Tag Archives: Ronn Torossian

Southwest Airlines Delivers Goodwill

southwest airlines

Things have not been good for Southwest Airlines on the PR front lately, but Ronn Torossian says a recent decision may just put them back on even footing. It’s the sort of thing that used to be called “customer service” but is fairly rare these days. A thing that Southwest can justifiably be proud about.

Here’s the story, as reported by travel correspondent Andrew Der:

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Choices, Juda Engelmayer

Swiss Currency Hurting Citigroup Consumer Relations

citi group swiss

Financial market watchdogs expect Citigroup to lose more than $150 million because of the roller coaster ups and downs of Swiss currency. But Ronn Torossian says the NYC-based currency trading company is not alone. Many top companies were caught entirely unprepared with the Swiss National bank surprisingly removed the cap on the value of the Swiss franc.

There is a larger issue, though, than the momentary – if momentous – financial setback. Now Citi – and several other financial companies – are waiting on a bailout. If it happens, the bailout will be from a private company, but that fact would not help much in the market of public opinion.

Consider, if the general public – or many news agencies – hear the words “financial company” and “bailout” in the same sentence, that could lead to an immediate PR hailstorm for the entire financial industry.

Most average investors – those with basic 401K’s and other retirement accounts – don’t understand all the facets and intricacies of the various domestic and international financial markets. But they know how they felt when their retirement accounts took a dive in the last decade. And they understand that these companies got “bailed out” by the government. Meanwhile, the average Joe got nothing for his nightmare.

That combination of functional financial illiteracy and poisonous buzzwords could make this situation very difficult for Citigroup and the other financial companies facing what could otherwise be a fairly pedestrian scenario. Yes, they need help, and, yes, they need that assistance from an outside company. But neither scenario is anything close to what happened prior to the federal bailout of investment companies after the real estate bubble burst.

But, strictly from a PR perspective, that “difference” is less than nuance. Worse, that situation could create more unrest among consumers who still blame investment banks for a very bad last few years. And worst, Citi and the other companies are not even sure the bailout will happen. They are already reportedly talking about contingency plans. That increases both this story’s time in the new cycle and the likelihood that it will get reported outside the financial news circles. Both scenarios further increase the risk of a negative response from people who will react to the news viscerally, not logically.

Leave a comment

Filed under Corporations

Ronn Torossian on 3 Self-Promotion Tips that Protect your Ego

torossian-ego

There’s nothing wrong with tooting your own horn, but you need to do it at the right time, to the right audience, and for the right reasons. CEO of 5WPR Ronn Torossian explains.

Some people would love to live in a world where you are actually judged on the quality of your work and the content of your character. Unfortunately, we live in a world of dog eat dog competitiveness, where petty people do everything they can to put themselves over … often at your expense. Even in the best possible situation, “fair” is probably not in your future.

So, what, should you crawl into a hole and hide from the world? Good luck with that, Salinger. That won’t get you anywhere. Instead, PR Executive Torossian suggests you create or work within contexts in order to put yourself over without damaging your reputation or getting pegged as a braggart.

Make it topical

When talking about your successes, keep it in the context of overall success. Talk about WHAT was a success and WHO helped you make it possible. Clearly include yourself in the success, but be sure to strategically include others in your appreciation. No one works in a vacuum, and no one does it all by themselves. When you talk about what was accomplished, you also open yourself up to people asking “how” it was done and “why” you did it that way. This creates both a broader context and an opportunity to specifically detail your skills and choices.

Make it responsive

Speaking of context, it’s always best to pat yourself on the back in the context of answering questions. It’s much better to create a situation in which people are genuinely interested in the aspects of your success instead of trying to force them to listen to how awesome you are. This way, you are connecting with their curiosity rather than invading their space.

Make it objective

While it seems like all self-promotion must be subjective, that’s not the case. Objectively addressing a situation and methodically including your involvement in successfully addressing the challenges is a much better strategy than making the whole issue about you. If something is about something, keep it about that thing. Making it about yourself is the first step toward losing your audience.

Following these tips will not turn Seinfeld characters into decent people, but it will put you in the best possible position to show yourself in the right light at the right time. The rest, of course, is up to people with open eyes, ears and minds.

