5 indisputable facts about millennials

abortion in Ireland

Much and more has been written about the heretofore unfathomable generation that came in between Gen X and Gen Z, but for some reason couldn’t just be known as Gen Y. Here, we examine some self-evident truths about the millennial generation, generally thought of as beginning in the early to mid 1980s and ending in the late nineties.

Here are the facts:

Millennials just do not want to work

Reports suggest that millennials are likely to last just eight months in a job. When you’re thinking about that in relation to their parents who spent 20-30 years in a job, ignore all the societal changes that have happened in that time and just jump on the headline. I mean, millennials LOVE working on precarious zero-hour and short term contracts – they add a little spontaneity to life! Not to mention unpaid internships, which give young people the opportunity to work 40 hours a week for free and get sarcastic comments about still living of their parents at 23.

Never mind that the secure, permanent, pensionable jobs our parents had largely don’t exist any more and we’re constantly reminded that robots are coming to take our jobs – that’s all somehow millennials own fault even though the generation that came before obviously laid all the groundwork but own none of the responsibility.

mILLENNIALS ARE SPECIAL LITTLE SNOWFLAKES WHO TAKE OFFENCE AT EVERY LITTLE THING

Millennials are such social justice warriors that you can’t say anything to these days – I mean, you’re not even allowed make one little wildly racist, homophobic or sexist joke or comment and suddenly you’re trending on Twitter and people are calling for your resignation. For just one ‘hilarious’ rape joke or use of the N-word, careers are going down the drain. Couldn’t they just lighten up?

In this politically-correct-gone-mad climate, millennials have created a scenario where you’ve got to be respectful of all of the different minorities all the time. It’s obviously made life a lot easier for members of those minority groups, but it has also mildly inconvenienced some privileged middle class people, and millennials just never seem to worry about that.

MILLENNIALS ARE BANKRUPTING THEMSELVES WITH AVOCADO TOAST AND FLAT WHITES

Compounded by the abject laziness described above, millennials lead self-indulgent lifestyles, overspending on fancy coffees and hipster-ish snacks. Don’t they know that if they saved the €30-40 they’re spending on this stuff each week and made their own lunches like their frugal parents, they’d have a deposit saved up for a small three-bedroom home on the outskirts of Dublin in a mere 15-20 years.

Foolish millennials are choosing to actively enjoy their youth rather than scrimping and saving to participate in a rat race for a home in a completely avoidable and unnecessary housing crisis they did nothing to create but must also somehow accept most of the blame for. Don’t ask their parents why they continually voted in governments that abolished social and affordable housing scheme and axed the First Time Buyers Grant – millennials should have had the foresight to see that one coming and invested their Communion money more wisely.

Millennials are living out an extended ADOLESCENce – they don’t even drive

Dumb millennials can’t even get it together to have the thousands – or tens of thousands – of euro it costs to buy a car, and then insure it, tax it, repair it, fuel it and pay for somewhere to park it each year. Instead, these city slickers are choosing to walk, cycle or – get this – take public transport to work.

Despite the obvious benefits this has for their personal finances, the environment, and congestion in the cities they live in, this is really just more evidence of a generation that refuses to grow up.

Millennials can’t put their phones down and have a decent conversation

Let’s choose not to examine why perpetuating the cliches above might encourage millennials to find solace in a WhatsApp group conversation exchanging memes with 14 of their closest friends instead of engaging with you, the generation who raised them to be who they are and now constantly criticises them for being who they are. Older generations can never have any part of the blame for anything because respect your elders.

If iPhones had been around when your parents were young, they would have used them only to find useful, practical information and not for recreational purposes.

Millennials are to blame for all the things because they are the worst. Let’s ignore the fact that going back as far as the Ancient Greeks, every generation has had some version of “Young people these days don’t know how good they have it”, because millennials really are just the worst.

They’re just facts, sorry if it offends you, snowflake.

 

ABOUT KATIE

katie-harrington-ireland

I’m a 29-year-old travel and lifestyle blogger from Galway, Ireland. 

I’m passionate about seeing the world and meeting people from different countries. I love noticing the similarities and differences between people around the world. In a divided world, I genuinely believe that experiencing other cultures first hand is one of the best ways to combat prejudice.

In between travel, I write about Irish events, restaurants, and news, as well as opinion pieces on topical issues.

Stopover in Dubai: Cheap things to see and do

Dubai is known as a playground for the rich and famous, so it’s no surprise that it’s also perceived as hugely expensive. While Dubai definitely can be hard on your pocket, it doesn’t have to be. If you’ve got a stopover in Dubai and you’re looking for cheap things to see and do, this is the post for you. Whether you’re looking for culture, food, entertainment or nightlife options that won’t break the bank, I’ve got you covered.

