February 6, 2013
No matter what the Ground Hog tells us every year, it always seems like winters in the NYC area last well beyond the six weeks he predicts if he sees his shadow in the Punxsutawney morning sun. Even though the days are officially getting longer, the grey and dreary weather takes its toll by the time January and February roll around. We’re getting sick of bundling up, frustrated with the cold, and weary with being stuck inside all the time.
By mid-February, most residents of the northern states are casting their gaze south if they’re able to get away for a few days of warm vacation bliss. The last thing potential travelers want to is go away on a trip to a spot that’s even more bitterly cold that their own neighborhood. If they’re going to spend money on a getaway, it’s difficult for a travel PR firm like 5WPR to convince consumers to head somewhere with the same – or worse – weather than what they have at home.
Our team is constantly faced with challenges where we’re forced to persuade consumers to spend money on something when they’re inclined to do the exact opposite. And encouraging tourists to visit a cold weather destination toward the end of winter might be considered a losing battle. Of course, we could always use monetary incentives such as offering deep discounts at unpopular times of the year. But these tactics force our travel public relations clients to give up profit.
Instead, successful PR agency will make it their responsibility to find a new approach and use innovative concepts that make a cold destination cool. We must make it appear like an overwhelmingly attractive option even at a time when consumers are looking for sun and fun.
While you may not know it, you have seen this work before. Think of the ice bar and hotel concept, where the excitement is based entirely on the frozen atmosphere that welcomes the visitor. Ski resorts tout the fun of sleigh rides, bonfires and hot tubs in the snow. Even the seemingly impossible can be accomplished with ingenuity and thinking outside the box.
January 29, 2013
Even back when the main media sources were the printed news, television and radio, the competition among public relation firms in New York City has been stiff. There are countless agencies in the city, from the one person shop to the mega PR companies with hundreds on staff. Each of these firms tends to concentrate on different specialties, such as clients of a certain size, businesses in a particular industry or geographic target. There are factors that a company will need to keep in mind when choosing a PR firm, but many business owners choose 5WPR because we offer a well rounded portfolio.
In my experience, I have seen that a PR agency can be successful by offering innovating marketing ideas and providing premium customer service to its clients. But if that’s all you’ve got, you’re not going to separate your company from all the other public relations firms in New York City who are effectively doing the same thing. I’m not suggesting that they need to pigeonhole themselves into a niche, but there are ways a PR firm can stand out.
One concept where I focused my efforts to enable 5WPR to step away from the pack was to specialize in complementary industries. Covering several different consumer areas that are interconnected in some way enables a company to rise above other firms if they can effectively increase visibility for one client while promoting the interests of another. A secondary advantage is that it allows the 5WPR team to become specialists in the multiple industries we represent.
There are many opportunities to use a strategy in connection with one client, and be able to carry over the concepts for use with another client in a different industry. With a few examples, you’ll be able to see the advantages for 5WPR operations and the benefits we are able to pass on to our clients. Obviously, the fashion and beauty trades share common interests in visibility at industry events, online media channels and other outlets. 5WPR’s efforts in any one of these spheres on behalf of our fashion client serves to heighten awareness of our beauty industry partners, and vice versa. Likewise, our representation of a celebrity requires us to promote and draw attention to various endeavors. Conveniently, we can accomplish this during one of the social events as we’re handling the PR for our charitable organization client. That’s why it makes sense for 5WPR to multitask on behalf of multiple clients.
January 24, 2013
For a while it was thought that Google didn’t pay that much attention to social channels and what bloggers were writing about in the web space.
Times have changed and Google is placing greater emphasis on social signals and the same way Google rewards sites for relevant links to your site, they will reward you for having the relevant followers from Twitter and likes from a Facebook page.
According to Google, a signal isn’t the same as a ranking factor. This is what Google had to say in late 2010 in regards to retweets, “Yes, we do use it as a signal. It is used a signal in our organic and news rankings. We also use it to enhance our news universal by marketing how many people shared an article.”
Google can’t rank a page if it isn’t indexed, so the engagement on social channels will have little effect if this is the case.
Engaging in social channels whether directly or indirectly helps with search optimization overall. It provides wider visibility which in turn leads to more links and social signals, further boosting your site’s web authority.
The thoughts on social signals are this, engage in social channels the same way you would approach SEO. Don’t start spamming on social channels; this could ultimately hurt your rankings. Having a strategy in place where you can start sharing content with relevant followers. It’s about quality first, not quantity.
