Posts Tagged ‘PR’

So you can teach an old dog new tricks after all!

May 22, 2017

Michael O'Leary - Ryamair

I’m still reeling from the shock of the great customer service I just experienced from Ryanair!

I found that there was a simple error on my flight booking for our summer holidays. Without much hope, I got onto the Ryanair “live chat” and after a relatively short wait, someone came on and solved my problem without an issue and – wait for it – are you sitting down? – without any additional charge – even though I had my credit card in my hand!

The Ryanair experience has improved so much that even Greg, my other half, isn’t complaining (well, not as much as usual) that we are using the airline to get us to Italy this year – in previous years he prefered to take an Aer Lingus flight to Paris and then take the train to Milan (beautiful journey by the way!).

So Michael, I applaud you, you turned the big ship (or plane) and set Ryanair on a new course towards good service, putting the customer first and you gotta be reaping the rewards…..

I think this is a big lesson for all of us.

Just because we do something one way, a way that might have built the success of the company, it doesn’t mean we have to stay doing the same thing, just because it’s the way we always did it.

It’s refreshing for everyone to change things up, it’s good to really listen to your customers and even more important, your potential customers and even if it goes against your original core values (or some might argue, lack of them in Ryanair’s case), consider adapting to suit your market in this very changing world.

When you are ready to make that change – the Fuzion team can be there with you every step of the way to help you 😉

Deirdre 

Deirdre Waldron - Network Ireland PresidentDeirdre Waldron is the founding partner of Fuzion

Fuzion Communications is a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Brexit – Keep calm and plan

May 8, 2017

Prepare for Brexit - Enterprise Ireland

The uncertainty, implications, and fallout from Brexit was the topic for debate at an Enterprise Ireland event that I went along to this week.

As a country so heavily dependent on exporting to the UK, Brexit represents the most significant economic challenge facing Ireland and one which we are advised to plan for without really knowing what the fallout will be.

While we can only speculate, Enterprise Ireland have rolled-out a dedicated roadshow, specific grant and an online tool to encourage businesses to plan and prepare so that anything other than a hard Brexit is somewhat of a bonus, dare I say it.

The UK will continue to be a key market for businesses in Ireland and the advice for companies in preparation for Brexit is to be as lean and innovative as possible.

Like all challenges, Brexit presents an opportunity for businesses to re-evaluate their markets, products, risks and operations to hone their business contingency plans to build resilience, which is never a bad thing, is it?

A well-thought-out business plan will be crucial for responding to change which is why an investment of time and resources will be vital.

Enterprise Ireland has launched a really clever Brexit SME Scorecard – a planning tool for Irish exporters to the UK designed to assess business readiness for Brexit as well as a Be Prepared Grant to help to financially support and encourage businesses to research, prepare and focus on the elements of their business which they can influence, whatever the outcome of Brexit.

There is no doubt that we’re facing a time of change and uncertainty but one thing is for sure – trade, as one of the oldest professions in the world, will still continue between people and countries.

How we prepare for change will make all the difference.

Aoibhinn Twomey - Fuzion PRAoibhinn

Aoibhinn Twomey is a Senior Account Director with Fuzion Communications – PR, Marketing and Graphic Design  who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

“I don’t want publicity this time but next time, yes… “

May 8, 2017

Rory McIlroy and Erica Stoll wedding

Looking at the media coverage of the recent nuptials of one of golf’s hottest properties Rory McIlroy, something struck me as odd, well less odd than the reported price tag of over half a million Euro spent on it, but still strange nonetheless.

There were no photos of it. The lavish four-day wedding was veiled in such secrecy that very few details have been or could be made public.

Reportedly, some of the steps the McIlroy’s went to stop leaks were anti-drone technology to stop them flying overhead and taking photos, people working at the event had to check in their phones and guests had to leave their mobile phones behind entirely, just in case one of them decided to ‘check in’ to the wedding of the decade or post a photo.

This all begs the question, where does the public interest start and finish when it comes to celebrities?

Rory for example, has sponsorship deals with Omega, Bose and has just signed a new 10 year deal with Nike valued at around €100 million. Publicising these, Rory can be seen sporting the new exclusive Omega watch and on the course, he is branded from head to toe in the newest Nike gear and is all too happy to pose for the cameras while wearing them.

To protect the couple, there was reportedly three levels of security around the grounds of the beautiful Ashford Castle and McIlroy’s management team worked overtime to ensure that the wedding details remained top secret from the large media entourage that arrived at Cong.

