Category: In the News

What Separates Good Media From Great Media

I read an article in today’s Times with great interest. According to those in the know, the outlook on Medicare is not nearly as bleak as originally anticipated. While I won’t get into the specifics here, the article is an interesting lesson in several approaches to impactful PR campaigns.

With that in mind, here are three questions you must get answers to when crafting an impactful public relations campaign.

#1 – What’s your market’s definition of “good?”

Changes and improvements may be legitimate, even if they are statistically insignificant. However, your market may not necessarily see it that way. Keep them from responding with a yawn when they should be clapping. Make sure those interacting with your public relations campaign understand WHY this is a big deal. In other words, if they don’t have a definition of “good,” or they have unrealistic expectations, the PR firm should take the opportunity to change that expectation and create a workable definition of “good.”

#2 – What are they comparing this to?

In most cases, there are multiple competitive products and services that can help provide both context and expectations for your market. In the case of giant entitlement programs such as Medicare, you really don’t have many options. The typical go-to “this and that” comparison is either Social Security or Medicaid. While one name sounds similar, this is sort of like comparing apples to rutabagas because they are both “produce.” It is important in your PR campaign not to attempt to compare apples to oranges. Much better to stick with features and benefits people can comprehend than comparing one thing they don’t understand to another just as incomprehensible.

#3 – What should they understand that they don’t?

This could seem like a bottomless pit, particularly in technical and complicated issues such as healthcare. But it is a necessary question to answer. While Ronn Torossian understands that most people have a consumer mindset and they “just want this to work right,” it is not impossible to address misunderstandings or incomplete knowledge that may hinder their perception. In simple terms, you don’t know what you don’t know. But a well-planned PR campaign can fix that.

For more on the best way to craft effective and affective public relations campaigns, contact Ronn Torossian and 5WPR here.

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NYC ballet season offers prime NYC PR opportunities

ronn torossian ballet

New York’s spring ballet season opened quietly with an American music theme. The themes were lively, the music popped and the dancers basked in the spotlight. Ballet season in NYC is both a perfect metaphor and a prime opportunity for various aspects of public relations and brand development.

What does Ronn Torossian mean when he says ballet season is both an opportunity and a metaphor for good PR? The 5WPR CEO explains…

Timing is Important

When dancing to music or as part of a company you have to stay in time, on beat and in step. PR campaigns work the same way. They must be choreographed precisely and performed with proven expertise. Ronn Torossian suggests using a combination of proven techniques and an experienced team to get it right the first time.

Public Image is Only as Good as Your Last Performance

In ballet at this level, one false move can mean losing the lead role. The same is true in public relations. Your reputation is determined by what people are saying about you “now.” At 5W Public Relations we work with our clients to make sure their latest performance is their best yet.

Taking Advantage of Time in the Spotlight

When you have your chance on stage, you have to seize it. In public relations, when you have a chance to get your message out there, you can’t miss it. To do this effectively, you must have an action plan in place. Just as a dancer cannot just walk out on stage without knowing the show, a PR firm cannot move to benefit its client if it has no plan in place. This is why 5WPR works with its clients to go over several “what if” scenarios in each public relations campaign.

Brand Development

Ballet season allows a wide range of companies to put their products and services on display. From the costumes worn by performers to the equipment used backstage to the technology that keeps everything running smoothly, contractors can make or break ballet season. If performers and producers are happy, your reputation can be set. If not, you will have a lot of work to do to catch up. Ronn Torossian explains that the same can be true when using public relations for brand development. If you put yourself out there but the message doesn’t ring true to your target market, your brand development is set back and must make up that ground before moving forward.

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Audi’s Spock Showdown Brilliant Social Media PR

Many of us at 5WPR have been interested to see what the next YouTube-released major product commercial would be. We talked about the hilarious Jeff Gordon “test drive” commercial previously. Now Audi has grabbed the baton at a full sprint with their Star Trek “Challenge.”

The two-minute commercial spot stars two generations of Mr. Spock, Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto, in an escalating series of competitions that leaves them racing to the golf course. Loser buys lunch.

Movie promotion

It’s not surprising to see a star from an upcoming summer blockbuster getting some crossover PR from a quick commercial spot. What’s unique about this particular commercial is that Audi not only tipped its hat to Zachary Quinto’s “summer job,” they built their entire commercial around it. This spot is a blatant appeal to Trekkies. A mixture of hot cars and cool technology – without the almost obligatory hot model – this commercial aims directly at people who are already planning to see the movie.

