News and PR Insights from 5W Public Relations CEO Ronn Torossian

Tag: Public Relations

Marine humiliated on Delta flight?

5W PR, led by CEO Ronn Torossian

This was one of those things that everyone who was involved wished didn’t happen – not very smart. Even people who love to be angry wish something like this didn’t happen. But according to one Marine, and several witnesses, on a particular Delta flight … unfortunately it did happen.

An amputee Marine, injured during service in Afghanistan, was on board a recent Delta flight when he was, reportedly, paraded down the aisle in his wheelchair to his seat. Along the way he was accidentally bumped into other passengers, all the way to almost the back of the plane. When several passengers in first class volunteered to give up their seats so that the wounded veteran could have more room, the flight crew ignored these requests.

It is important to note here that the complaint did not come from the offended Marine. Instead, it came from Army Col. Nickey Knighton, a fellow passenger on the flight. Col. Knighton sent a complaint to Delta Airlines about how the Marine was treated. Then, the Washington Post got hold of the complaint and published the story.

Many other major media outlets picked it up and ran with it as well. While Delta has released no official findings since the incident, the airline did say it would investigate. But stopped short of even admitting the incident happened. Regardless of the accuracy of the story, the airline will likely have to deal with a crisis PR firm for this one.

Delta should have acted more quickly to diffuse the rage that came from this. They may eventually issue an apology, but one should have come already. In fact, it should have been the first thing that happened. Instead, Delta opted for  the response that“this in no way reflects how Delta treats customers.”

In fairness, this official statement did end with an apology. However, that admission is more omission, and one that will ring hollow for most consumers. While Delta may not treat their customers poorly, the incident in question begs to differ. As of this writing, that point has yet to be addressed.

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Best Super Bowl Commercials

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5W Public Relations, a leading PR Firm in NYC

In the quaint and peaceful days of ” a couple years ago ” Super Bowl advertisers actually waited until the game to reveal their super selections. Not so much anymore. In the days leading up to the Big Game, revealing early can mean tons of free publicity. Brands have taken notice and many have jumped on the early release bandwagon. A few top-line thoughts from 5WPR  on why these brands may have benefited from their early release.

Budweiser’s puppy love: Yet again, the horses were back. But this time they “adopt” a cute little dog. The animals spend the rest of the commercial bonding. The “awww” factor here is off the charts. Most folks grab beer for the big game. Bud hoped the early release translated into sales on the way to the Big Party.

The Muppets steal a car: Who wouldn’t want the Muppets to hijack their ride? Well, most of us probably, but we sure enjoy watching it happen to someone else. This promotion of the upcoming movie captures some of the irreverent humor of the original weekly show.

The ‘Full House’ reunion: While it may not be Jesse and the Rippers, this reunion of one of the 90’s favorite sitcom families spiked the nostalgia factor like punch at the prom. This crew hasn’t been back together in nearly two decades. Was America ready? We can’t be sure.  But you can bet the “house” went quiet when this commercial came on.

Ellen’s Beats Music commercial: Ellen understands smart product placement, and as an avowed fan of the Beats Music app, the comedienne has parlayed that interest into a starring role in a Big Game commercial. This is a great barometer of where someone is in their career. Only household names get to host a Super Bowl commercial. It’s more about having fun than building a reputation.

Whether promoting another product, giving the audience what they want, or reminding people just how much fun your brand can be, finding a spot in a Super Bowl ad is a tremendous opportunity to grab attention.

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4 Steps to Crafting the Perfect PR Message

How to craft the perfect message

Who What Where When Why

Ronn Torossian has built his firm, 5WPR into one of the top – and fastest growing – public relations firms in NYC through smarts, grit, and a talent for getting the right message to the right people. In this article, he shares just a bit of his expertise to help you craft the perfect press release.

First, know your audience. Messages will differ in tone, and content depending on who you are speaking to. If you try a one-size-fits-all approach, your message will lose impact. Knowing your audience takes work, it requires an investment in time, and resources to get it right. But. make an assumption here, and your PR will suffer.

Second, understand the importance of tone. The vast majority of conversation is nonverbal. You can tell a lot about a person based on their tone of voice. And, believe it or not, written communications have “tone” as well. Is your tone professional, combative, obnoxious, terse? Have you ever even thought about how your messages come across? Remember, messages are more than just the words you write. It’s more about how you put them together.

Third, keep it simple. Press releases should NEVER be the “whole story.” Leave that for the press interview. You need to present the facts in an interesting way, but just enough to draw interest, not so much that you steal all the curiosity from the reader. Don’t try to cover all the angles, and answer all the questions before they are asked. That’s impossible … and can be a tedious read.

