Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Getting to Know Office Administrator Rose Strong

Our office administrator, Rose Strong, has been with Furia Rubel for four years. In observance of that anniversary, we sat down and asked her a few questions to find out how she keeps our office functioning smoothly, lessons she’s learned in the workplace, and – most importantly – what's top on her phone’s playlist.

What role do you play in the Furia Rubel team? 

I am told that I’m the glue that holds it all together here. Not sure if that’s really it, but I’m the go-to-gal for most non-client questions such as, “Do we have any more yellow ink cartridges?” or “Did you know the half and half is sour?” or “Did the mail come?” Not only do I perform the office support role, but I also keep calendars, answer phones, proofread much of the content written in-house, share content on our social media, and write up our monthly newsletter content. I’m the one who keeps tabs on everyone else, which helps to feed my curious nature by knowing what’s going on all around me.

What is the most annoying phone call you’ve received?

Me: Good morning, Furia Rubel, this is Rose.
Caller: Hi. Uhhhhh. I’m wondering if you can help me out with promoting my business.
Me: Well, first, can I get your name?
Caller: I’d rather not tell you that right now.
Me: Okay. Can you tell me what the business is that you need help with?
Caller: Ummmm, I’m not sure it’s the right time to tell you that.

After about 15 minutes of trying to wrestle some basic information such as a phone number (Caller: I only have a throw-away phone) or email (Caller: I have a gmail address, but don’t use it much), the caller then proceeded to share with me a barrage of thoughts that had little to do with PR or marketing.

What has been the most rewarding project you’ve worked on?

We recently created a book for a client that works with an elderly population, to showcase the award-winning senior art programs the client runs. As a freelance reporter for a local weekly newspaper for the past dozen years, I was asked to interview some of the seniors who participated in the art projects, in order to get quotes and information for the book. The folks I interviewed were forthcoming with their thoughts, absolutely delightful to talk to, and enlightening. The project is still in the works, but I look forward to seeing it completed.

Can you describe a challenge you’ve faced in the workplace and share what you’ve learned from it? 

I used to work at a large, national health insurance company, answering phones. The company trained their employees for three months on customer service procedures and their systems, the insurance industry, health care policy, insurance plans and even medical terminology. Then they put you on the phones and expected you to answer 80 to 100 calls per day.

Mixing health care and money can be extremely volatile, and calls could be tremendously difficult on all of us. It was brutal some days, and morale was often low. After several years, I became good enough at the job to be what they called a senior customer service professional. I took the tough calls from my colleagues when things got out of hand and a caller asked for a supervisor. I also helped to train people. It was all that and the glamour, too!

I’m a lover of the Christmas holidays and started sending out an email to my colleagues with a trivia question about holiday TV shows. People had fun seeing who could give the right answer first. The first year, it was just to create a little fun. The second year, I named my effort The 12 Days of Christmas Trivia and went to the dollar store, bought a dozen crazy prizes and went for it! The team loved it. It was the highlight of the days leading up to Christmas. I even threw in a few Hanukkah questions to give our non-Christmas celebrants the chance to win, as well.

Every day, I would send out the question at a random time and wait for folks to answer. They were so excited to see what the prizes were. My email filled up fast. I handed out things like Vienna sausages, a tiny ratchet set, a dollar-store pregnancy test, plastic dog bowls, anything you can think of from a dollar store! It was a hoot, and to celebrate at the end, we had a food day.

It takes so little, sometimes, to bring up morale in a workplace and make it fun. In this case, it wasn’t my job to do it – I wasn’t really a supervisor or manager or team lead – but just to get out of the rut we all felt we were in, it helped bring smiles and laughter and a sense of bonding between people all trying to do the same difficult job.

Do you have any favorite quotes?

I have three:

“A human mind, once stretched to a new idea, never returns to its former dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

“Act like you have all day to do something and it will take you 15 minutes, act like you have 15 minutes and it will take you all day.” – Monty Roberts, from The Man Who Listens To Horses

"Everything you do with or for a client today gives them incentive to remember or forget you tomorrow." – Me

What is something you’ve learned in the past week?

A new way to manage client media clips to make my job more efficient.

Is there something at your desk that represents you very well?

My pencil sharpener. Not only do I like having sharp pencils, but I like keeping a sharp mind. Doesn’t always work, but I always make the effort.

What are your favorite applications on your phone?

Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and shopping sites are by far my favorite time-users. However, I’m a news junkie and listen to NPR via the app, Tune-In Radio. And I enjoy the NYTimes and CNN apps.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?

I was an art major in college, as was my wife, so we both enjoy spending our time doing most anything creative, from cooking and gardening to photography, writing, and making or viewing art. Making something can help refresh my spirit. I also enjoy spending time with my four-legged and feathered family of animals.

What is the most played song on your phone/iPod?

Probably the Indigo Girls’ Closer to Fine.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Importance of Making Your Website Responsive

By Karen Preston-Loeb

We previously wrote about Furia Rubel’s approach to responsive website design. Today, it has become even more important to provide your website visitors with tailored mobile, tablet and desktop configurations. Google now gives preference to mobile-friendly pages by boosting their ranking in mobile search results. While this affects individual pages instead of entire websites, adjusting your organization’s website to be responsive makes good business sense.

