News and Updates from 5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian

Category: 5WPR

Manuel loses at ballot box but still wins the Nobel Prize

Manuel loses at ballot box but still wins the Nobel Prize

It took years for Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and his negotiators to put together a cease-fire agreement with his country’s most violent and persistent militant rebel groups. But they did it. Then, when it looked like Colombia may have peace for the first time in most folks’ recent memories, the people voted to reject the peace accord.

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Chris Burch, Bill Gates & America’s Inspiring Self-Made Billionaires

All around the world, the stereotype persists of the millionaires and billionaires who inherit their wealth from Daddy and likely never worked a proper day in their lives. In America, however, the ‘American Dream’ reminds everyone that many of the wealthy were not born into wealth, but earned it through hard work and dedication.
In fact, here are four billionaires in America, who inspire entrepreneurs everywhere to keep working towards their dreams:

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When to use Rapid Response in PR?

rapid-response

Rapid response is one of the true boons for entrepreneurs and the businesses they represent. The ability to respond quickly on with a response to questions, comments, or news worthy developments is one of the greatest gifts that the age of instant communication has brought us.

Used judiciously, this ability can be an excellent tool that places an individual or company directly at the center of breaking news and events. However, this is one media technique that must be used with restraint, caution, and a well developed sense of timing if it is to be fully effective.

Does Every Single Question Or Event Require A Response?

Perhaps the first question that will occur to the reader of this post is, “Does every single question or comment from a viewer require a response?” This might be quickly followed by another question, namely, “Does every single breaking event require a response?”

The answer to both questions is an unequivocal no. You don’t need to be on top of every single question that pops up on your Twitter feed, nor do you have to register an automatic response to every late breaking news event, particularly if the event in question has absolutely no relevance to your company or your brand.

Never Try To Turn A Tragedy Into A Marketing Opportunity

For example, if a tragedy occurs that gains immediate media coverage, do not try to turn your recognition of this event into a marketing opportunity. You are not required to post anything in response to a school shooting or disastrous fire or flood. If you feel the need to register a response, keep it brief, general, and purely personal, with no mention of the products or services you may have on sale at your physical location for that week.

What Are Your Qualifications To Make An Official Response?

Another important question to consider when debating whether to make an official response on your company’s official social media account is whether or not you are truly qualified to make any statement at all. For example, if a client posts questions concerning your company’s official cloud computing account, and you yourself don’t know anything about the process of cloud computing, it’s an excellent idea to let another, more experienced and knowledgeable, individual post a response.

Failing that, you might simply refer the client to your company’s FAQ page concerning cloud computing. In the end, it’s far better to post no response at all than to post a misleading or ill informed answer that proves you have no idea what you are talking about.

Never Post A Response In A Hurry Or Under Duress

The absolute worst time to post a response to a question or comment is when you feel you are being pressured by that client, or by other circumstances, to give a quick answer. In such cases, your response is guaranteed to be rushed, piecemeal, and probably very badly worded. In addition, the tone of your post could come off as abrupt or rude, thus creating a very bad impression of your company and its media skills.

It’s always better to carefully plan each response you make to a client, as well as each fresh new post that you make on your various social media accounts. What you lose in sheer spontaneity you will more than make up for in coherency and accuracy of expression. Remember always that every post you make to social media represents your company and its brand, whether in a positive or negative light.

It’s therefore to your advantage to always weigh your words carefully when speaking before an audience of millions.

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What Is A Reddit AMA?

reddit ama ronn torossian

The popular social networking website Reddit allows users to write messages in response to a submission by another user, known as a post. Reddit is divided into several categories called subreddits. One of the more popular subreddits, /r/IAMA, has over 7 million subscribers and averages nearly 12,000 concurrent readers.

An Ask Me Anything (AMA) prompt is a way for an organization to interact directly with its user base. An organization registers a username and creates an AMA, which prompts users to ask questions about the organization.
Questions can include what the organization does, how it handles its day-to-day finances, how it deals with competition, or approach mundane topics such as what brand of butter the organization stocks in its kitchen. An AMA is an open invitation to the community to ask whatever it wants, however it wants.
Some of /r/IAMA’s most popular submissions include prompts from Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Larry King, Bill Nye, Stan Lee, and Al Gore. In the case of Barack Obama’s AMA, there were a total of 23,907 comments and 5.28 million page views. Businesses make up almost 6% of the top 500 AMAs, with actors/entertainers leading at almost 16%.AMAs can provide a way for businesses to differentiate themselves from competitors. Rather than having to identify and target marketing points, a business can use the AMA format to learn what customers care about directly from the customers themselves. Not all AMA questions have to be answered; the Reddit platform allows users to sort comments by popularity, making it easy to separate serious questions from some of the sillier or more abstract questions. This is accomplished through a rating system where users vote on a comment or prompt, either approving it (upvoting) or criticizing it (downvoting) based on the nature of the submission.