  1. TAKE AN ABRA RIDE ACROSS THE DUBAI CREEK (COST AED3/ US$0.82)

stopover in dubai things to doThat’s right – it costs less than a dollar cross the Dubai Creek on a traditional abra – a small boat like a gondala – and it’s a great way to see the contrasts of old and new Dubai. It’s also really beautiful around dusk if you choose to go then. For this price, you share with other passengers, but if you want the whole thing to yourself, you can do that for AED60 (USD16) – or less if you’re better at bargaining than I am.

  1. EAT SOME INSANELY GOOD PAKISTANI FOOD (COST AED15/ US$4.08)

For Dubai residents, a trip to Ravi’s in Old Dubai is something of a rite of passage. In a city bursting with five star hotels, the humble picnic tables and chairs can be a welcome sign of authenticity. Pakistani cuisine tends to pack a punch, so it’s not for the faint hearted, but for lovers of spicy food, it’s a taste sensation. It’s also extremely budget friendly. If you order your own food Western-style you can expect to pay AED15-20 per person – that’s four or five dollars – but it’s much more fun to order a few starters and main courses together and share.

  1. HIT THE BEACH (FREE!)

stopover in dubaiAlthough it can be difficult to spend time on the beach in the sweltering summer months, visitors coming to Dubai between late September and April can soak up the sun at one of Dubai’s public beaches. If you want to have a few drinks or some food while you’re at it, Barasti is a popular beach bar close to Dubai Marina that can get a little crazy on weekend nights but is a perfect spot for sunbathing during the day.

Read: What to see and do on a long weekend in Marrakech

  1. Get Lost in Dubai Mall(FREE)

When is a mall not just a mall? Well, when it has an aquarium (with sharks), an ice skating rink, world-class sculptures, a traditional-style ‘souk’ area, and so much more going on. Located right by Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountains (more on that below). The Dubai Mall is about so much more than shopping – it’s an experience! It’s the ideal place to window shop, and a great place to kill a few hours if you’re visiting in the hot summer months when outdoors options are off-limits.

  1. EXPLORE EMIRATI HISTORY AT DUBAI MUSEUM  AND AL FAHIDI FORT(COST AED3/ US$0.82)

Have you ever wondered what life was like in Dubai before oil was struck? It’ll cost you less than a dollar to find out. You can explore desert life, what Emirati homes looked like, and find out about everything from Arabic coffee, to agriculture, to military history.

  1. Snap a selfie at burj khalifa and WATCH THE SPECTACULAR DUBAI FOUNTAINS SHOW (FREE)

    stopover in dubaiDubai is, of course, home to the world’s tallest building – Burj Khalifa (Burj is the Arabic word for tower, and Khalifa was one of the Abu Dhabi Sheikh’s who bailed Dubai out during the recession). Don’t miss the opportunity for a cheesy selfie! It’s located right next to the Dubai Fountains, where an amazing fountain show is set to music every half hour after dusk.

If you’ve got money to spend, you can go up to the 123rd floor and watch the show from above at the bar, but on a backpacker’s budget, the view from the ground is still pretty amazing.

Read: 48 hours in Bristol, England

  1. GET SPOILED AT ONE OF DUBAI’S MANY LADIES’ NIGHTS (FREE)

stopover in dubai things to doSushi and bubbles at the Ritz Carlton, darling? Just one of the many Ladies’ nights in Dubai where women are offered complimentary drinks. After a long day of exploring all Dubai has to offer, treat yourself to a cheeky free drink. Find out which hotels are running offers on the nights you’re in town by checking the Time Out Dubai listings.

Ready to get going?

These tips should be more than enough to keep you busy on your visit to Dubai without breaking the bank. And if you’re an expat thinking about moving to Dubai, check out my post comparing life in Dubai to life in Doha.

Have you got other tips for cheap or free things to do on a stopover in Dubai? Let me know in the comments section.

ABOUT KATIE

katie-harrington-ireland

I’m a 29-year-old travel and lifestyle blogger from Galway, Ireland. 

I’m passionate about seeing the world and meeting people from different countries. I love noticing the similarities and differences between people around the world. In a divided world, I genuinely believe that experiencing other cultures first hand is one of the best ways to combat prejudice.

In between travel, I write about Irish events, restaurants, and news, as well as opinion pieces on topical issues.

Creating a Corporate Social Responsibility strategy that makes sense

Corporate Social Responsibility strategy

These days, most companies small and large recognise the importance of integrating with the communities they work in. This can take the form of corporate social responsibility, advocacy, environmentally-friendly policies and sustainability.

A great way to connect with the people in your community is to choose an organisation they care about to partner with and dedicate time and money to them. But don’t make the same mistake lots of companies do – approaching charity donations and community engagement on an ad hoc basis. Put some thought into it and you’ll get better results.

