News and Updates from 5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian

Category: Insight

Public Relations Firm Counsels Caution in Crisis

ronn torossian update blog

When you live your life in the public eye, chances are sooner or later you will find yourself dealing with an uncomfortable situation. Mistakes may have been made or, perhaps, you or your company may have been accused of errors. At that moment, the facts of the case matter much less than your reaction to the situation.

While it is understandable to vigorously defend oneself in the face of negative PR, 5WPR CEO suggests a careful and considered response. Sure, when something potentially negative happens, most strong people wish to address it as soon as possible. That is an understandable response, and it can be the right one. As long as that response is measured, planned and controlled. Let’s look at some scenarios.

#1 – You make a mistake

We’re all human, but there is some truth to the idea that the only thing some people love more than a success story is a fall from grace. Think of that mistake as an unexploded bomb. It may feel like you are already getting shelled, but if you immediately fire back, chances are that mistake you’re holding will really explode. Instead, your response must be cautious, careful and tactful. A difficult proposition in a highly emotional situation. But it is possible when you have the right representation.

#2 – You get accused of a mistake

You did nothing wrong but now at least some people are convinced of your guilt. It’s humiliating, frustrating and can leave you angry – with nowhere to direct that justifiable anger. Here’s the problem, if you decide to respond while angry, no matter how justified, you may make matters worse. While it is true that many people like to think the worst, many will believe the truth if presented properly. It is not enough just to tell the truth, it must be packaged in a way people want to hear it.

#3 – Your employee makes a mistake

Depending on the severity of the offense, it may be tempting to fire them and just move on. But doing so can leave far too many questions unanswered. In 2012, a major media network was accused of doctoring a recording to implicate a potentially innocent man of a crime. It worked. The producers were subsequently fired and the network moved on as if all was right with the world. Then, months later, another mistake was made. Guess what the first thing that came up was? Yep. That “old” news was suddenly breaking news again. Instead of dealing with the current mistake the network was dealing with accusations of institutional corruption. They could not deal with the actual issue because an unresolved issue was in the way.

In all of these instances, your first response may be defensive. That’s understandable. But you must squash that reflex and think about the response to your response. Your first call should be to a firm. Agencies like 5WPR handle crisis PR on a regular basis, and we know exactly how to address these situations.

Continue Reading

All Press Is Good Press Is Indeed A Myth

With well-known PR phrases like these, you may be tempted to believe they are true.  But as 5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian knows, this “All press is good press” idea is one of the biggest myths in the industry. Reputation is everything, in any business. Bad press can have significant negative ramifications.

Adoring fans and interested spectators will tune into the red carpet pre-show on awards night just to see what celebrities are wearing. And the day-after coverage will not only cover who won which awards, but who looked the best and, more importantly, the worst. The best dressed will have their careers discussed and other positive accolades. The worst dressed will have their horrific fashion fail dissected in embarrassing detail.

A fashion fail during a highly publicized event can completely derail a promising narrative. On a night when they were hoping to elicit positive TV commentary, tweets and glowing press coverage, an unsuspected celeb may just end up as fodder for TMZ.

Ronn Torossian of 5WPR further explains that this doesn’t just apply to public events either. Being in the public eye means that somebody is always watching. It may not be fair, but it is the price of fame.  The paparazzi know that they can just as easily sell a candid picture of a disheveled, frumpy as they can a red carpet glamour shot.

While some celebrity fashion flops are simply a matter of poor taste or ill-fitting garments, some celebrities will take a fashion risk and wear something wacky, risky, or flat out risque just to generate some attention. This kind of flash in the pan publicity can do more harm than good, causing that celebrity to lose credibility and respect in the public eye. Cheap gimmicks and “wardrobe malfunctions” rarely pan out as intended.

Look at it this way, that fashion faux pas may have made front page news, but it may have also replaced a potentially priceless fashion PR opportunity. 5WPR knows that when so much about celebrity is public image, that image needs to send the right message at all times.

