, strong and accurate media reporting and the public response are all key factors that determine the success of the communications and the fate of so many in each country.

The members that featured on the podcast were from Italy, Spain, Germany, Denmark, Ireland, England, Netherlands, Austria and Belgium.

You can listen to the show by clicking here.

Enjoy the show..

Greg

Greg Canty is a Managing Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer a full Crisis PR service from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland 

 

Managing Covid-19 from a HR Perspective

March 12, 2020

Laura powney

Laura Powney, HR & Employment Law Consultant, HR for Better Workplaces

 

We just received an ezine on advice for businesses on how to manage Covid-19 from a HR Perspective from our great friends in HR for Better Workplaces and wanted to share it with you .   It’s written by two well respected HR Professionals, Frank Scott Lennon who has over 40 years experience in HR and is a well renowned author on the subject of HR, and his colleague Laura Powney, who has vast experience as a HR and Employment Law Consultant across a wide range of sectors.

Practical Preventative Advice

  • Produce & display signage encouraging all to wash hands in the correct manner
  • Produce & display signage for the signs and symptoms of corona virus and practical advice on how to limit spreading and contracting it
  • Please ensure any signage you begin to use is from a reputable source, i.e. HSE or WHO
  • Provide sanitizer all around the workplace
  • Nominate a coronavirus (Covid19) Go-to-Person as the link person for your organisation
  • Identify any employees who might be ‘high-risk’ and therefore vulnerable, and put specific plans in place for protecting them

 

Business Continuity Plans

  • Ensure that you have an assigned a Steering Group to develop or oversee a plan for the business in all possible scenarios.
  • Now is the time to begin stress testing plans instead of perhaps waiting until forced to put plans into action and then not being able to fix the issues that arise.
  • A good example of this is perhaps stress testing working from home on a rotational basis by staggering groups of employees now, this to assess the effectiveness and to control the amount of people who remain in contact within the business.  It is also a good rule of thumb to assign these groups so they have a good mix of skills and relevant decision makers in each group.

 

Coronavirus and Illness Benefit Temporary Changes

COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, is a new illness that can affect your heart lungs and airways.

The Government has announced that the rules for Illness Benefit and Supplementary Welfare Allowance will be changed to help prevent the transmission of coronavirus. The changes mean that if you are diagnosed with COVID-19 or are suspected of having COVID-19 and are medically required to self-isolate, you can get income support. 

Legislation is required to implement these changes and emergency legislation is being prepared.

The main changes are:

  • You will not have to wait 6 days before you can apply for Illness Benefit. This means Illness Benefit can cover the first week of a COVID-19 diagnosis (or medically-required self-isolation) and any subsequent weeks.
  • The personal rate of Illness Benefit will increase from €203 to €305 per week for up to 2 weeks if you are medically required to self-isolate, or for the duration of your medically-certified absence from work with a COVID-19 diagnosis.
  • The normal social insurance requirements for Illness Benefit will be waived, if you are medically required to self-isolate or diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • You can get Supplementary Welfare Allowance without having to pass a means test, if you don’t qualify for Illness Benefit and you are medically required to self-isolate or are diagnosed with COVID-19.

The Government has also stated that self-employed people will be able to get either Illness Benefit or Supplementary Welfare Allowance.

If you have coronavirus symptoms or you have been medically required to self-isolate, you should not visit an Intreo Centre or local Social Welfare Branch Office. You can get information about applying for social welfare payments through My Welfare and you can call 1890 800 024 or (01) 248 1398.

If you are already getting a social welfare payment or you are on an employment programme such as Community Employment (CE) and Tús or a funded training and education programme, you do not need to apply for Illness Benefit. Your existing payment will continue to be paid if you are affected by COVID-19. 

You can find information for employees and employers and income supports on gov.ie.

 

Payments relating to coronavirus (Covid-19)

Employee self-isolating by their own choice and not government guidelines or medical requirement:

No payment is required by law as this is the employee’s own choice

Employee self-isolating by government guidelines or medical requirement:

Illness benefit would be payable to the employee from day 1

Government have now urged all employers to support national public health objectives by continuing, as a minimum, to pay employees who cannot attend work due to Covid-19 illness or self-isolation the difference between the special Illness Benefit rate and their normal wages. This may be achieved through the employer considering a range of flexible working arrangements with their employees such as:

  • compassionate leave
  • allowing the employee to work remotely
  • allowing the staff member to ‘work-up’ any time taken at a future date 
  • allowing the employee to avail of annual leave entitlements
  • rearranging parental leave

A number of income supports are available from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection for people whose employers do not continue to pay them during a COVID-19 (coronavirus) related absence or temporary lay-off from work.

