September 3, 2013
In the business of public relations, it’s all about reaching out to the public and pushing your message. Utilizing every media outlet available, the end goal is ensuring that whatever piece of information you want people to know, they know, and have access to spread that information to others. This is difficult in the best of circumstances. Even with the interconnected world as it is today, with information available on TV, radio, the web, social media, newspapers, magazines, books, pamphlets, stone tablets, sidewalk chalk, and literally every medium that humanity has ever discovered to communicate between individuals, it can be nearly impossible to get a simple message out.
That problem grows even more difficult when you work in the different ways in which different groups of people communicate. The largest, and most obvious roadblock, is different languages. There are nearly 7,000 languages in the world, some of which are spoken only by small, remote groups of people. Even if you just keep it to the “major” languages, there are still nearly 200 different tongues spoken across the planet, with various dialectical differences and regional mannerisms that make the “same” languages very different in active communication.
For example, while both the United States and Great Britain speak English as their primary languages, there are significant differences in communication. If someone from London said they “were going to their mate’s house, but first had to get their rubbers from the boot,” an average American could be very confused. The words are all “English” but have different colloquial meaning. In England, mate is a friend, but in America, that term is used for a spouse or life partner, particularly for animals. British “rubbers” are American rain boots or waders, and their “boot” is our trunk of the car.
This is only one obstacle to communicating internationally, even if the languages are the same. When languages are different, that creates yet another layer of problems. Though there are many fantastic online translators, and programs that work to open communication between languages, it still loses nuance, and can lead to more messaging problems than it solves. For PR firms like 5W Public Relations, this means not just having to get an international message out in the right language, it means getting it out in the best form of the language.
Even with all the communications technology available to the world today, actual interpersonal communication continues to be difficult. Things are misheard, misread, misrepresented, or just missed. The sharing of information is a delicate art, and to master it means to master it in all its forms. In America, everyone knows what giving a middle finger means. In other countries, different hand gestures mean different things, or the same as a middle finger. A picture of someone making the “O.K.” hand gesture in the States can mean that they think everything is good, while the same gesture is insulting to someone in Latin America. Know how to communicate internationally, and the world will open itself to you.
For more information on 5WPR and
Ronn Torossian, click here.
June 12, 2013
Americans love their sports. We talk about how the year moves with sports seasons more than the actual seasons themselves. The flowers bloom in the beginning of baseball season, the leaves fall in football season, and no one plays hockey in the first half of hockey season. But with the daily reporting of box scores and stats, and the 24/7 news treatment given to sports by the multitude of stations dedicated only to athletics, it is sometimes difficult to not lose the big news in the deluge of information.
Ronn Torossian acknowledges that the NBA has come up with a number of different ways to keep fans interacting in between the games, and working them into a frenzy even when their favorite players aren’t balling out on the court, reaching out to them through social media and traditional media.
Step one has been to fill out traditional media. Making sure there is plenty of coverage of every dunk and every shot blocked back into the face of a superstar is plastered across ESPN is step number one that the sports businesses have been using for over 30 years. Replays of the best and worst of each game, countdowns of the most exciting moments of the playoffs, and interviews with the sports superstars are a great way to ensure fans relive all the moments that got their teams to the finals.
Other traditional media, like radio, print, and even the internet, which at this point can be considered traditional media, also play a big part in this. If you’re not convinced of the importance print, take a look at Ronn Torossians 3 reasons why print media matters. Radio ensures outreach in talking about the finals when people traditionally aren’t in front of a screen, such as when they’re driving, jogging, or working away from computer access. Print media, while in decline, is still a primary source for older fans who are significantly less likely to jump online to see what’s going on with their favorite team.
New social media outlets are being utilized to keep fans up to date as well, with twitter feeds for every team, every player, and every news source a fan would want to hear from. Facebook updates with up-to-the-minute news reports on the health status of players, trash talk between teams and fans, and even what your favorite superstar had for breakfast to power him through the day are all available, feeding the beast of sports fan mania!