A bad fashion incident, either accidental or “accidental,” could burn up precious time in the spotlight.  Worse, it can follow you for years. Look back at the BEST and WORST dressed lists of fashion mags and post gala reports. There’s a reason why the same names seem to grace both lists each year. Think about it.

Continue Reading

Harnessing Technology for Workplace Productivity

 

There seems to be an ongoing debate when it comes to technological advancements as far as the latest digital devices and software and workplace productivity. While some harness these developments such as project management software like Asana or Basecamp, others are slow to adopt these new advancements.

Although, the answer isn’t always black and white, as an entrepreneur who has developed one of New York’s top PR agencies from the ground up, I’m always on the lookout for new technology, whether it be a device or piece of software that can help improve efficiency and productivity across my company.

Over the years I’ve seen the PR industry go from Bacon’s to Cision and faxes to smartphone emails. The fact of the matter is that the technology industry as a whole is ever-evolving and will continue to be day-by-day, week-by-week and year-by-year. CEOs, senior leadership and business owners should embrace the fact that these new capabilities are springing up at such a rapid pace.

Now, am I saying that folks should use and experiment with every new piece of technology or software that is released and find a way to integrate it into their business, no. Use a practical and strategic approach when it comes to doing so. Perhaps you’re looking for new CRM software that will help your sales team or a specific tool that will help streamline efforts. Do the research and implement these changes into your everyday efforts to ensure that they will help your day-to-day processes while also keeping the big picture in mind.

5W has seen quite the change in the tech world over the last 10 years since our inception in 2003 and we’re looking forward to what the next 10 brings.

Continue Reading

The Value in Social Media for CEOs and Business Owners

Today, many CEOs believe that is merely a fad and a byproduct of a new generation. A recent study released by Domo shows a wide margin in the way young and old CEOs approach social media and its strategies.

According to the survey’s findings, younger CEOs (those under 50) value social media more so than their older counterparts. While there are numerous social media platforms out there, when it came to the major players such as Twitter, Facebook, RSS feeds, blogs, YouTube and Flipboard, younger CEO’s ranked these almost twice as valuable as their elder counterparts.

As a CEO of a PR firm who sits in the young demographic and uses each of the above listed social media platforms, I can say whole-heartedly that social media and digital media in general isn’t just a fad and can add a wealth of benefits and value to any business if used correctly.

Granted, as a CEO there are competing priorities and time spent on something like a new business proposal can’t compare to time spent on Twitter. However, social media is a place where important conversations are taking place. It’s in these communities where real business benefits can be realized while utilizing the relationship-building capabilities that exist within each specific platform and network.

Take a look at some of the Domo findings below. Out of the hundreds of social media platforms available, which do you find most valuable as a business owner?

Social media infographic

Continue Reading

Stop attacking the PR Industry

 

For some reason, the Public Relations industry always seems to get a bum rap… and the latest is in the UK where headlines blare that “16 Labour MPs used taxpayers’ cash to hire a PR firm run by two ex-party workers..” 

Read the full article at: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4845459/Labour-spends-taxpayers-money-PR-firm-ex-party-members.html

While it’s true that £151,474 was spent in the last three years, it’s necessary for politicians to have PR firms – and who better than a former political secretary for the Prime Minister?

Why is it a surprise that a pro is communicating for politicians? And if they didn’t have relationships I am sure they wouldn’t be able to do the job the right way.  It’s time for the media to stop attacking the hard working people of the PR industry. 

Continue Reading

The Right Approach to Crossover PR

You’ve probably noticed, but it seems like no sooner has a attained a certain level of fame – call it “the One Name Club” – then they decide to branch out into new markets. Some musicians try their hand at acting. Actors cut a record. And superstars from both camps often crossover into the beauty marketplace. Any of these endeavors, given the right product, placement and marketing plan, can be a resounding success. At least as long as the superstar’s PR approach gets one thing right.

