Monday, January 13, 2014

5W Public Relations Firm Uses Inclement Weather to Generate Media Relations Results for Clients

Published by Ronn Torossian & 5WPR Speakers

Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR, explains how while some offices take days off and close offices during snowy weather, 5W uses these opportunities to generate media coverage for results.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Four Lessons Learned the Hard Way in 2013

In today's world, the majority of business-to-consumer connections are now made using social media. This means that now, when a business blunders, there are many people that the business has to answer to, not just "those in the know." This is why managing public relations has become even trickier than before. With that in mind, I'd like to offer some of the lessons learned from poorly executed media relations strategies this past year:

Lesson 1: Consult your communication experts

With social media's continued rise, it is necessary for companies to hire the services of communications experts. Such people have an eye on the happenings all around the globe, around the clock, keeping them well informed of all activities going on in different places. They are immaculate judges of timing, and can advise the company as to which statement to make, and when. The right tweet at the wrong time, or vice versa, can cause much damage.

Lesson 2: if you have made a mistake, own up to it, and move on

Take into consideration the public relations misstep of the Lululemon chairman when he was asked about the quality of the yoga pants that they produce. He wrongly, from a media relations standpoint, stated that this was not a fault of the company, but rather the fault on the part of the women who were heavy and stretching the pants so thin that they were transparent.

Lesson 3: The CEO must be available to bear the brunt when things go wrong

When one of the ships belonging to Carnival Cruise Lines lost power, it was impossible for anybody to get in touch with their CEO, Mickey Arison. Amid the power disaster on the cruise liner, it was a younger executive who came out to deal with the grueling questions, demands and backlash. People were outraged by this, especially when Arison took to Twitter to discuss other matters, like his basketball team. The public seized upon this -- Arison should have been available to answer questions, and offer solutions for their oft-plagued cruise ships.

Lesson 4: If you have made a statement, stick by it

When you develop a customer base, you are bound to have established some form of loyalty from them. It is therefore foolish to say something, and then do the opposite. When companies take a stance, they must make sure that their actions are in agreement with what they project. Going against your stated values can cause you to lose your audience, and turns off new/potential clients, current customers or other strategic partnerships.

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Young Jewish Professional Mentors: Ronn Torossian, Charles S. Cohen, Bruce Mosler & More…

The Young Jewish Professional Mentors program is seeing rapid growth and success. The New-York based YJP mentors program is an online community in which YJP’s database of CEO mentors answer questions from YJP members. More information is available at:

There is also a members exchange in which YJP members can ask questions and receive answers from other members. Questions asked are approved by moderators and then posted to receive responses from either mentors or other YJP members in the industry specified.

High-profile mentors include the CEO of Cohen Brothers Realty Corporation (CBRC), Charles S. Cohen,  Bruce Mosler, the global Chairman of Cushman & Wakefield, Ronn Torossian of 5WPR, Ken Bernstein, the CEO of Acadia Realty Trust, Michael Lichtenstein & others.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Anti-Israel extremist Max Blumenthal & NY Public Library

American bookshelves are stocked with books which are biased about the Arab-Israeli conflict, a clear indication of the continued uber-left wing leanings of the academic and media community about Israel (and many other issues.) Spent part of the weekend at the main branch of The New York Public Library in Manhattan and it is simply amazing how many liberal books about Israel line the book shelves, and how many books which are harsh about Israel there are.

Amongst those that caught my eye was Peter Beinart’s “The Crisis of Zionism”, and “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel” by Max Blumenthal. Multiple copies of this and other similar minded books. Blumenthal’s book can be described as nothing short of Anti-Israel. Even Eric Alterman of The Nation described it as “The ‘I Hate Israel’ Handbook.” The book was a rant against Israel where Blumenthal repeatedly compared Israel to Nazi Germany and had a chapter entitled “How to Kill Goyim and Influence People.” While Blumenthal spent four years on his book, the good news is that in Israel no one has heard of him, read his books or gives a damn what he writes.

As The Forward said, “Outside the far-left and anti-Israel blogosphere, “Goliath” has been ignored.” Unfortunately, however a leading Democratic think tank in Washington D.C, the New America Foundation (NAF) allowed Blumenthal a speaking forum – although the good news is that there is virtually no one in Israel who has heard of him or he influences. One wonders why forums are provided – think-tanks and libraries – to such extremist viewpoints.

