Friday, January 30, 2009

The Philadelphia Bar Association to Host Legal Media Panel on February 23, 2009

Posted by Katie Noonan

The Philadelphia Bar Association will host a media panel, “Meet the Legal Media: How to Be a Great Resource” on Monday, February 23 in the Philadelphia Bar Association’s 11th Floor Conference Center on 1101 Market Street. The program will begin at 12PM.

The media panel will feature Jeff Blumenthal of the Philadelphia Business Journal, Mike Dunn of KYW Newsradio 1060, Lu Ann Cahn, Investigative Reporter at NBC, and Hank Grezlak of The Legal Intelligencer.

Lunch will be available to those who have made reservations and paid in advance via check or credit card. Individuals interested in attending can reserve their seat on the Philadelphia Bar Association Web site’s Calendar of Events. The cost of attendance and lunch is $8.00. Checks should be made payable to the Philadelphia Bar Association. Please direct all questions to Dawn Petit at 215-238-6367, or via email

Click here to register online.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

$25,000 Production Grant Available to Nonprofits

Furia Rubel's client, Allied Pixel has proudly announced a new program to benefit Philadelphia-area nonprofit organizations. Partners in Progress is a $25,000 grant for the production of a video, website or interactive application. Nonprofits in the greater Philadelphia region are eligible to apply.

One grant will be awarded per year.

If you know of a nonprofit that could benefit, please encourage them to apply. The application process is open now through March 31st, 2009. Visit them online to learn more.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Getting Back to Basics When Writing PR Plans

Posted by Katie Noonan

A very good post from Jim Ylisela of Ragan Communication’s blog “Face to Face,” has reminded PR practitioners to get back to the basics and ask these four simple questions when creating their PR plans.

1. What are you trying to do?
2. Who are you trying to reach?
3. What is the best medium to deliver your message?
4. What is the point of your message?

A public relations plan is a strategy for delivering your message to the right people, through the right mediums, in a way that will resonate. But Ylisela argues, and I agree, that today’s messages are too convoluted and overly complicated.

What do you want to accomplish through your PR plan? Ylisela says that you should be able to sum up your communications goal in one or two sentences. In other words, keep it simple and know what you’re trying to accomplish. This doesn’t have to include some lofty or overly complicated language. It can be as simple as: “Use social media more effectively to reach target audiences and increase their knowledge of our product.”

Knowing your target audience(s) is crucial. It can include both internal (within your organization) and external audiences (consumers, shareholders, etc). Once you determine your various audiences, it is important to tailor your message to individual groups. You should craft messages based on who needs or wants to know what, keeping in mind that everyone doesn’t need or want to know everything.

What is the best vehicle for delivering your message? It seems simple enough, but I suspect that some companies may be missing the mark. For example, the 18-24 set most commonly gets their news through referrals from their network i.e. someone posts a link on Facebook or tweets on Twitter and their friends pick up on it. So, if you’re targeting 18-24 year-olds, it may be a better use of your time and energy to target social media outlets rather than print publications, to which many people in that age group do not subscribe.

Why does anyone care? If you can’t determine why anyone will be interested in your news you can bet that it probably won’t reach your target audience. In fact, it will probably end up in the newsroom trashcan. Your reputation is everything. Don’t just release stories for the sake of doing so. Determine if it’s really newsworthy. If not, there are plenty of other ways to get your name out there in a positive manner, either through creating social media profiles, blogging, sponsoring events or networking.

These basic questions are the foundation for every public relations plan we write at Furia Rubel. According to Confucius, “life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” Substitute "PR" for “life” and that’s ThePRLawyer’s philosophy.

Chancellor of Philadelphia Bar Association, Sayde Ladov, Condems Two PA Judges Alleged Corruption

Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association, Sayde Ladov, Esq. of Offit/Kurman, has expressed outrage over recent news that two judges in Luzerne County, PA participated in a $2.6 million scheme to defraud taxpayers by taking kickbacks.

Read more about the scandal here.

It is reassuring to see that the Chancellor is committed to maintaining a high level of legal ethics in the state of Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

PR Lawyers Pet Peeve #5 – Balanced Representation: What’s Wrong With This Picture? - Ad Age’s Agency A-List

Posted by Gina Rubel

So folks – what’s wrong with this picture? Hmm? Robin Eley’s illustration is well done. All the men are wearing suits and ties. Four of them are promoting drinking alcohol out of a crystal decanter and glasses. I hope it was a good year. Did you figure it out yet? Well, let’s see:

1. Alex Bogusky, Co-Chairman, Crispin Porter Bogusky (MALE)
2. Lee Clow, Global Media Arts Director, TBWA (MALE)
3. Rich Silverstein, Co-Chairman, Goodby Silverstein & Partners (MALE)
3. (No – there is no #4) Jeff Goodby, Co-Chairman, Goodby Silverstein & Partners (MALE)
5. Paul Gunning, Worldwide CEO, Tribal DDB (MALE)
6. Scott Neslund, CEO, Mindshare (MALE)
7. Mike Hughes, President, Creative Director, Martin (MALE)
9. (No – there is no #8) Manny Vidal, Chairman-CEO, Vidal Partnership (MALE)
9. Bob Greenberg, Chairman-CEO-Global Chief Creative Officer, R/GA (MALE)
10. Linda Sawyer, CEO, Deutsch (Finally – a WOMAN!)

