Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Best – and Worst – of 2014

By Kim Tarasiewicz

Not a day goes by without one of our team mentioning something seen online; part of our business is to keep up with trends in the industry. As the year comes to a close, the Furia Rubel team decided to share The Best and The Worst of 2014 for advertising, social media and technology. So many to choose from, but here is our sampling…

Entertainers Shared on Social Media: Anything with “stars” seems to happen at awards show, perhaps because they are “live” (so what does that say about our actors?). Our blooper/failure awards are a tie between John Travolta butchering Idina Menzel’s name while introducing her at the Oscars and Brendan Fraser and his very strange clap. Our top award, though, goes to Ellen Degeneres for use of both social media and technology in her star-studded group selfie at the Oscars, which she then shared on Twitter, where it became the most-retweeted tweet ever.

Worst Print Advertising Campaign: This is one that our entire team agrees on…Urban Outfitters outrageous ads get our attention with the shock factor, but we find them tasteless.

Best Print Advertising Campaign: We love the Harley Davidson campaign from the Czech Republic, which many of you may not have seen (unless you’re secretly a world traveler). The photography is striking, as is the historical story about WWII riders hiding their bikes from the Nazis.

The Old Spice Mom commercial is strange, yet we need to keep watching to see how it ends, so we give it the Most Creepy, Yet Somehow Funny Commercial award.

Most Memorable Hack: We started the year with the announcement that the Neiman Marcus network had been breached undetected for three months in 2013 and we finished with the incredible Sony Pictures email hack from Thanksgiving week, the fallout from which appears as though it will continue into 2015.

Social media can raise awareness of a cause or need. The Best Social Media Campaign this year stands out in my mind, not for the negligible controversy, but for the positive impact the ice bucket challenge made on the ALS Association, raising more than $100 million in a few months.

Finding a Best LinkedIn post is tough since the website feeds you articles geared toward your interests or areas, but a recent corporate post is generating interest as they try to increase viewers with a contest to have Liam Neeson make a video on your profile page.

It’s tough to choose one Best Viral Video, as so many seem to pop up each day in our news and social media feeds, so we chose a few favorites. We can find many funny animal videos, but the Best Animal Video is the cat saving his boy from a dog attack. The young man who finds out he is getting a sister and is not too happy about it is Best Kids Video. And the Best Viral Song that spawned more viral videos and parodies goes to Pharrell and Happy.

Favorite New Buzzword: There are always new buzzwords, especially when it comes to business and marketing, so we chose a video that pokes a little fun at how we use buzzwords from the eccentric Weird Al.

So there is our list. Of course there are more, which I’m sure we will share at our annual holiday office party along with our family traditions and hopes for the New Year. For me, I know one buzzword from 2014 that I could do without – Polar Vortex.

From the team at Furia Rubel, here’s hoping your 2015 is happy, healthy and warm.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Is Kim Kardashian a PR Genius?

By Megan Quinn

Her latest publicity stunt has been one of the most buzzed-about subjects lately. I think you know who I’m talking about. Kim Kardashian shocked the Internet with a nude Paper Magazine cover and the photo has been plastered all over the web ever since - memes included.

But (ha), let me ask you something; do you know what Paper Magazine is now? Chances are, when you think of Kim K, you probably think of the magazine that showcased her risqué photographs. Her tactic did not succeed in “breaking the Internet,” but it did generate enough buzz to keep her pictures and Paper Magazine’s name floating around.

Just to be clear, as part of a marketing agency staffed by six women, I am aware of the ramifications of using lewd PR and sexploitation for promotional materials. While this approach may work for a certain kind of audience, for our professional services clients, we highly recommend NOT baring it all to pull off a successful PR campaign. This kind of publicity stunt is more likely to turn off a sophisticated, professional target audience rather than attract them.

How did Kim pull off a major PR move?

Still, the stunt seemed to accomplish its goal of raising awareness of both Kim and the magazine. How did she do it? It’s really quite simple. She shocked us and we just had to share the news – just like I’m doing right now – and celebrities did the same by tweeting their reactions.

Then, millions of Twitter followers of those celebrities shared the information with their followers, causing a ripple effect of epic proportions. Other celebrities, such as Alyssa Milano and Chelsea Handler, essentially endorsed Paper Magazine without, perhaps, even intending to by referencing Kim’s cover photos. Handler posted a picture of her own derrière next to Kim’s and challenged her Twitter followers to guess which one is real. Meanwhile, Milano publically questioned why her breastfeeding snapshot received backlash months ago, while Kim’s photo received a fair amount of praise. This, in turn, prompted discussion on attitudes toward breastfeeding once again.

The Numbers

Not only did Kim Kardashian promote her own brand, she helped a small magazine gain a larger profile in just days. Overall, Paper Magazine received 32,000 new Twitter followers (and counting) and surely Kim gained plenty more by marketing toward 18- to 35-year-olds. And believe it or not – Kim actually did those cover photos for free.

