News and Updates from 5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian

Category: In the News

PR Firm Plans to Rebrand a top Tourist Destination

the ronn torossian update blog

Disney’s entertainment PR touting “taste of hometown Florida.” Ronn Torossian of noted that when it comes to entertainment PR, there’s no doubt Disney has it mastered. From the top down, Disney’s corporate PR firm protects its properties and artfully manages the reputations of everything from individual child stars to cartoon characters, movie franchises and major international resorts. So it came as no surprise that Disney’s latest PR announcement generated excitement the world over. “Pleasure Island,” the central entertainment attraction in Orlando’s “Downtown Disney” would soon have a new name, a new face and a new theme.

Disney World is already well known for its themed destinations. Each “world within a world” (or “Land” in California) creates its own unique vibe and offers its own menu of entertainment venues for visitors.

These names evoke the vibe and culture of the place, giving guests easy options. Do I want luxury? Then it’s the Grand Floridian for me. Rustic vibe with a camping option? Fort Wilderness. Given this trend, it can be easy to see why “Pleasure Island” didn’t exactly feel right. Disney’s PR firm originally crafted a campaign to promote Pleasure Island as nightclub scene only loosely tied to established Disney brands. The idea had been to attract more local visitors to Downtown Disney’s shops and restaurants.

But Orlando already had the Church Street club scene. The two areas battled for years to garner the most local trade. Tourists still came to Downtown Disney to shop, but they weren’t partying in large numbers. While it’s fun to go window shopping after an all-day park trip, or cruise over to the Hard Rock for a show or Planet Hollywood for a meal, rock ‘n’ rolling all night was not on the agenda. Back in 2009, Disney officials abandoned the Pleasure Island nightclub format. They went back to the drawing board to design a free entertainment destination that would appeal to its longtime target market–young families. But the new brand would still be geared toward local guests.

Over the next few years Downtown Disney will be transformed into “Disney Springs,” an entertainment, dining and shopping venue offering “a taste of old hometown Florida.”Disney’s corporate PR firm announced that Disney Springs will more than double the current Downtown Disney attractions, both in size and scope. And it will do so while evoking the spirit of a Florida many locals fear forgotten.In its initial releases, Disney’s PR firm hit all the right notes. The new venue would be bigger, cooler and more charming. Plus the new project will increase jobs in one of the hardest-hit industries in Florida–construction. In addition, the new venue promises to add thousands of permanent jobs.

Crafted in this way, Disney’s news appealed to fans, dreamers, local politicians and families going through tough economic times and desperate for some happy thoughts.

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Four “Tricks” You Must Use Before you call me

Ronn Torossian CEO of 5W ( 5WPR ) PR explains what you need: Four “Tricks” You Must Use Before you call me about your . Every day potential clients contact 5WPR, my New York PR company, to “help us with our social media.” Their pages are up, they tell me, but they aren’t attracting fans, followers, or subscribers.

Okay, we can help with that. So one of our social media PR experts logs on and finds what was described as a “ready to go” site is actually a hot mess. Now we are starting behind square one. Instead of a blank slate, their social media wall is a graffiti-covered eyesore. Our PR firm can change that. But it would be better, and more cost effective, if you do the following BEFORE you call 5WPR.

What I am about to teach you will only take 30 minutes of your time. And the value far outweighs the investment.

#1 – You need a professional photo

Sure, all your Facebook friends love your cute headshot from your Florida vacation. But, in business, that screams: “I don’t take this seriously.” Think of your profile photo as the first impression you want to make at a corporate event. That’s the headshot you should post.

#2 – Keep your headline crisp and professional

This is no place for “clever” quips and teasing titles. Your name and description should be professional and clearly stated. Say what you bring to the table in four words or less.

#3 – Stock your description with keywords

In a social media context, your “ABOUT” description is not the place for brochure text or extended biographies. Pepper the summary section with keywords related to what you do. Don’t overstuff it with keywords, but include at least two to three.

#4 – Choose your skills on purpose

LinkedIn allows users to request and offer recommendations. These “social testimonials” can be incredibly powerful. Choose several that describe your top strengths. But be selective. Too many choices and you will get fewer “recommendations.” Plus, you end up looking like a jack-of-all-trades and master of none.

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Apple’s PR Agency Steps Up to Diffuse Rumors

Issues that have MacBook buyers steaming mad were handled properly when Apple’s PR Agency Steps Up to Diffuse Rumors.  In a market flooded with technology PR, Apple has managed to stay in the news with impressive consistency, though not always for reasons their PR agency might choose. Not long ago, Apple was the darling of American voters, lauded by President Obama in his State of The Union address.