Leave a comment

Filed under Branding, Career and choices

Ford and the F-150 – how a top seller became a PR Drag

ford-torossian

It is a fact, the next F-150 will be made of aluminum. While Ford designers and promoters are over the moon about this purported advancement in truck manufacturing, not every pickup fan is feeling the love. In fact, as CEO of 5W PR Ronn Torossian points out, the new design and supposed upgrade has triggered a chain of PR hurdles for Ford to overcome.

When the F-150’s new feature was first announced, conventional PR wisdom decided that the new shell design would be the sticking point of the redesigned F-150. The thick, heavy steel frame which so many truck guys love about the F-150 will be replaced with a lighter aluminum version. Ford claims that the aluminum frame will be equally sturdy to that of the steel frame while also offering vastly increased fuel efficiency. Will truck aficionados buy that selling line? While the jury is still out on that particular question, another PR issue looms large for Ford.

When Ford’s PR team announced their most aggressive new lineup of Ford updates, upgrades, and model improvements, pickup lovers across the country rejoiced. Who is not cheering? Dealerships coast-to-coast which are stuck with aging 2014 models that are, as of that announcement, obsolete. Of course, they may sell a TON of new Fords NEXT year, but with Ford’s sixteen new vehicle launches in 2015, most customers considering a new Ford are apt to wait for the new look.

It’s a problem familiar to that of the mobile device marketplace. The moment Apple or Samsung announces a new model, customers push pause on their desire to purchase the current model. Suddenly, retailers are faced with a conundrum. They have stacks of presently outdated stock that need to be moved, in order to make way for the latest and greatest models.

Torossian observes that it’s an interesting paradox for both the marketplace and for consumer public relations. On the one hand, discounts and fire sales associated with clearing out the old models can be a huge boon for cost-conscious consumers. However, if those incentives overlap the promotions for the new and exciting upgrades, the reasons to buy last year’s version can get lost in the cacophony of noise surrounding the latest and greatest.

It’s not a totally foreign challenge in the automotive industry, even for Ford. When the manufacturer released the new and classic inspired Mustang model a few years back, the glut of the old style model was massive. While flipping sports cars every few years is typical, truck fans are often in it for the long haul. Ron Torossian forecasts that the parallel PR campaigns Ford will have to run when it rolls out the new 2015 F-150 will be interesting to watch.

1 Comment

Filed under Branding, Corporations, Public Relations, Social Media

Halloween? These candid pics are spooky good PR

experience_nightmares_5

When the Nightmares Fear Factory in Niagara Falls, Canada claimed to be the “scariest haunted house” in the world, they were challenged to put up or shut up. Ronn Torossian said they found a way to do just that – put up the evidence and shut up their critics. And, Torossian added, the result is hilarious.

In both a win for both terrific advertising statements and viral social media posts, Nightmares Fear Factory set up a hidden camera that snaps photos of their haunted house guests at the “best” possible time. The resultant images are the best possible marketing they could put out there. Not only do they keep people looking, they make you want to go and test your own mettle.

Torossian says that combination of sustained curiosity and inherent challenge is PR gold. Viewers don’t want to look away, and the entire time they are wondering how they would react. It’s a curiosity that will not diffuse quickly. They will likely continue to wonder about it. And they will definitely share it with their friends … who will ALSO start wondering exactly the same thing.

The inevitable conclusion? We MUST check this out! Even people nowhere near Niagara Falls will feel compelled to go. They may never actually make the trip, but the vicarious thrill of imagining it is the best free PR Nightmares Fear Factory will ever get.

And then there’s the coup de gras. Click over to the Nightmares website and the challenge is right there staring you in the face. They call it the “Chicken Count” and it’s simply brilliant. It looks like a numeric value of exactly how many people have been caught on camera making their most embarrassing terrified face. BUT, wait, there’s more! Click on the counter and a coupon pops up. It’s only $1 off admission, but at this point you really didn’t need much more of an incentive to go. This hidden gem is likely the tiny nudge people need to get them up and headed to Nightmares.

Sure, they know they will likely end up just one more victim of the Chicken Count … but that’s all part of the fun.