Employee self-isolating because employer requests when government guidelines or medical requirements do not exist

Full payment to the employee would be required by the employer

 

Other methods of Leave

If you are considering the option of lay-off or short-term working please observe all points below and consider carefully:

  1. It may not be seen as the most supportive measure
  2. It has to exist as a policy in employees signed contract or handbook
  3. If it exceeds a 4-week period an employee can apply to seek redundancy

This measure is a little less appealing in our opinion and should only be used as a last resort when the organisation has explored all other options.

HR for Better Workplaces provides a bespoke consultation service, with over 50 years combined industry experience. They specialise in practical advice and offer a wide range of HR and well-being services.  Both Laura and Frank have been great friends of Fuzion, supporting and working in partnership on many projects and we couldn’t recommend them highly enough.   Laura or Frank can be contacted through their website https://www.hrforbetterworkplaces.ie/

 

 

PR Stunt – “Dove Real Beauty Sketches”.

September 2, 2019

Dove campaign

The company Dove is legendary when it comes to creating world renowned publicity stunts and one of my favourites has to be the short film they created in 2013 titled, “Dove Real Beauty Sketches”.

Throughout the short film , Dove investigates further into female self-loathing and hatred. It is safe to say that women in this modern era lack a great deal of self-esteem.

This self-hatred stems from the likes of social media, beauty magazines and gorgeous celebrity models. Women are forced to compare themselves to an image that is most arguably face-tuned and photo-shopped.

Dove believe that women undervalue their true selves and that women are “their own worst critics”. However, in order to battle this phenomenon of self-critique, Dove invited a number of women to describe their face to a sketch artist.

The comments made by these women in the video are extremely disheartening.

One of the most shocking remarks was from a woman who immediately stated that she had a “fat, rounded face” when asked what was her most prominent feature. This proves that most women immediately focus on the negative aspects of themselves and see it as their most prominent feature instead of a positive aspect, such as their eyes or smile.

Dove campaign

Thankfully the video includes a surprising turn of events in which each woman had to chat with a stranger after describing their appearance.

After a long chat, this new acquaintance was asked to describe the face of the women they were just talking to.

Finally, the film concludes with each woman examining two pictures of themselves, one drawn with the details they had given and the other with the details given by the stranger. What is completely unbelievable is that the two images are strikingly different.

The image described by the stranger is clearly more flattering and complimentary of the woman. This image is also a lot more similar to the women’s actual appearance. The images described by the women themselves seem to be more depressed, older and fatter than the other picture.

Dove campaign

This short film is revolutionary in my opinion as it reminds women that what we see every day in the media is not real and most importantly extremely unattainable.

I find myself looking at bloggers and celebrities on Instagram and comparing myself to them and discovering faults in my own appearance. However according to Dove I must realise that I am more beautiful than I think.

I hope every woman watches this film and gains a sense of confidence and comfort in their own skin. I also believe that the media has a moral obligation to promote real beauty and beauty diversity rather than an unrealistic photo-shopped image.

This in turn could demolish this common self-hatred among women.

Eimear

Eimear McKenna wrote this blog post when she was on a week’s work experience with Fuzion Communications, a PR, Marketing, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing Agency in Ireland with offices in Dublin and Cork

About Eimear (in her own words!)

I am 19 and currently studying English, History and Classics in UCD. This course has unleashed a true desire within me to write and elaborate stories. I am also a fully qualified associate teacher in Speech and Drama.

As a Drama teacher I meet many people every day and organise events such as the Feis and musicals/plays. It is a combination of these interests that has created an aspiration of mine to fulfill a career in PR. As a teenager I also love to follow many different influencers and fashion bloggers on Instagram, which has also added to my interest in PR as I would hopefully be working with these influencers every day

The end of the Business Card?

July 3, 2019

Business Card etiquette

I was having a chat yesterday with a businessman who was saying how LinkedIn was his new business card – that when he meets a new business contact, instead of handing them a business card he connects with them on LinkedIn, so he has that electronic connection.

This is a perfect use of social media tools for business, but I think he is missing a big point of the business card.

For me my business card is an opportunity to showcase my brand to a new contact “Look who I am and where I work”, ““Look at what we can do”, “Look how well we look”.

I just love the Chinese and Japanese culture around business cards, how it is considered rude not to present your business card properly and then to examine a business card respectively and carefully when you are presented with one.