Here are some thoughts on why and how you should get started with your next CSR campaign:

  • It ingratiates your organisation in the community

    One of the most important reasons for a Corporate Social Responsibility strategy is that it builds goodwill with your customers and with the communities in which you operate. There may be times when your company has to make unpopular decisions or gets pulled into controversy, so it’s important to have that bank of goodwill to draw upon.  If your organisation is seen purely as a corporate entity whose only priority is making as much money as it possibly can, people won’t have any sympathy when a scandal breaks out. On the other hand, if your organisation is generally seen as part of the community, people will make allowances and give the benefit of the doubt.

Read: How to prepare a holding statement in a crisis

  • It earns coverage in the media

Developing a strong Corporate Social Responsibility strategy is a great way to get earned media coverage (that means editorial coverage that you don’t pay for). Generally speaking, news outlets don’t want to do any free advertising for companies, but one notable exception to this is when organisations do something impactful for youth groups, community schemes, vulnerable people or less fortunate groups in society.  Campaigns like this generate much-sought after positive headlines. It’s important to note that your priority should be making an impact for the groups you work with first, and earning friendly media coverage second.

Read: Journalists and Public Relations pros: The great divide 

  • It boosts staff morale and supports recruitment

    Millennials in particular want to work for organisations that have values and stand for something more than generating profit and the bottom line. Giving back feels good. Working with your colleagues to make something happen in your community feels good. Knowing that the company you work for cares about things beyond the bottom line feels good. Coming together, outside of work projects, to work toward a higher purpose feels good. A strong Corporate Social Responsibility strategy can have a positive impact on recruiting top talent and retaining the people you’ve got.

     

So, how do I create a strong Corporate Social Responsibility strategy?

  • Partner with an organisation that makes sense for your company

    Think about the challenges your organisation faces in the towns and cities that you work in. If a lot of people sleep rough in your area, create a campaign around supporting the homeless, like Amazon did when it shared it’s building with the homeless community in San Francisco.  If parents at your organisation and across the community struggle with childcare, consider supporting local after-school groups and summer camps by sponsoring free places, or lowering the overall cost for all kids. If you struggle to recruit graduates of law, engineering or any other sector, consider sponsoring a scholarship place at a nearby university for a local student.Your employees will buy into your Corporate Social Responsibility strategy if they can see the logic you used when choosing which charities, community groups and local organisations you partner with and they can see and feel the benefits. If you want to really engage your employees in the process, shortlist three worthy organisations and let them vote on which one you choose.

  • Think about the long term

    Changing who you partner with and donate to annually can be a bit of a logistical nightmare, it gets confusing, and it doesn’t really allow the charity or community group to truly benefit from your long-term support. Stick with the group you’ve chosen for three years before you reassess. Your support for them will become common knowledge over time which will really help with the community engagement and media exposure discussed above, and more importantly, they’ll be able to initiate longer-term projects in the knowledge that the funding isn’t going to get cut off unexpectedly.

  • Make it easy for your employees to donate their time and money

    Very few people have €120 in their pockets to give to charity and community groups, but lots of people can afford €10 per month, which over the course of a year amounts to the same thing. Allow your employees to set up a payroll deduction that goes straight to the charity. If 100 employees each agree to donate €10/month, that’s already €1,000/month or €12,000/year, which is a tremendous amount of money for most charities.And that’s just the start. Give your employees one ‘charity day’ per year, that they can use any way they want to raise money for your chosen organisation from running a marathon to organising a table quiz to holding a bake sale. To really encourage your employees’ competitive spirit, sponsor a prize for the department that raises the most money.

So, those are just a few important factors to take into account when you’re developing a Corporate Social Responsibility strategy or a sustainability campaign. What have I missed? What does your organisation do to give back to the communities you work in? Let me know in the comments!

public-relations-katie-harringtonKatie Harrington is a Communications and Content professional based in Dublin, Ireland. Her book, Strategic Communications: The Science Behind the Art launched in November 2016. Katie has worked with global brands including Emirates Airline and Allianz, as well as in the Irish parliament and Qatar’s semi-government oil and gas company Nakilat. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Your PowerPoint is boring me to death: Here are 3 alternatives

Is there anything more tedious than listening to someone talk their way through a long, dull deck? Face it guys, PowerPoint is boring. It’s the default mode of presenting, and I understand why that is;  it’s easy, familiar, cheap, and you can store it on a USB key.

It’s not exactly innovative though.

If you’re presenting on something genuinely important, whether it’s earning a promotion or pitching for new business, it might be time to try something new. If you’re aiming to be memorable, dare to be different.

6 mistakes that murder your PR pitch

Here are three ideas for something new that’s bound to set you apart from your competitors. Try them, combine them and enhance them – and don’t forget to leave me a comment on your best alternatives to a snooze-fest presentation.

1. Try TED-style storytelling

While TED speakers often have slides or some video in the background to add to their talks, the content of the slides is never the primary focus. TED speakers are coached in taking topics that are complicated, breaking them down to a level that almost anyone can understand, and most importantly, wrapping the idea up in a relatable, interesting story.

