Posts Tagged ‘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

 

 

Business Social Media – What should you be doing?

March 10, 2017

Twitter for business

Social media continues to evolve with users switching from one platform to another, so where does that leave us today for anyone personally using it for a Business to Business audience?

If anything this has become more straightforward than it was before as Google+ has become irrelevant and most of the new social media activity has happened with the “youth” platforms, which can be ignored for now.

For anyone in business I would recommend the following:

The Basics
You should at a minimum maintain a ‘sparkling’ LinkedIn account that puts your best foot forward at all times. You should treat this as your personal website ensuring that all details are up to date, that you have a professional photograph, that you try to get meaningful recommendations and that you use it proactively for connecting with other people in business.

A big health warning here is that if you are not going to maintain your LinkedIn account properly then it might be wise to delete it – anything that does not paint you in the best possible light should not be allowed.

For example I had one client who was ignoring connection requests for over a year – he nearly had a heart attack when he realised that many of those looking to connect with him were his clients!!

Basics with more ambition
For someone with a little more ambition I would encourage them to add Twitter into their social media mix and I would advise posting on both LinkedIn and Twitter to “make some noise” and let the right people know what they are all about. When posting try to use visuals where possible as nice pictures help posts to get more attention!

Twitter as a platform seemed to be fading away a little but our good friend, Mr.Trump seems to have reversed this trend!

As part of this “making some noise” strategy I would recommend following and interacting with relevant accounts on Twitter and doing the same with LinkedIn including relevant groups – try to pick groups where you will find prospects, not other people in your industry.

Trump loves twitter

The Avid User
If you really want to embrace social media you need to incorporate it into your working day, everyday.

A regular piece of advice that I give to clients is that social media is not a full time activity but it is a full time mentality – effectively, you are always “on” looking for natural opportunities to connect, start or join a discussion that demonstrates who you are and what you do.

You will have succeeded here if people in your sector recognise you as a prominent social media user. Even more evidence of success, is when journalists who are prolific online recognise you and contact you for commentary on topics relevant to your sector.

Pro Tip– When you are posting try to use a few relevant #Hashtags frequently so that after a while they become synonymous with you.

The Publisher
The real social media “guru” is the person who publishes their own material online.

Basically I am talking about those who are writing articles and opinion pieces frequently that are relevant to the sector that they work in. These pieces would demonstrate their expertise and personality and they can be hosted on their own blog or else published within their LinkedIn account (or both). These pieces can then be used as social media posts – if posts are not time sensitive they can even be recycled over time.

For those who are excellent in front of a camera or engaging into a microphone, then video (open your own YouTube account) or podcasts are others ways to capture their expertise and personality and these can also be shared as social media posts or incorporated into their blog posts.

What about Facebook and the new social media platforms?
You might be wondering why there has been no mention of the other social media platforms – in truth I don’t think that they are relevant for the B2B audience BUT …there is always a but…

..all of your social media activity demonstrates to the outside world who you are so you must be careful that you don’t do anything detrimental to your self image by what you post and how you behave online.

While I consider the above platforms to be the ones relevant for business you will often get a business contact sending you a ‘friend request‘ on Facebook or following you on Instagram or Snapchat.

In many cases you may feel obliged to accept that ‘friend request‘ but once this happens you do need to realise that all of your “personal” posts will contribute to others forming an opinion of you.

Other developments
One of things that I have observed in the last while is that the ‘reach‘ of posts (how many people get to see the posts) across all platforms has disintegrated in favour of sponsored or promoted posts so you have to work even harder than before to get noticed and create an impact.

The other trend to note is “live” video which is becoming a big feature on both Facebook and Twitter – while you can probably ignore the feature on Facebook (for the B2B audience) it can be quite relevant for Twitter, as long as the content is clever and interesting.

Facebook have threatened developing their own B2B type platform for a while as they want to dominate all social media but we haven’t see any evidence of this yet.

To summarise I would advise everyone in business to jump in at some level and try to push it to the next level over time, I will guarantee you that you will see results but like everything else in life you must stick with it.