The company was bringing manufacturing jobs back to America. This was exactly the sort of PR coup Mac needed to bolster consumer confidence after the death of Steve Jobs. Every competitor with a US PR firm went to work to enhance its pro-America image. But Mac’s honeymoon was short-lived. Shortly after the release of Apple’s newest MacBook, message boards and support forums were abuzz with bad news for Apple’s PR agency. Entry-level MacBook buyers complained (loudly) about an overheating issue. Mac buyers, typically very brand loyal, were not yet defecting. But they did have some questions. First, what was happening? Second, what was Mac going to do about it?

Apple’s PR team did not hide from the rumors. They stepped up and admitted a problem could exist. Then they set out about finding it and fixing it. After reviewing the complaint, Apple published an article on its main support page. Yes, some 13-inch MacBooks were running “warmer than normal.” The article explained a simple fix for the problem. “Check the rear vent of the MacBook to make sure it’s not blocked. Owners who find a plastic film covering their notebook’s rear vent should ‘simply remove and discard it.’”

Apple diffused rumors and strengthened consumer confidence by directly addressing the concerns. When facing a potential public relations problem, this direct approach is almost always the best way to proceed.

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Google applauds PR mixing with SEO

When Google does an update SEOs are hanging on to every last word to find out what modifications have to be done. The latest trend that is that Google is giving more weight to content that is shareable via social media channels.

At the moment it’s about social shares and you can’t fake it that easily apparently. But Google is anticipating that some will try and “fake it” by opening fake profiles.

One of the top SEO gurus Adam Torkildson tested this theory out. He created 1000 fake Facebook accounts a year ago and they all have been banned today. He confirmed that social signals are a much bigger part of the Google algorithm.

With social becoming more important, having relevant content that is engaging is more of a priority in SEO. Creating that buzz or the PR in your content will now weigh heavily on rankings. This is where mixing PR with SEO has now reaped some benefits.

A company that does this well is Dell. They have over 1 million followers on Twitter and their team answers every direct message from their community. They are truly staying on top of their brand and their reputation online.

So what does Google really want? They want content that is relevant, shareable and that engage audiences online. Interactions must be real and have community value. Those interactions will help bring a brand up in their search engine rankings.

So what does this mean? It means that in the future there will be less of a focus on traditional SEO methods. PR will become more prominent in SEO practices and social PR will rise to the occasion and become more relevant.

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PR Firm protects clients in crisis

Crisis communications is the quintessential “difficult but necessary” topic. None of us like to think about worst-case scenarios. But, if you maintain your success long enough, you will eventually face a crisis.

How you or the PR firm you hire chooses to handle that crisis could make or break the further success of your business. Unfortunately, here at , we have seen far too many business owners or executives make the fatal mistake of trying to “get out ahead” of the crisis without a workable approach to their crisis communications.

That impulse is understandable. One glance here and it’s obvious that I understand exactly what it feels like to encounter a crisis and immediately want to attack it, fix it, mitigate the problem as soon as possible. That’s a trait common to everyone committed to business success.

Unfortunately, it can be exactly that passion that can be a detriment when crisis communications require a more delicate, reasoned response. In my work with 5WPR, I have observed people too close to a crisis situation make tragic mistakes, simply because their proximity precluded objectivity.

Let’s take a look at a recent communications crisis in the pharmaceutical industry. McNeil Consumer Healthcare, makers of the industry-leading acetaminophen product, Tylenol, was faced with the immediate recall of nearly its entire brand line. On the surface, the issue seems simple. Remove tainted products and let the public know you are “on top of the issue.”

Here’s the problem for them. Pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers deal with these issues on a daily basis. They are intimately connected with the standards and practices that govern their industry. The average mom buying Tylenol for her toddler is not. She hears “recall” and goes all “mama bear.” An otherwise reasonable mom may take one look at the empty spot above that Tylenol shelf tag and make the snap decision to never buy another Tylenol product.

A savvy PR firm must connect the precision response of the company with the emotional response of parents across the market segment. The power of crisis communications in this example is exemplified when the consumer is cognizant of the efforts of the company to correct the issue and the company’s communication reflects empathy for the emotionally distanced consumer.

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5 Ways to Prevent a PR Crisis

Recent news about the unfortunate handling of a public incident by Applebee’s has many companies going back over their corporate rules and policies, looking for anywhere there might be a fissure in their PR approaches.

Sure, we’d all prefer to not have to deal with such a situation. But none of us are perfect and it’s better to be safe than sorry. That being said, here are 5 key tips taken from some of the best firms to follow in order to properly handle a PR crisis.