Leave a comment

Filed under Suspense

Donald Sterling, Stephen A. Smith & NYC Racial Politics

ronn torossian prWhile the Donald Sterling saga and debates about race continue, is not it great that New York City is largely invisible in this story about race, and NYC media isn’t jumping on this bandwagon? As a 39-year old born and bred New Yorker, I remember the racial fears that existed in this city when I was growing up. Who can forget the racial politics of this city in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s which seem like so long ago?

Abner Louima & the Crown Heights Riots? Were those really in the ‘90’s? I remember so clearly being at Stuyvesant High School and school ending early in 1991 when the Rodney King riots erupted – and how the city was gripped with fear. How I remember dreading my 1.5 hour train rides on the graffiti-filled subways.

Those of us who gripe today about bicycle lanes, and the Disneyfication of Times Square should be thankful for these gripes.

The comments of billionaire technology mogul, Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban aren’t featured in our local tabloids – and can one imagine the uproar in years past in response to his comments, “I mean, we’re all prejudiced in one way or another. If I see a black kid in a hoodie and it’s late at night, I’m walking to the other side of the street. And if on that side of the street, there’s a guy that has tattoos all over his face — white guy, bald head, tattoos everywhere — I’m walking back to the other side of the street.” (Where else in America do people “walk down streets” – aren’t people driving everywhere else?)

Today, as Queens native Stephen A. Smith of ESPN defends Cuban, New York media is not all over the story as they would have been years ago. As a New Yorker who grew up in this great city, how wonderful is it that the racial politics and dangers of this city are by and large gone?

With a hot summer approaching, one should be thankful that of all the fears New Yorkers have, racial tensions is not very high on that list. Race relations in this city — with a bi-racial family occupying City Hall – are thankfully better than ever.

Ronn Torossian is a resident of the Upper West Side, CEO of 5WPR, and author of “For Immediate Release.

Leave a comment

Filed under Branding, Politics, Public Relations, Sports

What Public Relations Means to us Outside of the United States

by: Kenneth Murray, @Kenny_murray

I am a student of Public Relations and Marketing in Scotland, day in and day out I work with Scottish issues and I am heavily involved in the political scene in Scotland – however something I can’t escape is the brand of America.

Now I’ll be clear, when I say “the brand of America” I’m not referring to Jersey Shore and Big Macs. What I refer to is the pull America has as a nation. A nation built on immigration and integration – eventually. Around this time last year I visited one of the top Public Relations firms in America with my Scottish college that firm was 5WPR. Now to say I was impressed is an understatement; I was overwhelmed.

I had never experienced America really in person and only had TV shows to go on, but the design of the offices, the friendly nature of the staff and the knowledge of the impressive character who showed us around. Juda Engelmayer was clearly one of the best in the Public Relations industry and he in the matter of minutes had us all open jawed at his prowess and the popularity of 5WPR as a firm.

Now whilst studying in Scotland it seems we cannot escape PR cases from the states. It seems clear to many of us, that the most exciting PR industry is present in America – now of course our home country has many different clients – but what really gets our blood pumping is America. America has such an array of sectors within PR and is at the frontier, yet again in the Public Relations industry. The key advances are being made in America, the biggest cases develop there and of course – the biggest array of skilled PR professionals is there.

I am now in my 3rd year of study and it is clear to me, I want to work in America – to pursue that American dream, the “dream” that was surely one of the biggest PR scores for a country, ever. Why though? Besides the fact that every day in university we are given case studies of American firms, we are told to look at firms like 5WPR and Weber Shandwick for the right way of doing things? Well to put it quite simply – it’s the brand.

Every PR expert knows about branding and attempts not to be pulled in – but America, you have pulled many of us in. In fact I can assure you almost every PR student I have spoken to looks at America in awe and aspires to make it there.

Sure there would be differences, sure it would be a challenge and sure it would be galling; but surely as someone who works in PR that is qualities that should be there anyway? The willingness to overcome challenges, that sheer passion for your industry – and of course networking and taking advice from professionals like Ronn, buying his book (which is better than most textbooks I’ve read recently) and subscribing to his videos.

Dear America, you have one student here – the most influential PR student in Scotland according to the Behind the Spin blog, run by the Chartered institute of Public Relations in the UK and he has fallen for you.

How have you fallen for the brand of America? How do you think it could be improved?