Crossover appeal

Car guys will love this commercial because the cars involved are stellar. Star Trek fans will love this commercial because, for them, this pairing is interstellar. The cool gadgets and luxury amenities are cool and luxurious no matter why you are watching the commercial. So, even though it appeals directly to Trekkies, it has genuine crossover potential.

Quotables

At 5WPR, we believe that with any multimedia PR campaign, quotable takeaways are a must. This commercials excels in this area. When another fan asks what the commercial is about, it is easy to give them the “highlights.” Any time you want content to go viral, your viewer needs to be able to tell someone: “This happened, then this, then this happened…” and so on. The more specific memorable points you can drive home, the more successful your PR campaign will likely be.

Nimoy sings Bilbo Baggins

This sort of short clip breaks the fourth wall and speaks directly to a very specific subset of viewers. It’s likely that many younger Trek fans have never seen the eclectic circa 1970s music video with Nimoy singing about a Hobbit. But those who have seen it will laugh out loud and immediately tell their friends.

Ronn Torossian’s bottom line…

Timely movie promotion, crossover appeal, surprises and quotables – this commercial hits on many levels. This is simple, classic entertainment PR, cutting-edge social media PR and a terrific win for Audi.For what you need to create your own viral YouTube super hit, contact Ronn Torossian and 5WPR here.

 

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Is The Gilette Longoria Stunt Staged Or Real?

longoria gilette stunt

As the CEO of top NYC PR firm, 5WPR, I hope I don’t lose my Yankee Card for this one. But as a PR guy, there is a lot to admire about a recent YouTube video featuring Tampa Bay Rays star, Evan Longoria. In the video, a reporter is interviewing Longo when a foul ball rockets toward her head. At the last second Longoria reaches out and grabs the ball out of the sky barehanded, obviously saving the woman from grave injury or death.

Gilette Longoria Stunt

Now, Yankee faithful know that Derek Jeter could have made that catch, no problem. But, as the video went viral on social media, questions about it began to arise. Fox Sports, Huffington Post and even Snopes weighed in on whether or not the video was staged.

But every single one of those reports had one thing in common. They included the video. A video that was watched again and again and again. Now people who never watch baseball know who Longoria is. They know who the Rays are and they have reason to be … ahem … impressed.

But here’s the rub …

There are several reasons to believe this impressive feat is actually clever PR wrapped in a fairly realistic package.

  • First, the reporter’s microphone has no media identification, and the Chyron graphic has no media logo. So, either the outlet filming this is incredibly shy or there is no media outlet filming this.
  • Second, in a stadium where every section of the baseline is sponsored, only one logo is visible … the one in the center of the entire video. Gillette.
  • Third, Evan Longoria happens to be one of Gillette’s new “Young Guns” spokesmen.

So, what’s my verdict? I’m saying “ad.” But I’m also saying this is a very smart use of both solid film work and clever social media PR. The graphics are clean and the clip has all the hallmarks of a very viral bit of media.

Whatever the sponsor, whether it was Gillette, the Rays or an unnamed PR agency paid to produce this video, it was money well spent. Brands have been strengthened and both Gillette and the Rays are part of the national conversation.

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PR Firm Plans to Rebrand a top Tourist Destination

the ronn torossian update blog

Disney’s entertainment PR touting “taste of hometown Florida.” Ronn Torossian of 5WPR noted that when it comes to entertainment PR, there’s no doubt Disney has it mastered. From the top down, Disney’s corporate PR firm protects its properties and artfully manages the reputations of everything from individual child stars to cartoon characters, movie franchises and major international resorts. So it came as no surprise that Disney’s latest PR announcement generated excitement the world over. “Pleasure Island,” the central entertainment attraction in Orlando’s “Downtown Disney” would soon have a new name, a new face and a new theme.

Disney World is already well known for its themed destinations. Each “world within a world” (or “Land” in California) creates its own unique vibe and offers its own menu of entertainment venues for visitors.

These names evoke the vibe and culture of the place, giving guests easy options. Do I want luxury? Then it’s the Grand Floridian for me. Rustic vibe with a camping option? Fort Wilderness. Given this trend, it can be easy to see why “Pleasure Island” didn’t exactly feel right. Disney’s PR firm originally crafted a campaign to promote Pleasure Island as nightclub scene only loosely tied to established Disney brands. The idea had been to attract more local visitors to Downtown Disney’s shops and restaurants.

