Category: 5WPR

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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Getting The Most From Restaurant Reviews

5WPR Chief Ronn Torossian explains how to maximize the PR value in your reviews

Ronn Torossian on how to utilize restaurant reviews and media relations for successful PR Campaigns

In the food and beverage industry, particularly if you have a storefront or sit-down joint, reviews can mean everything to your public relations efforts. But are you maximizing your reviews for the best results? Do you even know how to go about that?

PR guru and CEO of 5W Public Relations, Ronn Torossian, digs into this issue and offers three points you need to immediately apply to your food and beverage PR campaigns if you ever want to get any push from your restaurant reviews.

Torossian tip #1 – Ask for specifics

Too many times a review will be long on generic descriptions and very short on specifics. But do hungry consumers want to know whether the food was “good” or “a good value” or do they want to know if the selections were specifically worth eating? People can find your menus online, but they may not try one of your signature items because they aren’t sure if they will like it. Specific reviews about the taste, texture, and consistency – all the aspects of your meals – will help people better understand what you do well. That’s key when it comes to marketing your reviews for the best results.

Torossian tip #2 – Ask for suggestions

When asking your diners to leave a review, ask them to make specific suggestions to the users. What to order and how they may like it cooked. If one dish is a little spicy, a diner would want to know that. If it’s a bit more bland than the competition’s version, they would want to know that too. Diners understand they could ask for slight alterations to the menu items based on personal taste, but if they don’t know the specifics how will they know what to ask for. You can answer those questions much better in the reviews than you can on the menu.

Torossian tip #3 – Ask for recommendations

When it comes to dining out, the menu selections are only the beginning of the experience. Time of meals – when the restaurant is busy or a bit sparser – can be helpful information. As can the sort of crowd that comes in throughout the day or night. Some places are much better for drinks than late dinners. Others better suited for brunch than breakfast. Ambiance matters and the mood or vibe of the place can definitely impact the enjoyment of the meal.

Keep these tips in mind when passing out review cards and you will get much more impactful restaurant review PR.

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Walmart vs. Publix: A Case Study On Quality vs. Price

It Begins

Publix vs WalmartSince the early 1930s the Florida-based Publix supermarket chain has been growing in popularity and numbers in the southeast United States. The chain’s commitment to quality, cleanliness and customer service have attracted a huge and dedicated following that doesn’t much care about pricing.

As Walmart entered the grocery business, the Big Box behemoth went from town to town, destroying other local grocery chains with its rock-bottom pricing and massive availability. But not Publix.

“Even in markets where the two companies faced off and all other competitors had been largely cleared away, Publix still continued to grow. To fight back, Walmart launched a huge price-based advertising campaign in an attempt to put a gap between them and competitors such as Publix,” Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR, said.

At first, the PR gambit worked. People decided to give Walmart a try to see how much they would save. And save they did. Low prices are low prices, after all.

Publix vs Walmart – Quality Matters

Then Publix, the quality and service-positioned grocer did something unthinkable. They did math. See, for years Publix had been marketing their BOGO products and advantage buys. So someone in their public relations department grabbed a calculator.

The result, Torossian said, was very interesting. When considering the BOGO, coupons and advantage buys, shopping at Publix could actually not only compete in price… “They could actually beat Walmart in some situations on a cart of groceries,” Torossian confirmed.

“This was a huge public relations coup.”

publix vs walmartPublix began running adverts exactly like Walmart’s, sometimes side by side in the paper. Customers realized they could get quality and service as well as a balance sheet that looked the same.

In the end Walmart’s price gambit worked in the early stages, and it worked very well in various regions across the country. But not so well in markets where Publix maintained a strong presence.

This is not the only time a quality-positioned business successfully competed on price using creative sales and other value added options. The lesson here, Torossian says, is that depending on price alone can kill you in the long run. Public relations and marketing campaigns can include price, but are much better served to focus on quality and value.

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3 Reasons Why Print Media Matters

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.

 

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PR Approach for Big Legal Battles

ronn torossian pr implications

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.

The Twist…

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

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How to get a PR job at a top NYC PR Agency

NYC PR AgencyIf you are considering a career in public relations, particularly if you want to work for a top NY PR agency, there are a few things you will need that they won’t teach you in college. 5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian explains why “book smarts” are just the beginning and what you really need to succeed at a major New York public relations agency.

College communications courses are great for introducing students to communication theory, applied techniques and persuasion. Journalism teaches the elements of “story” and how to convey news. And, while these skills are important, there are others that you generally have to learn on your own if you want to be successful and acquire a job at a top NYC PR agency.

#1 – Competence

Yes, this one should go without saying, but here I am saying it. Competence – whether in your work personally or in your industry as a whole – is vital to success at any NYC PR agency. B and C students do not suddenly become “A” communicators when they hit the workforce. Plus, in this business there will not be any teachers or professors pointing out what you did wrong. The market gets to decide if you get top marks or not. And if you don’t, they are not likely to tell you why. If you want to succeed in this industry, you better be ready to do it right the first time.

