Posts Tagged ‘Ireland’

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.

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.

 

Ryanair – Is the biggest crisis the attitude?

October 1, 2017

Ryanair - Always Getting Better

Early last week we were asked to comment by the publication Fora.ie about the whole Ryanair fiasco and what we thought of how they handled their crisis.

In a crisis situation we always advise –

  • Don’t hide
  • Quickly establish the facts
  • Be 100% truthful
  • Always provide a solution (or a least be honest about working hard to find one)
  • Don’t be afraid to say sorry (as long as you mean it)
  • Don’t be shy about telling people the good things you are doing

This can be achieved with a combination of holding statements, follow up statements, interviews and implementing any necessary changes.

In the case of Ryanair there wasn’t really a formal apology but Michael O’Leary was door stopped by reporters and did say it was “clearly a mess” but he went on to point out that it was just 2% of their passengers that had been affected. I think Michael is missing the point here about focussing on the good things!

On their website where they have a page dedicated to the cancelled flights they also remind people of this “2%” as well as listing the flights that have been cancelled. They also provide a ‘link’ to a page that directs people to an EU legislation document about entitlements to refunds and compensation.

The words “sorry” or “apologise” don’t appear anywhere!

Ryanair - Cancelled Flights

Understandably customers are irate – Ryanair are not helping the situation by drip feeding news about cancelled flights, their customer contact lines not being managed efficiently and are still overheating their situation by promoting flights at “€19.99”.

Furthermore, they have been denying that part of the problem is pilots leaving to take jobs in other airlines.

This scenario has got even worse with pilots going public with their gripes and painting a pretty awful picture about what life is like working for the ‘low care’ airline.

All of this comes at a time when the airline has been trying to refocus it’s brand with their “Always Getting Better” campaign.

A different scenario? 

So – would it have made a difference if Ryanair were upfront, issued a formal apology and showed genuine empathy with inconvenienced customers and were honest about solutions and assurances going forward?

The answer would be a big “Yes” but there is also a big “But” to contend with.

The effectiveness of this approach will depend on what people feel about the company when embarks on such a course –

  • Do people feel warmly towards the airline?
  • Do they believe that there is a genuine concern for customers?
  • Do they believe that staff at the airline are treated well?
  • Do they believe that this company does charitable work?
  • Do they believe there is a strong moral compass at the airline?
  • Have they communicated the great things (if such things exist) they have been doing to the general public and stakeholders?

Maybe realising this Michael felt there was no point pretending to care?

In a crisis a robust process will definitely help but the best preparation for a crisis is to be good and do good things and communicate this effectively – it is only then that people will be willing to listen to your apology and accept it.

Leopards don’t change their spots and not caring will bite you in the butt eventually.

Greg Canty 

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

Spinners, Patents, Trade Marks and protecting your most valuable assets

August 30, 2017

Spinners

Most parents will no doubt be aware of the latest on-going fad; fidget spinners.

Few will realise however that the original inventor of the fidget spinner, Catherine Hettinger, has lost out on millions because she did not take steps to renew the US Design Patent, which she previously took out for her invention.

Design Patent

In a nutshell, a Design Patent (simply known as Design Registration in Europe) is a monopoly right given to you by the territory where you require protection in return for your agreement to publish the details of your design. This means that nobody can use your design without your consent, which is usually granted by means of a written licence agreement.

In most countries, your Design Registration will last for 25 years provided you pay a renewal fee every five years.

On a recent trip to Florida, I learnt about Catherine Hettinger’s unfortunate story. Due to the perceived high cost of renewing her Design Patent, Ms Hettinger allowed it to lapse. This meant that she could no longer prevent third parties from using and commercialising her design.

As expected others have now commercialised Ms Hettinger’ design and have earned millions from doing so. Catherine Hettinger’s tale is a salutary one and applies equally to brand and new business owners.

Trade Mark

All too often, businesses will spend considerable time and money in developing and bringing a new brand to market, but will fail to take any steps to protect the very brand they have spent so much developing.

Unless you have been trading under a particular business name or have established significant business goodwill under your brand, you will find it very difficult to stop a copycat from starting a business under an identical or confusingly similar brand.

The only way you can stop a copycat if by registering your brand as a Trade Mark.

What is a Trade Mark?

A Trade Mark is essentially any sign you use in your business to distinguish your products and/or services from other traders.

By registering a Trade Mark, you get an instant State backed exclusive right to prevent others, without your consent, from using identical or similar signs upon, or in relation to the goods and/or services covered by your registration.

If you find that somebody else is using a sign which you believe is identical or confusingly similar to your trade mark, you only need to produce your Certificate of Registration in court as proof of your right.

Without this trade mark registration, you would have to convince a court that you have been trading long enough to establish a protectable business goodwill under your business or brand name.

Obviously, new business and brand owners will not even be able to get past this first hurdle.

A Trade Mark registration also has other advantages.

For example, few businesses realise that their brands are their most important and valuable assets. The law recognises this and therefore regards a trade mark registration as a property right. Like any other property right, you can use your registered trade mark, or registered design, as collateral for loan or investment finance.

I once acted for a client who did just this and was able to save its business from collapse. Trade Mark and Design registrations can also be licensed, transferred and bequeathed like any other property right.