Ashford Castle staff, lauded for their discretion with the hotel’s celebrity clientele, even refused to make any comment on the wedding celebrations.

The phone hacking scandal a number of years ago ignited the question of how far media can go, and the recent demands of €1.5 million in compensation from Prince William over photos taken during a three-day break in a chateau in southern France in 2012, is bringing the topic of invasion of privacy of celebrities to the fore once more.

Prince William expressed his anger at the incident in a statement read to a court in Paris, where six media personnel, including three photographers, are on trial for alleged invasion of privacy.

In McIlroys instance, what would have happened if a ‘lucky’ photographer managed to get a snap of the happy couple in their finery – an invasion of privacy lawsuit?

I’m not saying that prying into the personal lives of public figures is correct or not, the question is, is it right that celebrities can have their cake and eat it too?

Patrick Jones - Fuzion CommunicationsPatrick

Patrick Jones is an Account Manager in Dublin with Fuzion Communications, Marketing, PR & Graphic Design 

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

 

 

PR is not a “one size fits all”

March 27, 2017

The perception of the PR industry is one we often have to fight against and to defend. Some people may take a cynical view that PR is an indulgent commodity, a drain on a marketing budget and that those working in the industry are experts on ‘spin‘ rather than communication.

It’s hard not to feel offended and disheartened when you look at it from the inside out, knowing the broad range of work and tasks our job entails.

For instance one client of mine depends on me for devising their strategy in line with their organisation’s objectives over the coming two years. I’ve carried out workshops with top level staff across divisions with the aim of helping them to refine their messaging, target audiences and objectives. I also act as their press office function which, for a public sector Statutory organisation, is a role of great responsibility that requires efficiency, accuracy and professionalism.

Another client of mine is a global company which requires profile building to raise its profile and understanding among the Irish market.I do this through liaising with their stakeholders, identifying interesting case study stories to pitch to the media, through office launch events and openings, media engagement and drafting and issuing press releases.

I work closely with the company’s global corporate communications team, which can significantly increase the level of liaison that is required but it is absolutely necessary to provide them with assurance, confidence and understanding of how we work and achieve results in Ireland. Building this relationship has built trust which is paramount.

We may have another project that is purely for internal communications to foster and enhance engagement with staff through events, workshops, communications, videos etc.

As an agency the varied and broad nature of our work and client base is significant. One size does not fit all – the only common ground our clients and work has, is enhancing and sometimes protecting their reputation which can be achieved through many diverse PR activities.

Aoibhinn Twomey - Fuzion PRAoibhinn

Aoibhinn Twomey is a Senior Account Director with Fuzion Communications – PR, Marketing and Graphic Design  who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

(Image taken from the very funny 2005 movie, “Thank You For Smoking” which presents a great example of spin)

Award season is not just for Tinsel Town 

January 27, 2017
The 2017 Oscars

As individuals, professionals and as companies we often use this time of year to evaluate and set out our plans and ambitions for the year ahead.

For instance in Fuzion, we kicked off our first week back to work after the Christmas with our individual and departmental reviews and planning which I must admit was initially a bit like pulling teeth until we actually got stuck into thinking about the year gone, what we did well, could have done better and how we can excel this year.
Ambition and drive means we naturally want to improve and to celebrate and build upon what we do well.

We also want to achieve big and better things for our clients which is why I’ve spent time this week researching award opportunities and working on award submissions not only for my clients but for our own company.

Across industries there are a great deal of award opportunities to grab hold of and it would be remiss not to be aware or put one’s name into the running for the credit, news, awareness building and achievement that awards have to offer.

Many may think that award submissions require a great deal of an investment of time with the chance of no return but I don’t agree.

Below are a few reasons that might change your mind:

  • Being shortlisted or winning an award can boost your brand awareness through pre and post publicity.
  • Researching and working on a submission naturally forces you to assess, evaluate, refine and promote your wins. It also has the benefit of helping you to identify key areas that you’d like to focus on and grow for the year ahead.
  • Credibility – we at Fuzion know how to roll-out a successful lobbying campaign for clients but our PRII award for lobbying on behalf of Down Syndrome Ireland provided invaluable third party endorsement not only for us but for the charity that fought with grit and determination for an overturning of a controversial Government decision.
  • Reputation building – awards can give you the edge over your competitors. Would you rather work with an award-winning company or not?

Ruth Negga, Oscar Nominee

If you listen to the media coverage when anyone in Ireland gets nominated for an Oscar you can see the benefit to them of the publicity that they enjoy as a result.