Much of this is done at the behest of the National Basketball Association because they understand that engaged fans are happy fans, and happy fans spend money. 5W Public Relations firm CEO Ronn Torossian plans to be watching, not just to see who wins the championship, but who wins the media outreach game as well.
June 11, 2013
In the world of public relations, there is no sweeter achievement than the perfectly timed, masterfully worded press release. If done right, your story will be immediately carried to the world, and control of the news cycle will be yours. Victory means the story will be carried how you want it interpreted, ensuring PR success.
However, most press releases get filed immediately in the T-drawer (the “T” stands for trash). Fortunately, public relations phenom and CEO of 5W Public Relations, Ronn Torossian, has highlighted the five reasons that your press release was just rejected and how to fix the problem.
Weak, Uninteresting Headline
The first thing a journalist will read when receiving a press release is the headline. If that doesn’t immediately catch the imagination and feed the desire to read the rest of the release, it will be dumped in favor of something that does. Like any kind of writing, you have to grab the reader instantly, or else you’re lost.
It’s Too Long
The first rule of a press release is to keep it pithy. Depending on the size of the news agency, they could see dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of press releases on any given day. Experienced public relation firms know that if the release is too long and involved to get a sense of in less than a minute, there’s a much higher likelihood that it gets dumped.
Not Enough Information
Most news outlets are pressed enough for time as it is. Unless you’re release is announcing the kind of story that breaks once a decade, the media just does not have time to run down the issuer of said release and play 20 questions. Followups on good press do happen; but if you don’t give them the full who, what, where, when, how, why, and reason it’s newsworthy, don’t expect that phone to ring.
A press release is almost always issued to alert the press to an event. Whether it’s a grand opening, a political announcement, a jury ruling, or a bake sale, there is an element of human interest in it. As highlighted in the last point, with cutbacks in the news industry, most journalists and researchers don’t have the time to follow up a story with questions and quotes. Making sure your quote is packaged in the press release ensures that there’s article filler and makes it easier to carry the story.
Spelling and grammatical errors can happen, especially when rushing to get a press release out. Minimizing them is important, but no one is perfect. However, if the press release reads like a fourth-grader wrote it, don’t expect the New York Times to publish it. Writing, especially for mass consumption, is an art and requires that the effort put in reflects the seriousness of the writer and the story being pitched.
Follow these rules, and your next press release will be a public relations coup instead of a PR disaster.
Here are 4 more tips from Ronn Torossian on press release writing.
June 4, 2013
For years now we have heard that the real estate market is in shambles. The only light at the end of the tunnel was an oncoming train. The situation was bleak and the outlook even bleaker. Throughout it all, people were still buying and selling homes and millions of real estate pros managed to make a good living. How is this possible? 5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian explains.
#1 – Successful real estate public relations focuses on positives.
Everyone understands that the market is not what it was a few years ago due to the housing bubble. But the fact is the market wasn’t really that great then either. That was an anomaly. Bad businesses. And countless people paid. But statistics are not the same as people, and people need places to live even when markets are trending downward. By focusing on what WAS possible during the latest real estate downturn, many realtors excelled.
#2 – Successful real estate PR focuses on people
Ronn Torossian points out that those who did well in real estate during the downturn focused on whom they could help. Whether they were buyers who were looking for a home or sellers who desperately needed out of a bad situation (before it got worse), successful realtors focused on helping people. Developing a reputation for helping people always equates to excellent public relations.
#3 – Successful real estate public relations breeds success
When an industry is in crisis, the best rise to the challenge and, quite often, the “not best” find another line of work. Something else they CAN be the best at, hopefully. When you develop a reputation for success in any industry, that reputation will precede you. Likewise, when you develop a reputation as someone who doesn’t quite get there, that can follow you too. It is not enough, in the long run, to project success. You have to achieve it. However, measuring success is a bargain for PR firms. Yet, when you do what it takes to do it right, that success can form the basis for your most foundational public relations campaigns. “I get results.”
Elie Hirschfeld is a model for many in the real estate – and business and philanthropy worlds – to follow.
