News and Updates from 5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian

Category: Ronn Torossian

How Rio Should Prepare If the Olympics Flop

How Rio Should Prepare If the Olympics Flop

With the Summer Olympics only about a month away on August 5th, Rio de Janeiro faces some almost insurmountable issues that need to be resolved in that short period of time. And that may not be possible. So, what should the Brazilian government and the 2016 Olympic Committee do to keep the games as smooth as they can be even if many problems go unresolved?

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Dunkin Donuts App Launches Mobile Ordering

Dunkin Donuts App Launches Mobile Ordering

There was a point not that long ago when having an app was a luxury or an oddity. Now, pretty much anyone and everyone seems to have one. Some, like the incredible Girl Scout cookie locator, are very useful. Others seem to major on aggravation and minor in taking up space on your phone. But the Girl Scouts are not the only brand trying to help you get your sugar fix. Enter Dunkin’ Donuts.

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Responding to Viral Customers to Benefit your Brand


Today, customers have a stronger voice than ever thanks to the rise of social media. As more and more people adopt smartphones and grow accustomed to an always-connected lifestyle, responding quickly to consumers is critical for delivering exceptional customer care.

Consumers are getting tired of shopping the old-fashioned way, with more customers opting to buy things online than in-store. But, that’s not the only thing they’re doing more of online. Given the hectic pace of modern day life, consumers have had to adjust to new constraints on their time.

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What the Tunsil Gasmask Disaster Teaches us about Crisis PR

Laremy Tunsil

Laremy Tunsil’s NFL draft night turned from celebration to horror, after a post on his Twitter page created a disaster. The mysterious post appeared just minutes before the draft began and showed Tunsil smoking marijuana through a gas mask. He then removed the mask, revealing his identity.

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Frozen Food Recall Creates Consumer PR Problems

Frozen berries with frost

Listeria. Ask most folks what it is and what it does, and they would have a hard time explaining it. But ask them if they want it in their food, and they know full well it’s very bad. Just the mention of the word leads consumers to stop buying, much less consuming certain products. Now the outbreak scare extends to frozen food, some bought as far back as 2014.

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LinkedIn still trying to find itself

linkedin ronn torossian 5wpr ceo

Social media is now an incessant part of life for billions of humans across the globe. They use Facebook to connect with friends, Twitter to express opinions, Snapchat and Instagram and others to share life. Millions also have LinkedIn accounts. Now, all together, what’s the purpose of LinkedIn? Yep, it’s “good for business”.

Years after it debuted, LinkedIn has developed a strong brand, but it has failed to develop on that core idea that LinkedIn is good for business. People use it, sort of, but not with nearly the ubiquitous constancy of Facebook or Twitter. Simply put, while LinkedIn knows what it’s for, it has failed to communicate what to do with it. People connect … and then what?

That’s a key reason why media reports indicate LinkedIn stock is dropping – 44% in February after subpar quarterly earnings. When you suffer a fall that steep and that deep, something is very wrong at the core of what you’re doing. You can’t blame “nearly half” on outside factors or competition.

One-fifth of LinkedIn profits come from marketing, including about 10 percent from sponsored updates, one area that actually grew over the last quarter. That, at least, is good news for LinkedIn. If what they’re dealing with is a major cashflow shift, there’s a strong potential upside. But, if people are just not using the app like they could, there’s more to the story that can’t be ignored.

For most people using , the updates and push notifications have created a “need” to check and tweet and post and interact. On LinkedIn the audience only goes when they feel the need to, so there’s much less interaction … thus much less potential for audience participation with sponsored ads.

In a conversation with Business Insider, Henry Clifford-Jones, director of LinkedIn Marketing in Spain, Germany, and the UK, said: “We see a huge opportunity for more brands to harness Sponsored Updates on LinkedIn to target their audiences with useful content at the right time to the right audience.”

Opportunity may be exactly the right word. Because they aren’t seeing actuality. People just aren’t using LinkedIn as they are other platforms. The brand hasn’t found a way to be sticky enough to grab people and keep people. It doesn’t matter how impactful and targeted your marketing wants to be or could be if no one is listening.

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Arizona DOC investigation leads to firings

Arizona DOC

It’s been a bad month for the Arizona state Department of Corrections. According to the Associated Press, separate investigations into two inmate suicides at Arizona prisons have led to the firing of 13 corrections officers and sergeants. Six others have been “disciplined”. That’s a whole lot of fallout … but why?

According to information that is still coming out, various correctional officers and other employees failed to conduct security checks and perform other duties. Neglect, ethics violations, and duty failures were also reported. But it gets worse, reports have also surfaced that records were falsified, and misconduct was either not reported or investigated.