Check out Derek Silvers three-minute video below talking about how to start a movement:

It’s a story that’s told in the kind of language we use every day, it’s human, and it’s easy to listen to. Strong oral skills are vital for this kind of presentation, because people respond well to confidence and charisma. If you don’t feel those areas are your strong suit, don’t worry, because those are features that to a large extent can be learned.  Make sure to put plenty of practice in.

2. Let’s get visual

Please, oh please, spare me the dated stock photos. You can do so much better. If you’re going to use background imagery, choose pictures that are vibrant and colourful. All you need to create a decent behind-the-scenes video these days is an iPhone, a mic and a tripod. If you’ve got a graphic designer on your team (or even a very modest freelancer budget for the likes of UpWork), you can create all kinds of good stuff – Can you tell your story in the form of a comic strip? Would that eyesore of a table of numbers come across better as an infographic?

powerpoint is boring

For a real wow factor, could you bring a cartoonist into the meeting with you? Or a graffiti artist? With nothing but a marker and a blank sheet of paper, could you create a picture together that shows how you’re going to get from where you are now to where you need to be? Don’t let a culture of “we’ve always done it that way” kill your creativity.

3. Get your audience involved with some gamification

Keep your audience interested by making them participate. Listening to one person speak for any more than a couple of minutes will send anyone into a stupor. Do Dragon’s Den-style demonstrations (I think the US version is called Shark Attack, American friends). Pass around prototypes and props and ask for live feedback.

With larger audiences, you can use polling apps to carry out quizzes and surveys on the spot. Ask interesting questions that will make your audience think twice. Give out a spot prize to someone who gets a tough question right. Pit one half of the room against the other to bring out their competitive spirits. Gamify the experience to increase their interest.

Stop wasting your time and your money on newswires

So there you have it – a bunch of alternatives to the same old, same old. Maybe these ideas won’t work for every single presentation. There are, of course, times when the faithful old PowerPoint may just be the best option. But when you really want to make a splash, taking a chance on one of these ‘crazy’ ideas just might work.

What are your thoughts? Am I being too harsh, or do you think PowerPoint is boring too? I want to hear from you in the comments!

powerpoint is boringKatie Harrington is a Communications and Content professional based in Dublin, Ireland. Her book, Strategic Communications: The Science Behind the Art launched in November 2016. Katie has worked with global brands including Emirates Airline and Allianz, as well as in the Irish parliament and Qatar’s semi-government oil and gas company Nakilat. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

 

 

 

Dear Women: Want equal pay? Stop cosseting the men in your life

equal pay

Every time an article like Kevin Myers’ distasteful attack on women’s right to equal pay in the workplace appears, comments sections are rife with men claiming they earn more simply because they deserve to – because they are more capable, work harder, do longer hours and take fewer sick days.

Let’s take a second to smash the idea that women are less capable or less willing to pieces:

When it comes to academics, we’re killing it – and the same can be said for our early careers; employment rates in Ireland for female graduates are higher than those of their male classmates; most young doctors in Ireland are female, and the unemployment rate in March 2017 was 6.9% for men compared with 5.8% for women.

So let’s just dispense with the idea that women are incapable or unwilling to work.

And let’s take a second to really grasp how endemic this problem is; Brian Dobson gets paid tens of thousands more than Sharon Ni Bheolain at RTE for doing exactly the same job, Micheline Sheehy Skeffington was awarded €70,000 after being discriminated against in her role as a senior lecturer at NUIG, with four further cases pending, and women continue to be wildly underrepresented in the Oireachtas and Seanad.

There are a myriad of historical, cultural and socio-economic factors at play. possibly the most significant of which is the arrival of little ones on to the scene. Let’s examine a few of the reasons why women who compete so strongly with men in their teens and early 20s drop off the radar as they get older.

INTRODUCING YOUR INVISIBLE, UNPAID PERSONAL ASSISTANT

Almost from the moment they enter a relationship, men outsource the management of their social lives, travel plans, and familial obligations to the women in their lives (“Did you pick up a birthday present for my Mam? Is there a card to go with it? No, you write it”). Unfortunately I can’t offer any hard evidence in this regard – there’s no data available – but the mountain of anecdotal evidence is undeniable.

As the relationship gets more serious, the list of things women hold primary responsibility for expands; cooking, childcare, groceries, making sure the bills get paid, booking dentist appointments, laundry and housekeeping, to name but a few.

Men can afford to spend those extra few hours in the office because women are picking up the slack in every single other aspect of their lives – as well as working full-time in many cases.

This status quo suits men down to the ground, and they’re not going to change it unless we as women decide to stop doing these things for them.