Would books by extremists of the white community propagating views favoring the KKK be promoted? Or books advocating the continued enslavement of women? One wonders why when it comes to Israel such extremists are offered forums.

Ronn Torossian is a Public Relations executive & Author.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Amazon Drones and the Uphill PR Battle

When Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos appeared on 60 Minutes to unveil his vision of using drones to deliver small packages (less than 5 lbs) for the company, America let out a collective gasp. "How much will it cost?" or "How will the FAA react?" or "Does that mean I'll have my earrings before the company Christmas party?" ... among others. According to Bezos, the program would allow online shoppers to receive their package in thirty minutes or less from the moment of purchase. Really. The program, called "Prime Air," is still just a vision - not yet available nor with any mention of a launch date from Bezos.

As a communications professional, my first reaction -- along with many people who caught the episode -- was to ask a lot of questions. How will this comply with FAA regulations? What will happen with incorrect mailing addresses? What's the cost?

The PR guy in me though kept focusing on one question -- Why would Bezos refer to the flight tool as a 'drone' rather than his first term -- 'octocopter'? I would venture a guess that maybe 95 percent of Americans hear the word 'drone' and immediately visualize the flying monitoring/attack tool commonly used overseas to provide surveillance, attack terrorists, track people and materials, etc. While these tools have no doubt supported U.S. intelligence and the war on terror, they have also generated a lot of bad press for their use in attacks that have lead to civilian casualties. In fact, even when not used in military operations they remain controversy, judging by a recent issue caused when a drone was used in Montana to survey a family in dispute with local authorities over ownership of six cows.

While it remains up to you to determine your stance on drones (or not), the fact remains that the connotation of the word itself is far from a neutral subject. Speaking from a PR standpoint, it is a mistake that the first mention of 'drones' in the interview came from Bezos himself.

Shortly after the interview, both the FAA and Amazon confirmed that the promotional video airing was shot internationally due to regulations, tee-ing Bezos' brainchild up for another, different, controversy. In the '60 Minutes' interview, Bezos mentions that Amazon is working with the FAA to get a better understanding of airspace rulings regarding drones, expected in 2015. The Washington Post went so far as to say, "The fact that Amazon had to leave the country to make the video underscores how slowly U.S. officials have embraced the policy challenge." This makes me wonder whether or not this announcement was a little premature. In PR, launching a major product, idea, or organization is all about one thing - timing. With the technology requiring "years of additional work at this point", I am not sure a company as large as Amazon is best served by short-term gimmicky media.

This lack of certainty and timeline, so far ahead of anything actually tangible resulted in high profile executives speaking out against the concept. "We're not really focusing on long-term fantasies, we're focusing on things that will change consumers' experience today," said Mr. John Donahoe, CEO of eBay. Again, announcing the technology while it's in such an early stage, rather than an R&D project progressing towards a goal, leaves room for this kind of reaction.

So while Amazon HAS announced a sure-fire state of the art concept, this is one that is far away from coming to fruition and still deemed a fantasy. They clearly have an uphill battle to fight with the much maligned FAA -- an organization that millions of individuals trust with their lives every year -- which is a relationship that will require serious time, money and attention. On top of that, Google the project and you'll find nobody is calling them 'octocopters,' but rather the negatively associated term 'drone.'

These factors add up to set Amazon's "Prime Air" up for a long public relations battle, one that if won, may change purchasing and fulfillment, but if it fails, will be nothing more than a discontinued idea and a gigantic waste of money.

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Liberals More Divisive & Have An Illusion Of Uniqueness According to Psychological Science Magazine

Liberals tend to underestimate the amount of actual agreement among those who share their ideology, while conservatives tend to overestimate intra-group agreement, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.  The study was published under the title “The Liberal Illusion of Uniqueness”

Liberals showed what the researchers call “truly false uniqueness,” perceiving their beliefs as more divergent from the beliefs of other liberals than they actually were. Data from a second study suggest that the relationship is driven by participants’ desire to feel unique:

Liberals reported a stronger desire for uniqueness than did moderates or conservatives. Surprisingly, these trends even emerged among nonpolitical judgments, such as preference for coffee: Liberals believed their preferences were more different from those of other liberals than they actually were, while conservatives believed their preferences were more similar to those of other conservatives than they actually were.