This year Ruth Negga,  received a nomination for Best Actress for her role in “Loving.”  “The Lobster” – co-produced by Irish production company Element Pictures – scored a nomination for Best Original Screenplay and Consolata Boyle was nominated for Best Costume for her work on “Florence Foster Jenkins.”

Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. It’s worth spending some time to research what awards and opportunities there are now and over the year and mark them in your diary.

They say you only regret a chance you didn’t take.

Aoibhinn

Aoibhinn Twomey - Fuzion PRAoibhinn Twomey is a Senior Account Director with Fuzion Communications – PR, Marketing and Graphic Design  who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

10 Factors to consider when choosing a PR company

May 9, 2015

Confusion

So you’ve recognised the value of PR and have made the decision to engage with a PR company so that you can take your business to a new level of success – with many PR options out there how do you decide which one to go with?

Time and time again we hear from people and businesses who have had a bad experience with PR agencies and this is often down to them selecting the wrong one for them. Price may often have been the deciding factor but it may have been something else.

When choosing a PR agency we suggest that you need to look at the overall agency and take a number of factors into consideration.

1. Experience

Does this agency have the experience to get you the results you need for your business?

Look for evidence of this experience but also make sure you know the experience of the team that will be assigned to your account. Make sure you meet them as part of the pitch process.

At Fuzion we have a team of 12 professionals and each one of us brings different expertise and experience from a variety of industries.

Our team is made up of PR experts, social media experts, former journalists, bloggers, event management specialists, graphic designers, media trainers, crisis management professionals and people with senior management experience in industry.

For every client we pick the best mix from our team to work on that particular account. Your work will never be outsourced.

2. Sector experience versus potential conflict

This can be a tricky one. You need to be convinced that the agency understand your business and will be capable of delivering for you.

Sometimes a lot of experience in a particular sector can be a big advantage but it is not always necessary.

For example if an agency works for 30 hotels this means they know the sector well but it could mean that you could end up competing for coverage within the agency itself.

Look for good solid examples of previous and current clients to assure yourself.

3. Location

Where the agency is based can be quite important. Think about who and where your target market is as it’s very important you choose a PR company that can reach them and has good relationships with both national and regional press.

Their location is also important for your meetings with them – you can achieve a lot with email and by phone but you can’t beat face to face meetings.

For this reason we have offices based in Dublin and Cork so we have coverage in the two biggest urban locations in Ireland and have developed relationships with media here and across the country.

4. Testimonials

Who better to turn to than clients who have worked with the PR agency before?

Look for testimonials from current and former clients and see if the PR agency achieved good results for them and whether they would be happy to recommend them.

5. Price

Price is always going to be a factor, but always bear in mind you get what you pay for. Going for the cheapest option is not always the best option.

Make sure how much work is being done for the price and be sure about what happens if extra work in required.

Its important to check the seniority and expertise of the people that are working on your account – price can be quite relative.

The most important thing here is not getting the cheapest quote possible, it’s getting value and results for your money.

6. Personality

Does the agency have a heart and soul? What are the personalities of the people in the agency like? Can you trust and depend on them?

At Fuzion we pride ourselves on going the extra mile and going above and beyond for our clients. That’s an easy thing to say but it really is true ..look for those testimonials!

One thing we never do is give up or switch off just because we have worked all the hours allocated or the work day is over. All of us on the team have all had sleepless nights when big client events are approaching or gone through blood, sweat and tears for clients that may have been difficult to get coverage for. We don’t give up!

We do this because we genuinely care and want to make sure our clients get the results they are expecting and we get the satisfaction of doing a great job. At Fuzion when you engage our services you become part of the Fuzion family and this sets us apart from competitors.

7. Agency Size

Will the agency be able to cope with your workload and if there is an unexpected peak for some reason can this be catered for?

In your initial briefings try to assess the workload of the team and try to assess if you will get the time and attention that is promised.

8. Pecking Order and exclusivity

Will your business be of sufficient interest to the PR agency? Are you the type of account that they are excited about or would you be one of many and down in their pecking order of ‘importance’?

I once heard a successful entrepreneur give a clever piece of business advice “Employ a Big 4 accountancy firm and a hungry PR agency“. One gives you automatic credibility and the other will fight hard to win you even more!

9. Full Service and Social Media

Does the PR agency offer more than just PR?

With many agencies this is not the case. Our approach is that we offer a solution and not a range of services.

We build and execute plans for our clients that will achieve their objectives and we do this with a comprehensive toolkit, which we apply as required.

The client should brief one service provider not half a dozen to achieve their objectives.