According to Ad Age, “the A-List is meant to recognize that success in today's agency landscape comes in a lot of different shapes and sizes.” The article says, “As you'll see, the current group spans disciplines, from general-market ad agencies to digital experts to media and direct shops. And the agencies are both independent and owned by holding companies and they ranged from single-office shops to sprawling global networks.”

Now, I certainly believe these agencies are successful and deliver measurable results to their clients – however, my pet peeve is that there is only one woman represented, which does the industry no justice. On top of that, is there really no diversity at the top? If this is a true depiction of the advertising industry, these shops have a lot of work to do.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Consumers Using Social Media for Buying Choices

Posted by Amanda Walsh

The growing value of consumer blogging is reiterated in this interesting article from Frank Washkuch found on recently. Research has shown that consumers have been using information from blogs and social networking sites to influence buying decisions. Internet product research has gone up while the clout of TV news broadcasts has gone down.

The study done by Ketchum, a large, international public relations agency, and the University of Southern California´s Annenberg Strategic PR Center revealed some interesting shifts in where consumers are seeking their information. Of those consumers who visit online shopping sites, 44% read consumer reviews and rely on feedback from their peers.

Out of the participants in the study, 24% said they read blogs and 26% use social networking Web sites. Search engine usage has remained the same, with about 59% of consumers using them to look for information. As a result, many PR professionals are utilizing search engine optimization (SEO)and making the most of Google.

These changes have also forced a difference in the way PR professionals are reaching their own audiences. Blogger relations and social-networking consulting have been added to traditional public relations job descriptions. PR professionals must broaden their scope of outreach beyond reporters and editors.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

CNN News Covers the Army Experience Center at Franklin Mills Mall

CNN News Coverage of Army Experience Center

By Leah Rice

The first ever Army Experience Center is located at the Franklin Mills Mall which is one of our clients. CNN featured the Army Experience Center today. Great public relations coverage. Check it out!

Looking to Law Firms for Strategies to Overcome Bad Economic Times

Posted by Amanda Walsh

This interesting article posted this week on by Michael Lasky, the head of the PR practice group at Davis & Gilbert LLP, shows that PR firms could stand to learn a thing or two from common law firm practices. All of these tips can also be applied across the board, from small businesses to corporations.

Due to current economic conditions, many law firms have experienced a decline in business along with many other industries. Still, not all are struggling- Lasky points out four lessons that can be learned from law firms that have flourished.
  • Successful law firms know their brand and have a clear idea of "who they are and where they want to go." This is also true for successful businesses. Evaluating your company or law firm's mission statement and branding strategy will help to narrow the focus and allow you to focus your energy where you're most successful.
  • Law firms review the firm's practice areas. Executives weigh options for cutting certain areas and re-focusing energy to others. This is the best way to optimize on the firm's strengths. Businesses can follow suit when weathering economic recessions by keeping in mind that just like the law industry tends to grow in areas such as bankruptcy and litigation support, many businesses may lose some areas, but benefit in others.
  • Lawyers maintain on-going client relationships. By continuing to foster important relationships through issuing progress reports, alerts and updates, your client gets a sense of your commitment to them. This will keep your company at the forefront of clients' minds in the future.
  • Law firms maintain open internal communications with employees. Silence only feeds rumors and anxiety about the strength of the company as a whole; therefore, management needs to make every effort to reassure employees.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Three Words PR Professionals Need to Avoid

Posted by Amanda Walsh

Certain words have become so ingrained in the PR industry that many professionals may find it hard to choose other word options. Drew Kerr, president and founder of the New York City-based public relations consultancy, Four Corners Communications, Inc., has put out a call to all PR professionals to eliminate the overused words "excited," "thrilled," and "honored" from their press releases.

During the past 60 days, Kerr searched Google News and found over 500 examples of "we are excited to be" in press releases about company executives! I agree with Kerr when he advises that a press release should talk about the benefits of the specific deal for all the parties involved, instead of simply saying how "excited" the CEO is to begin a new relationship. And, when writing about a newly-hired employee, be specific in their talents and skills that they are bringing to the company instead of simply stating, "thrilled."

Let's all get out our thesauruses and brainstorm other ways to describe new partnership deals or employee promotions! To read more about Kerr's thoughts, please go here.