June 4, 2013
I read an article in today’s Times with great interest. According to those in the know, the outlook on Medicare is not nearly as bleak as originally anticipated. While I won’t get into the specifics here, the article is an interesting lesson in several approaches to impactful PR campaigns.
With that in mind, here are three questions you must get answers to when crafting an impactful public relations campaign.
#1 – What’s your market’s definition of “good?”
Changes and improvements may be legitimate, even if they are statistically insignificant. However, your market may not necessarily see it that way. Keep them from responding with a yawn when they should be clapping. Make sure those interacting with your public relations campaign understand WHY this is a big deal. In other words, if they don’t have a definition of “good,” or they have unrealistic expectations, the PR firm should take the opportunity to change that expectation and create a workable definition of “good.”
#2 – What are they comparing this to?
In most cases, there are multiple competitive products and services that can help provide both context and expectations for your market. In the case of giant entitlement programs such as Medicare, you really don’t have many options. The typical go-to “this and that” comparison is either Social Security or Medicaid. While one name sounds similar, this is sort of like comparing apples to rutabagas because they are both “produce.” It is important in your PR campaign not to attempt to compare apples to oranges. Much better to stick with features and benefits people can comprehend than comparing one thing they don’t understand to another just as incomprehensible.
#3 – What should they understand that they don’t?
This could seem like a bottomless pit, particularly in technical and complicated issues such as healthcare. But it is a necessary question to answer. While Ronn Torossian understands that most people have a consumer mindset and they “just want this to work right,” it is not impossible to address misunderstandings or incomplete knowledge that may hinder their perception. In simple terms, you don’t know what you don’t know. But a well-planned PR campaign can fix that.
June 2, 2013
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 public relations 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, Ronn Torossian 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.
May 30, 2013
Recently it was announced that Apple may have benefited from certain corporate tax loopholes to avoid paying billions in corporate taxes. While the facts of this case are still in dispute, the headlines are flying fast and furiously. Questions are being asked about the future of the computing and experiential technology giant, and dire predictions are being tossed around. But Apple has been remarkably silent, choosing not to respond to the cacophony of criticism.
And this PR approach seems to be working. CEO of top PR agency, 5WPR, Ronn Torossian explains why.
#1 – Apple is focused elsewhere
Customer experience and continuing to establish and expand the Apple brand have always been Apple’s chief focuses. By remaining silent amidst these accusations, Apple reinforces two images. One, that they firmly believe they have done nothing out of order. And, two, that they are going to spend their time continuing to deliver a customer experience their fans have come to expect. Top PR agencies, such as 5WPR, know the effectiveness of shifting the focus away from negative media.
#2 – Customers care more about experience
This approach works because the majority of Apple’s customers do not mind if Apple has good tax attorneys. They just want the latest and greatest products and the best apps to use on them. Although it’s a PR agency’s job to refuse situations such as this, it helps when the company has build a solid foundation with their brand.This is not to say that Apple’s consumer base is not concerned about corporate tax law, but that they simply care more about having great consumer experience using Apple products. This is evident in two prior issues with the iPhone and Macbook Air. Consumers responded immediately, compelling almost instant reactions from Apple. The response to these accusations has been decidedly more tepid.
#3 – No one really enjoys paying taxes
This is not really a public relations point, and 5WPR is a PR agency who very carefully follows the tax laws to a “T,” both quarterly and annually, but most of us are thinking it, so it needed to be said. If this corporation continues to do good things for its consumers – particularly after the announcement that Apple will be bringing more jobs back into the United States – most people will look the other way until egregious violations have been effectively proven.
#4 – The responsible parties are already engaged
From Apple’s perspective this is an issue for their attorneys and PR agency. And their consumers seem to be comfortable with this arrangement. And why not, no wrongdoing has been proven, and Apple makes a very poor corporate boogieman. After all, this is a company that has a definitive and beneficial impact on the vast majority of US households … most of whom just want to know what Apple gurus will think of next.
As long as these four factors remain true, and any potential wrongdoing remains nebulous, Apple’s silence on this issue will not hurt them. This only goes to prove that, sometimes, the best public relations response is to say nothing until the time is right.
May 30, 2013
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, Ronn Torossian 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 public relations 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.