Trade Mark and Design registrations also have the advantage that they are protected as property rights under the Irish Constitution and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which effectively makes it near impossible for the Government to sequestrate it.

So, what does it cost to secure a trade mark registration?

Like Catherine Hettinger, many businesses are initially put off by the upfront costs of protecting a brand by means of trade mark registration. This is false economy.

By way of illustration, the upfront cost of registering your brand as a pan-EU trade mark (EUTM), without any objections or challenges, starts at approximately €1,500 ex VAT.

While this might seem a lot to many SMEs, you have to bear in mind that you are securing a monopoly in each EU Member State for an initial period of 10 years (an EUTM can be renewed indefinitely every 10 years). Rounded up slightly, this works out at an annual cost of €5.50 per EU Member State. I know of no insurance policy that would cost this little!

Niall Tierney - IP LawyerNiall Tierney

Niall Tierney is an IP lawyer located in Dublin, Ireland brand – Design protection lawyer and 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.

If you would like to discuss the protection of your brands or business names, please email Niall at niall@tierneyip.com. Alternatively, he can be reached at 01 2544116.

Don’t forget about the books

July 17, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul Wade - Fuzion Graphic DesignPaul Wade

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

Don’t fear the darkside!

June 20, 2017

Fear of the darkside

As 2017 dawned, I found myself jobless.

This was ironic, considering I managed to hold onto a full time job throughout the recession, only to be made redundant as our economy turned the corner.

Instead of accepting one of the cool, interesting, and maybe most salient at the time, PAID opportunities that I was presented with in the immediate aftermath of my redundancy, I decided on the far riskier move, and take a career break.

After an enjoyable, rewarding but ultimately all-consuming role as Southern Correspondent with UTV Ireland, I was exhausted. I needed time to take stock, and re-charge before I set off on my next adventure.

Surprisingly, to myself more than anyone else, I absolutely loved my time-out.

I revelled in my free time, I read great books that had nothing to do with my profession. I allowed my mind to wander as I filled the black and white pages of my colouring book with doodles. I had some great conversations with great people including friends I long neglected as I chased story after story.

By April, I came around to the idea of hopping back on the 9-5 train…..Journalism no longer had the same draw. So I decided to do a stocktake of the skills I had accumulated, and evaluate how many of these were transferrable.

If you stick to one career path for too long, you can easily assume that your skillset isn’t particularly unique……or sought after. Taking a step out of the rat-race helped me understand that a career in journalism had allowed me to build a valuable list of transferable skills, not to mention an enviable contacts book.

When an opportunity to become part of the team at Fuzion Communications presented itself, thanks to my time-out, I felt ready and able to accept. I could see how I could, with my journalistic perspective, fit into and learn from a very talented and hard-working team.

It’s still early days, but I’m loving the role, a role that I wouldn’t have the skills for if I hadn’t spent so many years chasing stories!

My advice, for what it’s worth, if a career change or redundancy (or a desperate need for a change) looms on your horizon, don’t fear it.

Evaluate your talents and skills, and embrace your next adventure.

Alison Nulty, Fuzion CommunicationsAlison Nulty

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

Don’t Think Outside the Box

May 14, 2017

Think outside the box

It’s a term we hear all the time in business, and especially in the creative industry –  ‘”Think outside the box”’.

I see it in briefs, job descriptions and I hear it said in meetings.

I hate it!

The term has become meaningless, if everyone thinks outside the box then all you do is create a larger box!

The fact is there is no avoiding the box. Everything we do in business and in life has boundaries. There are laws on the street, marketing campaigns have a budget and designing a billboard always has size constraints.

The best way forward is to be creative within the box – Use the boundaries, work within the limitations and show people that you are still, more than capable of being different and creative.

I love the box!

Paul Wade

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

Global recognition for Enda Kenny abroad – Bula Bus!

March 28, 2017

Enda Kenny

We all held our breath as our Taoiseach, Enda Kenny went over to the US to visit the new President of America, Donald Trump on St Patrick’s day.

A visit that wasn’t welcomed by all, as many expressed their dislike at our Taoiseach visiting the not so popular Donald Trump, went much better than expected as Mr. Kenny took the opportunity to lecture President Trump on Immigration. This turn of events was quite brave and unexpected and earned our Taoiseach immense praise at home and abroad.

He began his speech by thanking the President for extending the invite to celebrate St Patrick the patron of immigrants”. He was careful not to mention any of Trump’s harsh immigration policies but instead made a point and encouraged the President to be open to immigrants. He went on to tell how many Irish came to shelter in America in the past and how it had such a positive impact on the country rather than a negative.

 “We lived the words of JFK long before he uttered them – we asked not what America could do for us but what we could do for America. And we still do.”

US Media including the New York Times and Fox News praised our Taoiseach for not playing it safe and instead doing what he could do to encourage change and positivity. Enda Kenny used his visit to represent his people and protect Irish Immigrants who are residing in the USA and who are contributing to “making America great again”.

Enda Kenny is under a lot of pressure to stand aside at the moment and is receiving a lot of criticism in Ireland, however in this instance I think he did us proud and represented us well and instead of flying under the radar, he took a bold stance and possibly a risk. As well as doing wonders for his reputation as a leader his performance deserves a massive pat on the back and a Bula Bus!

Maybe St.Patrick himself was looking after Enda Kenny in his own way?

Edel

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

 

 


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