Ronn Torossian, Founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the U.S., spoke to Everything PR on how the pandemic affected public relations, the current state of the industry, and how his agency has continued to succeed despite the challenges of the last year. 5WPR has just launched their new tagline – “Built For Now.”
How has the past year and the pandemic affected the PR industry?
This past year was a turning point for the industry. With the coronavirus and social justice movements dominating day-to-day life, businesses have never had to communicate more, both internally and externally, under such extreme pressure to say the right thing at the right time. This is where the PR industry has shined. Large corporations and businesses are understanding the value of good PR to both navigate and communicate with employees and stakeholders.
Additionally, with budgets that once went to events and trade shows sitting unused, we’ve noticed companies shifting those funds towards their pr efforts, and looking to make up for the lost publicity. This added focus on media attention, when the media has never before been so saturated with news, has made it harder than ever before to carve out a space for your brand and land placements. It takes an accomplished agency with teams of talented and dedicated individuals to secure real results that will make a difference.
How did the pandemic affect the structure of 5WPR?
I started 5W in 2003, and since then we’ve always had our office in New York City. The pandemic and subsequent work from home orders were a challenge we never saw coming, but we faced it head-on. 5W employees continued to work hard despite the unprecedented circumstances surrounding them, and delivered remarkable results on behalf of our clients. The agency also took the opportunity to reflect on the current state of business and the industry, and we decided to embark on a rebrand that has unified us unlike ever before, and proven instrumental in attracting to clients and talented employees.
Why did you embark on an agency rebrand?
At the onset of the pandemic, it was tough to watch the industry change, watch companies struggle, and wonder how 5W would be able to withstand these challenging time, and adapt. It felt like the right time to look at what has worked for us in the past, and how we could carry that into our future. This resulted in an updated logo and color palette, website, and agency manifesto, which supports our new tagline, “5WPR. Built for now”.
How is 5WPR doing today?
5WPR is doing great. We have amazing client partners who see the value in good PR and allow us to complete amazing work on behalf of their brands. We have consistently grown in size across new business and new employees, and have expanded our practice to welcome a new office in Miami where we’ve actively been recruiting new talent and local clients. While we’re still unsure of what return to work looks like, we look forward to making a safe return to the office, and are making those decisions based on local policies and the comfort of our employees. I think 5WPR is the best it’s ever been, and we’re only going to continue to grow.
The 5W Manifesto
Those familiar with the five W’s of journalism and effective communication—who, what, where, when and why—understand why Torossian named his firm 5W. To put a spotlight on that and other values, the firm recently released its “Manifesto” which outlines what the five W’s mean today for communicators:
Who: There is no longer a single “who.” There are multiple “whos,” complex and overlapping audiences that need to be influenced and activated.
What: We are no longer in the era of the single message. There is the need for a calibrated, strategic messaging architecture.
Where: Never in history have there been so many “wheres.” Different audiences must be reached through all available channels, with messages bespoke to the nuances of each platform.
When: Technology plus sophisticated message development gives us the ability to master the art of timing in new and exciting ways. “When” has never meant as much.
Why: Every audience today is hyper-conscious of motivation—the “why” that drives innovation, behavior and ultimately, meaning.
The Manifesto is part of 5W’s recent rebrand which includes the agency reinventing itself for the new and unique challenges its clients are facing. The agency’s new tagline is, fittingly, “Built for Now.”
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