For the naysayers who still think that social media is a big waste of time, I would like to say a big thanks for leaving an even bigger opportunity for the rest of us!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer Social Media Consultancy and Training from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Restoring trust in An Garda Síochána and Tusla

February 13, 2017

Maurice McCabe

If things weren’t bad before, they became even worse for An Garda Síochána when it was revealed that an “incorrect” sexual abuse file was held against Maurice McCabe by Tusla, the family and child protection agency.

Everyone in the media is being extra careful to avoid stating the obvious conclusions as they risk getting into trouble legally. However, they have published the various statements by those parties involved and reported the facts as they came to light and they keep probing and probing for the truth in this sinister mess to reveal itself fully.

Incidents like this demonstrate once again why we need professional, intelligent journalism to bring us the truth as we can’t rely solely on social media to deliver this. Social media is fantastic as it gives us a powerful voice to demonstrate our dissatisfaction as loudly as we feel is appropriate.

We heard the statement by the Garda Commissioner, Nóirín O’Sullivan, the leader of the organisation who has claimed that she know nothing of the sexual abuse shenanigans with the whistleblower, Maurice McCabe.

Tusla in the meantime have issued their own statement claiming that their file against Maurice McCabe with the atrocious false claims against him were a ‘clerical error‘.

The comical little addition to the Tusla story was that their official apology to Maurice McCabe was sent to the wrong address!

The public are no fools and the generally held, unsurprising conclusion about this story is that senior members of the Gardaí who were unhappy with their whistle blowing colleague tried to smear his reputation in the worst possible way to punish him and protect themselves.

Even worse in this sorry saga, Tusla were obviously happy to play ball with their Garda acquaintances.

This stinks to high heaven and leaves all of us with two awful conclusions:

We cannot trust An Garda Síochána and we cannot trust Tusla.

When you consider the crucial role that both of these state bodies are paid to provide, ‘trust‘ is not a negotiable, nice to have attribute. Trust is everything.

What next?

To begin the long road of rebuilding trust in both organisations there can be no more fluffing about and decisive action and clear communication is required.

Our strong advice to those in charge would be to get ahead of the story, remove all doubts and demonstrate in no uncertain way how important regaining trust is.

This is the time for An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny or Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald to take decisive action and remove Nóirín O’Sullivan from her role and get the investigation started immediately.

This is the time for Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone to demand a 100% honest statement from the CEO of Tusla, Fred McBride as to what actually happened. If this is as farcical as the ‘clerical error’ statement, he should also be removed from his role.

The reputation of these two state organisations is not negotiable – start demonstrating it.

Greg Canty 

Fuzion provide Crisis PR services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland 

Two heads are better than one!

February 1, 2017

A few years ago I worked in a company where I was the only designer.

This was nice in a few ways – I had creative control over everything and there is a lot of satisfaction to be had from fixing a problem by yourself. But on your own you can only take things so far – there is always someone who will think of something you won’t, know something you don’t and see things from a different perspective.

This is something that Fuzion does incredibly well. Whether it is design or PR – everyone attends a brainstorm.

Every idea passes through many minds, gets questioned, gets analysed, gets pushed. For an idea to be truly great, it needs to travel different avenues. Even if the idea comes back to where it started, it needs to make the journey. I genuinely believe some of the ideas the team have come up with could not have been created by a single person, but needed a group to help them develop and grow.

I am a big fan of brainstorming. Check out some ideas I use whether in a group or on my own:

Fuzion Brainstorming Inforgraphic

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

 

When Fashion meets Politics – Melania Trump

December 12, 2016

Melania Trump - When fashion meets politics

Fashion designers around the world are torn when it comes to Melania Trump as it looks like the soon to be First Lady is paying the price for her husband’s controversial reputation and comments on issues such racism, sexism etc.

Since it became clear that Donald Trump will be the next US President a number of high profile fashion designers have made a stance and refused to dress his wife Melania Trump when she takes on her role as First Lady in January.

Historically designers queue up to dress the First Lady.

The current First Lady, Michelle Obama, has become a fashion icon since she shot into the limelight and dazzles on every occasion. Fashion designers around the world are eager to dress her and to date she has worn what have since become iconic looks.