“I can’t remember the last time I booked a flight” a successful male friend told me recently. “At work the PA does it, and at home my personal PA does it”, he said, with a cheeky wink at his wife, who has a successful career herself.

Another male friend recently asked if I wanted to go to a football match, and when I said yes he replied: “Are there tickets available for it?” He and I have access to the same information online, but the implication was clear; I should take over the organisation and planning. “Google it” I replied to his text, resisting the urge to add “I’m not your secretary.” Even in platonic situations – a meal with friends, a weekend away, the responsibility for organising, planning and booking most often falls to the ladies – and like eejits, we do it.

The much vaunted Irish Mammy must take a certain share of the blame for this, for that’s where the cycle of indulging young men and burdening young women with this type of invisible, unpaid life admin starts.

BUT WOMEN TAKE MORE SICK DAYS THAN MEN…

It is a fact that women take more sick days than men, but the evidence suggests that’s because men take too few rather than because women take too many.

Women are more in touch with their own health than men are, so they take time off when they need to – unlike men who are more likely to ignore health problems, choosing not to take care of their physical and mental health, which can have terrible repercussions, including an epidemic of suicide among young men. Seen in this context, fewer sick days is not necessarily something to be lauded.

In most cases, when a parent has to care for a sick child, they need to take time off work themselves – and in most cases, it’s Mam is left holding the baby while Dad goes into the office as normal. In order for mothers to succeed at work, fathers need to take on more of that burden.

TIME TO MAN UP?

The bottom line is that for women to thrive, men need to take more responsibility – for themselves and for their children.

All that life admin that your wife/ girlfriend/ mother/ female friends are taking care of for you right now adds up and it takes a toll. It adds hours to a woman’s day and impacts her stress levels.

And women, let’s stop underestimating men’s ability to look after themselves and to fully play their part in friendships, relationships and family life.

Agree or disagree? Leave me a comment.

 

Flirting with frugality: My attempt to become less consumed by consumerism

Let’s dive right into this guys. There are three things I know to be true about my financial situation:

  1. I am a fully grown adult
  2. I make a decent living – I earn more than a lot of people my age (29)
  3. I am consistently broke

It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it’s true. The ‘why’ isn’t hard to figure out – the short version is that I have been living beyond my means for the last couple of years. During the five years when I was living as an expat in Dubai and Doha, I got a little bit spoilt. I was young and single, earning good money in countries where I paid no income tax.

Why wouldn’t I treat myself to manicures and massages? Prior to giving up drinking, bottomfrugalityless champagne brunches were the norm. Expensive holidays happened multiple times per year (No regrets on that front to be honest – Kenya and Morocco were worth every penny). And why would I bother cleaning my own apartment, cooking or washing my own clothes when I could afford to hire people to take care of all of that? I was profligate.

Shouldn’t I have been saving some of that money? Well, I kind of sort of saved a little bit along the way, and that was good enough at the time for responsibility-free me.

At the end of 2015, I moved back to Ireland. While I made some adjustments to reflect the fact the double whammy that had hit my income – I was earning a lower salary and paying taxes now,  I never really got out of the bad habits I picked up in the Middle East – eating out all the time, spending my money carelessly and paying people to take care of things I could easily do myself.

In the last month, I’ve put myself in considerable financial difficulty with a couple of poor decisions:

  • I bought tickets to see Ed Sheeran in both Dublin and Galway because I didn’t know which gig most of my friends would be going to
  • I didn’t like the crappy Samsung phone my new job was going to give me so instead of taking it (for free), I put €450 of my own money toward it and got a new iPhone 7 instead

The result? I have a huge credit card bill on top of the two small loans I had previously. It’s not a massive amount of debt, but there is absolutely no way I should be in debt at all. My savings are about 3-4 times what I owe, but for good reason they are locked away in a 7-day withdrawal account.

The buck stops here.

I’m almost 30. I have a decent career and good opportunities. I don’t have to live like this – knowing that as soon as my salary comes in most of it is accounted for already. A few months of frugality would clear my debts and leave me with the ‘fiscal space’ to really start saving for a mortgage. I want to buy a place in a nice part of Dublin, and if that’s ever going to be possible, I have to start planning now.

If you relate, you might want to follow my adventures over the course of August as I dip my toe into the world of frugality – cooking my own meals, doing my own chores (I know, #firstworldproblems) and finding free or almost free ways to have fun.

I’ve been reading the Frugalwoods blog for the last few weeks, and while I don’t plan to take it to their extremes, I’m hoping to put some of their tips into action.

My goal for this month? I’d like to still have some money in my account coming into my next payday. That might seem like a modest start, but it’s more than I’ve achieved in quite a while!

Have you ever tried to cut down dramatically on your outgoings? Let me know how it went in the comments. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Facebook!