Marketing through an AMA requires some initial exposure to the culture and atmosphere of Reddit. As of July 2013, Reddit’s largest demographic consists of young white males aged 18-29. Reddit users are somewhat less susceptible to traditional advertising approaches, instead preferring a more casual approach with genuine responses instead of generic pre-planned (or “canned”) responses. The benefit of Reddit’s comment system is that it doesn’t require immediate responses, allowing businesses to identify trends in user comments and formulate responses that will best answer a user’s question.

Creating an AMA is a fantastic way for businesses to gain direct user feedback without a significant time or monetary investment.

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Airlines should balk at fare “cheats”

jonah engler aviation

Innovation can be awesome. It makes something worse into something better. Unfortunately, innovation also costs whoever was doing it the “old way.” So, when it comes to changes in the marketplace, there is no win-win scenario. Someone is always left holding the bag. They are also left with a choice. Do they innovate along with the market…or do they try to stop history in the making?

The past provides countless examples of both approaches, as well as the PR cost of trying to stem the tide of progress, but some companies refuse to learn from it. A recent federal lawsuit has shined the spotlight onto the practice of “hidden city” ticketing. This involves buying an airline ticket between two cities with a connecting flight, but ditching the rest of the trip. Harmless? Not so, say the airlines.

Travel gurus beg to differ. They are calling the practice “smart” and “cost conscious.” Airlines counter that they are losing revenue they could have earned by filling empty seats on those flights. Given the standard esteem with which consumers view airlines, guess which side is getting the most support?

It’s no secret that nonstop flights command a premium price. Airlines know that time and convenience conscious consumers are willing to pay more to avoid the frustration of layovers, lost luggage, and the innumerable delays that seem to arise from the otherwise simple practice of getting off one plane and getting on another.

Because of both what some consumers view as price gouging and the temptation to save a few bucks, many see nothing wrong with hidden city booking techniques. Then again, the airlines are legitimately losing money, so they do have a grievance. But regardless of how that grievance plays out in court, the airlines have already ceded ground in the PR battle.

Other airlines have chosen to take the, pardon the pun, high road. Instead of suing, they are enacting penalties on those who skip out on the last leg of flights. Consumers caught using hidden cities risk losing frequent flyer miles and, in some cases, repeat offenders risk having their accounts closed altogether.

While this penalty may not mean much to the occasional flier, it could certainly give the business traveler pause. This is a solution most consumers would view as fair and viable. Try to skirt the system and pay a penalty. However, by pursuing this lawsuit, the airline in question has not only made millions more people aware of the issue, they have painted themselves as the enemy of cost-conscious customers.

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Fallout from the Hack on Sony Pictures

ronn torossian update

The furor over Sony Pictures being hacked may die down during the next few weeks, but the ramifications of this incident are huge. Aside from having a long term impact on movie companies, the Sony hack should be seen as a cautionary tale for any major company. If anonymous hackers can infiltrate a company as prominent as Sony, there is no reason why other major companies cannot be future targets.

Protecting Data

The most important lesson to learn from the Sony hack is data protection. Whatever data protection and encryption tools Sony used were not sufficient. Not only was their data breached initially, but it is believed that the hackers had access to this data for many days.

Even if major companies cannot completely protect their data from hacking, there needs to be better safeguards in the event of an infiltration. If Sony had better defenses in place, they would have been aware of the hack almost immediately. Instead of stealing gigabytes worth of valuable data from the company, the hackers may only have gotten access to a few important documents.

Handling the Fall Out

Both the international media and Sony as a company have a lot to learn from the fall out following this hack. Instead of condemning the hack and protecting the values of privacy, the mainstream Western media took full advantage of this hack. Every bit of information released by the hackers was analyzed by the media, with news stories filtering through every day that damaged Sony as a company.

Instead of doing the hackers work for them, the media should place a future ban on making news stories out of company data that is acquired illegally. Since none of the information released posed even the slightest threat to national or world security, there is no moral justification for the media running those stories.

Sony’s Role in the Fall Out

By refusing to release “The Interview”, Sony played right into the hands of the hackers who attacked them. Multi-national corporations should never bow down to the demands of hackers and terrorists, even if the matters at hand seem trivial. Refusing to release a blockbuster movie may seem irrelevant to some people, but the outcome means that the hackers got what they wanted.

The moment Sony confirmed they were not releasing “The Interview”, hackers around the world discovered that they could blackmail companies and intimidate people.

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Toyota Makes a Big Promise

Toyota

They are the biggest car manufacturer in the world, and the company that crossed an ocean to bring America its most popular family car is now leading the way on an innovation that is not quite so pedestrian. Ronn Torossian explains.

