February 13, 2020
Public Relations executive, entrepreneur, philanthropist Ronn Torossian has been appointed Chairman of American Friends of Duvdevan, a 501 c3 charity. The organization supports the soldiers of the Duvdevan unit of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), a mista’arvim (counter-terrorism) special-forces unit. Fauda, the Netflix show is based upon this unit.
“These heroic soldiers protect Israel and keep the country safe. Duvdevan has previously been described by Prime Minister Netanyahu as having the most significant effect on the war on terror. This charity helps the soldiers of this unit who make such an enormous contribution and sacrifice,” explained Ronn Torossian.
American Friends of Duvdevan – the American arm of the Duvdevan Foundation in Israel – supports Duvdevan soldiers and graduates. The unit specializes in urban anti terrorist warfare in populated areas throughout Israel.
The Duvdevan Foundation helps with many vital issues – from post-service PTSD counseling to empowering Israeli youth to take a personal commitment to society – to scholarship and mentoring programs. The transition from soldier to civilian is highly complex. For years the soldiers of Duvdevan serve on the front lines of the IDF, and then come home with many questions and dilemmas. The foundation assists with the process to ease the transition back to civilian life and to start a new path.
Duvdevan Foundation strives to achieve three goals:
1. Supporting the unit and soldiers welfare
2. supporting Duvdevan veterans, by helping them transition to civilian life and continue to contribute to society
3. supporting bereaved families who lost loved ones serving in the unit
The Duvdevan Foundation is dedicated to Zionist values of honesty, comradeship and social involvement. The Chairman of the Board of Directors in Israel is Shahaf Kieselstein, GM of Intel Jerusalem and Vice President of Intel Worldwide.
About Ronn Torossian:
Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the 15 largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America’s most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals.
Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company’s growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company’s headquarters in the iconic Helmsley Building in Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named “PR Agency of the Year” by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions.
Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world’s most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist and by Metropolitan Magazine as one of the Most Influential New Yorkers.
Torossian is known as one of the country’s foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week’s “40 under Forty” list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations” is an industry best-seller.
A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.
February 10, 2020
Someone once said “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Somewhere along the line, a videographer or director responded, “Then what’s a video worth?” Turns out, quite a lot. Video marketing has seen a significant increase in interest in recent years, and, looking at the statistics, it’s no wonder why some are calling video marketing the most important trend in marketing and advertising today.
Just how powerful and pervasive is video marketing? According to recent studies, more than 70 percent of all consumers surveyed said they have shared a brand’s video, and nearly three out of four businesses say adding a video component to their content increased their conversion rate. More than half of the consumers surveyed say that being able to look at a video about a product before buying it makes them more confident in their purchases, especially online. And, if a website includes or features a video, that content is 50 times more likely to drive organic search results compared to text alone. Google loves videos.
So, what are the possible venues for video online? YouTube remains the most popular by far, with new users and new content creators joining in huge numbers every day. Consumers have learned that they can find out about just about anything on YouTube, so that is often their first choice when searching for an informational video. But it is far from their only choice.
Many social media platforms allow video, and some even encourage content creators to create live broadcasts – or livestreams – of their content for fans to engage with in real time. This kind of video marketing creates immediacy and connection in a way that practically no other marketing tool can.
One shift that’s having a direct impact on how marketers talk to customers or prospects is the move to mobile devices. While long-form sales letters and squeeze pages still work, they can be tougher to read on a smartphone, so many marketers are shifting to video as a way to keep people watching, listening, and connecting.
There are also video creation services that allow users to stream content in real time to multiple platforms at once, so there’s no reason to choose where to publish anymore. Take advantage of all the opportunities video marketing offers and maximize the impact of the message.
Video is also versatile. Not only can video be shared on multiple platforms, but the content can be transcribed for teaching or marketing material, and to create blogs or keyword annotated content for just about any online application.
February 4, 2020
Marketing, like all endeavors, evolves over time. The mom and pop stores and the Sears catalog gave way to downtown shopping districts and, later, shopping malls. Many brands adapted, transitioning from small footprints and mail order, to large showcase stores. Then came big box outlets, a discount version of mall department stores where you could buy just about anything.
