FOURSQUARE PUBLIC RELATIONS

There was a time when no matter where you went, you told the world about in on Foursquare. Well, maybe not you, but millions did. Then Facebook offered its check-in feature, and Foursquare became redundant. Just one more once-popular social app to suffer a precipitous fall from grace.

But, according to press reports, Foursquare refuses to go down without fighting. The firm has announced a major leadership shift. Co-founder Dennis Crowley will step down from CEO duties, handing those over to COO Jeff Glueck. Crowley will move into an executive chairman role. Steven Rosenblatt, a long-time (for social media anyway) Foursquare executive will become the company’s president.

Foursquare may have been a victim of its own success. Blasting onto the scene back in 2009, everyone loved telling everyone else where they were with a simple click or two. Users humble-bragged about concerts they were seeing, brunches they were having, and walks in the park or on the beach. They let everyone know who they were by sharing where they were.

The app became so popular that competitors Facebook and Instagram immediately began working on their own version. As soon as those launched, Foursquare began to see a drop in usage.

In an attempt to staunch the bleeding, Foursquare divided its services into two apps, one for restaurant reviews and the other for check-ins. Well, users saw that as a step backward. They already had plenty of ways to review restaurants, and they didn’t need a separate check-in app. Perhaps that’s why Foursquare’s most recent valuation was half what it had been at its zenith.

There are a few lessons here. First and foremost is this: consumers are fickle. If you are doing the something and someone else comes along doing the same thing, many will try the new thing just because. If you can’t find a way to offer more value or a better experience, then you can expect to get left as the consumer transitions to something considered both “new” and “better.”

It’s a constant reality of commercial life. If you are doing a good job at something people want to pay for, someone will come along and try to do it better … or, at least, different enough to steal some of your market share. So, here’s a question, both for you and for Foursquare: what is your unique value proposition, and how are you communicating that to your current and potential customers?

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.

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