January 24, 2013
For those that are in the market for a reputable public relations firm in New York, there is a lot to consider. There are tons of PR agencies out there that will compete for your business and it can often be a daunting task to sift through them all to find the one that is best suited for your needs.
For the most part, there are a few basic guidelines in selecting a PR firm that is right for you. A good rule of thumb is to speak with at least three PR firms before making a decision. As you do, consider the following items.
- Work with someone that will get you results as quickly as possible. When you have to decide between the company that wants to start getting results right away or one that wants to “get to know you” for a few months first, you should probably choose the one that is more results-driven.
- Try to find a public relations firm in New York that is going to match your personality, goals, and objectives. When it comes to PR, there is going to be some meeting in the middle, but it should not define your relationship.
- Be very careful and selective when it comes to deciding between a general services PR company and a specialty firm. While a specialty firm is absolutely going to instantly identify with your goals, they also have several other clients with similar goals. This may make any work they do for you seem generic and cut-out, as their client’s all have objectives that are too closely matched.
- Ask for references or samples of other similar work. Make sure all of these are in direct relation to the results you hope to get. In terms of references, Ronn Torossian’s PR firm can provide at least two or three clients that can happily vouch for them.
Even after all of this, you’ll still have quite a decision to make. Just be sure to not rush your decision and try to follow your instincts rather than just their pitch.
January 23, 2013
With the holidays just behind us, we can reflect on the season with our family and friends enjoying meals and good times with an adult beverage. Wine is served at many Thanksgiving tables, and cocktails abound during the December festivities. When New Year’s Eve is upon us, many toast with champagne to ring in the New Year and say goodbye to the old one. The last couple of months in a calendar year are a boon for alcoholic beverage producers, as the holiday season is their most profitable time.
However, there are several other holidays throughout the year that offer marketing opportunities for the makers of different alcoholic beverages. One of the most reputable PR firms in New York City, 5WPR has spent countless hours reviewing consumer trends related to adult beverage consumption on behalf of our food and beverage clients. As part of the process of educating our team, we have found that there are some consumers that simply have a favorite cocktail and will not change their habits. On the other hand, there is a large group of consumers that will sip on a cocktail based on certain holidays. It’s up to 5WPR to seize on this opportunity and turn it into profit for our client.
As an example, Mardi Gras is usually celebrated during February, depending on when Easter falls in a particular year. Traditionally a party where people enjoy a last hurrah before more well-mannered behavior is expected during Lent, however Mardi Gras has become a holiday unto itself. Firmly established in New Orleans culture, the Hurricane is a traditional beverage and a strong PR firm like 5WPR will take advantage of the opportunity to maximize visibility for its rum producer clientele.
Cinco de Mayo is another case in point where the holiday itself conjures up a taste for a certain beverage. In fact, for producers of tequila and Mexican-style beer, the week leading up to May, 5th is among their most profitable times of the year. And of course, St. Patrick’s Day wouldn’t be the same without a pint of Irish stout. Ronn Torossian’s team at 5WPR steps up its marketing efforts for these clients who will benefit from the additional exposure conferred by the upcoming holiday’s flare.
January 18, 2013
It never fails that a celebrity client or sports star is involved with an after hours brawl, run in with the law or other PR nightmare. At 5WPR, our team members are sometimes called out of bed in the middle of the night – literally – to put our heads together on some scheme to snuff out negative chatter. Our PR clients rely on us as their go-to PR firm to drag their reputation out of the gutter when bad publicity explodes throughout the online newswire. But we didn’t earn our outstanding reputation in the aftermath of just one or even 20 widely publicized catastrophes.
Take, for instance, the different individuals and NFL teams involved in the fallout from the bounty program. From the player level, to members of the coaching staff, to entire organizations, the scandal hit the league like a ton of bricks. Careers were devastated by the potential suspensions and penalties that might be handed down, well before final decisions were ever made regarding the punishments that would be levied. Some sports pundits wondered if the players and other staff would ever rebound from the controversy, even after fines had been paid and suspensions were served.
As a top PR firm, our team reacts to a crisis like this particular scandal with a swift move into reputation management mode. Going on 10 years in the public relations industry, the damage control frenzy surrounding the bounty controversy is commonplace and we have seen our fair share of media disasters. With every publicity snag that befalls one of our celebrity clients, we learn and apply the techniques to future catastrophes.