10 Tips for Starting a Successful Blog

By Gina Rubel

I received a lovely compliment on Facebook from a public relations colleague regarding The PR Lawyer blog. He said, “I love your blog. It's so rich with content and seems to be the epitome of what they say a "corporate" blog should be.” First, I want to thank him! We’re honored.

He also asked about tips for getting started. Here is what I responded:

1. Find out what your audience wants and give them that.
2. Make sure your blog is branded.
3. Be transparent with what your posts.
4. Always have integrity.
5. Update at the very minimum three times per week.
6. Promote your blog in all of your communications.
7. Post news and commentary - be an information resource.
8. Encourage comments on your blog.
9. Provide links to articles and individuals when mentioned on your blog.
10. Have fun with your blog.

Happy blogging (and on a side note, “GO EAGLES.”). Can’t help but smile today!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Furia Rubel Brings Home Two PRSA Philadelphia Chapter Pepperpot Awards

The Philadelphia Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) recently awarded Furia Rubel Communications with two Pepperpot Awards for the firm’s public relations initiatives on behalf of the Montgomery Mall and GlaxoSmithKline Community Partnerships. Last month more than 250 public relations professionals from the Greater Philadelphia area gathered at the 40th annual PRSA Pepperpot Awards ceremony to celebrate the work of the public relations community and its outstanding campaigns.

Furia Rubel received a Pepperpot Award in the category of Special Events and Observances in recognition of the firm’s work with the Montgomery Mall during the 2007 holiday season. Montgomery Mall hired Furia Rubel as its agency of record to generate event awareness and visibility and to reach its target audiences in conjunction with the 2007 Santa Parade and Arrival and Black Friday. Media coverage reached more than 15 million. The Furia Rubel team also secured Don Polec of ABC 6’s Don Polec’s World as the event master of ceremonies to ride with Santa atop a fire truck and sign autographs during the parade.

Furia Rubel received a Pepperpot Public Service Campaign Ladle for the GlaxoSmithKline 11th Annual IMPACT Awards. The agency worked with GlaxoSmithKline Community Partnerships to create awareness and generate publicity around the 11th Annual IMPACT Awards, GlaxoSmithKline’s yearly philanthropic contribution to the Philadelphia region. Media coverage generated more than 45 million impressions.

“I am so thankful to have such a creative and loyal public relations team. We all enjoy the work we do for our clients. These awards are the result of true partnerships between our outstanding clients and dedicated staff of PR and media relations experts,” said Gina Rubel, President and CEO of Furia Rubel Communications.

About the PRSA Pepperpot Awards: The Greater Philadelphia region's equivalent of the national PRSA's Silver Anvil Award for excellence, the Pepperpots were named in 1968 by Bill Parker, APR, then-Chapter President and leader of Campbell Soup Communications. Parker suggested the name to conjure up excitement, liveliness, and good-humored intrigue, saying, "Like Philly's famous soup, we put everything we have into all of our public relations campaigns." The famous pepper pot soup originated during Washington's siege at Valley Forge. When Washington demanded a stomach-filling dish for his soldiers, the cook, after remarking, "There are only a few scraps in the kitchen," produced this fragrant soup. Tripe, peppercorns and all the scraps went into the caldron and made this excellent soup.

About Furia Rubel Communications, Inc.: Furia Rubel provides expert strategic planning, public relations, crisis communications, mergers and acquisitions, and media relations programs to a wide array of industries and companies internationally. The PR agency serves law firms, professional service firms, business-to-business organizations, retail property management businesses, pharmaceutical companies, non-profit institutions and more. Furia Rubel develops and executes proactive communication plans that enhance their clients’ brands, develop business, boost their reputations and increase their bottom lines. For more information, visit

Monday, January 05, 2009

­ How to Make This Your Most Productive Year Ever

Each year we start the year thinking about our goals, our job, our health, all the ‘new’ routines and commitments we make to ourself to make this our best year yet… but two weeks into January all our planning and resolution goes out the window! You can make this your best year ever by applying some of these simple ideas (and print this article, keep it handy and re-read to keep you on track).

Make a date. Make time in your schedule to find a quiet, comfortable location to set your goals. I spend a morning at my favourite local cafe in January every year to review my goals and set new ones for the year ahead. Find a local restaurant or cafĂ© and spend time doing the same – support your local businesses.

Take five. Create five categories for which to set goals: physical, educational, spiritual, financial, and relational. By setting goals for each of these areas of your life, you will be taking a balanced approach and not neglecting any important aspects of your life.

Use it or lose it! I recently read – people who spend a thousand dollars or more each year on their personal development will increase their business by 20 percent. Read more books, attend Chamber of Commerce or industry workshops, attend a business card exchanges, listen to CDs in your car, do online courses or enrol at college or university. Keep your brain active.