#2 – Creativity

Ronn Torossian knows the importance of being creative in the PR industry. Some of the most successful campaigns in the history of public relations and marketing have been incredible risks. Characters don’t always strike a chord, and the public doesn’t always want to hear what you have to say. If you do miss, your only option is to learn and do it right the next time.

#3 – Tenacity

You will make mistakes. You will miss something you shouldn’t have, and you may have to fight – and fight hard – to get and keep each client. In this business, if you don’t have thick skin and a willingness to put your shoulder to it and keep pushing, you will fail. Although tenacity is one of those things you will not find in a book, Ronn Torossian and 5WPR considers this to be one of the most sought after qualities of a top NYC PR Firm

#4 – People Skills

Marketing is not all about analytics, and public relations is not all about following a formula. If you can’t connect with people, you will not succeed in this business. It’s not just about reading people, it’s about giving people what they want – even if they can’t tell you what they want.

Now, you might be reading this and thinking: “What’s this list? No big revelations or super secrets here. What gives?”

Here’s the thing, as we have found success with 5W Public Relations, how we do PR and where we do PR continually changes. But the basics will never change. And it is these basics that so many people get wrong again and again. Your customers just want results. They are not interested in how smart you think you are or how slick your campaigns can look.

Ronn Torossian understands that clients want results. To give them those results you need to be competent, creative, tenacious and good with people. At 5WPR we are always hiring. Click here  for more information about a  career in public relations .

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How to Stand out in a crowded nonprofit Market

Nonprofit PR

Health charities, particularly those who raise money for cancer research, have historically focused on finding a cure. One company, which raises money for the fight against leukemia and lymphoma, has launched a comparatively bold campaign. The effort certainly positions this organization apart from the rest, and Ronn Torossian says that the tactic is a gamble that could pay off big. The campaign is called “Someday is Today.” Instead of focusing on finding a cure, it celebrates progress already being made. The commercial that introduced the campaign shows scenes of individuals reading a front-page headline: Cancer Cured!

The theme is carried across the entire campaign spectrum:

Print ads: The campaign will appear in several major print markets across the country. The target market most likely to suffer from these illnesses not only still reads the paper, they tend to prefer it. That may change over the next decade, but, for now, print is still a vital part of a successful health-based PR campaign.

Website: An informative, responsive and easy-to-navigate website is no longer a luxury. It’s a must, even for a charity public relations campaign:  The vast majority of consumers and donors now check out a company, campaign or organization online before they do anything else. Ronn Torossian advises you to know you are ready.

Billboards: Some people may complain about them, but there is no doubt that billboards work. Positioned correctly, a message on a billboards will not only grab attention, it will stick with you, replaying again and again, imprinting on potential donors.

Social media: Ronn Torossian considers social networks to be some of the best avenues for any type of PR. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Pinterest can be a small budget nonprofit PR campaign’s best weapon. Multimedia messages are easy to integrate, easy to share and inherently dynamic due to the real time dynamic of consumer response.

This sort of wide spectrum, multimedia approach is traditionally reserved for profit-driven PR campaigns. However, with more consumers interacting via social media and getting their news from mobile devices, multimedia campaigns such as these are becoming the norm. How does your nonprofit PR campaign stack up? Are you hitting all the right markets with all the right media, and are you getting the results you should be? If the answer is not – or you can’t answer those questions with any certainty – contact Ronn Torossian and 5WPR.

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Four Steps to Smart Charity Public Relations

Ronn Torossian, NY PR expert and CEO of 5W  Public Relations, gets down to the basics with some of the foundational steps to charity PR that many people miss.

#1 – Simplify the message

Your organization can be about many things. You can help lots of people and invest in a variety of different good works. But, when communicating that message to potential donors, your message needs to be simple, concise and easy to understand. The idea here is to create a charity PR message that can be immediately understood and, most importantly, visualized by your ideal donors. When they can visualize the message, they will be more likely to give.

#2 – Communicate the message across a variety of media

Your potential donors will come from a wide spectrum of backgrounds and should be able to interact with your organization in a variety of ways. No single approach will work with all donors. Charity PR is simply not one size fits all. 5WPR specializes in a multimedia PR approach for that very reason.

#3 – Recruit volunteers

You can’t just ask them. For volunteer recruitment to work as it should, you need to be on point with your message, and it must be delivered to the right people. When you recruit volunteers, focus first on those most likely to not just serve willingly, but also bring others into the cause. As Elie Hirschfeld, a prominent donor always says, a persuasive message is not good enough. It must be “sticky,” a message that compels volunteers to spread the word.

#4 – Teach them to share the message

A compelling message is not enough. The final necessary step is to instruct your volunteers on HOW to share the message. This can be made easier if your charity PR message follows the “simple” and “easy to share” rules. Brief sound bites that can be quickly understood and make the right emotional connection.

While 5WPR recommends all of these steps, Ronn Torossian stresses that these steps alone are just the beginning. They are the foundation of a campaign, not the campaign in itself. Each step should be planned, prepared, weighed and measured before it is put into action.