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
May 28, 2013
It’s critical for public figures to acquire a top PR agency, such as 5WPR, when faced with negative media such as being accused of using illicit drugs. It’s much worse when someone posts an Internet video of that public figure allegedly smoking crack cocaine. But that was exactly the accusation leveled at Toronto Mayor Rob Ford recently.
While this is certainly an extreme example of how not to handle crisis PR after a scandal, Ronn Torossian says it is also a chance to reiterate the right way to face an unfortunate situation.
#1 – Stick with what you can prove
Initially, Ford was irate that anyone would make the accusation, much less post it on the web. And while his initial response was far from perfect, he did get one thing right. He made a direct statement that cannot be disproven: “I am not an addict.” The media asked if the video was true and if the accusation was accurate. Ford was reluctant to respond, denying that he currently smokes crack. Lacking evidence, the media can do nothing with these answers to further tarnish Ford. Top PR agencies in NYC specialize in constructing messages to keep the media away.
#2 – Make the media your ally
From there, the mayor makes a fatal public relations mistake. He attacked the media. Instead of attempting to honestly answer questions without further incriminating himself, Ford decided to criticize the media for, in effect, doing their job. This is rarely – if ever – a winning PR move. The media gets paid to ask questions and report information. Trying to shame them into stopping this is pointless. A much better tactic used by top PR agencies, such as 5WPR, is to attempt to craft a response that gives the media what it is looking for without bringing further incrimination. Ford started to do this, but felt pushed too far and lost the plot. He even went so far as to accuse the Toronto Star of being “out to get him.” Well, if it wasn’t before, it likely was now. It is NEVER a good idea to paint a target on your chest and dare the media to start shooting.
#3 – Don’t attack the messenger
In a related point, it is rarely a winning PR approach to get hostile with those seeking the truth. Sure, you may be tired of answering questions, and, yes, you may be growing frustrated. Still, it is much better to simply say, “No more questions.” Then walk away after having made a brief statement. Flip out on a reporter and it will be up on the ‘net before you can get back to your car.
#4 – Control the conversation
This is the big one. Sure, you cannot control the speculation, but that is not what we are talking about here. The “conversation” in this sense is simply the narrative. This is what you must control if you are going to manage a successful PR speed bump. Even when the PR is positive, it is much better to have your team in the driver’s seat.
Ronn Torossian reminds us that it is just as simple – maybe not as easy, but as simple – to offer a positive response to a negative situation. You simply need the best PR agency by your side.
May 23, 2013
New York’s spring ballet season opened quietly with an American music theme. The themes were lively, the music popped and the dancers basked in the spotlight. Ballet season in NYC is both a perfect metaphor and a prime opportunity for various aspects of public relations and brand development.
When dancing to music or as part of a company you have to stay in time, on beat and in step. PR campaigns work the same way. They must be choreographed precisely and performed with proven expertise. Ronn Torossian suggests using a combination of proven techniques and an experienced team to get it right the first time.
Public Image is Only as Good as Your Last Performance
In ballet at this level, one false move can mean losing the lead role. The same is true in public relations. Your reputation is determined by what people are saying about you “now.” At 5W Public Relations we work with our clients to make sure their latest performance is their best yet.
Taking Advantage of Time in the Spotlight
When you have your chance on stage, you have to seize it. In public relations, when you have a chance to get your message out there, you can’t miss it. To do this effectively, you must have an action plan in place. Just as a dancer cannot just walk out on stage without knowing the show, a PR firm cannot move to benefit its client if it has no plan in place. This is why 5WPR works with its clients to go over several “what if” scenarios in each public relations campaign.
Ballet season allows a wide range of companies to put their products and services on display. From the costumes worn by performers to the equipment used backstage to the technology that keeps everything running smoothly, contractors can make or break ballet season. If performers and producers are happy, your reputation can be set. If not, you will have a lot of work to do to catch up. Ronn Torossian explains that the same can be true when using public relations for brand development. If you put yourself out there but the message doesn’t ring true to your target market, your brand development is set back and must make up that ground before moving forward.