 

Stop wasting money: 3 ways to reduce your Communications and Marketing budget

Communications and Marketing budget

There are certain communications and marketing activities that we undertake year in, year out, without really thinking about it. We do them not because they add value to our businesses, but because conventional wisdom says we should, or because our competitors are doing it, or because the guys on the Sales team really enjoyed that event last year.

These “we do that every year” events and activities are often taken as a given, and rarely come in for any genuine attempts at calculating return on investment.

Trimming the fat from your Communications and Marketing budget

  1. Scale back Corporate Hospitality

I’d put money on this – none of your clients or stakeholders are choosing whom to give vital business to based on rugby or F1 tickets. There are a few reasons why expensive corporate hospitality packages are popular; it gives your Sales or Account Management team an easy way to claim they are building a relationship with clients without ever really having to prove that it’s resulting in business decisions going their way. Also, they LOVE going to these high profile events themselves so they will always back them.

If you are sending a team to a big event with a group of clients of potential clients, set goals for what will come out of the event e.g. we’re going to get three meetings set up with Tier 1 clients in the next quarter out of this event.

  1. Ban bullshit award ceremonies

I’ve written extensively about how most corporate award ceremonies are a sham here. If you have to pay a huge amount to enter or to attend, you’re essentially buying an award.

The justifications for this are often that these awards lend credibility in the market and that competitors are doing it so we really don’t have a choice. Stop.

For the first statement, ask yourself if that’s really true – is the award in question an industry-leading award, is it the Oscars of your sector? If so, go right ahead and try and win it.

Usually, though, it’s a make-y up-y award ceremony concocted by a marketing company two years ago. (One telltale sign of this is when a company’s sole business seems to be awards – this week they’ll be having an award ceremony for financial services, next week healthcare, the following week oil and gas)

As for your competitors, who cares what they’re doing. You’re a leader, not a follower, right? If they jumped off a bridge, would you. Ugh, you probably would. Stop being such a sheep.

  1. Axe Exhibitions and Conferences

How many poorly organized, badly attended conferences, exhibitions and trade-shows must we attend before we say enough? We spend tens of thousands on them only to return tired, with maybe a handful of contacts and a general sense of how our competitors are doing, but little else. We convince ourselves that the team got a lot of networking done, when we know in our hearts that most of the people in attendance were too junior to be genuine decision-makers.

And while we’re on the topic, how much exactly did you spend on those tacky branded freebies? Trust me on this one – nobody is deciding where to spend their money based on that USB key with your logo on it. Sure, we’ll take it – everybody loves free stuff – but no, it didn’t do anything significant to raise your brand’s profile.

So, what should you be doing to build relationships with clients and customers?

Hold bespoke events where you won’t be fighting with 25 of your competitors for your clients’ attention. Sell on the quality of your products and services, not the tickets you can get them or the ‘awards’ you’ve won – clients see right through all that anyway.

If you’ve got decent offices, you can even consider the most budget-friendly option of all – having it in-house.

If that’s not an option, try something a bit different; an Afternoon Tea at a nice hotel might cost €25/head and it gives you a chance to actually sit down and speak to people, or find out what charities or causes are important to them and invite them to a Corporate Social Responsibility event that matches the profile so you can connect with them on a human level.

If all else fails and you’ve only got a small amount of money with which to make a big impact, stop over-complicating things and just stick it behind the bar. There’s a long history of rapport being built over beer and pizza; friendships can be formed, relationships can blossom and – yes – business can be won.

So, who’s in favour? Let me know in the comment section if you’re onboard with my no-BS approach to allocating your Communications and Marketing budget. Any other tips for trimming the fat?

 

About Me

public-relations-katie-harringtonKatie Harrington is a Public Relations professional based in Galway, Ireland. Her book, Strategic Communications: The Science Behind the Art launched in November. Katie has worked with global brands including Emirates Airline and Allianz, as well as the Irish parliament and Qatar’s semi-government oil and gas company Nakilat. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Dating in Dublin: An intro to Intro.ie

Here’s the background guys: I’m 28, single and getting tired of meeting men through Bumble and Tinder. Having heard lots of ads on the radio for Intro.ie – Ireland’s leading matchmaking site, I decided to give it a go.

I submitted my details to the site, and got a call from one of the owners very soon after. The co-owner, F talked me through the process and gave me some dodgy statistics suggesting that there are three women for every man in Dublin (Bullshit – I actually checked). He told me that to be introduced to five men over five dates, it would cost a not insubstantial €895. Still, I wanted to give it a go, and agreed to give a €100 deposit over the phone.

intro-ie-dating-in-dublin

With just a few minutes to spare over lunch, I had asked if we could do the necessary face-to-face stuff (I.D., payment, photo) there and then, and do the rest of the consultation over the phone. F happily agrees.

The consultation itself is pretty generic, with questions on what music, films and sports you’re interested in, whether you have or want kids, and a few questions on the type of person you would like to meet. In itself, this is more detailed than what you would get on most dating apps, but no more detailed than an e-harmony or OKCupid.