From a PR perspective, while this case involves specific employees of a specific prison system, it reflects poorly on the entire Arizona DOC and the state as a whole. That creates a widespread and nuanced crisis across multiple departments. Heads will roll, and that’s just the beginning.

In any situation like this, the general public will demand accountability. That may or may not stop with the firings and discipline of the various DOC officers and employees. It might extend to elected or appointed officials further up the food chain. That is if this issue continues to stay in the headlines for extended periods.

On a national scale, the state and those in danger are benefitting from a hotly contested presidential election stealing most, if not all, of the airtime and column inches. However, at a local and state level, the problems are just beginning. Everyone from activist groups to prison reform organizations will look at this case as a touchstone, an opportunity to drum up support for their cause.

This sort of multilayered administrative failure can be a very attractive situation for those seeking to advance various agendas critical of both the police in general and the prison system in particular. When people are dead, and officers apparently created a situation that allows it, the environment is ripe for hyperbole and broad brush statements.

State, local, and law enforcement PR specialists must understand this and act quickly, or they risk losing control of this narrative and becoming the go-to example of every problem or issue these systems face.

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Barilla pushing pasta as a healthy alternative


Pasta is good for you. That’s the message Italian pasta maker Barilla hopes to deliver convincingly to an American public fast becoming distrustful of all things bread. From carb counters to gluten-fearing consumers, American eaters are moving away from bread-based diets at a fast rate.

Meanwhile, the so-called Mediterranean diet is all the rage, a dichotomy Barilla CEO Guido Barilla can’t quite square. Thin and undoubtedly in shape, Barilla says he eats pasta daily, sometimes twice, and calls it the basis of the real Mediterranean diet.

While the company adjusts its sauce products to suit American tastes – more spices and sugar – if they can’t get folks to eat pasta, their efforts are all in vain.

So, the uphill battle faced by Barilla is two-fold. They must simultaneously kowtow to American preferences while also somehow convincing Americans that their ideas about food are wrong. It’s the latter that Barilla takes on most directly. In CNN reports, the CEO has plainly stated American consumers don’t “know the facts.” He argues that Americans think they know what’s good for them, but are simply buying into propaganda.

If that argument fails, Barilla is already working on a backup plan. Instead of just telling people they are wrong – a tough sell no matter what the subject is – his company is suggesting people explore the differences between carbs in white bread and donuts and the carbs in pasta.

This is an argument that may find more traction. People are much more willing to explore and learn than they are to believe they are just flat out wrong. Trying to get someone to just “believe” they have been duped is all but impossible. Just look at . Doesn’t matter the topic, any comment that says: “you’re wrong” is nearly always met with derision or outright profanity. People don’t like being told they are wrong.

Conversely, they really don’t mind being told one thing is different, even if only slightly, than something else. People love choosing one thing over another. The trick is for Barilla to make people think the choice is their idea. If he can do that, he’s really onto something.

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Maricopa County says no more iPhones

Maricopa County iphone

If you were wondering how much of a political PR football this fight between Apple and the FBI is becoming, now you know. Maricopa County, Arizona, you know the place that always seems to find a way into the news when there’s a far right political issue in the press, has taken a hard line stand against Apple CEO Tim Cook’s refusal to create a backdoor into its iPhone.

According to a statement released to the media last week, Maricopa County officials declared they will no longer give Apple devices to employees. The message came directly from county attorney Bill Montgomery:

“I don’t expect my action to affect Apple’s stock price,” Montgomery said in a statement. “But I cannot in good conscience support doing business with an organization that chooses to thwart an active investigation into a terrorist attack that claimed the lives of fourteen fellow citizens. If Apple wants to be the official smartphone of terrorists and criminals, there will be a consequence.”

The county currently uses fewer than 400 iPhones, so the loss of this customer won’t even cause the company to blink. But the language could quickly be adopted by competitors looking for an edge in certain markets.

Think about what was said. An elected county official just accused an American company of actively supporting terrorists and criminals. Sure, he couched it in enough modifiers to be free from any legal action, but the intent bled through the thinly veiled accusations.

While some might dismiss this guy and his loudmouth, media-hungry county as just a bunch of no-count rabble rousers, many are not taking it that way. The language and the action used by the county attorney are sure to find their way onto talk radio and political websites, and may even end up in TV and print headlines.

Suddenly the accusations are playing out on a much bigger stage. While it’s likely that most people’s minds will not change on this issue, based on these comments, when they reach a certain point of saturation, Apple will be forced to respond. And that’s a tried and true tactic. It doesn’t matter what you say, get your opponent answering your accusations and suddenly everything you say appears to have more merit.

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