News and Updates from 5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian

Category: 5WPR

Why Double-Checking Makes PR Sense

Ask Ronn Torossian, and he will tell you that reputation can be a terrific thing. When you are bringing in a special speaker, you want to make sure he, or she is not only qualified, but dynamic, and well respected. But it’s very important to consider the source giving you the referral. That, Torossian says, is a lesson one Texas high school principal recently learned the hard way.

In attempting to book an encouraging, and challenging speaker for a recent high school assembly about social issues such as teen dating, this principal worked with the school’s PTA president to bring in a man with a big reputation in this field. However – and this is where the story gets fuzzy – either they didn’t know exactly WHAT that reputation entailed, or simply believed the controversial message was one teens needed to hear.

Unfortunately for all involved, the reaction to the speaker was unexpected…and immediate. Accusations of misogyny, and sexism exploded across the Twitterverse. Now, the staff, and administrators are apologizing. But, to many, those apologies are ringing hollow.

In articles discussing the incident, commentators are not holding back. Some are accusing the administration of incompetence. Others are claiming it’s a conspiracy to bring “church values” into a “state school.” Virtually no one is taking the side – or even asking the side – of the administration. They are just collectively backing over them in a proverbial bus.

Now, it might be easy to decry the immediate, and reactionary nature of for all the kerfluffle. And it might be easy to dismiss the griping as overwrought, and emotional teenagers who get worked up over any ol’ thing. But at the end of the day, those criticisms – and many others just like them – don’t matter at all.

When it comes to PR in the digital age, source is much less important than content. When people read negative reviews, or reactions to your business, or brand, they are not stopping to check the source. They are simply absorbing the information.

Let that stark lesson provide you with some basic directions on how to handle your social media. When you hire someone to represent you, better make sure they know how to support the brand vision you are building.



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When Excellence is Easy to Spot

5W PR is a leading media relations and PR Firm

Recently, there was a story down in Florida that gained national attention. A central Florida mother got upset when her son brought home an honor roll citation along with a report card that had a “D” on it. According to that county’s school system, honor roll is determined by cumulative GPA, not the typical “all As and Bs”, that many parents remember.

Well, this mother didn’t feel like her son deserved to be honored since he was, reportedly, slacking a bit in the class where he scored the “D.” According to the mother, standout effort and standout results deserve standout honors. Slacking in one area does not. Now, parents, and educators across the nation are taking sides on the issue.

Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5W Public Relations, says there’s something all young entrepreneurs can learn from this situation.

“Look, if you want to be successful, you need to understand that it’s not the bar someone else sets that should be your target. You need to find a way to surpass what you have believed to be your best. You need to find a way to do ‘more’ and to do that more in a better way,” Torossian said.

Torossian says that’s what the mother in this case is really trying to say. It’s not that she doesn’t want other kids to get an honor, and it’s not that she isn’t proud of all the A’s her child has earned. It’s that the system is allowing for children to meet a minimum and be honored the same as those who far exceed that minimum.

“That’s not the way the world works. Our economy is set up to reward those who work better, and do a better job. Not just those who work harder, but those who find a way to be the best,” Torossian says.

That should be your ultimate goal. Not to do as well as all those guys out there doing “alright for themselves.” Your goal should be to surpass the status quo. To find a way to do what’s being done better, or to do something new in an attractive way.

“If you can make that standard a foundation of your business plan, you are setting yourself up for success. Fail to do so and you are setting yourself up for mediocrity.”



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Where Funny and NOT Funny Collide

5W PR is a leading media relations and PR Firm

Small upstart airline, Spirit, has some explaining to do after a recent ad campaign that got them in hot water with consumers. Referencing the recent NFL flack between two offensive lineman, one an alleged bully, and the other his alleged victim, Spirit released an advertisement touting it’s low cost airfare with the tagline: “Don’t be bullied. Fly incognito.”

The PR company for Spirit clearly thought the advert was topical, catchy, and funny. Some consumers agreed. Others…well, not so much.

One critic actually conjured Orwell to denounce the campaign, citing the author’s seminal quote comparing advertising to a bucket of swill. Those are not kind words, but there were many that were much worse, and most that were unpublishable.

Granted, the NFL bullying story that the ad campaign lampoons came out of Miami, and Spirit hails from nearby Miramar. Maybe the locals have a closer bead on the public response down there. But this is not in the rest of the country.

Now the company is faced with a decision. Kowtow to the local crowd who appreciated the joke, or mollify those in the greater USA who found the stunt tasteless and “far too soon.”

