News and Updates from 5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian

Tag: Media Relations

TSO Gives the Fans What They Want

5WPR is a leading media relations and PR Firm

It’s that time of year again. Time for tinsel, and trees, and TSO. That’s Trans-Siberian Orchestra to the crowd who learned about them before texting, and . It’s the holiday band that isn’t a holiday band, that’s back every year at this time to play to packed halls, and sold out crowds of festive fans.

It’s a neat gig, if you can figure out how to make it happen. A public relations coup of the highest order. Not that it isn’t deserved. These guys do put on an incredible show. And they have become a central Christmas tradition for millions across the world.

The “trick” here is that TSO fans are willing to go to a show completely unaware of what they might hear. New stuff? Old stuff? A mix of both? Who cares, I’ve got Trans-Siberian tickets, people!

What brand wouldn’t love to engender that sort of fan loyalty? But, how can anyone make that happen? Ronn Torossian has some answers.

First, transition is in TSO’s DNA. This is a band that almost never was, a group who reinvented itself almost as a gimmick, and in doing so, found their calling. Along the way they became a beloved holiday tradition for their adoring fans, and created an entirely new form of music – the heavy metal Christmas carol.

Many have tried to follow in their footsteps, but few have found any measure of success. But why, again? Are they really just that “once in a lifetime” lucky?

Nope. TSO knows who they are, and they are comfortable being who their fans want to be. In a world where too many artists want to create art for themselves, and forget that they have to SELL that art to FANS, TSO knows exactly who they are, and they are completely okay with that.

Now, that’s not saying a day won’t come when the former 80s rock band won’t want to return to their roots. Or maybe they will discover acid-hiphop-polka, and change music as we know it (again). Who knows what will happen at that point? And, more to the point, who cares? Right now, where this band is in their public relations journey, is the “giving people what they want” phase.

And that can be an incredibly lucrative phase. It’s the phase that can bring you to “do what I want” fortune, and “be who I want” fame. Embrace it, or denounce it, not everyone gets that opportunity.

And, it is wise PR to seize it, and hold on for as long as you can. After all, hundreds may buy what you call art … but millions might buy what they call art.

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Why Double-Checking Makes PR Sense

Ask Ronn Torossian, and he will tell you that reputation can be a terrific thing. When you are bringing in a special speaker, you want to make sure he, or she is not only qualified, but dynamic, and well respected. But it’s very important to consider the source giving you the referral. That, Torossian says, is a lesson one Texas high school principal recently learned the hard way.

In attempting to book an encouraging, and challenging speaker for a recent high school assembly about social issues such as teen dating, this principal worked with the school’s PTA president to bring in a man with a big reputation in this field. However – and this is where the story gets fuzzy – either they didn’t know exactly WHAT that reputation entailed, or simply believed the controversial message was one teens needed to hear.

Unfortunately for all involved, the reaction to the speaker was unexpected…and immediate. Accusations of misogyny, and sexism exploded across the Twitterverse. Now, the staff, and administrators are apologizing. But, to many, those apologies are ringing hollow.

In articles discussing the incident, commentators are not holding back. Some are accusing the administration of incompetence. Others are claiming it’s a conspiracy to bring “church values” into a “state school.” Virtually no one is taking the side – or even asking the side – of the administration. They are just collectively backing over them in a proverbial bus.

Now, it might be easy to decry the immediate, and reactionary nature of for all the kerfluffle. And it might be easy to dismiss the griping as overwrought, and emotional teenagers who get worked up over any ol’ thing. But at the end of the day, those criticisms – and many others just like them – don’t matter at all.

When it comes to PR in the digital age, source is much less important than content. When people read negative reviews, or reactions to your business, or brand, they are not stopping to check the source. They are simply absorbing the information.

Let that stark lesson provide you with some basic directions on how to handle your social media. When you hire someone to represent you, better make sure they know how to support the brand vision you are building.



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When Excellence is Easy to Spot

5W PR is a leading media relations and PR Firm

Recently, there was a story down in Florida that gained national attention. A central Florida mother got upset when her son brought home an honor roll citation along with a report card that had a “D” on it. According to that county’s school system, honor roll is determined by cumulative GPA, not the typical “all As and Bs”, that many parents remember.

Well, this mother didn’t feel like her son deserved to be honored since he was, reportedly, slacking a bit in the class where he scored the “D.” According to the mother, standout effort and standout results deserve standout honors. Slacking in one area does not. Now, parents, and educators across the nation are taking sides on the issue.

Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5W Public Relations, says there’s something all young entrepreneurs can learn from this situation.

“Look, if you want to be successful, you need to understand that it’s not the bar someone else sets that should be your target. You need to find a way to surpass what you have believed to be your best. You need to find a way to do ‘more’ and to do that more in a better way,” Torossian said.

Torossian says that’s what the mother in this case is really trying to say. It’s not that she doesn’t want other kids to get an honor, and it’s not that she isn’t proud of all the A’s her child has earned. It’s that the system is allowing for children to meet a minimum and be honored the same as those who far exceed that minimum.

“That’s not the way the world works. Our economy is set up to reward those who work better, and do a better job. Not just those who work harder, but those who find a way to be the best,” Torossian says.

That should be your ultimate goal. Not to do as well as all those guys out there doing “alright for themselves.” Your goal should be to surpass the status quo. To find a way to do what’s being done better, or to do something new in an attractive way.

“If you can make that standard a foundation of your business plan, you are setting yourself up for success. Fail to do so and you are setting yourself up for mediocrity.”



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Where Funny and NOT Funny Collide

5W PR is a leading media relations and PR Firm

Small upstart airline, Spirit, has some explaining to do after a recent ad campaign that got them in hot water with consumers. Referencing the recent NFL flack between two offensive lineman, one an alleged bully, and the other his alleged victim, Spirit released an advertisement touting it’s low cost airfare with the tagline: “Don’t be bullied. Fly incognito.”

The PR company for Spirit clearly thought the advert was topical, catchy, and funny. Some consumers agreed. Others…well, not so much.

One critic actually conjured Orwell to denounce the campaign, citing the author’s seminal quote comparing advertising to a bucket of swill. Those are not kind words, but there were many that were much worse, and most that were unpublishable.

Granted, the NFL bullying story that the ad campaign lampoons came out of Miami, and Spirit hails from nearby Miramar. Maybe the locals have a closer bead on the public response down there. But this is not in the rest of the country.

Now the company is faced with a decision. Kowtow to the local crowd who appreciated the joke, or mollify those in the greater USA who found the stunt tasteless and “far too soon.”

It is tough to say which way to go here. Advertising in this day and age is often edgy, pushing boundaries with careful intention. Nothing wrong with that. The problem comes when that boundary line is crossed far sooner than the creators of the ad, or the company expects. Suddenly, what was meant to be a funny quip becomes an insensitive slap in the face to someone’s Most Important Issue. More so when the ad is taken out of context, which, in this day of memes, and constant media, it certainly will be.

Sometimes a joke is funny in the moment, and then that moment passes. But if the joke is repeated continually, it becomes less funny, and more offensive. It’s a balance all good comics understand well. Many times a joke is only funny if you don’t think too much about it.

Unfortunately for Spirit, thinking about it is exactly what the American public is doing. They’d better act before the people make up their minds.


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Beauty in the eye of the beholder

The “embarrassing car” list raises eyebrows and gets people talking

Few things are more subjective than vehicle design. While most sedans, and many compact cars seem made from the same mold, other models stand out from the rest. Ronn Torossian points out that, while these “different” designs certainly turn heads, some have also been known to turn stomachs.

Recently a list of the 12 most embarrassing recent car models has been making the rounds. Most major automakers had a model on the list. Those receiving votes included Honda, Nissan, Pontiac, Chrysler, Volkswagen, Lincoln, Chevrolet, Subaru, and Hummer.

Some models receiving votes, like the Honda Element, or Chrysler PT Cruiser, or Volkswagen Bug have huge numbers of ardent fans. Others, like the Nissan Cube, Smart Fourtwo, and Chevy SSR were popular among drivers looking for something different.

How can the makes that made the list spin this PR in their favor? Torossian says it may be easier than you think.

#1 – Focus on the positive

Look for, and promote the good things people are saying about the vehicle. There will always be people out there that don’t like it, but what is it about the car that draws fans?

#2 – Aim for your group

Most of these “different” vehicles have a very specific target market in mind long before they rolled off the assembly line. Makers should concentrate on their target market, and see what they are saying about the product. That lesson transcends across nearly all markets. While what other people are saying may be somewhat important, your buyers are who you should be out to please.