Understanding the nuances of specific PR applications.

Not all PR is created equal. While there is certainly some overlap in the respective beauty PR and entertainment PR business models, these approaches are not interchangeable. To make a success foray into a completely new market, you need one of two things, preferably both – high level name recognition and a PR team that understands the do’s and don’ts of, for sake of this example, both beauty PR and entertainment PR.

Of course, the dynamic works the other way as well. If a beauty PR firm has a client, say a spokesperson, product “face” or model, interested in crossing over into music, movies or television, the transition needs to be handled by a PR agency with a strong performance record in the entertainment business. covered some ‘Do’s and Don’ts for celebrities in this article 5WPR’s Ronn Torossian What’s No-No” for Awards Season regarding cosmetics and make-up.

One of the most common examples of this cross-market transition is the musician who lends his or her face to a new fragrance release. Cosmetic companies understand that name recognition is key to their success, hence the endorsement deal that borrows the name star power of a known brand in return for both monetary and intangible benefits to the star. Handled well, this expansion can work well for both companies. If either the beauty PR firm or the entertainment firm fumbles…both lose.

Continue Reading

Crisis PR After A Scandal

  After a negative incident, some people think they can pretend it didn’t happen and hope it goes away. In my work with our firm, I’ve seen it time and again. Here’s the hard reality, and I understand it’s a tough pill to swallow. Sometimes, no matter what you do, it just won’t go away…on its own or otherwise. And when you’re talking about PR, the negative potential is that much more amplified.

A classic example of how one bad move can continue to haunt you is the case of singer Chris Brown. After a very public   domestic violence incident wi th th  en girlfriend Rihanna, Brown’s fall from grace could not have been more meteoric. Overnight he went from nearly every woman’s dream guy to the face of domestic abuse from coast to coast.

My point in bringing this up is to show you what can happen when you do not call a reputable crisis pr agency in NY and opt to just do nothing hope things all go away. There are some bridges too high for water to ever get over them. You have to face the problem and deal with it head on.

After the initial incident, Brown said little and less as time went on. He kept his head down and his mouth shut, believing, probably correctly, that a public apology would not do much to heal his wounded image. Even when Rihanna publically admitted she had been violent as well, he still took all the blame. And Brown continued to take that blame in silence, even when the scenario inspired a prime time television show.

Fast forward a year. One photo was taken at the Grammy Awards of Brown and Rihanna being friendly, possibly affectionate. It immediately went viral on the Internet and social media. Suddenly pictures of an incident that happened years ago were popping up everywhere online, as if it only happened yesterday. The lesson? No matter how difficult it might be, deal with the mistake. Social media does not often forgive, and the Internet never forgets.

 

 

Continue Reading

Google to Place Greater Emphasis on Social Signals

ronn torossian blog update

For a while it was thought that Google didn’t pay that much attention to social channels and what bloggers were writing about in the web space.

Times have changed and Google is placing greater emphasis on social signals and the same way Google rewards sites for relevant links to your site, they will reward you for having the relevant followers from Twitter and likes from a Facebook page.

 According to Google, a signal isn’t the same as a ranking factor. This is what Google had to say in late 2010 in regards to retweets, “Yes, we do use it as a signal. It is used a signal in our organic and news rankings. We also use it to enhance our news universal by marketing how many people shared an article.”

Google can’t rank a page if it isn’t indexed, so the engagement on social channels will have little effect if this is the case.

Engaging in social channels whether directly or indirectly helps with search optimization overall. It provides wider visibility which in turn leads to more links and social signals, further boosting your site’s web authority.

The thoughts on social signals are this, engage in social channels the same way you would approach SEO. Don’t start spamming on social channels; this could ultimately hurt your rankings. Having a in place where you can start sharing content with relevant followers. It’s about quality first, not quantity.

