I’m often asked a tricky but important question about business communication:

“When should I be formal or informal with my business emails?”

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When we learned a young couple planned to become engaged after a skydive at our client, Skydive Suffolk, we jumped into action.

What a perfect opportunity for media coverage, we thought.

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By Joel Rubin

One reason I started this business in 1991 was the opportunity to be on the ground floor of big things. As a reporter, you generally know little about a new idea, a big event or an amazing product or service until some PR type tells you about it. Being there on day one to shape the story, or conceive it, is exciting and that’s what keeps me going at age 63.

So do the younger people on my staff whom I have the honor to mentor and lead. Sometimes they laugh at my suggestions, but other times, they say “great” and off we go. It works the other way too. We are now in the midst of formulating a big project that we created out of thin air, “Rock the Squads!”, next May 7 to call attention to the amazing and selfless work done by our volunteer EMTs in Virginia Beach. I thought of it, Jennifer named it and Ashley, who works year round on behalf of Kitty Schaum and the Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad Foundation, will be in charge of it. That’s how we roll at RCG.

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By Joel Rubin

Every city in Hampton Roads, in partnership with the local Chambers of Commerce, conducts a State of the City event each year.

It typically features an uplifting speech by the mayor, a PowerPoint with lots of pictures and a feel-good video. Some are better than others (often based on the mayor’s speaking ability), and most are typically a bit too long for the audience of business people who are looking at their watches, wondering when they can get back to work after lunch. Still, they are popular and well-attended programs, which is why city staff invests a great deal of time in producing them.

I’ve attended lots of these state of the city events but rarely have had an opportunity to be consulted about the content. Hampton changed that this year, thanks to their dynamic economic development director Leonard Sledge and city manager Mary Bunting. They wanted some creative ideas because Hampton has a new mayor, Donnie Tuck, and they wanted to help him make his first State of the City memorable. Read more →

We can’t seem to get enough of “Coast Live.”

RCG clients like Diamonds Direct, Access College Foundation and Skydive Suffolk have already been guests on WTKR’s weekday show since its premiere in September 2016.

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We knew the video that Joel Rubin and JPixx Video in Virginia Beach produced for the Southeast Maritime and Transportation Center (SMART) was good. But when Brad Mason of AMSEC, a national firm which provides technical services to the Navy and commercial maritime industry, told us that “every high school in our area should see” it, we knew we had hit the spot.

The approximately three-minute piece, which profiles four former apprentices who are now employed at local shipyards, was the latest in a series that Rubin Communications Group has produced. Most can be viewed at www.maritime-technology.org and several are now on the Department of Labor’s website as well. Called Make the Smart Choice, they tell high school students, career changers and veterans separating from the services why they should consider pursuing an educational path to job opportunities in the maritime trades and transportation logistics at the nation’s ports. Read more →

By Jessica Bensten and Jenn Hill

Social media is constantly evolving and providing new avenues to reach the masses — especially Facebook.

Have you noticed friends “going live” the last few months?

Facebook Live is one of the latest options on Facebook to create your own news by utilizing your smartphone or computer to broadcast directly onto your personal or company Facebook page.

Thinking of trying it out?

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By Jessica Bensten

Beth Sholom Village is rooted in tradition.

Along the nursing home’s walls are large-scale black and white photographs honoring treasured past residents. Each day staff and visitors make their way past these smiling faces to assisted living, rehab or maybe the wellness center.

We know these walls well. Read more →

By Jenny Freebus

Senior, Ocean Lakes High School

With summer coming to an end, it’s time to wrap up the internship I was fortunate to land through Virginia Beach City Public Schools.

My time with Rubin Communications Group has been filled with memorable experiences and opportunities. Within the next week, I’ll be back at Ocean Lakes High School to start my senior year, and I know the skills I learned this summer will play a significant role in my work habits. Here’s a list of the top five skills I learned at RCG:

  1. Quick thinking is a must. Whether it’s brainstorming ideas at a staff meeting or searching for a quick fix in the field, thinking fast will serve you well. In the public relations world, everything tends to have a short turnaround time so there’s little time to waste.
  2. Maintaining a professional attitude is crucial when representing a business and talking to clients. It’s important to remain calm, cool and collected so as not to damage the reputation of the business you represent. A bad encounter now could jeopardize work in the future.
  3. Keep a positive mindset. When talking to current or potential clients, it’s essential to remain positive and practical because pleasing the client without setting their expectations to an unreasonable height is the biggest priority.
  4. The importance of research. Whether the task is to find background information on a potential client or local nonprofits in the area, doing research shows investment in your clients. It also helps you gain a better understanding of the work expected of you.
  5. Soft skills. The Hampton Roads community is large, but it’s also friendly. People are interested in how your day is going so having the skills to converse with clients and other professionals goes a long way. In the business community, it’s important to be personable because it opens the door for networking and forging new relationships with other business and community leaders.

Through the internship, I experienced the “real business world” for the first time and learned the difference between advertising and public relations. The PR world moves pretty fast, and the skills I gained will help me no matter what career I pursue.

I am grateful to everyone at Rubin Communications for their constant support and guidance.

The vast majority of our clients are good people who give back to the community.

But everyone, us included, can learn a lesson from Jim Lang, an environmental attorney with Pender & Coward in Virginia Beach.

Not only did Jim finally prevail on behalf of his own client, but he then rolled up his sleeves and convinced others to roll up theirs, to really fix the problem his advocacy solved. Read more →