#3 – Don’t listen to the detractors

If you are selling well, and your customers are happy, let those negative vibes bounce right off. It’s one thing if everyone is panning your product, and it’s not selling. It’s something entirely different when a group of people who weren’t going to buy from you in any case criticize your product.

In the end, subjective is subjective. No matter what you do, someone out there is bound to hate it. Don’t sweat it. Focus on keeping those who love it happy.

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Little Tikes Scores Big By Answering “The Question”

Online addition eases fears and increases time on site

When it comes to toddler toys, the number one concern all parents have is this: “Is it safe?”.

Companies do all sorts of things to allay those fears. They print age restrictions, warn about small parts, and sharp edges, and follow industry safety guidelines. These steps help reduce those fears, but they don’t assuage them. Not really.

Little Tikes has taken those efforts one step further and created a huge digital media win for their preschool toy brand. In a recent print advertisement – you know, the ones kids shove relentlessly in their parents’ faces – Little Tikes invited parents to tour their manufacturing facility. Online.

Ronn Torossian, CEO of , explains the successful , “Parents can go to the website and see exactly how those toys are being made. This is a tremendous way to answer that number one unspoken question that every parent has when buying toys for their kids. They can see the safety measures, put faces on the “faceless” people monitoring the process, and feel that much more reassured.”

But, Torossian adds, from a digital media marketing perspective, this move has other, huge benefits.

#1 – Massive time on site increases

A factory tour is no 30-second clip. Watching it keeps viewers glued to the page for an extended amount of time, measured by web standards.

#2 – Opportunities to market to parents

Little Tikes knows it will be parents checking out the video. So, they would be smart to place coupons, special offers, and exclusive deals right there on the same page as the video screen.

#3 – Opportunities to market to the target

Many times parents will watch those videos with their kids. Clever product placement motivates kids to add a few things to their wish list while their parents watch the movie.

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Entertainment Weekly’s social media PR blitz paying off

Print vs. Digital Media

Ever since the first publication launched an online version, people have been predicting the end of print. Over a decade later, print is still with us, and many publications are legitimately flourishing. How is this possible when print has huge overhead, and the web has virtually none? Ronn Torossian has the answer.

People still love to unplug and read

This has to be said. While the entire world is going digital, there are still tens of millions who love to curl up, and read … or not take their device into the restroom.

Clever Marketing

Embracing the new media world has helped old media success stories continue to thrive. Apps, sites, and other digital content keeps the new school happy without completely abandoning the old guard.

Outstanding or Expanded Content

One of the perks of print material is that the style, and content differs from web applications. Web articles are quick, and to the point. Print stories allow for more expansive thought, consideration, and content. This often allows for “better” storytelling, and more overall enriching content.

Clever PR

This is where Entertainment Weekly, and other print publications following a similar PR plan really shine. EW has been offering daily exclusive content to fans of its publication, online. This amounts to millions in free advertising for the magazine. It also allows EW to reach consumers who might never otherwise consider picking up one of their mags off the rack. Every day the publication releases new exclusive content. So every day there is an exceptional amount of teasers, and quick views that entice readers. Plus, the magazine is teaming up with the brands it promotes for crossover marketing that really takes the PR campaign to the next level. Want to see an exclusive clip of an upcoming show? Gotta LIKE EW. Want to hear an exclusive cut off that upcoming album? Ditto. This is both brilliant PR, and brilliant crossover marketing. Take note.

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The Most Important Day of Your Professional Career

Your success story could start today

Sometimes you can change your life in an instant. Some flash bang opportunity, a random opportunity, or a successful result of a one-time gamble. But, this is the stuff of made for TV movies, and undergraduate dreams. The truth is success is a process. Yes, you will have to take some risks, but first, you will need to do some boring, routine, and sometimes frustrating stuff.

This is the stuff unsuccessful people never do. The stuff that’s “too hard”, or “boring”, or “tedious”, or some other word that just means: “I am lazy.”

But, if you want to be successful, Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5W Public Relations in NYC, has some hard news for you. Friend, you have to do this stuff. So, clear one day from your calendar. I mean completely clear. Lock out the world and do the following. It’s only one day, but Torossian, President of one of the fastest growing PR companies in New York, says it could very well be that elusive first day of the rest of your life.

#1 – Assess your plan

Even if you have one, it’s probably wrong. If you haven’t tested against real market conditions, and altered your approach in a while, your plan is out of date. Yes, you just read that your plan could be brand new, or tried and true, but it’s still wrong.