In the early 2000s, as more consumers logged onto the internet and stayed, retailers and marketers saw something new coming over the horizon, but it would have to be built largely from scratch. Consumers would need to be taught how to search for what they wanted and how to use the software that allowed them to buy those products and services. Thanks, in large part, to Apple and Microsoft, that hurdle was leapt over fast and easy.
Less than a decade after the first iPhone was released, nearly everyone was carrying a smartphone and shopping malls across the country were closing up as major U.S. department store brands struggled to stay afloat or closed forever. It became crystal clear that digital marketing was no longer an add-on or a luxury option. It was fast becoming the consumer go-to, which meant brands and businesses had to adapt or die.
The question is: how to stand out in a crowded and noisy internet marketplace? Some of the answer to that lies in applying a good, old fashioned brick-and-mortar approach to consumer service.
Successful merchants are realize that experience is still the key to success. It doesn’t matter if the business is in a building or on the web, customers will come back if they have a good experience – and they will leave if they don’t. If it’s easy to find items, the prices are clearly marked, and the item is clearly described, consumers are happy. If they can’t navigate the site, or if the item description leaves them with more questions than answers, it’s easy for them to click away.
Another winning strategy is adding a personal touch. One of the lost experiences of shopping at a mom and pop store is entering a place where everyone knows your name, where the consumer is greeted warmly by people they recognize who clearly appreciate their business. Thanks to smart search and big data engines, online merchants have the ability to instantly customize every shopper’s experience, whether it’s curating the product options based on previous visits or connecting the consumer with a personal shopper to help answer their questions.
Cross-promotion is another tactic that worked in stores and will work online. Leveraging social media and similar products offerings, online stores can connect customers with their brand in a way that is non-intrusive and often welcomed, even if the customer isn’t in the market at that time.
In the end, nothing trumps experience. Even if the customer is shopping on price, they want to find the lowest price or the best value quickly. Ease of use, combined with a friendly, personal greeting, can bring the brick-and-mortar experience online, increasing customer loyalty in the process in an age when being spoiled for options makes it challenging to keep them coming back.
January 31, 2020
“Who is the customer,” and “what do they want?” Boil all the jargon and these are the two most vital questions every marketer needs to answer. The process of finding the answers to these questions is called marketing orientation.
The point of this process is to develop a strategy that places the brand in a better position to find the right customers, connect with those customers, and meet their needs. Four vital elements of this process are identification, explanation, assimilation, and direction.
This is the step during which stakeholders within the business or brand identify and clearly define the challenge the brand is facing. Examples might include, shifting consumer tastes, changing trends, new competition, market confusion, growth problems, disconnection, or a host of other issues. These challenges should be informed by and filtered through company values and overarching goals.
Assumptions here can cause failure to launch. The answers to “what’s wrong” or “what are we facing” must be clear, solid, and backed by hard data. Otherwise, any subsequent action plans will be vague and less effective.
Once the challenge has been clearly defined, and a plan has been crafted to meet this challenge, it must be properly and accurately communicated to the rest of the team. Believe it or not, this is where many well-crafted, well-intentioned plans go off the rails. Poor or insufficient internal communication.
This stage isn’t just about getting everyone on the same page – though that’s part of it – a key goal here is to connect everyone on the team to the plan in a specific way. Give them something to work toward and for, as well as a goal that, when accomplished, they can be proud of. There is often a weeding out process implicit in this step. Some folks may not be interested in getting on board, and they may have to go, but if this is the direction the brand is going in, they need all hands rowing in the same direction.
That collective will to work towards the same goal is vital because the next stage – assimilation – will likely require some changes in protocols, responsibilities, and day-to-day work. Not change for the sake of change, but shifts to better implement or “assimilate” the new plan and goals into the work the brand is already doing.
Expect to do some training, create some reward or incentive structure, and open opportunities for people to shine. Expect some employees to surprise you while others will need some extra help or encouragement. There will likely be similar shifts with customer-facing operations as new or improved ways to connect, create value, and meet needs.
No marketing plan should ever be considered a “set it and forget it” exercise. Every operation will need review and maintenance. The need for course corrections will arise, so the ways and means of building momentum and keeping it going will require direction long after the launch. New people may need to be brought on, new ideas heard and tried, new information gathered, and new metrics measured. This will be an ongoing process.
January 29, 2020
The world of social media is an ever-evolving beast, so it helps to get an update on the current state of affairs from time to time. Here are the six primary categories of social media as of 2020, each with their own unique characteristics and marketing strengths.
