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Could this be the future of mobile PR?

WiFi is everywhere. Not too long ago people rejoiced if they found a spot where they could connect to the net wirelessly. Now the tech is so common, it feels a bit like stepping back in time when a place doesn’t offer WiFi. It’s like a Dr. Seuss refrain. Where can you get WiFi? In a train and on a plane. In a car, both near and far. But is it really everywhere? Well, not quite…but things are going that way.
As this trend continues, and by all indications it will, soon people will be talking about WiFi deserts in the same pitying way they discuss food deserts. There will be charities dedicated entirely to bringing WiFi into “depressed areas.”
This move toward more WiFi is music to the ears of mobile users. Let’s face it, how much actual “phone using” do most people do anymore? The vast majority of current mobile users log on to social media, text, and stream data much more than they chat. With more WiFi available, that means less data being purchased from mobile carriers. Soon, people might be able to skip buying data plans completely.
What then, from the big four phone companies? Sure, they will find some way to turn a profit, but what will your mobile bill look like in ten years? Let’s peek across an ocean to see.
Over in Europe, many cell phone users have already begun to cancel their wireless carrier. Over there, WiFi is nearly unilateral, both accessible and imminently robust. Things are not that way in the United States…at least not yet.
Of course, there are also very real concerns about public WiFi safety. With more public access, hackers have more opportunities to access personal mobile devices. At least, that’s the assumption. And it’s tough to argue with the logic. Sure, connectivity companies are offering better security encryption, but we all know how that dance can go. They get better, then so do the hackers. They get smarter, and the bad guys find a “dumb” way to get around all that “smart.”
So, for now, the wireless companies are biding their time, while the cable companies are basking in the hope of turning their value added service into a staple, as well as something to replace plummeting basic cable revenues.

Ronn Torossian: FSU faces calls of favoritism after player gets wrist slapped


A recent article by a New York Times reporter has the garnet and gold seeing red. According to the article, after an early morning celebration of yet another FSU victory, at least one FSU starter was involved in a hit and run accident. Not unusual on a hard partying campus after a celebration. Lots of folks have been there … but, of course, there’s more to the story.

According to the Tallahassee Police Department, the three occupants of the at-fault vehicle fled the scene. Subsequent reports have them returning and admitting guilt anywhere from half an hour to an hour later. What isn’t under dispute is that, at some point, the FSU campus police showed up. How much they had to do with how the case was handled from there is up for grabs at this point. What we do know is that the driver, whose license had been suspended for failure to pay a previous traffic citation, was only ticketed. Instead of being arrested for leaving the scene or, at the least tested for intoxication, the driver was ticketed and sent on his way AFTER the police learned who he was. Even more fishy, the record of the event failed to make it into the police computers, which list as public record citations and arrests.

The Times is calling cronyism and favoritism, implying without implicitly stating that the school is trying to sweep the incident under the rug. Hardly the first institution to do so … and hardly the first time a Seminole player has been caught up in a legal snafu. So, while the legal system ignores the issue, the court of public opinion is already in session. And as lawyers like Martin Russo or Marlen Kruzhkov would tell you, the court of law ain’t always quick.

FSU has fired back calling the reporter’s version of events unfair and lacking facts. Of course they did. Did anyone actually believe the school would come out and say, “Yes, so, I covered it all up for the good of the team.” Never going to happen.

At this point, the issue, much like that with Winston, will certainly not be decided until well after the season. At that point the law might throw the book at these players, but don’t count on it.

Ronn Torossian’s Final thoughts: The only thing that stands to suffer now is the school’s reputation. Not that Seminole fans will care too much if their team makes it back to the title game.

Ronn Torossian on Using Big Data in Public Relations

Big data has a great deal of relevancy in the marketing industry, and it also has plenty of important applications in the field of public relations. PR firms can benefit in their next strategies by paying close attention to some key points extracted from big data. Online statistics provide useful analytical information about which recent press releases reached the highest numbers of readers.Big-Data-Analytics

Various types of social media analytics can also provide helpful insights about who is writing what about a given brand at any given time. This part of big data can be especially useful in troubleshooting an unexpected public relations crisis. Reviews and mentions on social media sites are essential for building brand awareness, and public relations specialists need to know how to take relevant information from these statistics.

Selecting the Right Tools for Big Data and PR

New data management tools are becoming available every day, and improvements to existing ones happen just as quickly. Some of the most recommended data management tools for PR strategies include an enterprise level Google Analytics account, a SurveyMonkey account and a set of keyword-focused Google alerts to help PR specialists stay on top of every mention a brand gets across every type of website. A similar tool is Vocus, which tracks results of published press releases.

Recommended Actions for PR Professionals

Interaction across various social sites is vital for maintaining good customer relations. One recommended step is to respond to each review or mention with a short message thanking the posters for the feedback and asking for any further ideas they may have about how the brand can give them a better customer experience. Responding to negative comments and asking how to fix the problem is an excellent strategy to prevent a PR problem from becoming too widespread.