#2 – Reassess your work schedule

Are you being completely, and entirely productive with your time? If not, make changes. Be honest. What time are you wasting? What clients, or prospects are keeping you from bigger fish, and better money? Do you have clients, or prospects that cost you more than they pay you? Renegotiate that contract based on your reality, or drop them.

#3 – Develop your workspace

If time is money, then space is value. How are you organizing your work area? Does your set-up make you money, or cost you time? Think of your office, or work area as an employee. Is this employee helping you create the most efficient workspace possible? If not, get it right…right now.

#4 – Pursue your “future” job

No matter what you are doing right now, it’s probably not what you want to be doing in ten, or twenty years. Even if you plan to be working in the same field. So, while you are making the paycheck, spend some time working on what you want to be doing. Research, practice, develop contacts. Anything you can do to make your “some day” a “one day soon.”

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Charlie Hunnam Leaves “Grey” In A Lurch

5W PR is a leading media relations and PR firmThis past week, the producers (and many fans) of the anticipated movie adaptation of the huge bestseller 50 Shades of Grey, had a bit of ‘splainin’ to do. Charlie Hunnam, the superstar actor known best for portraying Jax Teller in the megahit Sons of Anarchy has – once again – stepped away from the role. Though the producers were clearly caught off guard, the move could not have been a complete surprise. Hunnam had initially turned the role down, but later agreed.

The story being told now by both sides’ entertainment PR departments is that Hunnam had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. That may have been it, or it may have been the somewhat bipolar response to the announcement that Hunnam had been tapped to play the lead character, Christian Grey.

The purpose of this article is not to toss salt in a wound, but to take a look at how both sides responded to a potential negative PR firestorm.

Fans of this book are legion, and they are rabid. The expectations are going to be off the charts. Seeing this sort of shakeup will not inspire them to positive feelings, and will not play well online.

So, what will Universal Pictures, and Focus Features say to get ahead – and stay ahead – of the story? Well, they are already talking, and there’s plenty for you to learn about how to handle “oops PR”.

1 – They made the announcement

The producers didn’t get scooped; they got there first. This is huge from a PR standpoint. You want to be as far out ahead of the story as possible. Leading the story is always best. This gives you the best opportunity to control the narrative.

2 – Embrace the embarrassment and move on

5W PR is a leading crisis PR FirmThey didn’t quibble, posture, or point fingers. They just told the truth, and announced future plans. Was it embarrassing? Likely. Was it fatal to the project? Not hardly. And it was certainly not as negative as it would have been if the producers had turned this into a circus.

3 – Remind fans what is going well

In a release, the producers were quick to remind fans that the female lead, Dakota Johnson, is still under contract, and they are moving quickly to find a replacement. The application here is to remind people that things are under control, and positive action is already underway.

You will never be able to steer clear of all embarrassing situations or PR issue. But, when you have to face the music, keep these tips in mind.

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How Will The NHL Soothe Frustrated Fans?

5W PR is a leading media relations and PR FirmThe best ways the league can reaffirm supporter loyalty after the lockout

The National Hockey League has begun preseason games and fans seem pretty excited. But the league still has to be wondering how loyal fans will be after last year’s shortened lockout season. The league still has to play the games, and it can expect the die-hards to be in the seats…but what about the fringe fans every team needs to balance the books.

Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR, has some PR tips for the league to help them win back their fans.

Torossian tip #1 – Be generous

Nothing says I love you fans like opening your wallet…or, more to the point, sparing theirs. For many people, going to a professional sports game is expensive. Make it less so and they will be more encouraged to leave the flat screen at home and go to the game.

Torossian tip #2 – Be competitive

Even fair-weather fans love to support a winner. But even if you lose as many as you win, your team can fill the seats if it looks and feel competitive. This has as much to do with as it does with the scoreboard.

Torossian tip #3 – Be fan friendly

This is definitely as much about PR as it is about anything. The approach and the conversation matter. If you can do things and say things in a way that conveys, ‘hey, we appreciate you!’ that will go a long way toward mending hurt feelings. But don’t skimp. Make this a culture, a reality. Some teams do a great job at this. Learn from their examples.

Torossian tip #4 – Make it about them

If the NHL can manage this sort of approach, it will bring the fans back for the long run. There have been far too many lockouts and strikes in pro sports in recent years. The fans are tired of it, and now it’s time for the league to step up and prove how much it values its fans.

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