It is tough to say which way to go here. Advertising in this day and age is often edgy, pushing boundaries with careful intention. Nothing wrong with that. The problem comes when that boundary line is crossed far sooner than the creators of the ad, or the company expects. Suddenly, what was meant to be a funny quip becomes an insensitive slap in the face to someone’s Most Important Issue. More so when the ad is taken out of context, which, in this day of memes, and constant media, it certainly will be.

Sometimes a joke is funny in the moment, and then that moment passes. But if the joke is repeated continually, it becomes less funny, and more offensive. It’s a balance all good comics understand well. Many times a joke is only funny if you don’t think too much about it.

Unfortunately for Spirit, thinking about it is exactly what the American public is doing. They’d better act before the people make up their minds.


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Beauty in the eye of the beholder

The “embarrassing car” list raises eyebrows and gets people talking

Few things are more subjective than vehicle design. While most sedans, and many compact cars seem made from the same mold, other models stand out from the rest. Ronn Torossian points out that, while these “different” designs certainly turn heads, some have also been known to turn stomachs.

Recently a list of the 12 most embarrassing recent car models has been making the rounds. Most major automakers had a model on the list. Those receiving votes included Honda, Nissan, Pontiac, Chrysler, Volkswagen, Lincoln, Chevrolet, Subaru, and Hummer.

Some models receiving votes, like the Honda Element, or Chrysler PT Cruiser, or Volkswagen Bug have huge numbers of ardent fans. Others, like the Nissan Cube, Smart Fourtwo, and Chevy SSR were popular among drivers looking for something different.

How can the makes that made the list spin this PR in their favor? Torossian says it may be easier than you think.

#1 – Focus on the positive

Look for, and promote the good things people are saying about the vehicle. There will always be people out there that don’t like it, but what is it about the car that draws fans?

#2 – Aim for your group

Most of these “different” vehicles have a very specific target market in mind long before they rolled off the assembly line. Makers should concentrate on their target market, and see what they are saying about the product. That lesson transcends across nearly all markets. While what other people are saying may be somewhat important, your buyers are who you should be out to please.

#3 – Don’t listen to the detractors

If you are selling well, and your customers are happy, let those negative vibes bounce right off. It’s one thing if everyone is panning your product, and it’s not selling. It’s something entirely different when a group of people who weren’t going to buy from you in any case criticize your product.

In the end, subjective is subjective. No matter what you do, someone out there is bound to hate it. Don’t sweat it. Focus on keeping those who love it happy.

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The Most Important Day of Your Professional Career

Your success story could start today

Sometimes you can change your life in an instant. Some flash bang opportunity, a random opportunity, or a successful result of a one-time gamble. But, this is the stuff of made for TV movies, and undergraduate dreams. The truth is success is a process. Yes, you will have to take some risks, but first, you will need to do some boring, routine, and sometimes frustrating stuff.

This is the stuff unsuccessful people never do. The stuff that’s “too hard”, or “boring”, or “tedious”, or some other word that just means: “I am lazy.”

But, if you want to be successful, Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5W Public Relations in NYC, has some hard news for you. Friend, you have to do this stuff. So, clear one day from your calendar. I mean completely clear. Lock out the world and do the following. It’s only one day, but Torossian, President of one of the fastest growing PR companies in New York, says it could very well be that elusive first day of the rest of your life.

#1 – Assess your plan

Even if you have one, it’s probably wrong. If you haven’t tested against real market conditions, and altered your approach in a while, your plan is out of date. Yes, you just read that your plan could be brand new, or tried and true, but it’s still wrong.

#2 – Reassess your work schedule

Are you being completely, and entirely productive with your time? If not, make changes. Be honest. What time are you wasting? What clients, or prospects are keeping you from bigger fish, and better money? Do you have clients, or prospects that cost you more than they pay you? Renegotiate that contract based on your reality, or drop them.

#3 – Develop your workspace

If time is money, then space is value. How are you organizing your work area? Does your set-up make you money, or cost you time? Think of your office, or work area as an employee. Is this employee helping you create the most efficient workspace possible? If not, get it right…right now.

#4 – Pursue your “future” job

No matter what you are doing right now, it’s probably not what you want to be doing in ten, or twenty years. Even if you plan to be working in the same field. So, while you are making the paycheck, spend some time working on what you want to be doing. Research, practice, develop contacts. Anything you can do to make your “some day” a “one day soon.”