When most people think of social media, they tend to imagine social networking sites. A social networking site is a platform that allows people from similar backgrounds or with similar interests to connect online. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the top three social network platforms for the time being, though 2020 may be a pivotal year for several new contenders in the market.
Social news sites are aggregators that allow users to post news links to external sites, on which other users can then vote submissions up or down in a way that affects their overall exposure. In practice, this means that links with the highest number of votes are the most prominently displayed.
Reddit is an excellent example of a social news platform that has weathered the ages. Members of the reddit platform submit content like links, text posts or images, organised into separate, user-created boards called “subreddits.” As of 2019, the site ranked as the fifth most visited website in the US.
Microblogging platforms are sites that allow users to post short written entries, which can include links to product and service sites, or links to other social media platforms. Microblogging sites typically build a “wall” or “newsfeed” to allow for specific sharing with followers.
The most well-known microblogging platform is Twitter, with more than 321 million monthly active users. The first tweet was sent in March 2006, when co-founder Jack Dorsey posted “just setting up my twttr.”
Bookmarking sites are used to save and organize links from the internet’s plethora of online resources and websites. These sites typically allow users to “tag” or categorize these links, making it easier to share with specific groups of followers.
Pinterest is a great example of a hugely successful bookmarking site, with more than 300 million active monthly users, though Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann has described the site as more of a “catalogue of ideas” than a social network.
Media sharing platforms allow users to share a range of media online; in practice, images and video dominate these sites. YouTube has been one of the world’s most well-known media sharing platforms since its launch in 2005. In 2019, more than 500 hours of video content were being uploaded to the platform every minute.
Oftentimes, sharing a core message online without maintaining a self-hosted website or outlet is more than enough for a brand. This is where community blogging platforms can provide an essential service, and help communicators reach audiences with minimal fuss.
Some examples of community blogs include Medium, a relatively new online publishing platform dedicated to so-called “social journalism,” and Tumblr, a microblogging platform designed for the sharing of multimedia and short-form blogging.
As with all things in the digital marketing market, the realm of social media shifts and changes by the day. This list may look completely different a year from now.
January 27, 2020
The popularity of social media for marketing continues to soar. It’s still important, nonetheless, to monitor it because some of the favorites keeps changing.
Video Is Big
As mentioned in earlier articles, video is a key choice these days. Not only does it help tell a story but it’s also useful in teaching and explaining things. YouTube was one of the first to recognize the power of video in 2008. Facebook jumped in in 2016 and Instagram was one of the most recent platforms to do so.
According to the Pew Research Center, 73% of Americans currently use YouTube and 68% Facebook. A study by Brandlive, a video platform training company, reported that 95% of marketers surveyed will be adding video to their marketing strategies.
Stories continue to gain in popularity as well. Besides their appeal in video, storytelling has spread from Snapchat. Stories are also being told now on Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp.
Although stories are usually up for 24 hours or so, Pew says Instagram alone captures about 500 million viewers daily. Millennials make up the biggest viewing audience on social media, with Instagram garnering about 60% of the market. They’re followed by Snapchap with 53% and Facebook with 48%.
Messaging also continues to increase and is even gaining ground on the popular social media platforms. Pew reported that, collectively, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat have more than 1 billion active monthly users.
Utilizing messages is appealing to marketers because of its ease. More and more brands are utilizing that platform to establish and build customer relationships.
Marketers are also discovering that social media helps drive sales. Tracking tools like Facebook Pixel help to identify the buyer journey.
Facebook is currently the leading platform for product discovery, followed by Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter according to Kleiner Perkins, a U.S. venture capital firm. In its study, the company reported that 55% of people who discovered the product they were seeking on social media subsequently bought it.
One of the Latest
AI and chatbots are among the latest to arrive on the social media platform scene. Chatbots make it easy for companies to respond sooner than later to consumers. Customers are also aware of this, which is why AI is critical to employ. AI-powered chatbots already promote products and respond to questions on Facebook Messenger.
Mastercard’s chatbot can even inform consumers about their finances and purchases. Chatbots and AI can also handle the more commonly asked questions and minimize human intervention.
The Human Touch
However, in spite of technology, nothing beats the human touch. That’s where influencers can be very effective. Influencer marketing has even surpassed print advertising on Google Trends.