This time however it seems Melania has very few offers on the table as designers such as Marc Jacobs, Derek Lamb, Tom Ford and Sophie Theallet (who dresses Michelle Obama) have all refused to dress her.

Marc Jacobs stated “I have no interest whatsoever in dressing Melania Trump. Personally, I’d rather put my energy into helping out those who will be hurt by Donald] Trump and his supporters.”

Tom Ford stated “I was asked to dress Melania Trump quite a few years ago and I declined…She’s not necessarily my image.”

Derek Lam stated “I don’t know Melania Trump personally, so I don’t wish my comments to seem I am prejudging her personal values, but I really don’t see myself getting involved with the Trump presidency.”

Sophie Theallet stated “As one who celebrates and strives for diversity, individual freedom and respect for all lifestyles, I will not participate in dressing or associating in any way with the next First Lady. The rhetoric of racism, sexism, and xenophobia unleashed by her husband’s presidential campaign are incompatible with the shared values we live by. I encourage my fellow designers to do the same.”

On the other side other designers such as Tommy Hilfiger, Thom Browne and Diane Von Furstenberg are some of the few designers who see Melania as The First Lady rather than Donald Trump’s wife and would be delighted to dress her.

Melania Trump - Fashion and Politics

Tommy Hilfiger stated “I think Melania is a very beautiful woman and I think any designer should be proud to dress her.”

Thom Browne stated “Out of respect for the position of the first lady of our United States, I would be honoured to be considered to design for any first lady of the United States.” 

Diane von Furstenberg statedMelania deserves the respect of any first lady before her.”

Who knows who will eventually dress Melania but my guess is whoever does, will get huge positive exposure in the fashion world as despite her or her husband’s beliefs she is a beautiful woman who would look good in anything.

She is already a fashion icon due to her celebrity status and no doubt as she takes on her role as The First Lady her fashion icon status will shoot through the roof so I’d imagine whatever designer gets the job of dressing her will in no way regret it.

Edel

Edel Cox is a Senior PR Account Manager with Fuzion who have offices in Dubliun and Cork, Ireland

Sources for this blog: WWD, Huffington Post, The Irish Independent, Quartz

CSR – Starting from the ground up

February 1, 2016

Unless you were hiding under a rock in late January, you probably spotted details of a heart-warming story about how a “mystery” Cork bus driver helped a little old lady, making her day… and that of lots of people who heard the “heroic” tale.

In case you missed it, here’s a snapshot of the Facebook post that brought this little act of kindness to light…

Kind bus driver

Thanks to Clara’s post, news of this good deed spread around Cork and the entire country (and the world!) quickly… as you can see from the screengrab above, this number escalated and the post on Bus Éireann’s Facebook page has now been liked almost 100,000 times. The bus driver was quickly identified online by his sister and sister-in-law as William Harris.

Now I’m sure when William took just a minute out of his day to help his passenger it didn’t cross his mind again… after all this was just a genuine act of human kindness that I’d like to think any of us could have, and would have done.

Unfortunately though you don’t come across “William” on every bus journey, or train journey, or restaurant visit you make. But if I was “William’s” employer, I would certainly encourage all my staff to take a leaf out of his book – it’s nice to be nice, and it doesn’t cost a thing. A big message is that CSR doesn’t always require budgets!

Working in PR we see companies strive for Best Practice when it comes to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), but really if you think about it, it starts at grassroots level and is so simple. Once the foundations are in place and people buy into the idea, everything will fall into place. I’ve worked with so many clients over the years who have implemented simple, yet very effective, CSR initiatives and activities that genuinely make the staff feel good but also make a real difference.

Remember to do the little things, for one day you will look back and realise they were the big things!

Alison O'Brien - FuzionAlison O’Brien

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

Deirdre Waldron – Madam President is Fuelling Ambition for Professional Women in Ireland

January 19, 2016

 

Deirdre Waldron President Network Ireland

Fuzion are very proud to announce that our Managing Partner, Deirdre Waldron has just taken over as National President of Network Ireland.

Deirdre has been involved with the organisation for many years and in that time she has held roles including PRO of the Cork Branch, President of the Cork Branch, PRO of the Network Ireland and as of 16th January 2016 she is officially Madam President!