1 – Be Honest With Yourself. All reputable crisis PR firms will tell you that a crisis arises mainly because a company has ignored an issue. To prevent this, be willing to honestly identify your own issues. Do what you can to fix them before they get out of hand.

2 – Be Accessible. You need to be easy to reached by your customers and target audience. This means keeping a presence via Facebook, Twitter and innumerable other places. This is key to keeping tabs on the public’s opinion of your company.

3 – Prepare for the Worst. Take the time to have a frank conversation about what type of a crisis could befall your company at any given moment. Think outside of the box and make sure all bases are covered. Based on what you come up with, create approaches to stomp out that crisis and keep it stored away should that crisis ever arise.

4 – Be Fast. If you do find yourself in the midst of a crisis, there’s no sense in wasting time to see how the cards will fall. Respond right away. This is easier if you have followed Tip #4.

5 – “No Comment” Does Not Exist. Never under any circumstances should you answer any question with “no comment” no matter how bad the situation may be. It makes you look foolish and makes the public assume the worst.

Having taken all of this in, ask yourself if your company is prepared to follow all of these tips. If not, you need to take action or you may find that the next public crisis is your own.

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When You’ve Got Good Content, They’ll Eat It Up

It seems you can’t sit down in front of the TV, commute to work, surf the internet or read the newspaper without being faced with food ads. Some marketing messages are encouraging you to eat out, and inviting you to head to their restaurant. Other commercials are reminding you of the benefits of dining in your own home, the comforts of your own kitchen and the sense of accomplishment when you’ve prepared a gourmet feast.

With all the restaurants that pop up overnight and new food products that hit the market every day, consumers are literally bombarded with print and online media content competing for their attention. They are overwhelmed with the information being put out there, whether they intend to eat out or dine at home. Obviously, some of the messages are going to get lost in the fray.

When it comes to our food and beverage clients at , we are not willing to let that happen. It’s our responsibility as a top food PR firm to ensure that consumers hear our message; moreover, we want to read their minds to know what they want to hear. We want to be that voice at the back of their head that says, “You know, I kind of feel like making dinner at home tonight and Italian sounds perfect.”

The major client players at a PR agency like 5WPR rely on our team to put together attention grabbing content and prepare it for widespread distribution. As consumers are assailed from all angles with marketing messages for a wide variety of food and beverage products, our content needs to stand out. If it’s not memorable enough to make an immediate impact, there’s no way it will ever last long enough in a consumer’s mind to inspire them to buy.

Fortunately, our team at 5WPR has some tactics up our sleeves that we use while developing the marketing campaigns of our clients. Often, we’ll introduce a new spin on a previous that was successful in optimizing brand visibility. Other times, we’ll have brainstorming sessions when content has gone stale. It’s important for our team to press on when other PR firms might have run out of ideas if we want to stay at the top of the game.

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Preventing Cool Weather Vacationers from Heading South

No matter what the Ground Hog tells us every year, it always seems like winters in the NYC area last well beyond the six weeks he predicts if he sees his shadow in the Punxsutawney morning sun. Even though the days are officially getting longer, the grey and dreary weather takes its toll by the time January and February roll around. We’re getting sick of bundling up, frustrated with the cold, and weary with being stuck inside all the time.

By mid-February, most residents of the northern states are casting their gaze south if they’re able to get away for a few days of warm vacation bliss. The last thing potential travelers want to is go away on a trip to a spot that’s even more bitterly cold that their own neighborhood. If they’re going to spend money on a getaway, it’s difficult for a travel PR firm like to convince consumers to head somewhere with the same – or worse – weather than what they have at home.

Our team is constantly faced with challenges where we’re forced to persuade consumers to spend money on something when they’re inclined to do the exact opposite. And encouraging tourists to visit a cold weather destination toward the end of winter might be considered a losing battle. Of course, we could always use monetary incentives such as offering deep discounts at unpopular times of the year. But these tactics force our travel public relations clients to give up profit.

Instead, successful PR agency will make it their responsibility to find a new approach and use innovative concepts that make a cold destination cool. We must make it appear like an overwhelmingly attractive option even at a time when consumers are looking for sun and fun.

While you may not know it, you have seen this work before. Think of the ice bar and hotel concept, where the excitement is based entirely on the frozen atmosphere that welcomes the visitor. Ski resorts tout the fun of sleigh rides, bonfires and hot tubs in the snow. Even the seemingly impossible can be accomplished with ingenuity and thinking outside the box.

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