For help with your next charity campaign or to get advice on your nonprofit PR, click here for more information from Ronn Torossian.

 

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5 Ways Brands Stay Relevant

The NFL draft prognosticators are so often dead wrong in both getting the draft order right and guessing what the teams will do. But they remain relevant and respected. How can this be? Sharp public relations definitely plays a part. These prognosticators are a function of the overall NFL brand, sparking interest and providing conversation topics. The goal of entertainment PR is not necessarily to make the right predictions, but to generate buzz for the league. In that area they get an A+ … but how?

Ronn Torossian, the CEO of top NY PR Firm 5WPR, reveals the 5 way brands stay relevant:

1. Establishing a Reputation

All of these prognosticators have varying ties to the NFL, from former players and coaches to current color commentators. Others have been covering sports for so long that fans cannot imagine football season without them. These individuals have established their reputation based on their prior accolades and name recognition, not on how accurately they predict the draft. Fans trust these guys because they believe that these individuals have access to inside information. This sense of mystery amplifies their credibility.

2. Making Bold Predictions

Part of furthering that reputation is making bold predictions. If the prediction does not come true, both the league and the fan get entertainment value out of it. After all, every armchair QB has to have some “idiot” to poke fun at. If on the off chance that prediction comes to fruition, fans will be astounded by that prognosticator’s genius, giving his reputation a boost. Better yet, that one correct prediction will get endless airplay, further cementing the swami’s prowess.

3. The Power of Logic

Making the prediction is only step one. It is followed by a long, detailed rationale behind this choice. The commentator will combine their insider info with the obvious needs and wants of a particular team. They will play out possible scenarios which underline their choice. Not only does this provide quality content for fans, it keeps a failed prediction from causing any loss of credibility. If the logic is transparent, then obviously the guys actually making the pick knew something the rest of us didn’t know.

4. Giving Viewers Quality Content to Share, Discuss, and Debate

After the prediction is made and the logic outlined, it is the fan’s turn to take the information and run with it. Again, it isn’t so much about accuracy as it is accessibility. Ronn Torossian of 5WPR believes fans will take these predictions along with their personal comments, questions, and concerns to Twitter, Facebook, and sports talk radio, providing an endless cross-platform content barrage. This will spark debates and widen the circle of the draft spotlight. The more conversations they start, the more potential viewers will tune in next season.

5.  There is Always Next Year

As soon as the draft is over, discussion shifts to how these choices will impact teams the following season, thereby creating a whole new set of predictions, followed by a whole new set of debates, and the cycle continues. The NFL is a respected brand and therefore produces respected prognosticators. This respect, in turn, feeds off and builds on each other in an endless cycle season to season.

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Benefits and Pitfalls of Rapid-Fire Social Media

Ronn Torossian on rapid social mediaTwitter can be an amazing marketing tool. When it comes to getting a sentiment or message out fast to a vast number of people, Twitter is tops.

However, this prime social media Public Relations tool can also create havoc with your overall brand. Ronn Torossian breaks down the good, the bad and the ugly about PR in 140 characters or less.

The Good

If brevity is the soul of wit, Twitter is brilliant. Capped at 140 characters, the true power of Twitter is that it forces you to be concise. Handled by a professional PR agency, your message can be concentrated into its most impactful – and quotable – context. Messages, images, even video links can be shared quickly and easily.

This means your content can be packaged, sent and received in an instant, then shared exponentially across the globe. Having a sale? Starting a new product line? Re-branding, publishing a book, releasing a movie or a record? Twitter can blast that good news out to everyone. Plus, the conversation dynamic of Twitter allows fans to respond, repost and re-tweet in real time. This keeps the buzz at a fever pitch indefinitely.

The Bad

But if you send out something on Twitter, there’s no getting it back. No matter how fast you take it down, your message is out there. It’s like firing a bullet. Once it leaves the gun, there’s no getting it back. Even if you reconsider, assume that one of your followers already took a screenshot, capturing the moment forever.

The lesson here is think before you Tweet. How will you feel about the message when you are not so fired up? Because, chances are, that is when other media sources will get a hold of it and start reposting it all over cyberspace. Suddenly you are answering questions about why you felt a certain way – and you may not even feel that way anymore.

The Ugly

When you are in the moment, it can be easy for the frustration or anger to get the best of you. The nearly instant responses of back and forth Twitter messaging has the feel of an actual conversation. The rough reality here, though, is that this is a conversation being witnessed by untold millions, none of whom will ever hear the entire context of conversation.

Suddenly snippets of your argument are being posted and re-tweeted across the web. And it is impossible to explain “what you really meant” on that exponential a scale. You simply cannot counter all the misquotes and out-of-context sound bites.

And you cannot stop them either. Since none of us can completely trust ourselves to be discreet in the midst of a heated exchange, do you really want to have that argument in front of millions of people? Especially when most of them can’t quite hear you or came in late?

Ronn Torossian  point is simple. Save your fights for more private and less permanent situations. When it comes to Twitter, fight about it and then forget it is not an option.

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