When it comes to reacting to a crisis and restoring a reputation, you have heard my adage “content is king.” While I don’t want to dilute that point, I also want to stress that rapid response is also key. Attack the blogosphere with an aggressive campaign that serves to weakens the impact of negative press. Use newswire resources to distribute press releases to mitigate the bad impression left in the public’s eye by a starlet’s wardrobe malfunction or a sports figure’s too-candid comments about a coach. Your goal is to counter every dent in the client’s reputation with a post that pounds it right back out.
Reputation management in a crisis situation is less about contradicting the media reports, and more towards distraction. Arguing against the incident or scandal will only draw more attention. Our goal as a PR firm is to shed an upbeat light on the positive traits and selfless deeds of our clients, and saturate the online distribution outlets with as much feel-good content as we can circulate.
January 14, 2013
In the industry of alcoholic beverages, there is not much room for an entirely new liquor. It’s true that unique recipes for rum, vodka and whiskey are rampant, and companies are promoting new cocktail combinations at an extraordinary rate. I’ve recently seen releases of legal moonshine concoctions, which tend to ride on the coattails of popular reality shows. But as far as new hard alcohol being developed and introduced to the market, there’s nothing left that truly innovative.
So when clients come to 5WPR and want to hear how a leading PR firm will help them clamor on top of the heap in an intensely competitive industry, we can’t send them back to the lab to devise a new chemical combination. My position on this topic is that it’s more important to boost a brand’s breadth than to deepen their marketing budget. Through use of these marketing tactics, one of our top beverage PR clients was able to extend its roots in the industry without having to throw a ton of money toward a less profitable campaign. While our partner had their foot in the door in the enormously lucrative vodka business, they needed help broadening their brand.
Our solution: introduction of flavored vodkas as an adjunct to their unflavored product. The flavored liquor trend has been taking hold of the industry for the last few years, and it seemed a natural progression to draw visibility to their original premium brand. In this way, the client could increase its market share in the flavor trend while strengthening its roots in its main (unflavored) product.
It’s true that I have used re-branding tactics as the foundation of a marketing campaign when the product has become stale in its industry. This is not always the most advantageous strategy, as it can be expensive and lose ground in a cost-benefit analysis. An example would be a well-known vodka producer that invested millions in an ad scheme that involved manufacturing personalized bottles for packaging its liquor. This type of tactic really only reaches a small target audience, and so doesn’t broaden the brand’s presence among its competitors. Of course, every promotion strategy must be focused on serving the needs of the individual client. Not every tactic is perfect tailored to the size, budget and goals of the customer, and my job is to cull the out the most effective methods.
January 9, 2013
Boosting morale within your business is becoming something that more and more business owners are becoming concerned with. From Casual Fridays to free donuts in the break room, there are several approaches to making your employees happier and, in turn, creating a better work environment for all involved parties.
However, one of the morale boosters you should seriously consider is incorporating a corporate wellness program. After all, what are the reasons for people missing work? Reports indicate that that it comes down to illness, stress, and lack of sleep—all brought on by rigorous working conditions. Therefore, incorporating a wellness program of any kind not only tackles this problem head on, but shows your employees that you do indeed care for them.
The goal of corporate wellness programs is to promote health and wellness throughout an organization. This extends beyond simply physical health, but also incorporates emotional and mental health as well. These types of programs can either provide employees with a very basic package of services or much more comprehensive packages.
There are ultimately two significant roles for a corporate wellness program:
1 – They promote and lead to a healthier lifestyle for your workers. Any companies will create events or contests that are structured around their wellness programs; these include things like mock Biggest Loser contest for weight loss or contests for the tastiest and healthiest recipe.
2 – They result in a decrease in health care expenses while also drastically improving worker morale. The sense of community and healthy lifestyles ties in with these decreases in spending, making everyone happier.
In addition, a well-planned corporate wellness program includes several levels of participation. A few suggestions include, but are certainly not limited to:
· Health risk evaluations
· On-site diagnostic screenings
· Meal planning,
· Screening and planning for disease prevention
· Educational tools related to the health improvement of workers
Larger business may also want to look into creating a space where their employees can work out and distress during breaks or even before and after work. Larger businesses are already doing this and showing great results in worker performance and attitude. Of course, this area or facility doesn’t need to be anything elaborate. After all, there is a fine line between promoting your corporate wellness program and allowing workers to take advantage of such good graces.