Given that perceptions of in-group consensus can be an important motivator for social change, these new findings may help to explain why liberal and conservative movements develop different political trajectories:

“Liberal social movements might struggle to develop solidarity and formulate shared goals within their ranks, both because liberals want to maintain unique beliefs and because they underestimate the amount of agreement among their members,” psychological scientist Chadly Stern of New York University said  “Conservative social movements might initially capitalize on perceiving agreement to galvanize their ranks, but their inaccurate perceptions could impair group progress when actual agreement is necessary.”

The APS journal Psychological Science is the highest ranked empirical journal in psychology.  Dr. Chauncey Crandall and Dr. Michael Lichtenstein have also conducted studies on behavior in politics.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5WPR, a leading PR firm and Author of “For Immediate Release”, a leading PR book.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

I Work for the Government

My name is Ronn Torossian and I work for the government.  Avid readers of Front Page Magazine may have thought I was a public relations firm owner and author, however, I work for the government more than I work for anyone else.  This week, I was shocked when my accountant provided me with 2013 tax estimates showing that as a New York City resident, my effective tax rate will be 55 percent. What you read is correct, 55 percent of the year I work for the American government!

That being said, unlike most other government employees, I don’t have a guaranteed pension, don’t work plush hours of 9-to-5 with four weeks guaranteed vacation, actually have to be held accountable for what I do, assume responsibility for the employment of over 100 people, balance a budget…and work hard.

Let’s review where my astounding 55 percent taxes went. Nineteen percent of the federal government’s budget pays for “defense and security-related international activities,” which basically can be translated as ensuring that our country provides for despots and dictators while making sure no one harms Iran’s precious nuclear weapons. Of course, it will also pay to create havoc in the Middle East – none of which is in America’s interest. Twenty-two percent of the federal government’s budget pays for Social Security, which likely won’t exist when it’s my turn to depend on it.

Large percentages of my federal taxes go for “Three health insurance programs — Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP),” which is also supplemented by that broken program called ObamaCare (although unlike a certain government website, the website for my agency actually works). My family and my employees’ healthcare is a tremendous expense, and every time we do anything at the doctor’s we pay deductibles. Six percent of the federal taxes I pay go to pay interest on the national debt – since, unlike entrepreneurs, the government doesn’t actually need to balance a checkbook.

Top that off with the fact that New York State is the worst state in America to do business according to the “Small Business Survival Index” by the Tax Foundation. A Mercatus Center report said New York, NY has “the highest taxes in the country: three and a half standard deviations above the national mean.”  Our Democratic Governor, Andrew Cuomo, raised rates to 8.82% in 2011, while New York City and state’s combined top tax rate is currently 12.70%. There is also an additional “unincorporated business tax” (UBT) of 4% on pass-through entities and sole proprietorships, which puts the rate at 16.70%. All these taxes – and what do we get?

From housing to all services, everything – EVERYTHING – is expensive.  Our new Mayor Bill de Blasio thinks we aren’t paying enough, and in classic socialist language speaks of “two cities” where of course the successful should be penalized. New York City public schools are so overcrowded that many of us choose private schools to ensure our children receive a quality education. As an employer, I pay significant annual taxes to the MTA, a tax called the metropolitan commuter transportation mobility tax (MCTMT) – yet still pay full fare when I take the subway. Of course, the train regularly breaks down or has some sort of issue.

Naturally, even though I volunteer 55 percent of my year for the government, the local, state and federal governments are all operating at a deficit. I lie – its more than 55 percent, for as an entrepreneur, we pay payroll taxes, workers compensation, NYC commercial rent taxes, payroll tax, employees who go on jury duty and countless other taxes I may not even be aware of.

The Vice President of this country, Joe Biden has said that paying higher taxes is the “patriotic thing to do” and I could not disagree with the man any stronger. There is nothing redeeming about these taxes and I find them to be despicable.

As an entrepreneur who created my own success and hundreds of jobs, my duty is not to work 55 percent of the year so I can pay taxes. It is un-American and not something our forefathers would have ever envisioned.