So far, myself and F are getting on beautifully.

Then, we start to talk about travelling for dates.

Intro.ie says no one will ever have to travel more than 90 minutes, that’s their policy, so in theory you could be matched with someone who lives up to three hours away. I tell F my preference would be to be matched with people who are based in Dublin, Galway or anywhere around or in between those two cities (Kildare, Wicklow, Westmeath, Offally, Roscommon, Mayo).

I tell him that since I go back to Galway quite frequently, that’s what would make sense for me. Some far-flung county like Cork or Kerry would be pretty difficult logistically, not to mention the fact that long-distance relationships are hard, especially when you’re just getting to know someone.

F’s face hardens. His posture changes. The tone of his voice develops a stern edge and he arranges his hands in an arch. “That’s exactly what we can’t do” he says. He goes over their 90 minute rule again. I say that’s fine, but given that 40% of the country’s population gives in the Greater Dublin Area, the parameters I’m hoping for should be quite workable.

Now F is mad.

Did I not understand the rules? Did I need his wife to come in and explain it? Was I even taking this seriously? F points out that I rescheduled the original appointment, and that I say I’m pushed for time (I am – they only open from 9-5.30, you know, the hours when people are usually at work.)

“Most people put time into this” he says snippily.

READ: You can’t even have morning sex

I feel under attack now.

All I’ve said is I’d like to meet someone I’d be able to see more than once a week? It’s not like I’m asking to be set up with someone from my hometown of 800 people – I’ve given a pretty broad range.

F is having none of it. I tell him I feel like he’s being a bit overly aggressive. He goes off on a rant about the fact that he’s the expert at this, and about all the clients they turn away.

I tell F that I would rather go forward with a different consultant. F tells me he thinks it’s better I don’t work with them at all. I’m fine with that – at this point I wouldn’t take his advice about where I should get my dry cleaning done, never mind a relationship. I tell him that’s okay, but that since it didn’t work out, I’d expect my €100 deposit back.

READ: 5 reasons girls don’t reply to you on Tinder

“Absolutely not” says F.

I tell F I’d like to speak to his wife, the co-owner of the company. He storms out, and in a room nearby I can hear him shouting. This guy is going to help me find a relationship? He’s flipping out over a really minor disagreement – to say I don’t trust his judgement would be a massive understatement. He and his wife come back into the room.

I tell her that if they find me a great match in Cork or Kerry I’m in – I’m not ruling anything out – but that it’s not my first preference (duh?) More importantly, I tell her that the chemistry isn’t right with F and that if we’re going to go forward it would have to be with a different consultant.

She says the company is too small, and that I’d need to be okay with dealing with F as well. I’m not. He’s standing in the corner, visibly seething. R professionally suggests that we part ways and offers to refund my deposit. She is definitely the saner of the two.

I agree, and I walk back to my office feeling absolutely bewildered.

I find myself wondering how many other women and men F has spoken to like that, how many walked away without saying anything because they’re not the type to cause a fuss when someone makes them feel uncomfortable. Intro claim they turn away 15 people a day, but the place looked pretty quiet when I was there.

I can only assume the success they have had to date is down to a combination of being first-to-market with the idea and advertising heavily. After all, if any of us set a friend up on five different dates, the chances are that at least one would be successful, no?

That night, I logged back into Bumble, updated my profile and got back in the game. I had a date set up within the hour. Then I called Two’s Company, one of Intro’s competitors; I got a much better vibe off them, and their starter package is €200 cheaper. So if I go with them, there’ll be a follow-up post on that.

Have any of you had experiences with match making? Did you go to a professional or leave it up to your friends (or your mother?) Leave me a comment 

 

How to create a B2B Digital Content Strategy

The concept of Content Marketing is still in its infancy, and in large part when we talk about it, we focus on consumer brands.  Today I want to talk a little bit about that the background to B2C Content Marketing, before moving on to talk about how it differs to the even more recently established idea of building a B2B Digital Content Strategy.

The principle of using digital content to attract your target audience is almost like the opposite of advertising; with advertising, you spend a certain amount of money in the hopes of reaching your target audience with a message that is primarily designed to sell your products or services. You hope you’re getting in front of the right people, but you can never be sure, and it’s difficult to figure out what stage of the buyer’s journey your potential customers or clients are at.

Content Marketing works by attracting people who are interested in your products and services to your site by providing them with useful, relevant, actionable and entertaining information. By providing value to your audience up front, you build a relationship with them on their terms, and establish trust. Some common B2C methods of Content Marketing include hair and beauty brands that upload tutorials on how best to use their products on YouTube, personal trainers who post photos with exercise tips on Instagram or marketeers who give away free ebooks.