Fourth, and most important, answer ALL 5 “w” questions. There’s a reason Torossian named his company 5WPR. The 5 “W’s” are the essential questions all media wants answered in every published article. Your press release should answer all five as concisely and completely as possible.

What are the five W’s? For answers to that question, and any others related to the PR field, click here to contact Ronn Torossian, and 5WPR today.


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Why Double-Checking Makes PR Sense

Ask Ronn Torossian, and he will tell you that reputation can be a terrific thing. When you are bringing in a special speaker, you want to make sure he, or she is not only qualified, but dynamic, and well respected. But it’s very important to consider the source giving you the referral. That, Torossian says, is a lesson one Texas high school principal recently learned the hard way.

In attempting to book an encouraging, and challenging speaker for a recent high school assembly about social issues such as teen dating, this principal worked with the school’s PTA president to bring in a man with a big reputation in this field. However – and this is where the story gets fuzzy – either they didn’t know exactly WHAT that reputation entailed, or simply believed the controversial message was one teens needed to hear.

Unfortunately for all involved, the reaction to the speaker was unexpected…and immediate. Accusations of misogyny, and sexism exploded across the Twitterverse. Now, the staff, and administrators are apologizing. But, to many, those apologies are ringing hollow.

In articles discussing the incident, commentators are not holding back. Some are accusing the administration of incompetence. Others are claiming it’s a conspiracy to bring “church values” into a “state school.” Virtually no one is taking the side – or even asking the side – of the administration. They are just collectively backing over them in a proverbial bus.

Now, it might be easy to decry the immediate, and reactionary nature of social media for all the kerfluffle. And it might be easy to dismiss the griping as overwrought, and emotional teenagers who get worked up over any ol’ thing. But at the end of the day, those criticisms – and many others just like them – don’t matter at all.

When it comes to PR in the digital age, source is much less important than content. When people read negative reviews, or reactions to your business, or brand, they are not stopping to check the source. They are simply absorbing the information.

Let that stark lesson provide you with some basic directions on how to handle your social media. When you hire someone to represent you, better make sure they know how to support the brand vision you are building.



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Handling Bad Celebrity PR

celebrity pr issuesCelebrities are always in the news, both because they are famous, and because when they aren’t getting attention, they become less famous. It is an ouroboros, feeding into itself, creating a 24/7 buzz about everything that is that individual, from what they wear to where they eat to their opinions on the issues of today. They say that in the world of fame, there is no such thing as bad publicity, since what they are selling is anything about that person that attracts the eyeballs of the populous. However, it is pretty clear that this outmoded concept has gone by the wayside, and there is most definitely such a thing as “bad publicity.”So what does one do when faced with bad PR attached to a celebrity? What is actually even the bad public relations stigma, and is it the same as for a business or corporation? According to Ronn Torossian, the CEO of 5W Public Relations, a maverick PR consulting firm based in NYC, the answer can be more complex than you might believe. Since certain celebrities feed off of the “bad-boy” or “bad-girl” image, then actions like wrecking a hotel room or cursing someone out in public actually feed into somewhat positive PR for them. It continues their brand, like a rockstar or tough-guy type actor.

Crossing The Public Line

However, there are those things which are simply over the line. The public may like the image of a rebel or someone who breaks the rules, but they tend to be less forgiving if people are actually hurt, or their image of a straightlaced person is shattered. For example, a DUI is always a bad press moment, since drunk driving is a more taboo act in the eyes of the public. If the person involved is seen as having a more sweet and innocent public persona, such as what happened to Lindsay Lohan or Amanda Bynes, then the fallout tends to be much worse.

celebrity pr issuesSo how are things like this generally dealt with? There have been many different approaches over the history of celebrity public relations disaster aversion, and while each situation is a little different and unique, the basics still remain the same. The general public likes someone who owns up to their actions, and apologizes. Once that is done, if there can be an explanation that shifts the blame elsewhere, then that usually happens. Apologies are generally meant to be heartfelt, and teamed with some kind of compensatory action, such as volunteerism, or large donations to a charity related to the faux pas.

This is sometimes coupled with a public announcement that the celebrity in question is seeking some kind of counseling for a condition related to the incident, like sex addiction for Tiger Woods after he cheated multiple times on his wife, or Mel Gibson blaming alcoholism for his anti-Semitic rants, then going to rehab. Generally, the first rule is apology, the second is finding a way to shift blame so that the public feels sorry for the celebrity, and finally, show that the celebrity is back on their feet and better than ever, because everyone loves a famous person who capitalizes on a second chance.

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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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Preventing Cool Weather Vacationers from Heading South

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.

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