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Charlie Hunnam Leaves “Grey” In A Lurch

5W PR is a leading media relations and PR firmThis past week, the producers (and many fans) of the anticipated movie adaptation of the huge bestseller 50 Shades of Grey, had a bit of ‘splainin’ to do. Charlie Hunnam, the superstar actor known best for portraying Jax Teller in the megahit Sons of Anarchy has – once again – stepped away from the role. Though the producers were clearly caught off guard, the move could not have been a complete surprise. Hunnam had initially turned the role down, but later agreed.

The story being told now by both sides’ entertainment PR departments is that Hunnam had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. That may have been it, or it may have been the somewhat bipolar response to the announcement that Hunnam had been tapped to play the lead character, Christian Grey.

The purpose of this article is not to toss salt in a wound, but to take a look at how both sides responded to a potential negative PR firestorm.

Fans of this book are legion, and they are rabid. The expectations are going to be off the charts. Seeing this sort of shakeup will not inspire them to positive feelings, and will not play well online.

So, what will Universal Pictures, and Focus Features say to get ahead – and stay ahead – of the story? Well, they are already talking, and there’s plenty for you to learn about how to handle “oops PR”.

1 – They made the announcement

The producers didn’t get scooped; they got there first. This is huge from a PR standpoint. You want to be as far out ahead of the story as possible. Leading the story is always best. This gives you the best opportunity to control the narrative.

2 – Embrace the embarrassment and move on

5W PR is a leading crisis PR FirmThey didn’t quibble, posture, or point fingers. They just told the truth, and announced future plans. Was it embarrassing? Likely. Was it fatal to the project? Not hardly. And it was certainly not as negative as it would have been if the producers had turned this into a circus.

3 – Remind fans what is going well

In a release, the producers were quick to remind fans that the female lead, Dakota Johnson, is still under contract, and they are moving quickly to find a replacement. The application here is to remind people that things are under control, and positive action is already underway.

You will never be able to steer clear of all embarrassing situations or PR issue. But, when you have to face the music, keep these tips in mind.

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Getting The Most From Restaurant Reviews

5WPR Chief explains how to maximize the PR value in your reviews

Ronn Torossian on how to utilize restaurant reviews and media relations for successful PR Campaigns

In the food and beverage industry, particularly if you have a storefront or sit-down joint, reviews can mean everything to your efforts. But are you maximizing your reviews for the best results? Do you even know how to go about that?

PR guru and CEO of 5W Public Relations, Ronn Torossian, digs into this issue and offers three points you need to immediately apply to your food and beverage PR campaigns if you ever want to get any push from your restaurant reviews.

Torossian tip #1 – Ask for specifics

Too many times a review will be long on generic descriptions and very short on specifics. But do hungry consumers want to know whether the food was “good” or “a good value” or do they want to know if the selections were specifically worth eating? People can find your menus online, but they may not try one of your signature items because they aren’t sure if they will like it. Specific reviews about the taste, texture, and consistency – all the aspects of your meals – will help people better understand what you do well. That’s key when it comes to marketing your reviews for the best results.

Torossian tip #2 – Ask for suggestions

When asking your diners to leave a review, ask them to make specific suggestions to the users. What to order and how they may like it cooked. If one dish is a little spicy, a diner would want to know that. If it’s a bit more bland than the competition’s version, they would want to know that too. Diners understand they could ask for slight alterations to the menu items based on personal taste, but if they don’t know the specifics how will they know what to ask for. You can answer those questions much better in the reviews than you can on the menu.

Torossian tip #3 – Ask for recommendations

When it comes to dining out, the menu selections are only the beginning of the experience. Time of meals – when the restaurant is busy or a bit sparser – can be helpful information. As can the sort of crowd that comes in throughout the day or night. Some places are much better for drinks than late dinners. Others better suited for brunch than breakfast. Ambiance matters and the mood or vibe of the place can definitely impact the enjoyment of the meal.

Keep these tips in mind when passing out review cards and you will get much more impactful restaurant review PR.

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Walmart vs. Publix: A Case Study On Quality vs. Price

It Begins

Publix vs WalmartSince the early 1930s the Florida-based Publix supermarket chain has been growing in popularity and numbers in the southeast United States. The chain’s commitment to quality, cleanliness and customer service have attracted a huge and dedicated following that doesn’t much care about pricing.

As Walmart entered the grocery business, the Big Box behemoth went from town to town, destroying other local grocery chains with its rock-bottom pricing and massive availability. But not Publix.

