During her 20-plus years as a public relations professional, Ruth Furman has learned that the key to establishing a meaningful connection with a client always begins with a conversation.
Furman — the founder and principal of Las Vegas-based ImageWords Communications —recently shared her business strategies and origin story with the Real Las Vegas and The Guilbeault Group’s Eileen Guilbeault in a 23-minute video interview here:
Guilbeault also recently interviewed Furman for a National Association of Women Business Owners’ Southern Nevada chapter “Member Moment” video. The chapter honored Furman in 2019 with a Women of Distinction Award in the Arts, Entertainment and Media category.
Furman told Guilbeault that a love of storytelling drove her to discover a passion for marketing writing and promotional strategies after studying journalism at Indiana University.
“That was my favorite type of writing … helping people make their businesses better,” Furman said, describing her “aha” moment while working for a magazine after finishing her bachelor’s degree.
That led to a corporate public relations job in Chicago and Furman forming her own company in 2001 after moving to Las Vegas in 1999. She said she loves Las Vegas’ entrepreneurial spirit and community feel.
“It’s a good community for entrepreneurs, business owners and public relations,” she said. “I love working with locally owned businesses because they are super, super generous and giving with community engagement, and they can make decisions really fast. It’s my favorite type of work.”
Furman remains flexible when working with clients, entering new relationships with an open mind and no assumptions. She develops strategies through conversation, adding it is “all about helping the client.”
“I used to come into relationships with my team with an assumption: ‘This is what you need; this is what we do,’ ” Furman said. “But, I’ve found, especially recently, as my business has evolved, clients need to evolve.”
Along with keeping an open mind, Furman recommends clients also follow these simple strategies to better engage with the public:
- Say something: For business owners who may be struggling, Furman said it’s important to keep your company and brand out there. “Sometimes when we’re struggling, we freeze a little bit, and we get really quiet,” she said. That’s the time to start a conversation on social media or consider a new public relations strategy.
- Not sure what to say about yourself? Say something about someone else. Promote a friend or collaborator’s business on social media.
- Take advantage of award opportunities: Although Furman said she’s always the first to nominate others and the last to nominate herself, awards are fantastic opportunities to reinforce your brand’s integrity and credibility. “Try every single award opportunity,” she said. “Even being a nominee is good content for social media.”