Both micro-influencers and macro ones make big impressions on their followers. Each has advantages. Micro-influencers tend to have more engagement with their followers and cost less. Name influencers, of course, have a tremendous following. They also cost more.
Employees can be invaluable in being ambassador influencers. Companies engaging and empowering them will see gains as well.
Today’s constantly evolving playing field makes it mandatory for brands to stay in touch with changes. Also important in these days of fake news is brand transparency.
January 23, 2020
Social media influencers are an important part of a digital marketing plan. Given the metrics and statistics, that statement should no longer be considered controversial. The plain fact is, influencers have become a valuable part of most successful digital marketing campaigns. The reason for this is simple: Influencers build community, drive engagement, and create sales.
That much is self-evident. What’s not so self-evident is why this happens and what digital marketers should do to encourage more of it happening to the brands they represent.
One of the first – and biggest – reasons for the success of social media influencers is the trust they’ve established with their audiences. Fans and followers value their opinions while also seeing influencers, in many regards, and just like them. The point being, these are not celebrities talking down to audiences from their pedestals. These are real people sharing their real lives and that perception of trust goes a long way toward compelling buying decisions.
This trust exists because fans and followers aren’t just following a personality, they see themselves as members of an in-group, participating in a culture that delivers a sense of connectedness and belonging. Smart influencers develop their own in-group trends, lingo, cultural norms, and expectations within the group.
It’s this community that’s at the heart of why and how influencers have developed such clout in the digital marketing age. And what has this movement done for brands? Some market watchers say influencers offer brands up to 600-700 percent return on their investment.
Think about those numbers for a moment. Consider the implications of that kind of ROI, mull over the fact that nearly four out of ten Twitter users say they’ve bought products or services specifically because of an influencer’s tweet, and four out of ten bought. This is all based on a single tweet.
Where does this compelling immediacy come from? How is it that so-called “regular” people have the ability to get strangers to make immediate buying decisions in those percentages?
Well, the first part of that answer is to correct the notion that these consumers see themselves as strangers. While it’s true they may never have actually met the influencer that caused the sale, they still view themselves as part of this influencer’s circle. They follow their daily lives, listen to their opinions, and appreciate their perspectives, usually related to a very specific niche.
Because this perception of value and belonging is baked in, people are already halfway to a purchasing decision even before they know they want whatever the item in question might be.
January 17, 2020
When deciding how to approach a digital marketing campaign, people naturally wonder what are the three most popular forms of digital communication. “Most popular,” because they want to be where the consumers are, using what they are using, and “three” because it’s a nice, clean easy number. Not too few to miss opportunities and not too many to cause distraction.
When it comes to digital communication, there certainly are many ways to connect, thus there are plenty of opportunities for distraction. Loosely defined, digital communication applies to any electronic exchange of information, from talking on a cell phone to email, texts, Facetime or Skype-type video chatting. So, which three modes of digital communication should marketers and brand managers focus their attention on? Are there any that are absolutely indispensable? Yes. Definitely.
Of all the various different forms of digital communication, the three that are most popular are generally considered to be, in no particular order: texts, social media, and video chat.
By now, an entire generation of consumers has come of age primarily communicating via text. While their older siblings, and certainly their parents, remember talking on their phones and dial-up internet, today’s younger adults have spent their lives communicating via text. They prefer it in huge numbers, and they’re not alone. A growing number of older adults prefer text, because, to them, it feels less immediate and less intrusive than a phone call.
Nearly everyone is connected to some form of social media. Whether they live their entire lives on Instagram or Facebook, engage in ongoing arguments on Twitter, or invest hours listening to video podcasts on YouTube, social media is the next thing to omnipresent in the lives of most Western consumers, as well as a growing number in massive markets across Asia and Africa. Nearly everyone’s smartphone has multiple social apps within a single click, and the apps are set up to offer a plethora of message connection opportunities.
Whether it’s Facetime, Zoom, Skype, or any of the other popular video chat apps, making voice-only phone calls is fast becoming a thing of the last decade, if not the last century. Video chat is more intimate, offering a closer connection, than texting or talking on the phone. As this becomes easier and more convenient, marketers should determine more and better ways to leverage this technology for their ongoing marketing efforts. Some examples could include video demonstrations, reviews, unboxing, real-time product trials, and live Q&As with influencers.