But Orlando already had the Church Street club scene. The two areas battled for years to garner the most local trade. Tourists still came to Downtown Disney to shop, but they weren’t partying in large numbers. While it’s fun to go window shopping after an all-day park trip, or cruise over to the Hard Rock for a show or Planet Hollywood for a meal, rock ‘n’ rolling all night was not on the agenda. Back in 2009, Disney officials abandoned the Pleasure Island nightclub format. They went back to the drawing board to design a free entertainment destination that would appeal to its longtime target market–young families. But the new brand would still be geared toward local guests.

Over the next few years Downtown Disney will be transformed into “Disney Springs,” an entertainment, dining and shopping venue offering “a taste of old hometown Florida.”Disney’s corporate PR firm announced that Disney Springs will more than double the current Downtown Disney attractions, both in size and scope. And it will do so while evoking the spirit of a Florida many locals fear forgotten.In its initial releases, Disney’s PR firm hit all the right notes. The new venue would be bigger, cooler and more charming. Plus the new project will increase jobs in one of the hardest-hit industries in Florida–construction. In addition, the new venue promises to add thousands of permanent jobs.

Crafted in this way, Disney’s news appealed to fans, dreamers, local politicians and families going through tough economic times and desperate for some happy thoughts.

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Four “Tricks” You Must Use Before you call me

Ronn Torossian CEO of 5W Public Relations ( 5WPR ) PR explains what you need: Four “Tricks” You Must Use Before you call me about your social media. Every day potential clients contact 5WPR, my New York PR company, to “help us with our social media.” Their pages are up, they tell me, but they aren’t attracting fans, followers, or subscribers.

Okay, we can help with that. So one of our social media PR experts logs on and finds what was described as a “ready to go” site is actually a hot mess. Now we are starting behind square one. Instead of a blank slate, their social media wall is a graffiti-covered eyesore. Our PR firm can change that. But it would be better, and more cost effective, if you do the following BEFORE you call 5WPR.

What I am about to teach you will only take 30 minutes of your time. And the value far outweighs the investment.

#1 – You need a professional photo

Sure, all your Facebook friends love your cute headshot from your Florida vacation. But, in business, that screams: “I don’t take this seriously.” Think of your profile photo as the first impression you want to make at a corporate event. That’s the headshot you should post.

#2 – Keep your headline crisp and professional

This is no place for “clever” quips and teasing titles. Your name and description should be professional and clearly stated. Say what you bring to the table in four words or less.

#3 – Stock your description with keywords

In a social media context, your “ABOUT” description is not the place for brochure text or extended biographies. Pepper the summary section with keywords related to what you do. Don’t overstuff it with keywords, but include at least two to three.

#4 – Choose your skills on purpose

LinkedIn allows users to request and offer recommendations. These “social testimonials” can be incredibly powerful. Choose several that describe your top strengths. But be selective. Too many choices and you will get fewer “recommendations.” Plus, you end up looking like a jack-of-all-trades and master of none.

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Apple’s PR Agency Steps Up to Diffuse Rumors

Issues that have MacBook buyers steaming mad were handled properly when Apple’s PR Agency Steps Up to Diffuse Rumors.  In a market flooded with technology PR, Apple has managed to stay in the news with impressive consistency, though not always for reasons their PR agency might choose. Not long ago, Apple was the darling of American voters, lauded by President Obama in his State of The Union address.

The company was bringing manufacturing jobs back to America. This was exactly the sort of PR coup Mac needed to bolster consumer confidence after the death of Steve Jobs. Every competitor with a US PR firm went to work to enhance its pro-America image. But Mac’s honeymoon was short-lived. Shortly after the release of Apple’s newest MacBook, message boards and support forums were abuzz with bad news for Apple’s PR agency. Entry-level MacBook buyers complained (loudly) about an overheating issue. Mac buyers, typically very brand loyal, were not yet defecting. But they did have some questions. First, what was happening? Second, what was Mac going to do about it?

Apple’s PR team did not hide from the rumors. They stepped up and admitted a problem could exist. Then they set out about finding it and fixing it. After reviewing the complaint, Apple published an article on its main support page. Yes, some 13-inch MacBooks were running “warmer than normal.” The article explained a simple fix for the problem. “Check the rear vent of the MacBook to make sure it’s not blocked. Owners who find a plastic film covering their notebook’s rear vent should ‘simply remove and discard it.’”

Apple diffused rumors and strengthened consumer confidence by directly addressing the concerns. When facing a potential public relations problem, this direct approach is almost always the best way to proceed.

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Google applauds PR mixing with SEO

When Google does an update SEOs are hanging on to every last word to find out what modifications have to be done. The latest trend that is that Google is giving more weight to content that is shareable via social media channels.