Articles Source: “The Most Influential PR Student in Scotland”

please contact me at : kennethjosephmurray@gmail.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Juda Engelmayer, Media, News and Views, Social Media

Public Relations & Business Success: Positive Thinking

By Ronn Torossian, Founder, 5WPR

Truth is, ‘positive thinking’ is immediately associated with the ‘self-help’ shelf in your closest Barnes & Noble, but it is much more practical than you might think. My experience in business, and in life makes me more confident on how positive thinking can get you where you want to go.

It is said on Sir David Ogilvy that during the early days of founding the legendary Ogilvy ad agency he’d go in the office and ask: “Well? Did Coca Cola call already?” He would say the same thing every morning, – until they actually did.  Is it a coincidence? Perhaps! Yet owning a Public Relations agency, I can attest that positive thinking integrated into our lives can make a difference.

Here are 5 suggestions:

  1. The power of imagination. It is taken for granted, not fully utilized and seldom used to leverage one’s professional direction. The truth is imagination is the very first –and very far- achievement towards where you want to get. It could be picturing yourself with a new client, picturing your new office, imagining a media coverage piece on recent major achievements of yours. Anything you picture on a daily basis consistently can materialize physically.
  2. Act as if you already possess what you want. Sometimes we hold back on actions or emotions just because we “aren’t there yet.” A simple tip: Pretend you are there and you’ll find yourself happier, and more fulfilled with what you are currently doing.
  3. Communicate positively.  People are often skeptic of their abilities, and great PR people (and generally business people) recognize that passion is key. It is crucial not only to be passionate about your own job, but on the brand, firm, personality you’re representing. Your positive passion on a product can radiate far, and will be genuinely reflected in your media pitches, releases and placements.
  4. What you give out is what comes back. You claim you can’t do something? It’s certainly harder if you don’t try. Express positive outcomes to ideas, initiatives and efforts. Don’t look for why it WOULDN’T work. It is well reflected in the methods of professional brainstorming. You do not rule out ANYTHING that is brought up. Apply it to something in your life.
  5. Communicate. Yes, it’s a funny tip to offer communicators and public relations practitioners but it’s easily forgotten and is being deserted. Pitching the media? Connect over the phone. Following up? Give ‘em a call! When we express ourselves verbally (and positively) we attract better results.  It also leaves less space for gaps in mutual understanding, and better personal relationships.

5 basic tips for the Public Relations practitioner and beginning positive-thinkers, but if applied daily it can be life changing.

Ronn Torossian is president and CEO of 5WPR, one of the 25 largest independent PR firms in the U.S. Named one of the top “40 Under 40” by PR Week & Advertising Age, Torossian was a semi-finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.  His PR Book “For Immediate Release. Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations” is available at bookstores nationwide.

Leave a comment

Filed under Crisis Management, News and Views, Social Media, Uncategorized

Syria Slaughters, Hamas Terrorizes: Public Relations Firms Advance their Cause

Asam Al-Assad in VogueIn recent days, we have seen an intensification of the Syrian regime’s attacks on its own people. If reports are correct, more than 5,000 Syrian civilians have been slaughtered on President Bashar al-Assad’s command since the effort to bring the so-called Arab spring to Syria began late last spring. The dead include hundreds of women and children, people who just wanted freedom from a tyrannical regime. Supply lines have been cut; medical supplies are running out, and the United Nations admits that it can neither provide a reliable accounting of the number of dead, nor stop the killing.

This regime is the extension of one begun in 1970, when Hafez al-Assad seized power and which was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Syrian, including one of the most gruesome massacres in Middle East history, the destruction of the Sunni rebel stronghold of Hama, in which between 10,000 and 20,000 people were killed by government forces. Bashir al-Assad has ruled since his father’s death on 2000 and has been able to maintain his stranglehold on Syria’s people largely because of world indifference, lack of commercial resources, and because of its proximity to Israel.

Read the rest in The Cutting Edge News

 

Leave a comment

Filed under anti-Semitism, BDS, Creative Writing, Crisis Management, Cutting Edge News, Israel, News and Views, War against Israel

Guest post to Ronn Torossian blog on Ronntorossian.com

Guest post to Ronn Torossian blog on Ronntorossian.com

Mama, don’t take my Kodachrome

by Juda Engelmayer, SVP, 5WPR

“When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school It’s a wonder I can think at all, and though my lack of education hasn’t hurt me none, I can read the writing on the wall.”