Now, here’s a caveat: technology is always changing, always advancing, and what’s popular today may be all but invisible next year, if not next week. The lesson? This is a moving target. Take nothing for granted.
January 13, 2020
Influencer marketing continues to grow in popularity as its effectiveness is proven, time and time again. The number of personalities working as influencers continues to increase, offering smart marketers real-life and real-time examples of what to do and what not to do when attempting to employ influencers in marketing campaigns.
Here are some of the best practices marketers and brand managers should use to get the most out of their influencer marketing campaigns.
Consider Clout, Not Just Numbers
The key to success with most influencers is finding the right niche. Going off the number of followers or scope of influence alone does not necessarily guarantee results. The most important metric for influencers is, indeed, influence. How well and how often do they cause their fans to make buying decisions or to choose one brand or product over another? How much trust has been cultivated between the fan and influencer, and how eager are those followers to emulate that influencer?
Consider, if you have two influencers, one with an audience of 10,000 committed fans, and one with an audience of 100,000 casual followers, who has the most influence? The answer to that question is really in the question: “how many move when the influencer suggests?”
Choose an Influencer Who Represents the Vision
Brands are not just promoting their products, they are promoting the experience that goes with their products. If an influencer lives and acts in a way that lessens that experience or tarnishes that vision, they can create a net loss for the brand, even if some of their fans end up buying. Influencers are most effective when they are living the lifestyle represented by the brand, when their shared content paints a complementary picture of a life including what matters to the owners and users of that brand.
Create a Collaborative Plan
Brands that just hire an influencer and turn them loose can see their good intentions implode all around them. Influencer campaigns work best when the influencer works with the brand to create a campaign that works for both the brand and the influencer. That way, each person understands their role and responsibility, and the influencer is working from a script with built-in brand protections.
Offer Easily Shareable Value
Brands that give influencers something to share with their audience, that the audience can then easily promote on their accounts, create an exponentially-spreading web of positive responses to their brand or product. It’s a simple, easy step that’s so obvious some brand managers just miss it. Don’t just depend on the influencer to spread the story, give their fans something to say, to do, and to interact with.
While following these guidelines cannot guarantee success, this template offers a strong beginning to a successful influencer marketing effort.
January 10, 2020
As social media and Amazon searches continue to consume more market share, consumer shopping and buying habits are shifting right along with this trend. This is leading to a more fragmented marketplace, with people breaking into – and increasingly looking for – specific niches, rather than mass marketing products.
Because of this, brand managers need to reconsider what they’re doing about digital marketing in order to better engage with today’s consumer. Developing a new and dedicated digital marketing campaign is a must for any marketer interested in maintaining or building their customer base as consumer habits continue to shift. Here are a few reasons why this is important:
Digital Marketing Reveals Customers
Getting to know a customer really is and what they’re really looking for is easier than ever before. With machine learning technology, advanced online analytics, and habit-based search results, marketers have the opportunity to meet their customers where and when they are looking for something specific. Where some tools, like Google Analytics, might tell a brand manager the number of visitors and when they visited, these methods will not describe the consumer’s mood or inclinations. Modern digital marketing tools can offer much more detailed information.
Flexible Connection Options
One of the best reasons to consider developing a targeted digital marketing strategy is the plethora of connection methods available to the marketer. Email marketing, social ads, banners, content marketing, multimedia social posts are just a few of the ways savvy marketers are creating a balance, multi-pronged approach to digital marketing, with multiple consumer connection points.
Capturing Lost Customers
Many brands represented primarily or entirely by brick-and-mortar stores that depend on traditional marketing means are losing customers and revenue at an alarming pace. Digital marketing allows these brands to reconnect with those customers, while also reaching new prospects in the process.
Robust and Detailed Tracking
Digital marketing strategies should include a robust and detailed customer tracking apparatus. Programs allow marketers to monitor which ads are working, when, and with whom, allowing brand managers to revise or edit their strategy to target specific consumers in a time and place where they are most likely to respond.
By using social media as part of a digital marketing strategy, brands can connect directly with their consumer market, to comment on a specific issue, respond to a concern or comment, promote a new product, or build a relationship with those consumers that will lead to greater engagement and more sales.
The best part is that, in many cases, all of this can be accomplished, getting great results with a smaller budget than some traditional mass marketing campaigns.