The important thing to get across in this entire process is to let your workers know that you view them as more than just a production unit. By beginning a corporate wellness program, you are showing that their health and well-being comes first.
As a business owner, you will see an increase in productivity and employee attitudes and satisfaction. A corporate wellness program can quickly become a staple if your business and can actually cause more than just increases in worker productivity—it can also paint your business in a new and more positive light. So while the program is geared towards the betterment of your employees, your business will see huge results as well.
January 4, 2013
Your business is your lifeline and you devote enormous amounts of time, energy and money towards making it the best. Despite your best efforts, unfortunate incidents can hit your company without warning and beyond your power. You need to stem the flow of negative publicity before things spiral completely out of control, and direct attention elsewhere to put your company back in the positive limelight.
Unless you’re completely disconnected from pop culture, you know that the best PR companies for celebrities often have their hands full cleaning up the regrettable moments of their clients. Fortunately, you can incorporate some of their tactics when faced with less than stellar chatter about your business.
You can’t turn back time to erase a disastrous episode, but you can turn the spotlight on a more positive picture of your company. Monetary donations, dedication of time, and other efforts to charitable causes can be coordinated to defeat bad press – or at least distract some attention away from it.
Taking first the concept of financial contributions, I want to stress that these are important only when used in conjunction with other measures. After all, we’re talking about making a swift and immediate impact to divert eager cyber minds away from negative chatter. Your money is obviously a generous gesture, but 5WPR has seen firsthand that writing a check is not going to buy a shiny new image.
The truth is that donations of time toward charitable causes go further than money alone. You don’t necessarily need to spend a year abroad with Doctors Without Borders to draw interest away from your medical practice that got hit with a malpractice suit. But a presence of some sort at popular, local events with a charity angle is easy and can be accomplished on a modest budget.
Even before you have the need to work out damage control, it’s wise to cultivate and develop relationships with charities. You will be first in line when they consider which company is the right fit for their silent auction or event sponsorship.
Participating in a meaningful way to charitable causes has an impact that will resonate with the online distribution channels when properly focused. The best part is that the charity itself usually takes the lead role in publicity of an event, whether it’s a gala for community leaders or plunging into a frigid lake in the middle of January. Society websites in larger cities and social media events pages are filled with pictures of the past weekend’s fund raiser and announcements of upcoming festivities. This visibility is priceless to your company’s image.
You’ll also need to do your part to circulate your company’s charitable contributions. Post your involvement on all of your blogs, and include links to the charity’s page of sponsors and participants. Take your own pictures at the event, and upload these to your website and blog posts. Of course, charity events are perfect newsworthy pieces to include in a press release. Focus your content on how your company is generously invested in the community and involved at a local level.
January 1, 2013
If you have spent any time at all on social media recently, you probably ran across something sponsored by ListChallenges. The website is a clearinghouse of surveys that works overtime to capture users’ attention, and then their information. Ronn Torossian says this list building tool is also a tremendous PR tool taps into several factors that humans tend to find irresistible.
The premise is simple, you go to the website and complete a quick “click if you’ve seen it” survey list. There are also “heard it” or “know it” options. Your answers are scored against the entire list. When finished, users are given the option to “share”, or “post” their results. Or invite their friends to play. It’s almost irresistible. But why? Torossian explains:
#1 – We want to test ourselves
Humans love to see how good we are at stuff. Particularly if there’s no one there to see, or hear, or critique. It’s why we sing in the shower, or dance when no one is watching. These tests are also completely meaningless. We won’t have to “remember” anything, and there’s literally no way to lose.
#2 – We want to belong
Hey, this invite was sent to you by a friend, presumably a friend that you are about to discover something in common with. This is a massive need for the vast majority of people in the world. We desperately want to belong to something. Anything.
#3 – We want to be better than others
Now, this is a funny one. See, for the most part, we don’t want to think we are superior, or better. We want to feel like we are, silently…and we don’t want to feel like a jerk for wanting to feel this way. These surveys allow us to harmlessly “prove” our superiority in a way that, we all know, “really” doesn’t matter. But it does.
Taken together these psychological experiments can be incredibly effective at capturing people, and getting them to volunteer information they would NEVER offer to a stranger.