Continue Reading

Learning Reputation Management Tactics Overnight and Other PR Myths

It never fails that a client or sports star is involved with an after hours brawl, run in with the law or other PR nightmare. At 5WPR, our team members are sometimes called out of bed in the middle of the night – literally – to put our heads together on some scheme to snuff out negative chatter. Our PR clients rely on us as their go-to PR firm to drag their reputation out of the gutter when bad publicity explodes throughout the online newswire. But we didn’t earn our outstanding reputation in the aftermath of just one or even 20 widely publicized catastrophes.

Take, for instance, the different individuals and NFL teams involved in the fallout from the bounty program. From the player level, to members of the coaching staff, to entire organizations, the scandal hit the league like a ton of bricks. Careers were devastated by the potential suspensions and penalties that might be handed down, well before final decisions were ever made regarding the punishments that would be levied. Some sports pundits wondered if the players and other staff would ever rebound from the controversy, even after fines had been paid and suspensions were served.

As a top PR firm, our team reacts to a crisis like this particular scandal with a swift move into reputation management mode. Going on 10 years in the industry, the damage control frenzy surrounding the bounty controversy is commonplace and we have seen our fair share of media disasters. With every publicity snag that befalls one of our celebrity clients, we learn and apply the techniques to future catastrophes.

When it comes to reacting to a crisis and restoring a reputation, you have heard my adage “content is king.” While I don’t want to dilute that point, I also want to stress that rapid response is also key. Attack the blogosphere with an aggressive campaign that serves to weakens the impact of negative press. Use newswire resources to distribute press releases to mitigate the bad impression left in the public’s eye by a starlet’s wardrobe malfunction or a sports figure’s too-candid comments about a coach. Your goal is to counter every dent in the client’s reputation with a post that pounds it right back out.

Reputation management in a crisis situation is less about contradicting the media reports, and more towards distraction. Arguing against the incident or scandal will only draw more attention. Our goal as a PR firm is to shed an upbeat light on the positive traits and selfless deeds of our clients, and saturate the online distribution outlets with as much feel-good content as we can circulate.

Continue Reading

5WPR Expands a Brand’s Breadth to Increase Its Market Depth

In the industry of alcoholic beverages, there is not much room for an entirely new liquor. It’s true that unique recipes for rum, vodka and whiskey are rampant, and companies are promoting new cocktail combinations at an extraordinary rate. I’ve recently seen releases of legal moonshine concoctions, which tend to ride on the coattails of popular reality shows. But as far as new hard alcohol being developed and introduced to the market, there’s nothing left that truly innovative.

So when clients come to and want to hear how a leading PR firm will help them clamor on top of the heap in an intensely competitive industry, we can’t send them back to the lab to devise a new chemical combination. My position on this topic is that it’s more important to boost a brand’s breadth than to deepen their marketing budget. Through use of these marketing tactics, one of our top beverage PR clients was able to extend its roots in the industry without having to throw a ton of money toward a less profitable campaign. While our partner had their foot in the door in the enormously lucrative vodka business, they needed help broadening their brand.

Our solution: introduction of flavored vodkas as an adjunct to their unflavored product. The flavored liquor trend has been taking hold of the industry for the last few years, and it seemed a natural progression to draw visibility to their original premium brand. In this way, the client could increase its market share in the flavor trend while strengthening its roots in its main (unflavored) product.

It’s true that I have used re-branding tactics as the foundation of a marketing campaign when the product has become stale in its industry. This is not always the most advantageous strategy, as it can be expensive and lose ground in a cost-benefit analysis. An example would be a well-known vodka producer that invested millions in an ad scheme that involved manufacturing personalized bottles for packaging its liquor. This type of tactic really only reaches a small target audience, and so doesn’t broaden the brand’s presence among its competitors. Of course, every promotion strategy must be focused on serving the needs of the individual client. Not every tactic is perfect tailored to the size, budget and goals of the customer, and my job is to cull the out the most effective methods.

Continue Reading