They almost have a ceremony around business cards – how they present it with two hands and you are expected to receive it in both hands, study it and put it beside you if you are at a meeting with them. The business card is considered to represents the person.

I remember 20 years ago when I first started Fuzion Communications, I didn’t have a fancy office, I was working with a borrowed laptop, but I invested in my branding and my business cards, as out and about meeting people, my business cards were my shop window!

Even in our digital age, I still like to present my business cards – and I always watch how they are received. I think it’s a great way to judge if someone is actually engaging with you, to see how they react when you hand them your business card.

So next time you present a card to someone, see how they receive it – and when someone gives you a business card, accept it with honour – you never know, they might have read this blog post too!!

Deirdre Waldron, Fuzion Communications, PR ConsultantDeirdre 

Deirdre Waldron is the founding partner of Fuzion Communications, a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Fuzion Design and The Importance of a Great Soundtrack

June 14, 2019

Fuzion Communications, Graphic Design, Cork, Dublin, Ireland

A classic tune may be something most of us can agree on but as much as we have in common, we all have different tastes and different ways of selecting our music.

I spent years building up an extensive music library and had a well-honed recommendation algorithm through Apple, to feed me exactly the tunes I like. I had always had an aversion to radio – partly the advertising, partly an avoidance of what was “popular”.

So, when I heard I was going to be part of the Fuzion Graphic Design team I only had one worry. This wasn’t to do with any aspect of the role, as I was over the moon with that, it was because I knew the Fuzion design department work was accompanied by the dubious melody of a radio.

I couldn’t imagine how anyone could have that racket on and get any work done, because in my book good music leads to great focus as every designer knows, so the opposite must also be true!

I needn’t have worried!!

Very shortly into my first week, I discovered the advantages of a carefully curated up-to-date playlist.

BBC 6 Music is the channel of choice, the chatter is smart, the music is excellent and the ads non-existent.

Within weeks my own library, which was stagnating around 1998, was refreshed with The Knife, Pigs (x7), Oh Sees, Mattiel, The Comet is Coming and the slightly “pretendy” but brilliantly loud Dublin band, Fontaines DC (Coley knows all the words!!).

All of this new music led to some greatly refreshed recommendations too.

It pays to have an open mind and to remember that a recommendation algorithm is only as good as the information you feed it. Read Hannah Fry’s excellent Hello World for more on that.

Sure, we still go on archaeological digs through Greg’s spare circa-2004 iPod from time to time, but when we strike gold there, it takes hours off the day. A good soundtrack allows us to focus on moving from job to job, designing everything from visual identities to web sites, from large social media campaigns to exhibition materials.

With a good soundtrack we can improve our productivity, better our mood and measure our day on the off-beat, to really #WinHappy.

..I get extra brownie points for typing that!!

Mark

Mark Kenny is part of the Graphic Design Department in Fuzion Communications, who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Show your brands personality just like ASOS did!

May 13, 2019

Recently, online shopping giant ASOS received a lot of applause for backing one of their customers who had been disrespected online by a stranger.

The lady, who was wearing a dress from ASOS, was told by the male who she was messaging that the dress was awful and that she should shop somewhere decent!!

He then told her to grow up before politely signing off, “Thanks. Hope this helps.

 

Girl in ASOS dress on Twitter

 

Following this unpleasant remark, she decided to upload the conversation along with the picture of her wearing the so called “awful dress” to Twitter.

The Tweet, which has racked up over 100k likes and 9k RT’s, caught the attention of ASOS who decided to do something really great.

ASOS uploaded the photo of the lady wearing their dress to their website and in my opinion, she showcased the dress even better.

ASOS received a great deal of applause for uploading the photo to their website, showing their support for a more than likely loyal customer, who I can only imagine got a great boost from seeing her image featured on their website.

 

 

ASOS featuring customer pic

The situation, which was turned from a negative into a positive by ASOS, is a great example of a brand showcasing their personality and engaging with its customers.

In doing this, ASOS demonstrated their loyalty for their customers, while showing a caring but also fun side to the brand. With online trolling at an all-time high, along with the pressures of looking perfect on social media, ASOS really did a great job with this personal touch.

For all businesses, it’s good to show the personality behind your brand. Whether it’s supporting your customers like ASOS did, or showing the team behind the brand online, you increase trust with your customers leading to much better engagement.

Well done ASOS!

Saidhbh

Saidhbh Sweeney is a PR Account Manager with Fuzion Communications: PR, Marketing and Graphic Design, with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland


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