When it comes to creating B2B Digital Content Strategy, the focus is less on the ‘infotainment’ style of content we often see with consumer brands, and much more strongly focused on thoroughly researched insights, thought leadership and immediately actionable information.  Hard data is important, and should be complemented with high-level interpretations of the data and other industry challenges and trends from senior leaders. Struggling to figure out what your clients want that kind of insight on? Don’t guess; just ask them.

If you’re thinking about developing a B2B Digital Content Strategy, check out our recent presentation below where we cover:

  • How to develop content from scratch
  • B2B Influencer Marketing
  • Gaining buy-in from employees and senior leaders
  • Measuring Impact and ROI

Don’t forget to leave us a comment with your thoughts on B2B Digital Content Strategies, and how they differ from B2C.

public-relations-katie-harringtonKatie Harrington is a Communications and Content Marketing professional based in Galway, Ireland. Her book, Strategic Communications: The Science Behind the Art launched in November. Katie has worked with global brands including Emirates Airline and Allianz, as well as the Irish parliament and Qatar’s semi-government oil and gas company Nakilat. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

 

On the Bus Eireann drivers currently holding Ireland’s most vulnerable to ransom

For more than two weeks now, elderly people in Galway have had no public transport, parents in the city – especially single parents – have struggled to get their kids to school, and ordinary working people like me who don’t drive have been spending hundreds of euro we don’t have to get to work and back.

Galway’s traffic, famously bad at the best of times, has worsened considerably.

Why?

Well, you’d have to be hiding under a rock not to know that Bus Eireann have been on an all-out strike for more than a fortnight.

I support the right to strike. Collective bargaining is a powerful tool for the workforce. When employees are being taken advantage of and treated unjustly, I actively support their right to withdraw their labour as a demonstration of the importance of the jobs they do.

Abusing the right to strike, on the other hand, is simply a case of holding the Irish people to ransom. So the question is, is the Bus Eireann strike just?

We know that the organisation made a loss last year, and we know that it’s making a bigger loss this year. We know that their wage bill is the single biggest factor in this loss, and we know that despite this, Bus Eireann is not making any redundancies or even suggesting a cut to basic wages. The organisation seems to be taking the actions it needs to in order to stay alive.

Bus Eireann proposed restructuring the companies overtime to save 12 million euro or 9% off their wage bill. Bus Eireann drivers rejected this, would agree to only 0.5 million euro in savings and declared an all out strike. Already in financial difficulty, the drivers have created a further multi-million euro black hole for the organisation through the strike as lame-duck Minister for Transport Shane Ross has steadfastly refused to get involved.

In any organisation, when losses are being felt, cuts have to be made. It’s a matter of logic. Refusing to talk about cuts to overtime is unreasonable. If the drivers were facing cuts to their basic pay, the public might feel more sympathy toward them, but their basic pay will be left untouched. Naturally, as a semi-state body, Bus Eireann drivers are among the most well-paid driving jobs in Ireland.

For the taxi drivers and other bus drivers in Galway who have been working overtime to help people get around, the salaries and entitlements Bus Eireann drivers have can only be dreamed of. This isn’t about preventing a race to the bottom – it’s about a sense of entitlement that pervades the public sector, a refusal to engage meaningfully in talks, a selfish disregard for the people they serve.

Asking the Irish people to bail the organisation out seems deeply unfair. I already pay twice over for every Bus Eireann trip I take – once by paying the fare and a second time through my taxes, which subsidise these driver’s salaries. I’m okay with that – but if the organisation needs to restructure their overtime to make the company feasible, maybe you just need to deal with that (or spend a week or two working in the private sector and decide which you prefer)

This strike has cost me about €400 so far, just in essential trips to work and to visit family in hospital. I’m deeply grateful that I can take a private service to visit my parents in Dunmore, and to get to Dublin, but I’m conscious that not everyone is so lucky.

The worst thing about it is that this strike isn’t sticking it to the man – it’s trampling on the most vulnerable in society. Pensioners are being deprived of their independence, Leaving Cert and Junior Cert students are facing disruption through their oral exams when they have more than enough to be stressed about, parents scrambling to put arrangements in place for their kids, and genuinely low-paid workers walking miles every day because they have no alternative. Tourists who bought tickets in advance are getting screwed over.

Put down the pickets and get back to work lads. Or stay out there, wait for Bus Eireann to go bankrupt, and throw in a CV to GoBus – you’ll have to up your customer service standards to get in with them though, they’re a really decent bunch of lads.

About Katie

katie-harrington-ireland

Katie Harrington is a 28-year-old travel and lifestyle blogger from Galway, Ireland. 

“I’m passionate about seeing the world and meeting people from different countries. I love noticing the similarities and differences between people around the world. In a divided world, I genuinely believe that experiencing other cultures first hand is one of the best ways to combat prejudice.

“In between travel, I write about Irish events, restaurants, and news, as well as opinion pieces on topical issues.”

 

 

 

 

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