She has very ambitious plans for the organisation, which she has outlined in her “Fuelling Ambition” manifesto and for anyone who knows Deirdre all of this will be realised!

Network Ireland

In Deirdre’s own words..

2016 for me is going to be a very big year as I take over as National President of Network Ireland, one of the largest organisations representing professional women from all walks of life.

It’s a big year for me as I lead the organisation through a re-brand, expansion plans and some very exciting and high profile events and activities, partnering with some of Ireland’s biggest and best public and private organisations, culminating in our national conference returning to Cork City in September 2016.

Through my engagement with Network Ireland since 2008 I have connected with some amazing people and made many great friendships and am proud and excited about my new role and responsibilities.

One of the first tasks for 2016, was picking a strong theme for my year, that will resonate with our very diverse national membership and professional women from every walk of life in Ireland.

The theme I have chosen is “Fuelling Ambition” and it’s really a strong “call to action” for me as President, for our National Executive, our Branches, for all our members and I hope for all of the women in business we engage with in 2016.

I believe as professional women, we need to become far more ambitious for ourselves, to challenge ourselves and each other so that we can fulfill our untapped potential. We bring so much to the table and this is starting to be recognised, but we have a role to play to make sure that our voices are heard loud and clear in our businesses, organisations, in our regions and nationally.

As a national organisation in 2016 I want Network Ireland to be more ambitious. We are a strong organisation with eight regional branches and a membership of over 500 of the most tenacious, talented and creative professional women from all sectors. We have the unique opportunity to be the voice for professional women in Ireland supporting and encouraging each other as we develop our careers and businesses.

In 2016, my wish would be for all professional women to forget about glass ceilings and focus on fuelling our ambitions collectively and as individuals – taking us through every glass ceiling that we think is in our way.   

There has never been a better time to be a professional woman.

Finally culture is changing and slowly but surely the powers that be are recognising that women at the decision making tables makes for better business. And if any proof was needed, a recent global study showed that boards with over 30% female representation faired much better through the recession than boards with fewer or no female representation. Network Ireland is determined to play its part in ensuring that we fuel the ambition of professional women so they can fulfil their potential and we can increase representation.    

As an organisation, Network Ireland gets valuable support from organisations such as Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices. They recognise the role that women have to play and are very proactive in helping women achieve their full potential.

We have also received support from other organisations such as AIB, European Parliament Information Office and the Local Enterprise Offices and many others who want to bring more women to the decision making tables in our region and nationally.

I’d love it if every single person reading this would ask themselves – how can they fuel their own ambition?

Don’t wait for something good to happen – you can make it happen for yourself, in your career or in your business. This can be done by connecting with like minded individuals so that you can encourage and support each other and we do so much of this for women through Network Ireland, through our regional and national events and our ongoing engagement with each other on social media.

There is also a strong learning dimension with Network Ireland as we carefully choose topics of interest and experts from their respective fields to speak and participate in our range of events during the year. We always make sure that there is a big social side to what we do as a relaxed and fun atmosphere can be the best way to network!    

So this year, let us all help each other to fuel our ambitions, drive on in our careers and in our businesses – so by this time next year we can all say we have had a great year because we achieved what we wanted to achieve and of course, we had fun in the process.

Deirdre Waldron - Fuzion PRWell said Deirdre … Network Ireland and all of the professional women that are represented throughout the country are lucky to have you!

Deirdre Waldron is a Managing Partner with Fuzion PR, Marketing and Design who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Deadline 21st January – Register your lobbying activity

January 12, 2016

Lobbying

There’s nothing like a deadline to inspire action!

Maybe it’s the former journalist in me but I work best when to a deadline so I am quite partial to working against the clock (I accept this is both a strength of mine but also an annoyance for those who know and work with me!).

The first submissions for the lobbying register are due on January 21st so I’ve been working on behalf of Fuzion to compile our own submissions of activity on behalf of clients.

I’ve also been dealing with our various clients in relation to how and whether they are involved in lobbying and if there’s an onus on them to submit their own reports. (It’s comforting to see I’m not the only one who works on a ‘needs must’ basis.)