Big data may first appear to be a large amount of numbers and statistical measures, but the right tools allow a PR firm to sift meaningful information from it. This information can be invaluable for formulating more effective PR campaigns and strategies that bring more positive results. Keeping current on changes in social media trends and Google search algorithms is another important factor in getting the most out of big data in regards to improved PR strategies. Big data has already revolutionized many tactics in the marketing field, and public relations is sure to naturally follow the same path as the technology continues evolving.

Ronn Torossian on the Alex From Target Twitter Sensation

Alex Laboeuf, a 16-year-old from Texas has quickly become the latest twitter sensation. He instantly rose to fame after a young girl posted a picture of him working the check out at a Target store. The photo went viral and even gained its own hashtag, #alexfromtarget

The high school student now has over 600,000 followers on Twitter, and he was even flown to Los Angeles to make an appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

His random rise to fame has many confused, including Ellen.

During his interview, Ellen asked, “Do you sing, do you have any other talents?”

“I can apparently bag groceries pretty well,” Labeouf replied.

According to Labeouf, he was also extremely suprised and confused by his nearly instantaneous rise to fame.

“These random girls that I had never met before came in and showed me my twitter page and it had 500,000 more followers, and I was just really confused,” Labeouf said.

After appearing on the show, many speculate that Labeouf will become even more famous, while others believe his fame will quickly fade.

CEO of 5W PR , Ron Torossian said “We’re telling him to take any deal he can get right now and to make sure he is saving his money.”

Torossian also believes it would benefit Target to use Labeouf in international advertisements.

Tech insider, Alyssa Bereznak said, “I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on Dancing With the Stars, or him getting his own Target sponsored Vine series.”

Bereznak feels that Labeouf has the potential, but there is no guarantee his fame will continue to rise.

“He could do a lot, but we don’t know if there’s any talent there so he could fizzle out pretty soon,” Bereznak said.

Some also speculate that the photo was posted as a publicity stunt dreamed up by Target.

“Let us be completely clear, we had absolutely nothing to do with the creation, listing or distribution of the photo. And we have no affiliation whatsoever with the company that is taking credit for its results,” Target officials said.

Labeouf and the young girl who posted the photo have also both denied having anything to do with a Target publicity stunt.

“I didn’t know the picture was taken or tweeted until my store manager showed it to me,” Labeouf said via Twitter.

Twitter users around the globe continue to use the #alexfromtarget hashtag and have even started posting their own photos of young, attractive retail workers.

The Toy Story Never Ends


Pixar fans responded to last week’s announcement of a new Toy Story movie with decidedly mixed enthusiasm. CEO of 5WPR Ronn Torossian explains why, at least for the moment, the return of two of Disney’s most treasured characters might be too much too soon.

When Toy Story 3 ended, most movie fans declared it the perfect ending to the trilogy. Andy had passed his toys on to little Bonnie (setting up a sequel) and moved on to college. It was the ultimate emotional closure. Then came the shorts and the TV spots and the endless commercializing. And why not? The stars were toys, after all. Fans were more than content. They were loyal and they were legion.

But now, some of the original creators of the first movie have come back with a new Toy Story to tell.

It’s an interesting PR problem. While the third movie left a plotline wide open for a sequel on several fronts, the fans were utterly content to leave things as they were. They continued to buy Toy Story movies and memorabilia, and adults who grew up watching Toy Story are now introducing it to their young children. The marketing and PR was a perpetual motion machine that was just growing MORE profitable.

The original trilogy found new life on Amazon Prime, and Toy Story toys became constant sellers on just about every toy store shelf. The live action Toy Story productions and character interactions at Disney parks never lost popularity, even as both Disney and Pixar continued to hit it out of the park, movie after movie after movie. Even Frozen and Cars, popular as they have been, have not dimmed the ardor for the adventures of Woody and Buzz.

So, why a new movie? Well, according to director John Lasseter, he and co-conspirators Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter, and Lee Unkrich could not stop thinking about the new idea they had. Despite all the reasons not too, that little itch kept growing, and now Buzz and Woody will be back and the Toy Story franchise will keep chugging along. To infinity and beyond.

Fujifilm Getting into Ebola Fight


Ebola is hot international news, and billions are on the edge of their seats, waiting to see when a successful treatment will be released, followed hopefully, by an effective vaccine. President Obama has called the West African Ebola outbreak a “threat to regional and global security” and has pledged the United States help in combating the disease and stemming its spread. China, Britain, Japan and other international powers are also mobilizing forces to combat the epidemic.

Three pharmaceutical companies are hard at work developing treatments and vaccines. Now the battle has what some may call an unlikely ally.

