For any single charity, getting people to notice you in the huge cacophony of voices being raised for their particular cause, can be incredibly challenging. This can be particularly true during the holidays. Sure, people are more ready, willing, and able to give. But, this willingness leads ALL charity, and non profit groups to shout even louder trying to get attention.
So what is a smaller charity with a smaller non profit PR budget to do to get the attention they need to be successful? Ronn Torossian, founder and president of 5W Public Relations, and president of the Ronn Torossian Foundation, has 3 go-to tips for any non profit group looking forward to connecting with their supporters during the holiday season.
#1 – Reveal something incredible
One of the best ways to stand out from the crowd is to reveal something jaw dropping, heart warming, or otherwise incredible. You want to start conversations. And keep them going. The best way to do that is to find something that people will find surprising, unbelievable, or tearjerking, then package that in a way that is EASY TO SHARE. This last part is incredibly vital to your success. SHARING is vitally important. If your content is awesome but difficult to share you will not get nearly the impact you are looking for, or the response you want.
#2 – Tell a compelling story
Shock and awe is not the only way to get attention. Long form “short” stories make great attention getters. Not only that, but stories keep people on your website longer, and engaging with any of your media for longer periods of time.
#3 – Make the cause hit home
Whether you are crafting a story, or putting together a quick hitting image, or soundbite, you need to make sure that you connect locally. No matter what your cause, you need to make it hit home for your intended target. Make them feel like they are making a difference in themselves, AND in their community when they connect with your cause.
By approaching your prospective donors in this way, you have the opportunity to increase your interactions, and subsequently, your donations.
If you are hip to yoga fashion you may already be familiar with Lululemon. If not, you may have heard about it recently, and not for reasons the company would prefer. It seems that the founder of the company got in some hot water for some unflattering remarks about his customers.
After some women complained about the company’s pants being too flimsy for their legs, the company’s founder Chip Wilson responded by saying, essentially, that some people should just not try to wear his company’s pants. “Frankly,” Wilson said, “some women’s bodies just don’t actually work for it … It’s about the rubbing through the thighs, and how much pressure there is.”
Most women took that to mean the founder was calling them too fat for yoga. As you may imagine, the Yoga Universe was none too thrilled. Then, he went and made it worse.
In an interview, Wilson went on to say that “he only meditated in a yoga mindset when standing at a urinal”, and that he was “too wealthy” to come back as CEO in order to fix some current company issues.
These elitist-sounding quotes, coupled with the insensitive remarks about his customers’ leg size generated endless – and blistering – commentary on social media.
But, Ronn Torossian says, this was not what really set people off. Wilson posted a video online after the social media explosion promising an apology. Then he apologized by saying he was sad that Lululemon employees has to put up with complaints from outraged customers.
Cue the rage.
“The one thing you don’t want to do in a crisis PR situation is to open your mouth, and make it worse,” Torossian said. “It’s like anything else, you might think something, but there are some things you just don’t say. And that’s just in a social situation. When your name is tied to a corporate brand, that sort of blasé commentary can sink your company.”
Even when Wilson continued the apology, he didn’t come across as sincere, or contrite. He repeated that he was sad about the repercussions of his actions, but not for having said them. And in a final bizarre bout of cheek, Wilson encouraged his employees to engage in “conversation that is above the fray.”
Someone may need to explain to Mr. Wilson that one of the purposes of a PR team is to provide a filter when you really have no idea what the consequences of your conversation could be.
Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR: Can the 50 Shades adaptation survive all the negative PR?
Since designated star, Charlie Hunnam backed out of his commitment to play Christian Grey in the upcoming 50 Shades of Grey adaptation, entertainment media has been asking “why?”
And every time they do, the producers have another reason to dread the answer they come up with. Now, the official line is that Hunnam had too much TV work to attend to to follow through with the role. But, most people are not buying that story. After all, Hunnam knew he had all that work BEFORE he accepted the role.
So why did he really drop out, and why aren’t any A-list, or even B-list, actors lining up for the part? Well, the studio isn’t saying, and those non-answers are creating a firestorm of negative PR as anyone with a voice in entertainment media is having their say.
Some have said the content of the movie is too explicit, but Ronn Torossian says that excuse doesn’t exactly wash either. After all, explicit movies get made every year. Hunnam is no stranger to baring it all for the camera, so the sex would not have put him off the project. So, what then?
Torossian believes the answers have more to do with the production as a whole than with the blue content.
Rumors are swirling that the script is not just mediocre, but it’s terrible. Even in a movie that is guaranteed to do well opening weekend, a bad script can still be an ever present albatross. These days word gets around quickly, and people won’t go see a film that gets universally panned by the first viewers.
There are also rumors of budget issues. If the numbers Hunnam was going to be paid are accurate, then no A-lister will touch the project. Even if the salary offer is much higher, the stigma of being tied to a movie that can’t even get casting right, casts a pall on any eventual contract. The actor who eventually agrees to play Grey is sure to want assurances that producers may not be prepared to guarantee.
All of this adds up to a snowballing PR issue that may have been completely averted if producers had offered a plausible reason for Hunnam’s departure. But, they are now stuck with their exceedingly thin story.
Worse, no matter who eventually gets the role, he will spend the first weeks or months fielding questions about “why” he took the role “no one wanted”, because that’s the narrative now. And, it never should have been.
Due to client travel unfortunately, I wasn’t able to be present at the “Independent Public Relations Firms’ Forum” which was held this week in Miami, Florida. Undoubtedly, many interesting topics were discussed and it is great that smart leaders of our industry are getting together.
As an independent top 25 PR Agency was interesting to hear there were numerous panels around PR firm owners selling their businesses. Indeed, as we have grown organically, there have been many of our competitors selling out to large conglomerates. Many of the firms have no succession plan.
While there was a lengthy forum devoted to PR firm owners, we at 5WPR are devoted to growing our business and always interested in confidential inquiries from people who may be interested in selling their firm.
This is a very exciting time for independent PR Agencies.
Feel free to email me directly to Rtorossian@5wpr.com
Every single day at my firm I am reminded how great it is to be an entrepreneur. Am so pleased to work for myself and be able to create an entrepreneurial environment. Wanted to share some quotes on the subject I enjoy:
- “Entrepreneurs never stop – they always go, and create and make more and build.” Michael Lichtenstein
- “Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement.” W. Clement Stone
- “The minute you’re satisfied with where you are, you aren’t there anymore.” Tony Gwynn
- “Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless.” Jamie Paolinetti
- “Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.” Farrah Gray
- “To win without risk is to triumph without glory.” Corneille
- “There is only one success–to be able to spend your life in your own way.” Christopher Morley
- “One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it is worth watching.” Mooie
- “When you cease to dream you cease to live.” Malcolm Forbes
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