“Even in markets where the two companies faced off and all other competitors had been largely cleared away, Publix still continued to grow. To fight back, Walmart launched a huge price-based advertising campaign in an attempt to put a gap between them and competitors such as Publix,” , CEO of 5WPR, said.

At first, the PR gambit worked. People decided to give Walmart a try to see how much they would save. And save they did. Low prices are low prices, after all.

Publix vs Walmart – Quality Matters

Then Publix, the quality and service-positioned grocer did something unthinkable. They did math. See, for years Publix had been marketing their BOGO products and advantage buys. So someone in their department grabbed a calculator.

The result, Torossian said, was very interesting. When considering the BOGO, coupons and advantage buys, shopping at Publix could actually not only compete in price… “They could actually beat Walmart in some situations on a cart of groceries,” Torossian confirmed.

“This was a huge public relations coup.”

publix vs walmartPublix began running adverts exactly like Walmart’s, sometimes side by side in the paper. Customers realized they could get quality and service as well as a balance sheet that looked the same.

In the end Walmart’s price gambit worked in the early stages, and it worked very well in various regions across the country. But not so well in markets where Publix maintained a strong presence.

This is not the only time a quality-positioned business successfully competed on price using creative sales and other value added options. The lesson here, Torossian says, is that depending on price alone can kill you in the long run. Public relations and marketing campaigns can include price, but are much better served to focus on quality and value.

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3 Reasons Why Print Media Matters

A lot of people reading my blogs salute me and congratulate 5WPR for embracing new media and the Internet age. While it is true that at 5WPR we respect the limitless potential of new media, we still have a lot of love for “news” media. There are several reasons why we still recommend print media and respect its power to command public perception. Here are three of the top reasons.

#1 – Print is still the gold standard

No matter whom you ask, getting on the front page of “the paper” still carries serious weight. It means you have arrived, that your story is the most important thing happening that day. No matter how popular TV, radio and the Internet are from a consumption standpoint, print media still commands respect. Experienced PR firms understand that print is tangible, and that still matters. This is not to diminish other forms of public relations, only to point out that print media still has power.

#2 – Print is still a strong opinion maker

People believe what they read. Sure, there are a lot who believe what they hear on the radio or see on TV, but when they read it, most people simply accept that story as established fact. As understood by various PR firms, information conveyed in print is presented in a point-by-point format that allows readers to accept and establish opinions.

#3 – Finite space increases perceived value

Perception is reality. Even if they don’t acknowledge it, print media consumers respect what they see on those pages simply because they know, on some level, it is there and something else is not. The innate finiteness of print forces editors to decide what gets priority. Scarcity – or understood limits – increases perceived value. Thus, a message in print carries more weight simply because it is there.

While these three factors help to establish print media as a public relations powerhouse, warns that the power and potential of any PR campaign cannot be measured in general terms. Each campaign must be deliberated and delivered based on specific terms and proven analytics. For help developing and communicating your best possible PR message, contact Ronn Torossian and top PR agency 5WPR here.


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PR Approach for Big Legal Battles

ronn torossian pr implications

Both the Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek are reporting that major retail chains are suing credit card companies … yes … again. While these consumer titans wage a pitched battle for legal rights, as well as hearts and minds, weighs in on who wins.

Seventeen major retailers, led by Target Corp. and Macy’s Inc., have filed a lawsuit against both Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. The sticking point, as it always is, happens to be debit and credit card fees. While this sort of corporate legal battle between credit card companies and retailers is nothing new, Ronn Torossian notices an interesting lesson.

The message coming from the retailers is that the credit card companies are charging unfair and exclusive rates, damaging the retailers’ business potential. The credit card companies argue that they are doing nothing more than following a tried-and-true business model. They offer a service and a convenience, both of which have value.

The Twist…

In this particular case, the retailers are miffed because they believe the nearly identical rates, fees and regulations imposed by MasterCard and Visa cut out retail competition from the store’s own credit operations.

But neither message considers the truth consumers care most about. They are the ones paying. Yes, the retailers may have to pay higher fees, but they can recoup these fees by charging more for their goods.

And therein lies the major sticking point. When consumers look at court battles such as these, all they think is “how much more will I have to pay now?” This question is a loser for both retailers and credit card companies.

The PR Battle

In the battle of public perception, fights between businesses that place the consumer squarely in the middle does nothing to help either business. While there may be a clear winner in court, the true winner will be the side that manages to connect most with the consumers who will feel it in their wallets no matter who wins.

At 5WPR we defend the right of any business to practice as they see fit under the law. We also recommend that companies never lose sight of the public perception that allows them to continue to thrive

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