International tech giant Fujifilm has jumped into the battle against Ebola…and the company is already making a huge impact.

Fujifilm has manufactured an experimental treatment drug called Avigan, an antiviral medication that many believe could be a breakthrough in Ebola treatment. That name may seem strange to Monday morning quarterbacks across the globe, but not to those who have their fingers on the pulse of Japanese economics. With one of the highest percentages of elderly in the developed world, Japan has focused much of its commercial research and development on medications, cosmetics and other ways to help people age gracefully – and pain free. Back in 2006, Fujifilm branched out into OTC medications and cosmetics in an effort to catch a piece of that market. As they have in previous endeavors, the company has succeeded in a big way.

In 2008 the company bought Toyama Chemical, the drug company behind Avigan. Now, some are reporting that Fujifilm is literally giving the drug away. The company has already paid for development, and Fuji can certainly afford it, but the move still has people turning heads and raising eyebrows. A successful Ebola treatment could mean an incredible windfall. Why give it away?

First, there’s the public relations opportunities. Fujifilm is not one of the first names you think of in the world of pharmaceuticals. Now the company is being listed as one of the Big Four working to combat the most feared virus in the world. Second, if any windfall is to come in the Ebola fight (and it will), the first to arrive at the party has a big advantage. Well, Avigan is pretty much ready to go, already produced for mass marketing, poised and ready for battle. Finally, success in this endeavor will forever change Fujifilm’s brand, and it will do so GLOBALLY in a single endeavor. Talk about a rebranding campaign!

Robert Kraft and the Pats epitomize class on Sunday night

torossianIn the first week of October, AFC powerhouse, the New England Patriots, took the field against surprise conference leader, the Cincinnati Bengals. It was a game both teams needed to win. It was the Old Guard against Cinderella. The winner would, at least early in the season, establish themselves as the team to beat in the AFC. Ronn Torossian recalls that, although there was a lot on the line for each team, neither was entirely focused on the game at hand.

Leah Still, the daughter of Bengals defensive tackle, Devon Still, is fighting pediatric cancer. It’s a tragic diagnosis for any child and a horrific situation for any parent to endure. Even more so for a parent who must perform before a national audience playing a game a week – week after week. As a professional football player, you have to be focused and sharp with your mind totally on the game, before and afterward. Having a sick child at home, how could you maintain your solid stance as an effective player – how could anyone?

Robert Kraft, owner of the Patriots, obviously felt the same way. Instead of allowing his team’s opponent to suffer in silence, Kraft orchestrated the event so that the entire stadium shared, just for one night, Still’s struggle. During the second half of the game, New England’s cheerleaders donned Still’s Bengals jersey. Let me repeat that again – In the hyper-competitive, money first industry that is the NFL today, an opposing team’s cheerleaders wore the other guy’s uniform. Afterward, it was announced that Robert Kraft would donate $25,000 to the Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center in Leah’s name.

But the Patriots’ nod to Still and his daughter did not stop there. The game stopped, the crowd stood, and all of Gillette Stadium treated Devon Still to a standing ovation. For that one shining moment, rivalries were put aside and even die-hard fans raised their voices for a 25 year old father who had to watch his 4 year old daughter go through surgery to remove a tumor, her right adrenal gland, and all of her lymph nodes.

The video is sobering: A young man is visibly moved, his teammates gather around him offering hugs and silent encouragement, as the other team’s cheerleaders rev up the crowd to offer support for a sick little girl. Ron Torossian described the moment as heartwarming.

There is another matter that needs to be said – something that’s tough for a New Yorker to utter in reference to New England, but that is apt and true – Mr. Kraft, that was a class move, class all the way.

Will Apple Pay usher in a New Era of Mobile Retail?


With the release of Apple Pay, more than 220,000 retailers from coast to coast are cashing in. This system may be the best way to open proverbial wallets since the credit card. Statistics have long shown that paying with plastic causes people to buy more – and likely pay more for it. Where the dwindling stack of bills in your wallet was a bit prohibitive, turning cash into a convenient swipe removes that visual reminder. This is not news. From prepaid cards, to poker chips, everywhere money is exchanged, more of it flows when cash is absent in the transaction.

Apple Pay makes this transaction even easier. Now, practically all an iPhone user has to do is take his or her phone out and wave it at the register. This takes the emotional and psychological disconnect to an entirely different level. Buying things actually becomes fun and trendy. Instead of the emotional check or cash task, consumers get the social pleasure of doing something new, different and convenient.

Soon consumers can expect to see retailers blatantly advertising the opportunity to “tap to pay” in their stores. That convenience and the novelty of the transaction may actually help some retailers recapture some of the market share they have been losing to online retailers in recent years.

Doubtful? Businessweek recently reported that Citibank tested “tap to pay” programming way back in the dark ages of 2009. This pilot program proved that consumers bought more things and spent significantly more each time.