At the moment it’s about social shares and you can’t fake it that easily apparently. But Google is anticipating that some will try and “fake it” by opening fake profiles.

One of the top SEO gurus Adam Torkildson tested this theory out. He created 1000 fake Facebook accounts a year ago and they all have been banned today. He confirmed that social signals are a much bigger part of the Google algorithm.

With social becoming more important, having relevant content that is engaging is more of a priority in SEO. Creating that buzz or the PR in your content will now weigh heavily on rankings. This is where mixing PR with SEO has now reaped some benefits.

A company that does this well is Dell. They have over 1 million followers on Twitter and their team answers every direct message from their community. They are truly staying on top of their brand and their reputation online.

So what does Google really want? They want content that is relevant, shareable and that engage audiences online. Interactions must be real and have community value. Those interactions will help bring a brand up in their search engine rankings.

So what does this mean? It means that in the future there will be less of a focus on traditional SEO methods. PR will become more prominent in SEO practices and social PR will rise to the occasion and become more relevant.

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PR Firm protects clients in crisis

Crisis communications is the quintessential “difficult but necessary” topic. None of us like to think about worst-case scenarios. But, if you maintain your success long enough, you will eventually face a crisis.

How you or the PR firm you hire chooses to handle that crisis could make or break the further success of your business. Unfortunately, here at 5WPR, we have seen far too many business owners or executives make the fatal mistake of trying to “get out ahead” of the crisis without a workable approach to their crisis communications.

That impulse is understandable. One glance here and it’s obvious that I understand exactly what it feels like to encounter a crisis and immediately want to attack it, fix it, mitigate the problem as soon as possible. That’s a trait common to everyone committed to business success.

Unfortunately, it can be exactly that passion that can be a detriment when crisis communications require a more delicate, reasoned response. In my work with 5WPR, I have observed people too close to a crisis situation make tragic mistakes, simply because their proximity precluded objectivity.

Let’s take a look at a recent communications crisis in the pharmaceutical industry. McNeil Consumer Healthcare, makers of the industry-leading acetaminophen product, Tylenol, was faced with the immediate recall of nearly its entire brand line. On the surface, the issue seems simple. Remove tainted products and let the public know you are “on top of the issue.”

Here’s the problem for them. Pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers deal with these issues on a daily basis. They are intimately connected with the standards and practices that govern their industry. The average mom buying Tylenol for her toddler is not. She hears “recall” and goes all “mama bear.” An otherwise reasonable mom may take one look at the empty spot above that Tylenol shelf tag and make the snap decision to never buy another Tylenol product.

A savvy PR firm must connect the precision response of the company with the emotional response of parents across the market segment. The power of crisis communications in this example is exemplified when the consumer is cognizant of the efforts of the company to correct the issue and the company’s communication reflects empathy for the emotionally distanced consumer.

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5 Ways to Prevent a PR Crisis

Recent news about the unfortunate handling of a public incident by Applebee’s has many companies going back over their corporate rules and policies, looking for anywhere there might be a fissure in their PR approaches.

Sure, we’d all prefer to not have to deal with such a situation. But none of us are perfect and it’s better to be safe than sorry. That being said, here are 5 key tips taken from some of the best crisis PR firms to follow in order to properly handle a PR crisis.

1 – Be Honest With Yourself. All reputable crisis PR firms will tell you that a crisis arises mainly because a company has ignored an issue. To prevent this, be willing to honestly identify your own issues. Do what you can to fix them before they get out of hand.

2 – Be Accessible. You need to be easy to reached by your customers and target audience. This means keeping a social media presence via Facebook, Twitter and innumerable other places. This is key to keeping tabs on the public’s opinion of your company.

3 – Prepare for the Worst. Take the time to have a frank conversation about what type of a crisis could befall your company at any given moment. Think outside of the box and make sure all bases are covered. Based on what you come up with, create approaches to stomp out that crisis and keep it stored away should that crisis ever arise.

4 – Be Fast. If you do find yourself in the midst of a crisis, there’s no sense in wasting time to see how the cards will fall. Respond right away. This is easier if you have followed Tip #4.

5 – “No Comment” Does Not Exist. Never under any circumstances should you answer any question with “no comment” no matter how bad the situation may be. It makes you look foolish and makes the public assume the worst.

Having taken all of this in, ask yourself if your company is prepared to follow all of these tips. If not, you need to take action or you may find that the next public crisis is your own.

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