Expertise in social media, or parallel media as we refer to it is a critical part of all plans that we execute for clients. To assess the agency expertise in this area have a good look at their own social media presence to assure you that they do know what they are doing.

10. Passion test!

This really is the big one and if this doesn’t exist then don’t even bother taking into account the other factors.

When you have your initial briefing meetings with the PR agency you need to assess how passionate they were about your plan.

Do you see enthusiasm, do you see creativity and do you see real evidence that the team who worked on your plan put in a lot of effort into something that was written just for you.

Make sure they didn’t just show you credentials and made their pitch solely on previous work and clients.

Good luck with your search and it goes without saying …you know where we are!

Edel Cox - FuzionEdel Cox is a PR Account Manager with Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork

 

Can you have Profit without the Passion?

April 21, 2015

Passion

These two guys came into us, full of confidence about their new project.

They were introducing a new range of ready made meals to the Irish market, which they reckoned were going to be a huge success.

The market in Ireland was huge and growing and according to them poorly serviced with inferior products. They were going to bring restaurant quality meals with recipes designed by a high profile chef using the best of Irish ingredients.

These meals were going to be well packaged and would be ‘on shelf‘ at competitive products – this was their recipe for success!

By their reckoning they would conservatively capture a share of the market and even with moderate success they would make a fortune, it was guaranteed.

They had the listings with some of the multiples and our job was to launch the new range of products. They also had a good budget for the promotional campaign – success guaranteed?

I had a few nagging doubts ..

These guys had no history in food or experience in the industry. They had no passion for food – I tried and I tried to find it. I couldn’t see a genuine love for Irish ingredients and great food – this was just a way of making money and they reckoned they had all the necessary ingredients for success.

The high profile chef was equally unimpressive – I started to get the feeling that his ‘name was on the box‘ and that was about the extent of his passion for the project.

Of course he did the interviews and said all the right things but I just didn’t feel the passion for the project.

The launch date arrived, there seemed to be trouble with distribution, the products didn’t look well in the packaging and there was nothing special about the taste. It certainly wasn’t the superior restaurant quality ready-made meals that we were promised.

In no time at all the partners were fighting and the chef pulled back from the project. Effectively before the whole project got going they shut it down and many people including ourselves went without payment.

If there was genuine passion you would taste it in the end product, you would work hard to overcome any problems and you would dig deep and do everything to keep your dream alive.

Without passion you just give up ….that’s easier!

Passion is the single must important ingredient in your meal, your restaurant, your products, your service and your organisation.

Profit without passion? … I don’t think so 

Greg Canty 

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

 

Tips on how to secure your first PR job

March 30, 2015

PR - Fuzion

Anyone working in PR has been there… that place you find yourself when trying to secure your first job in PR.

Having been with Fuzion since 2007, I have been involved with the hiring process of several interns and team members. Being on the other side of the application and interview process has taught me a lot about what you should and shouldn’t do when looking for your first PR job, so I’ve decided to share a few tips.

Update your CV and cover letter

Make sure your CV is tailored to the job, well written (good grammar, no typos), and most importantly, up to date. Oh, and don’t lie!

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, so don’t let yourself down at the first hurdle. Whether you are a graduate or are interested in a career change, we understand that you’re not yet an expert in the field of PR, but we do want to know what you can bring to the table.

Whilst you might not have anything that directly relates to PR, I would suggest that you try to highlight specific achievements and areas you do have experience in, and show how these are transferable to PR. PR is about pitching and this is your first opportunity to pitch yourself to us or any potential employer.

With cover letters, make them cover letters!

As in, send it in the body of your email and not as an attachment. Also, we know if we’re getting a generic cover letter, so specifically tailor it to the job for which you are applying WITH US… there’s nothing worse than getting an application in which you tell us why you would be a valuable asset to the team at “A.N Other Company”.

Of course, we know we’re probably not the only company you’re applying to, but if you expect us to take the time to review your application and respond to you, please have the courtesy to get our name right.

A simple trick here is to check our website beforehand and to personalise your application to the person you think might be doing the recruiting. If you are not sure who that person is then ring in advance and ask.

Check your online presence out before we do!

Google yourself – what do you find online about yourself. Hopefully you should find a Twitter and LinkedIn account, but if you don’t, set them up now! If you can’t be found on Twitter, and especially LinkedIn, it means you’re not taking advantage of these platforms, and they are where you need to be.

Online presence

With Twitter, follow key players and influencers in the media, learn about the industry, and make connections by retweeting posts you find interesting or relevant. A LinkedIn account is pretty important for anyone on the lookout for a job in the industry. Why not ask college professors and former employers to write recommendations for you – let them tell us how good you are! Don’t underestimate the power of social media.

