In Interview, Entrepreneur Ruth Furman Discusses Building Brands, Relationships and Business
Business owner and public relations expert Ruth Furman amassed success by building character and strengthening brands, one relationship at a time. In a recent interview on the Entrepreneur Showcase video podcast, Furman described how focusing on people and their stories helped build a business that, if it were a person, might order a celebratory cocktail this year.
Furman, a member of the Southern Nevada chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners, owns ImageWords, a 21-year-old public relations and marketing agency serving the Las Vegas Valley and beyond. The 30-minute interview with former KLAS-TV reporter Patranya Bhoolsuwan, posted on YouTube, covered Furman’s career origins, strategies and recognition, both personal and professional.
Bhoolsuwan recalled working with Furman and marveling at her ability to connect people. Furman said creating such a connection is part of its brand promise to customers, local, regional and national.
Furman said she assesses what clients need — media training, referrals, campaigns — and tailors her approach accordingly. It’s important, she said, that clients get the tools they need to tell their stories in the best light possible. Sometimes, she said, the best tool is sponsored content, which allows clients to shape and deliver their messages exactly how they want. It’s not free, but the investment pays off.
If clients prefer to follow traditional media coverage, Furman manages their expectations, explaining that news has a different purpose than advertising, then assesses what news reporters need. She will find the best reporters for the story and work around their deadlines.
“It’s actually not so much about me and my business,” Furman said. “It’s more about what will make a better story, because that will keep the reporter coming back to me, over and over again.”
Furman said she practices “newsjacketing,” something she learned from studying journalism at Indiana University. Furman described a journalism professor’s instruction to read the Wall Street Journal’s “What’s News” section — a series of story summaries — and how it kept her and her classmates informed about current events.
Knowing the news helps connect customers, journalists and stories. For example, she said, knowing the current shortage of children’s cold medicine would help her prepare health care professionals to answer questions on that topic on air and on the record.
Sometimes a story that starts in one place can resonate elsewhere, Furman said.
“I like to say, ‘Big gets small and small gets big,'” Furman said. “I can make a local story go national. And I like to make noise when everyone else is quiet; this is how I get attention for my clients; that’s how I build brands.”
Similar tactics help Furman build bridges. During the shutdown of the coronavirus pandemic, Furman said she talked to women from all kinds of professions who were struggling and connected them with journalists she knew. In this way, the women told their stories, which helped them make new connections, and the journalists fulfilled their need for stories.
Furman said a winning attitude keeps him motivated. She said she always works to cultivate joy, stay flexible and see possibilities. A former client told her, “Don’t tell me what you can’t do, tell me what you can do.” Relationships: results are sex; excuses are contagious.
“I always have tricks up my sleeve to activate when life happens,” Furman said, “because it always does.”
Patranya Media LLC produces the “Entrepreneur Showcase Series” with Parkway Media. Watch the interview here. Visit ruthfurman.com for information on Ruth Furman and ImageWords.