Make time. Eliminate time-robbers from your day – make a list of all the things you do that rob you of your time, such as watching too much TV, running errands inefficiently, checking and responding to your email too often, making long phone calls, waiting in traffic and even other people. Focus on controlling your time – organising your day efficiently and getting rid of the things in your life that are not a high priority.

Out of sight, out of mind. Remove your in-tray from your desk or get rid of it all together if you can! Keep it out of sight so the contents don’t distract you and so that people don’t drop new items into it without you noticing.

Unplug. Schedule one TV-free night each week. Switch off the TV and instead listen to your favorite music, play a board or card game, read a book, enjoy a quiet meal by candle light (alone or with someone whose company you love), go on a date in one of your local restaurants or soak in a bath. Start being aware of your television viewing habits and make a point of only watching programs that you truly enjoy and stop wasting precious time in front of the TV.

Manage your reading. Create a reading file and put it in your briefcase. If you don’t already have one, start a reading file and carry it with you on your way home. You can get through a surprising amount of reading while on public transport to and from work and while waiting in a line.

Find a mentor. When you identify the person you believe would be a suitable mentor, spend some time watching them in action. Ask around to find out what other people’s opinion of your chosen mentor are and find out all you can about their achievements, beliefs, values and way of operating. This will give you insight into them before you approach them about mentoring you.

Schedule email time. Email messages popping into your inbox all day long can be an enormous distraction, particularly if your email is set to alert you every time new mail arrives. To check in on your emails and respond to them as they arrive not only distracts you from whatever tasks or projects you are working on but can rob you of an entire day, responding to other people’s needs while your own are neglected. Schedule a couple or a few times each day to check and respond to emails rather than constantly looking-in on your inbox or being bounced there by your email program with every new message.

Your signature. Use your email program to create an email signature block that will automatically attach to all of your outgoing messages; it’s a little like an email letterhead. It saves you the effort of including your contact information every time and brings a professional touch to your communications. You might simply include your name, business name, contact details and website or you might also include a sentence or two about your business, a special promotion you are running with a link to your website, or even a favourite funny or inspirational quote.

Spring clean. Schedule time to clean out your email regularly, once a month should be enough to keep you on top of it. Empty your deleted items and any unnecessary sent items, and go through any completed project or task folders and ensure that anything you are keeping is essential to your records. Cleaning out your email will ensure you are managing your email files and disk space effectively.

Set up systems. When using filing cabinets, decide how you will allocate your space to make it easiest to locate your files: for example, rather than mixing all your files together you might decide to keep current customer files in one drawer and potential customer files and marketing information in a separate drawer, or you might choose to store current projects in one drawer and research and reference information in another, or you might decide to file everything in alphabetical order – you get the idea – look at the type of files you have and decide how to logically divide them into categories. Then, label the front of each drawer with the type of files it contains.

Choose to be amazing! It’s as simple as making a commitment to yourself every morning that you will have an amazing day. Remember, life is not a dress rehearsal – we only get one performance, so let’s give it our best!

Neen James, MBA is an International Productivity Expert: by looking at how they spend their time and energy – and where they focus their attention – Neen helps people to rocket-charge their productivity and performance. A dynamic speaker, author and corporate educator, Neen demonstrates how boosting your productivity can help you achieve amazing things. With her unique voice (Aussie accent), sense of fun and uncommon common-sense, Neen delivers a powerful lesson in productivity. Find out more and subscribe to Neen’s free monthly ezine at

The PR Lawyer Blog - Moderating Comments

Today, a spam comment got through to our blog so we're going to start moderating comments again. We had shut off moderation but we want to make sure that our readers don't get bogus spam and links to viruses and other junk. Please continue to post your comments as your feedback and input is important to us. Happy New Year!

Friday, January 02, 2009

PR Lawyer’s Pet Peeve #4 – RSVPs

Happy New Year all. A beautiful start to what should be a fabulous year for public relations and publicity. So, here’s number four PR Lawyer Pet Peeve -RSVPs (or the lack there of).

To give you just one example, I recently spoke with a client who had their support staff calling invited guests for their holiday party to see if they were going to attend. That is such an unproductive way to use staff time and yet – when a headcount is necessary – it must be done.

It turns out; the client had a 20% last minute cancellation rate and at least 10% no shows. About 25% of the invited guests just never RSVP’d (to be expected even though I don’t consider it polite). The last minute cancellations and no shows cost the client close to $3,000 because they had to provide the caterer with a firm number several days in advance. Our client even estimated for 15% no shows in the number.

The bottom line: if you’re hosting an event that calls for a headcount (unless it’s a wedding), you should account for about 20% no shows. You should also give your guests several ways to RSVP including online tools (like e-vite), e-mail addresses and telephone options. And don’t depend on RSVPs utilizing social media event tools (they’re not yet reliable).