If you fancy yourself as a writer (we love people who can write well) then start your own blog and start writing about your favourite things – make sure you include this in your CV.

Yes, we do check all of this!

Connect, and stay connected

During the interview, we like to get a feel for you, and so often ask about who you follow online, what papers you read, what journalists and news sites are you a fan of. Educate yourself on the industry – we’re not interested if you follow the guys from Geordie Shore, or Ross O’Carroll-Kelly, so try to be relevant!  Tell us why certain blogs or news sites interest you.

We’ve done our homework on you, now do your homework on us

You’ve secured an interview, now familiarise yourself with our company, our clients and campaigns, and have some sort of idea about our company ethos. Tell us why you’re interested in this position, and particularly in Fuzion, and why you think you are a good fit. Don’t get caught off guard, these are obvious things we will look for, so be prepared. Knowing your stuff will not only calm your nerves for the interview, it will also show us that you have initiative, and are enthusiastic and serious about working with us.

Be able to tell us what you could bring to the table, have some ideas of how you would put a PR plan together – as I’ve already said, we know you’re not experienced in the field, but have a think about this in advance. Do you have a dream client? What would you do for them if they were launching a new product or had some important news to share? If you want to work in PR, you’re going to need to be able to do this on a regular basis, so show us you can.

And most importantly be yourself. Trust me, we want to hear your personal story and we want to hear your opinion about things. Be honest and don’t pretend to be someone you’re not.

Ok, you didn’t get the job this time, and you ask “Do I need a specific degree to get a job in PR or what do I do next?”

If you have excellent communication skills, then you have some of the basic characteristics for a career in PR. A relevant qualification is not always necessary, but it can be an advantage and provides you with the competitive edge against other applicants—at least on paper.

Persistence

At Fuzion we don’t specifically look for a degree in public relations – our team is made up of experienced PR professionals, ex-journalists and producers, media trainers, social media experts, and graphic designers, as well as individuals with senior management experience.

So don’t be disheartened that you didn’t get this job. Go out there and get some hands on experience – volunteer for a non-profit or charity, PR your local festival, help out at community events, write a blog, do some freelancing;  and don’t give up on your PR dream. Show why you can become an invaluable member of any PR team.

Make sure that we don’t forget you by sending us a nice email and thanking us for considering you in the first place. One of our team got a job with Fuzion on the third attempt – we love persistence, another great trait for a PR person!

The very best of luck with your PR career ..

Alison O'Brien - FuzionAlison O’Brien

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

 

PR versus Advertising

March 5, 2015

PR versus advertising

People often struggle with the question of whether to spend their money on PR or advertising. A fair question for any new business owner to ask, but only if that person doesn’t understand the value of PR.

So what’s the difference between the two?

To put it simply, the saying goes “advertising you pay for, but public relations you pray for“.

Advertising raises awareness of your brand and is you telling the world that your business is great, which of course you would say as you want your business to succeed. Advertising is guaranteed exposure for your brand/business but it’s coming from you, the business, so will the the message by fully trusted by your target audience?

Or does it come with a little bias? ..of course it does!

PR on the other hand is a message coming from the media, the journalists, the celebrities, and the influencers who have no affiliation with your business or brand. When they say your brand or your business is great, it is a much more credible message and therefore worth much more than advertising, three times more in fact (this is the multiplier that the PR industry uses as standard when evaluating PR coverage).

Think of it from the consumer’s point of view, when the reader sees an advert, do they take much notice of it?

Does today’s savvy consumer believe everything the advert says or are they aware that the advert is paid for by the owner and therefore the information carries bias? On the other hand when the reader reads a newspaper article or a review by a journalist, who has no connection with the brand or business, obviously this message is more believable.

PR is a way of spreading favourable opinion through credible, non-biased influencers and through endorsements. This type of publicity carries much more weight and longevity than an advert that may, or may not, grab the attention of the reader for a second or two.

This argument for PR may seem like an either/or scenario with advertising but it is not.

Advertising can always play an important part of your marketing mix – it is very unlikely that the media will write about you every week so for frequency of coverage advertising is necessary. When PR complements advertising it adds more value to it because your brands or service are now seen as being more credible and trusted by your target audience.

Edel Cox - FuzionPR can build credibility and trust and it is a lot more cost effective compared to advertising, so the next time you are splitting your budget spend between advertising and PR get that balance right!

Edel Cox is a PR Consultant with Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Cork and Dublin

 

 


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