Toyota recently unleashed its latest “family sedan,” the four-door Mirai, which could easily fill the role of the “anti-Camry.” While the Camry is built to appeal to a large market segment – read: pretty ordinary – the Mirai is anything but. Hot grills and angular curves, the Mirai is the next evolution of every day.

And what’s up with that signature grill anyway? Well, the setup delivers cool air to the polymer fuel-cell that powers the car. Yep, Mirai is hydrogen-powered. And it’s awesome.

Toyota already established itself as the maker of the eponymous hybrid car. When someone mentions a Prius, you don’t picture a car, you think about a way of life. But when the Prius was initially introduced, the naysayers jumped on it like vultures on roadkill. It’s too expensive, too cute, too “new.” Of course, those critics were all wrong, and the Prius became the epitome of the hybrid car. Torossian said Toyota is hoping to strike gold twice, introducing the world to the first mass market hydrogen-powered automobile.

They’re off to a good start. First, the Mirai has a 300-mile driving range, much further than the average plug-in electric can go. Second, it runs on hydrogen, which just happens to be the most abundant element in the universe. Third, it only emits heat and water. No smog. No greenhouse gasses. No pollution.

People are already calling the Mirai more than an “alternative fuel vehicle.” They are calling it a replacement for the combustion engine. The next evolution in personal transportation. Toyota has yet to embrace that particular position, but they have not been shy about touting the potential of their newest engineering feat. But they understand the risk. You know those gas stations on every corner? Well, when it comes to hydrogen refueling stations … those don’t exist. And neither does the demand for them.

Someone will have to cough up the cash and take the risk to add those stations in order to even make these vehicles viable for anyone to own, much less for mass marketing and widespread distribution.

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Integrating Your Brand’s Story Into the Holiday Season

brand integration ronn torossian

The holiday season is possibly one of the most significant of the year for marketing and branding specialists. Unfortunately, the increasing commercialization of the holidays often leads to over-aggressive marketing that seeks to take advantage of shopping developments such as Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other shopping extravaganzas.

Avoiding Marketing Intrusion During the Holidays

One of the problems with holiday marketing emanates from focusing too much on the direct response method. There is a marked tendency towards competition between retailers who choose price discounts and special offers as their promotional weapons of choice. Naturally, shoppers enjoy good deals during the holiday season, but what about creativity?

When discounts and special offers are overused, they become intrusive and are bound to cause a loss of interest among consumers. Repetitive banner ads and constant radio spots can only go so far. The holiday season has been proven to be excellent for the purpose of establishing brand loyalty, and this requires the ancient art of storytelling.

Finding Maximum Value with Brand Stories

The popular “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” marketing campaign by Apple is a great example of effective branding by means of storytelling. With a little whimsy and an engaging story, Apple achieved brand loyalty that could be adjusted to various occasions and seasons.

Advertising that tells a story is most effective during the holidays. This is the season to feel good on a personal, familial and spiritual level, which can be tapped with the right amount of creativity and storytelling. The value of a holiday campaign can be maximized by creating brand awareness, which tends to have a more lasting effect than direct-response and discounts. The idea is to create this awareness from early on. Even something as simple as creating a holiday specific video from the face of your company, could provide huge results.

The Holidays and the Customer Decision Process

The main ingredients of branding during the holiday season are engagement and motif. The approach should be interactive; to this end, marketers often rely on appropriate content. Articles that tell stories about the holidays should have an overall tone of goodwill. For example, an online electronics retailer may feature a current or previous charitable endeavor that ties in with the holidays. A commitment to make a donation from profits earned during the holidays can be articulated with appropriate text, appealing graphics and supporting photos.

Another idea for marketers during the holidays is to feature playful items. An example of this would be to offer a holiday-themed app, preferably a game or a series of fun quizzes. It is important to remember that many shoppers are bound to be on vacation, and thus they have more time to engage in recreational pursuits.

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How to Optimize your Site for Maximum Holiday Sales

ronn-torossian-holiday-marketing

When the holiday season is about to kick off, it is important to have your own unique sales and marketing strategy for your e-commerce website. Seasonal shoppers spend massive amounts of money to buy gifts for their family, friends and colleagues. The only way that you can attract these generous consumers is to optimize your site so that holiday shoppers can find your store and spend some of their Christmas budget on products that you sell.If you are not sure exactly how you can optimize your website just for this merry season, here are tips to consider.

Add Festivity to Your Landing Page

If you want your landing page to trend, you have to incorporate what is trending on the page. By temporarily changing your landing page to add festive images, image titles, meta tags and on-page keywords that are frequently searched for, you can improve your ranking on search engines when consumers type in an organic and common holiday keyword. Using a Keyword Planner, like the one available with Google, can held you research the most searched keywords so that you can optimize your landing page efficiently until the new year comes.