What is Responsive Website Design?

A “responsive” website is one in which the page layout acclimates proportionally as you shrink or expand a screen. When a user views the website on a desktop computer, the screen size is generally larger. When a visitor uses a tablet or smartphone, the screen size will scale and shrink appropriately to fit the display of that device. On a non-responsive website, information may be lost as the visual area gets smaller. Responsive websites adapt to allow users to see all pertinent material and to navigate easily to the information they want to view.

Having a responsive website is helpful for a few reasons. It provides the user – who might be a potential client, a current customer or a referral source – with navigation to obtain information on your organization quickly and easily. A frustrated user could lead to a loss of business.

Mobile Has Surpassed Desktop 

Ensuring that mobile website visitors have a positive experience is more important than ever. In recent years, the number of web visits coming from mobile devices has increased steadily. In May 2015, Google confirmed what most digital observers already suspected, that more people now browse the internet on mobile devices than on desktop computers.

The search engine responded to that behavior by giving preference to mobile-friendly web pages in the algorithms that determine which websites appear highest in search results. To see how Google Search views your website pages, run your website URL through Google’s mobile-friendly test.

Today, websites that adapt to deliver visitors a positive experience on every size screen are a necessary part of doing business. Don’t let Google penalize your company for not being mobile-friendly. Consider updating your website to responsive design.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Furia Rubel Roundup What We’re Reading This Month

Legal Marketing and Public Relations
By Gina F. Rubel

As professionals, we are constantly learning and growing – and reading. We read a lot, and we love to share with one another articles that have caught our eye.

Here is a roundup of articles we’ve shared recently.

On leadership and management
Deloitte has great marketing and management systems in place to help its employees and customers be successful, including 10 Questions You Should Be Asking to embrace risk and lead confidently in a volatile world.

On social media and the internet
Social media is not all about the numbers of likes or followers. Once a social media influencer reaches a critical mass of followers, audience engagement actually begins to decrease. The rise of micro-influencers on Instagram.

Do you write comments on blogs and news websites? Do you read the comments? Some observers now believe that comments have failed on news media websites.

One analysis concluded that proper link placement in a tweet is about 15 to 25 percent of the way through the post. That way, it will generate more readership and engagement.

On litigation, legal marketing and the law
If you are aware that someone is driving, texting a distracted driver could now bring liability. Think before you text.

On public relations, crisis communications and the media
The marketing platform Hubspot recently was criticized by a former employee in a tell-all book, but the potential public relations nightmare may have been lessened by many of the company’s customers who spoke out on its behalf.

Social media sharing has changed the face of PR, especially the rise in visual communications. Clare Lane tells Ragan’s PR Daily why a picture is really worth a thousand words.

And an AP poll reinforces how important it is for the media to get the facts right in America. In fact, it is the key to gaining trust. 

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Getting to Know Senior Graphic Designer Heather Truitt

Our Senior Graphic Designer, Heather Truitt, recently marked her first year here at Furia Rubel. Here, she answers eight questions to help you get to know her a bit better.

What’s your favorite color?
I’m a designer, so I don’t think I can name just one color!

What is the most rewarding project you’ve worked on?
The branding for the unification of First Savings Bank of Perkasie and First Federal of Bucks County to become Penn Community Bank is one of the most rewarding projects I’ve worked on, not only in the last year, but in my career. So many variables went into designing the brand. It was a great project to work on, and it’s so rewarding to see the new signage and branded materials throughout Bucks County.

What is your favorite genre of movies?
I like to watch comedies, horror, sci-fi, and thrillers.

Is there something at your desk that represents you very well?
I have a photo of myself with my husband and our son at Disney World last year, dressed up in penguin Halloween costumes with Mickey Mouse. I think this picture represents the fact that I will do almost anything for my family.

What is something that no one would be able to guess about you?
I’m not sure if it’s something that nobody would be able to guess, but I’ve been to hundreds of live concerts. I went to see my first concert when I was 15, and since then, I’ve seen almost every band I could have ever wanted to see perform. When I was 17, my friends and I followed a band up and down the East Coast – I’ve seen that band perform probably 25 times. There is nothing like seeing one of your favorite bands live in concert.

What is your favorite app on your phone?
TimeHop is by far my favorite app. I like looking through the memories of the last seven or so years that I have been on Facebook and had a smart phone. Seeing how much my life has changed in the last few years is amazing, and being able to look back through various stages of my son’s life has been really awesome.

What has been your favorite weekend day trip?
I really love New York City. It’s my favorite city. I used to go almost monthly just to explore the city with friends. It’s such a great place and every time is a different experience.

Any upcoming fun vacations?
In October, we are going to Disney World. We had such an amazing time last year, we can’t wait to go back!

Thank you, Heather, for your hard work at Furia Rubel Communications. Congratulations on your first anniversary!

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