Adweek reported that Kim’s cover story generated close to 16 million page views and 11.4 million unique visitors to, as of Nov. 14. To meet the increasing newsstand demand, Paper Magazine is printing an additional 35,000 copies of the clothed Kim Kardashian issue, but only 10,000 of the nude cover (which will not be sold on newsstands). Paper Magazine normally has a circulation of about 155,000. is slated to undergo a complete website redesign soon to accompany their recent print magazine revamping.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

5 Easy Steps to Build Your First Media Outreach Plan

By Sarah Larson

At the core of every marketing and public relations effort is the story you want to tell. We recently shared several possible story ideas for new or small business owners.

Once you have identified your story, you then have to decide what to do with it. Who will care about it? How can it benefit your business? To answer those questions effectively, you need some strategy - and if you don't have a strategy, it's time to devise one. Everything takes time and time costs money. Make sure the time you're putting into your promotional efforts doesn't go to waste. Here are some questions we ask clients to help focus their efforts:

Does this story have a personal connection to one of your team members? If so, know or find out where they grew up, where they live now, where they went to school, whether they are members of clubs or organizations, etc. Then look up:
  • Local newspaper / local online site where the person grew up
  • Local newspaper / local online site where the person lives now
  • Alumni publications at schools the person attended
  • Publications that the member groups produce - chambers of commerce and professional organizations often put out newsletters or magazines aimed at members.
  • Religious or social publications
Where do most of your customers / clients come from? If the majority of your customers or clients hail from a specific audience - people who practice a particular trade, for example - find out if any specialized magazines or newsletters cater to that audience and get in touch with them. Likewise for any important new hires. If that person is a well regarded specialist in a particular field, their change of employment could be a news item for any publications that cater to that profession.

Does your business benefit from B2B relationships? If other business owners are your best referral source, you want to be in the publications they read. Look for a regional business journal operating in your area and make a habit of dropping the reporter who covers your industry a line to let them know what's going on in your shop. They appreciate being kept in the loop, even if they don't respond to every piece of information you send them.

Does your area have any independent news websites or blogs covering local business? Don't underestimate the reach of these relatively new information channels. People read them, and their editors want to hear from you.

Do you have your own website? Of course you do. But do you have a “news” section on that website? You should. And you should post your news story there. Then you should share the link to that page in your email signature (updated regularly), on your company’s social media channels, and in your company’s electronic newsletter. If you don’t have a formal newsletter, send the link to clients you think might be interested in reading about your news.

Media coverage is just one ingredient in a well-rounded public relations plan, but it is a significant one. Journalists want to tell good stories, especially about people. But they can't tell the stories they don't know about. Make it easier for them to tell your story.

Monday, November 17, 2014

6 PR Stories for Your New or Small Company

By Sarah Larson

In today’s economy, everyone is an entrepreneur - or at least, should be.

The full-time elementary school music teacher has a side gig playing piano at a local wine bar. The customer service rep at the bank makes elaborate custom birthday cakes on the weekends. And the accountant by day has launched an antiques refurbishment business.

The success of each of these endeavors will depend, in large part, on how much effort these enthusiastic entrepreneurs put into promoting their businesses. And that, in turn, depends on how effectively they employ an often overlooked, but potent, weapon in the business owner’s arsenal - public relations.

Many new and small business owners make the mistake of imagining "public relations" to be irrelevant to their business. Others think PR is something that only big companies do.

Neither is true.

Yes, big companies usually have in-house public relations teams or contract with support agencies, but small companies still engage in public relations. Maybe they don't call it that, and maybe they don't realize they're doing it -- which likely means they're doing it ineffectively -- but they're doing it.

Your company is going to do it, too - so do it well. The first place to start is by having a story to tell.

In my nearly 20 years as a journalist, I would regularly meet business owners who had great stories to tell, but they had never thought to pitch that story to a reporter. Too many people don’t see the story value in what they are doing day in and day out. If you are one of them, here are some ideas:
  • Has your business celebrated an anniversary? Five, 10, 15 years in business - these are all great milestones that give a reporter a good reason to do a feature story on your business.
  • Have you hired anyone new? If you’ve hired a new team member who has established credentials in your industry or community, that’s good news and worth sharing.
  • Have you acquired a significant new client? With the client’s permission, and if it fits within your strategic plan, announcing a new client can be a good idea, particularly if that client comes from an industry sector in which you want to grow your business.
  • Are you scheduled to speak at a conference or workshop? Sharing the news about the presentation can both help boost registration for the program - something the organizers likely would welcome - and help establish you as a thought leader on that topic.
  • Have you won an award? Whether your business was voted tops in an annual survey or an individual team member was honored by a business group, awards are great to publicize.
  • Are you participating in a program that has wider appeal? If your accounting firm, for example, donates time to a social services agency to help low-income clients file their tax returns, getting the word out about the program helps the agency, the firm, and the clients.
Chances are, your business has news that fits into one of these categories, and if you don’t now, you likely will sometime soon. In our next post, we look at how to get these stories in front of the people who care about them.

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