Choose a Graphic Design That Captures Attention

If your web design is not up to par with the web designs you can find on other optimized e-commerce landing pages, your visitors are not likely to stick on your page. If you want to extend the period of time that your traffic stays attentive as they browse your selection, a holiday-themed web design is key. Choose a color scheme that is festive, create different tabs that look like icicles or holiday lights, have reindeer and ribbons scroll down the page focusing the eye on the best-sellers, and rename some of the categories to be seasonally appropriate. By lightening the mood and giving the shopper a great experience, you can build trust and improve your sales in the process.

Get Ready to Roll Out Holiday Marketing Campaigns

Marketing is off-page optimization and it is a must if you want to be found in the midst of the millions of stores that are on the world wide web. Seasonal campaigns are all about offering discounts and promoting these discounts on the right platforms so that your target audience will see what you are communicating. Make sure you have clever but straightforward calls to action on your promotional copies, choose a platform where your followers will be social, and direct traffic to your site for the sale.

Christmas widgets, social media, holiday mobile apps and bulked up bandwidth are all considerations you cannot overlook. Be sure your site is ready for the influx, choose an eye-catching design, and attract the maximum visitors so that you can close the maximum number of sales.

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Building a Social Media Following From Scratch – 0 to 1,000 Followers

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Ronn Torossian on how to Grow a following.

It’s easy to jump-start some small buzz for your business in social media. Staring at a Zero Follower count could be intimidating and seem like an uphill battle, but the truth is, once you get the ball rolling you will be raking in the followers. I have put together this guide to help you go from 0 to 1,000 followers.

In brief, the steps are:

  1. Produce content.
  2. Attract an audience.
  3. Link the audience to your profit mechanism.
  4. Network and socialize to keep your momentum going.

To save time, we’ll pick a random industry to use as an example so that we don’t have to talk in such abstract terms. Let’s pick collectible trading card games such as Magic: The Gathering or Pokemon if you will.

Using this example, here’s the steps:

Produce Content

Grab a content platform and start cranking out content about your market. This can be Blogger, Pinterest, WordPress, Tumblr, or any other major blogging platform. Or use your own domain, which is strongly advised. You can buy website hosting for pennies, some $10 per month for a good one, and then it’s your site done your way by your rules.

Whatever your platform, start cranking out content. For card games, you could do funny memes about the cards, great shopping deals you’ve found on cards, reviews of card sets as they come out, or going to a tournament to play them and reporting on how you did.

Get at least 20 posts up before you move on. Nobody likes to come to an empty blog with just one greeting post in it.

Attract an Audience

Get on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Reddit, plus every other social media platform. You will not make this work unless you spread a very wide net. Ideally, you should have established accounts already.

Once you have content, post links to it. Now on social media where your first mission is to get the widest possible following, do this:

  • If anybody follows you, follow them back. Look out for useless bots.
  • If anybody in your circles or followers posts something interesting, forward it to share with your followers. This encourages them to return the favor with your posts. The more relevant to your target market, the better this will work.
  • Avidly follow anybody with a large following who is doing the same thing in your market. Social media thrives on mutual cooperation.
  • Seek out and join any groups, message boards, circles, or whatever related to your market.

In any industry, there are industry-centric groups, forums, and websites devoted to and insights. Create accounts there and be sure your username is the same as your social media username and the name your content is posted under. This creates personal brand continuity; you can lure followers from the general social stage like Facebook to the more specific forums. And vice versa; you can occasionally post something with a link from the specific forum back to your profile on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc..

Your best friend is that mouse pointer, so always make it easy for the user to access your whole system in one click. Put sharing buttons on your blog posts, so readers can easily link to it from their own accounts. Use big, friendly buttons at the top. Make everything easy to share. Don’t make the user have to swat down pesky pop-up windows or paw through pages of irrelevant walls here.

Link the Audience to your Profit Mechanism

This can be anything from ad revenue on your content, affiliate links from your site to Amazon or whatever market, your own kiosk on eBay, or your website’s customer service page where you, yourself, operate a store with a cart. Again, make this easy to find from any of your content – ideally it will be in the sidebar of your blog.

There’s no reason you can’t make multiple streams of revenue from the same market. For the trading card market, you can have Google ads in the sidebar, link to books about the games on Amazon with an affiliate link, and have sidebar links to your own eBay store where you sell custom-made deck-boxes made to order or your own gaming dice. Or simply buy the product wholesale and sell it retail, like any store.

Network and Socialize to keep your Momentum Going

Guess what? That’s just step #2, repeated over and over again! Good luck, pick a market with high demand that is also a good target for content, and have fun!

As the CEO of 5WPR – I understand the value of having a strong Social Media following. I hope these tips help you take your new accounts to the moon with these strategies laid out here!

 

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