Apple Pay is even easier than “tap to pay” because the program does not require button tapping. Touch your finger to the button and wave the iPhone at the cash register. That’s it. Transaction complete with a flick and a swish – not a bad idea for a generation that grew up on Harry Potter.

Better Call Saul doubles down on weird


When you want viral and don’t have anything to pique attention, going weird is not the worst idea. At least that seems to be the thought process behind the latest advert for “Breaking Bad” spinoff “Better Call Saul.”

The rumor mill has been churning overtime ever since it was announced (leaked) that there would be a Breaking Bad spin-off starring standout supporting character Saul Goodman, a wheeling and dealing amoral defense attorney. In a show chock full of interested and well crafted supporting characters, Saul is the perfect antihero to pull off his own show. First, he’s not dead. But since this is a prequel, that wouldn’t necessarily be a deal breaker.

What really makes Saul the best choice is both his depth and the mysterious aspect to the character. He doesn’t really have a conscience, per se, but he does care about his associates in his own way. That makes him both endearing as well as unpredictable. You never really know which direction Saul is going to go. Which brings us to the first full-length advertisement for the spin-off. Apparently, we can’t predict what the producers will do either, because, if we had to describe this commercial in a single word, only one comes to mind: WEIRD.

First, it’s a song. A weird thrill-billy country-western riff crooned in classic cowboy baritone by Junior Brown. Then you have the weird assortment of red, waving blow-up balloons, the ancient console TVs and the blinking GUILTY sign floating in the background. Also, the wide-eyed Stepford women pushing around the TV carts. Interspersed amidst this bizarre bazaar you see screen clips of Saul in action. Standing tall, busting into a courtroom, staring down a conference table … he’s large and in charge. Though not nearly as large as Junior’s ten gallon hat.

If nothing else, the video is memorable, particularly in that ‘can never get it out of your head, stuck there forever way.’ To call it brilliant PR would be a stretch. To call it effective? That’s easy. Nobody can watch that all the way through and either forget the catchphrase (which is the show title) or that the program begins in February. Want to understand the rest of it? Better tune in.

George Galgano, Zig Ziglar & other Entrepreneurial Quotes

  • “There is no substitute for Hard work.” George Galgano
  • “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” Steve Jobs
  • “You cannot expect to be effective and successful in business unless you truly believe in your business and in the goods and services that you sell.” James Stephenson
  • “I’ve found that entrepreneurial success usually comes through great execution, simply by doing a superior job of doing the blocking and tackling.” Naveen Jain
  • “Honesty and integrity are by far the most important assets of an entrepreneur.” Zig Ziglar
  • “An entrepreneur can have the most unique product offering, one that offers tremendous value, but if her underlying business plan is not sound she has nothing. A quality plan is the key “how” of a business.” Bob Diener
  • “Great entrepreneurs are the ones that know how to properly split their focus and make their understanding of the past work with their future expectations.” Jennifer Foster
  • “The road to being a true-blue entrepreneur is paved with spectacular stories of crash-and-burn. It requires a certain type of stamina that few possess and an insatiable desire to do better than the day before.” Dan Antonelli
  • “As an entrepreneur, it is so important to stay on top of trends in the industry.” Jamelle Sanders
  • “The entrepreneurs that make it are the ones with genuine solutions to real problems.” Williams Shaker
  • “Take chances and keep dreaming.” Mark Birnbaum
  • “The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.” Nolan Bushnell
  • “Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.” Tony Hsieh
  • “When times are bad is when the real entrepreneurs emerge.” Robert Kiyosaki
  • “But as an entrepreneur you have to feel like you can jump out of an airplane because your confident that you’ll catch a bird flying by. It’s an act of stupidity, and most entrepreneurs go splay because the bird doesn’t come by, but a few times it does.” Reed Hastings, CEO Netflix
  • “Before dreaming about the future or marking plans, you need to articulate what you already have going for you – as entrepreneurs do.” Reid Hoffman
  • “What do you need to start a business? Three simple things: know your product better than anyone, know your customer, and have a burning desire to succeed.” Dave Thomas
  • “Chase the vision, not the money, the money will end up following you.” Tony Hsieh
  • “If you just work on stuff that you like and you’re passionate about, you don’t have to have a master plan with how things will play out.” Mark Zuckerberg
  • “When you reach an obstacle, turn it into an opportunity. You have the choice. You can overcome and be a winner, or you can allow it to overcome you and be a loser.” Mary Kay Ash
  • “Innovation is the specific tool of entrepreneurs, the means by which they exploit change as an opportunity for a different business or a different service.” Peter F. Drucker
  • “Entrepreneurs are risk takers, willing to roll the dice with their money or reputation on the line in support of an idea or enterprise. They willingly assume responsibility for the success or failure of a venture and are answerable for all its facets.” Victor Kiam