News and Updates from 5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian

Tag: insights

Sports Illustrated fires all Photographers

Ronn Torossian Photographer SI
It’s a headline you have likely read umpteen times in recent years. Some periodical or news publication just laid off tons of staff. They “cut back” or “cleared departments” or “downsized.” Bottom line, in an industry that is hemorrhaging working capital, someone has to pay the price. Ronn Torossian reports that the latest victims of this market reality are the staff photographers of Sports Illustrated. Yes, the team that has brought you countless iconic shots of America’s favorite games, contests and pastimes are all looking for work.

Brad Smith, director of photography for Sports Illustrated, made the announcement recently through the National Press Photographers Association. “There was a decision made through the company to restructure various departments, including at Sports Illustrated. Unfortunately, economic circumstances are such that it has cut the six staff photographers.”

The company says it plans to “rely more on freelancers.” That loaded statement could mean many things. It could mean that it will rehire some or all of the same shooters for similar money – but without the employee benefits. It could also mean that it will hire a platoon of less celebrated but equally capable camera commandos to work various beats during different seasons. That might make more sense. Instead of incurring the costs of sending its team of single-location employees all across the globe, the company will save money by employing locally-based shooters to work events in their areas.

This is not a new strategy for the nation’s premier weekly sports publication. Consider, with only six staff photogs, and innumerable print and online pics needed on a daily basis, SI has been relying on freelancers for some time now already. But this approach is not without potential pitfalls. Dynamic photos are the undisputed lifeblood of Sports Illustrated, both in print and online. From its weekly cover shots to the celebrated Swimsuit Issue, SI is, its award-winning writing aside, still primarily a visual medium. If the freelancers don’t deliver across the board, SI could immediately lose relevance in the international sports media marketplace.

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The Future of the Workplace

workplace in 2015 ronn torossian

Read just about any business journal, and you are bound to find articles extolling the virtues of the workplace of tomorrow. What it will look like, how it will work and what skills will be needed to make your mark in that environment. We’re not “there” yet, and if we don’t do better today than yesterday, we may not be around for “then.” With that in mind, let’s take a look at three current business trends and what they could mean for you.

Big Data will Continue to Transform HR

Human Resources need not be what it once was. Big data analytics are leading to some incredible breakthroughs in hiring decisions, employee retention, enhanced workflow and efficient internal infrastructure. Decisions that were once “gut calls” are now being made by complex and accurate analytics – and to great result. Ignoring this trend and its potential benefits will assure that you are far from the head of the class at year’s end.

Tech Changing What is Done and How We Do It

For decades, the main focus of technology was on what work machines could do and what work humans should do. As more machines and technology moved into work environments, humans began doing different jobs. Today, technology is allowing those same people to do the same jobs in better ways. Business is becoming more efficient and more profitable across a wide spectrum of market segments. Of course, there are still those who refuse to adapt. And, like anything that cannot adapt, eventually, it will be replaced by something that can and will.

The Line Between Work and Home is Blurring

Forget everything you are thinking right now about telecommuting and working from home. That’s last decade’s “new thing.” We’re talking here about the fading line between work and home. With smartphones and other web-connected and app-enhanced wearables, nearly all of us have productivity at the touch of a button. We can check work emails in the line at the grocery store. We can answer messages and do research waiting in line or at traffic lights. We can read memos and check reports while watching TV at home. With no firm barriers between work and play, the way we do what we do is forever changing. As are the expectations. Remember when people had “office hours” and never responded outside them? Those days are over for good. A trend that will soon become an expectation.

While not all of these will apply to you, and, certainly, none of them can guarantee your success, ignoring these trends will definitely handicap your ability to succeed. Regardless of what tomorrow holds.

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What Is A Reddit AMA?

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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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Integrating Your Brand’s Story Into the Holiday Season

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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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