The clients range from charity to childcare, legal to education and each of their queries, knowledge and attitudes to the register is different – some have registered as a ‘ticking the box’ exercise, another wants to leverage it for brand awareness, another was unsure as to whether they may be exempt from the register while a fourth client has an interesting scenario whereby Government officials engaged and approached them in relation to their service. What do they do?

It’s interesting to see how clients from across completely different sectors have had to engage in lobbying activity.

This new Regulation of Lobbying Act and the register will shine a light on lobbying – who is engaging in it, with whom and for what purposes.

Fuzion is among those who will submit a return detailing, on behalf of clients, what public officials we have contacted, the subject matter and the intended result of this communication. January 21st, will be our first of three returns that we will file this year.

My advice to each of our relevant clients is to register and to ensure that their submissions are complete and transparent. Of course there is a period of grace of one year to allow the legislation to bed down which means that no penalties will be incurred but our advice is to start as you mean to go on.

You should also know your obligations in relation to the Lobbying Act and if unsure, it would be prudent to register and submit reports relating to activity.

The reputational effect and consequences of not filing – having to answer questions by the media and officials as to why certain correspondence was not logged, is a high price to pay for innocence.

Register now ..

Aoibhinn Twomey - Fuzion PRAoibhinn Twomey

Check out another great post by Aoibhinn “The Changing face of lobbying

Aoibhinn Twomey is a Senior Account Director with Fuzion PR & Marketing which has offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

But what if someone says something wrong?

November 5, 2015

old way

I was in the middle of a social media training session with the senior team of a client and Mick, who was one of the elder statesmen in the group asked a question.

This brand new world is a scary place for Mick who has been doing his own thing in his own way for a long time and now that day has come. The company believe that they are missing out by not fully embracing technologies that might deliver them business and LinkedIn is the platform they chose for me to run a training session for them.

I’m guessing that Mick and probably some of the other guys have been hoping that this day wouldn’t come but eventually it has arrived and I was the ‘scary monster‘ who was standing up at the top of the room talking about this dreaded LinkedIn, the thing that they feared could possibly render all of their skills, crafted over many years out of date and useless.

His body language, disguised with a little bit of humour screamed “I am choking, please let me out of here!“.

He sat there during the session saying very little.

At the beginning of these sessions I spend a lot of time with the team figuring out what ‘stories‘ they want to tell about their organisation.

We are an experienced team, we have our own R&D department, our technology is ahead of everything else in the marketplace, how the company came about is very compelling, we work with some of the biggest companies, we are successful, we are expanding, there is a genuine 24/7 service and the culture is very strong.”

This is a company you would want to do business with.

We explored how we could communicate some of these things on an ongoing basis with a combination of blog posts, published posts, company and personal status updates on LinkedIn.

I always stress that you must be clear what your objectives are and the messages that you want to communicate. I talk about developing a ‘message board‘ that is built into the organisation social media strategy for the company and this should be shared with all team members to ensure they understand what the content guidelines are.

Out of the blue Mick popped up with a question: “But what if someone says something wrong?“.

I think he had accepted that it was time to face his fear and now he threw out his real fear that in ways has been fuelled by media reports about damage that has been done to organisations by stupid things being posted by people working there.

What could we possibly do to prevent that from happening?

Ironically he made this comment right in the middle of that part of the training where I am setting the content guidelines with the team.

On the phone, chats with team members, meetings with clients, conversations at conferences… we all have the potential to say something stupid or damaging but we are trained and trusted to do our jobs and represent the places we work for properly.

Social media is no different and you do have to trust your teams but you must give them clear guidelines and explain what is expected of them.

Unfortunately those ‘stupid’ mistakes happen when this is not done and when someone inexperienced (typically when someone is “good” on Facebook) and lacking in knowledge about the organisation is given free reign to post for the organisation. It can also happen when an outside agency is appointed to post on behalf of the company without proper briefing and controls.

Mick, you are right but we will make sure this won’t happen here!

p.s. Mick knows his customers and his organisation better than anyone and will fly once he loses his fear.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer Social Media Consultancy and Training in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 


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