These words, iconic and now ironic, were made famous by the great duo Simon and Garfunkel at a time when the orange-boxed Kodakchrome was as common as the iPod is today.  The Eastman Kodak Company, however, failed to read the writing on the wall.  The iPod, for its part, made Sony’s reigning portable music box (the “Walkman”) obsolete, but unlike Sony, which maintained its edge with other devices, Kodak failed to adapt.

The company — whose name was until only a short time ago as synonymous of the camera industry as Band Aid still is to the adhesive bandage business— was so comfortable being on top, its corporate culture could not see beyond it own greatness to plan for leaner times.

As digital imagery crept onto the market and the megapixel count rose to such a point that the silver-coated cellulose acetate strips went the way of the muscle car’s carburetors, leaving it for enthusiasts and pedants, Kodak, which based its growth on the sale of cheap throwaway cameras and mass quantities of consumables such as its film, developing chemicals and photo paper, lost its market share.

Remarkably, although the technology may be different, the ingredients are similar and Kodak was poised for evolution.  Anyone who ever tore apart an old floppy disk knows that the memory mechanism was little more than a thin sheet of plastic.  Kodak presumably had access to the raw materials, but lacked the foresight to simply add an additional assembly line, if not change some out completely.

The question is why.

That answer is that Kodak became complacent, resting on its laurels and unwilling to change even as the world changed around it.  Its leadership failed to comprehend the extent of the digital revolution.  Other companies that were never before in the photography business saw an opportunity to not only create cameras that rivaled the best Kodak could develop, but to create a whole new industry.  There are the high capacity memory cards that can hold more images on a thumbnail-sized device than 1,000 rolls of Kodak’s top consumable films, and there are massive networks of photo-sharing and editing options available in Cyberspace.

Instead of realizing that people would now be sharing their children’s portraits on Smartphones rather than wallet-sized paper photos, Kodak was still pushing wallet-sized paper photos.  While the family portraits on office desks across the world were being viewed on multi-picture digital photo screens, Kodak was still hawking paper fitted to cheap wooden frames.

By the time it bought its way onto the Internet with its Kodak Gallery, it was a high-priced new kid on the block, and without the communal interactivity that allowed others to thrive.

The field of public relations is no different.  It was not so long ago that the Big “three” networks ruled the television airwaves and the only serious news in town came from daily publications that ruled the news landscape and weekly ones that put the news into perspective. Firms founded in the glory days of Walter Cronkite’s “that’s the way it is,” which trivialized the impact that blogs, podcasts and the Huffington Post would have, and perhaps looked down their collective noses at the lowered standards of journalistic ethics, sneering at how the public would never accept media that failed at being “authoritative” because of those lowered standards are likely no longer around to complain about the fast pace of innovation.

This is the vowel sign age: Adaptability; evolution, innovation, opportunity and user-friendly simplicity are key characteristics of companies that want to meet the demands of a new era.  Technology has moved fast since the dawn of the personal computer in the early 1980s with the advent of beasts like the Osbourne and the Kaypro, and it has changed the way just about everything is done today.  From manufacturing, to marketing, to the speed that information flows, complacency kills companies. The big three U.S. Automakers learned the hard way that resting on laurels was a recipe for failure when they lost ground to the new, less expensive and better quality foreign manufacturers.

As Kodak is looking down the gullet of obsolescence and worthlessness, companies and corporate leaders can use it as a valuable learning tool.

In the late Seventies my uncle had a cartoon hanging on his bathroom wall that I always found poignant, but I never really contextualized it until the news hit that the giant Eastman Kodak was falling. It was a depiction of a roadside with tire tracks running through a broken outhouse and a caption that read, “Technology in of itself was not the juggernaut of our destruction. Our machines did not just lead us down the road to perdition. They merely rolled over us as we squatted by the roadside.”

The writing is on the wall. Don’t let it happen to you!

Read More at Ronntorossian.com

This was a special guest blog post to the blog of Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR

Leave a comment

Filed under Corporations, Juda Engelmayer