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Ronn Torossian, 5WPR CEO, on the Value of PR Stunts

·1 min read

NEW YORK, Jan. 4, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- In a continued series of book excerpts from Ronn Torossian's recently released book, "For Immediate Release," he reveals some tricks here on the value of PR stunts.

As Torossian's book notes, "While PR stunts can be fast and relatively simple, they are not without their challenges and risks. Before launching one, it's important to consider a few key factors.

Don't be tied to one result. Anything can happen before, during, and after a stunt, so don't count on any single outcome, and don't assume that not getting the result you wanted is necessarily a bad thing if it creates the measure of awareness you wanted. A PR stunt that received mixed reception was the announcement of Superman's death by DC Comics in 2019. While it resulted in controversy and discussion, not all of it was positive. Still, controversy can, when used wisely, be an effective ingredient in staging a PR stunt. IHOP decided to launch its name change as a campaign that invited customers to guess what the reason for the change was. When the company revealed that it was to match its emergence as the "international house of burgers," many customers were left unhappy, and they voiced that through social media and other channels. Regardless, the stunt resulted in increased discussion about the brand and media attention for IHOP. Before you give it a green light, understand the implications of the stunt from as many angles as you can. And remember these rules:

Don't be difficult. Don't put people in potentially scary or challenging situations. Shock isn't enough for a stunt to be successful anyway.

Value the message and the audience. To be truly memorable, it has to make a contribution to the brand's values and message, and it has to resonate with its audience. If a stunt is not in line with your identity, it won't catch on. Your audience will see right through it and it will either be dead on arrival or ridiculed. The audience must be able to connect the stunt with the brand organically. Measuring the results of a PR stunt is always the best way to see whether it had the intended result, while also gaining pointers for future campaigns. There are three ways to determine whether or not a PR stunt is successful:

  1. Involve the community. Having a small number of participants doesn't automatically make a stunt a failure. However, it's always best to have as many people as possible involved. The power of numbers can influence other would-be participants to join, raising the profile of the stunt. Creators should try to be precise about the exact number of people they are aiming to reach. For some stunts, one or two donors may be enough. For others, anything less than a big crowd means it's a dud.

  2. Be memorable. While a stunt drawing a crowd can point to short-term success, it doesn't necessarily indicate that the stunt is more successful than one that pulled, say, half the size. If the stunt that pulled the smaller crowd is shared widely on social media or is discussed several years later, that's a better metric to use to measure its success.

  3. Be bold. People remember publicity stunts that do something meaningful. Fanatics Executive Chairman and Philadelphia 76ers partner Michael Rubin, Meek Mill, and many other high-profile people created the #ALLINCHALLENGE to unite the sports, business, and entertainment communities for what could be the largest digital fundraising movement. The aim is to raise tens of millions of dollars to help those most affected by the COVID-19 crisis, including food banks and children's charities. Participants took part while "safe at home" by posting a video accepting the challenge after being tagged. In that video, the public figures explain their inspiration for getting involved and detail what their donation is. There is a memorable catch: "You need to give away one of your most cherished possessions or create a once-in-a-lifetime fan experience," Rubin explained. Kevin Hart donated a speaking part in his next movie; Magic Johnson promised his biggest donor a game of horse on the basketball court; and Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert DeNiro, and Martin Scorsese offered a walk-in role to their next picture together. It was a fantastic fundraiser, done via social media, and raised millions of dollars for great causes."

Ronn Torossian is one of America's foremost public relations executives. Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals.

Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 250 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year; the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over; an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist; Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker; a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider; and a recipient of Crain's New York 2021 Most Notable in Marketing & PR. An NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO).

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SOURCE 5W Public Relations