The year was 1987.  In a year that saw the release of great musical albums such as U2’s Joshua Tree and Michael Jackson’s Bad, we were introduced to the sultry smooth sounds of a new singer, Terence Trent D’Arby and his album, Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D’Arby.

 In 2013, everyone in the musical world knows of U2, who continue to tour today and, of course, rock royalty in the Prince of Pop, Michael Jackson.  Terence Trent D’Arby … not so much.  After two songs that charted, he was never heard from again on the American side of the Atlantic Ocean.  So why talk about him now?  Well, Mr. D’Arby, who now goes by Sananda Maitreya, is back to releasing albums in the U.S., and he is highlighting an interesting corner of the public relations world–the comeback.

As CEO of 5W Public Relations, Ronn Torossian has seen it all.  But one of the hardest feats to achieve, especially in the pop culture industries of acting, singing, and sports, is the successful comeback.  Anyone who’s worked in these fields know that the public can be fickle, and too much time spent away from the limelight results in an artist’s future being as either a trivia question, or eventual gigs on the “you knew them when” circuit.

But Mr. Maitreya is hoping to fight against the odds on two different fronts, which raises some interesting points about fame and public perception. In a previous article, Ronn Torossian discusses public relations and self branding, something Mr. Maitreya must understand in his comeback attempt.

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Coming back is hard to do, though it has been done before many times, aided by the fact that the re-rising star disappeared and came back harder than before, aided by nostalgia.  Quentin Tarantino was credited with reviving the long-dead career of the once huge John Travolta after he was cast in Tarantino’s 1994 masterpiece Pulp Fiction.  Similarly, and much more recently, aided by social media, we saw the return of Betty White, who had only landed small walk-on roles after her success with The Golden Girls for almost 15 years before she was thrust forward again and began topping the list of big celebrities.

 But in the cases of John Travolta and Betty White, they were still around, and their previous work continued to get play, while that can’t be said about Terence Trent D’Arby.  Also, they remain John Travolta and Betty White, while Mr. Maitreya is going through a full name rebranding.  Coming from obscurity and coming back with a new name cancels out much of the nostalgia factor that an act like this would be looking for.

From a public relations standpoint, this looks to be quite the uphill battle for Sananda Maitreya.  However, it is worth pointing out that if there is one thing the American public likes, it’s a good underdog story, especially when it’s a redemption story as well.  Only time will show us what is to be, but maybe Mr. Maitreya just needs a “Wishing Well.”

For more information on Ronn Torossian and 5WPR, click here.

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder & Chairman of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently owned PR firms in the United States. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth and vision, with the agency earning accolades including being named a Top 50 Global PR Agency by PRovoke Media, a top three NYC PR agency by O'Dwyers, one of Inc. Magazine's Best Workplaces and being awarded multiple American Business Awards, including a Stevie Award for PR Agency of the Year. With over 25 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected public relations executives. Throughout his career he has advised leading and high-growth businesses, organizations, leaders and boards across corporate, technology and consumer industries. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications. He has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly in the media and has authored two editions of his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations," which is an industry best-seller. Torossian's strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, a Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a recipient of Crain's New York Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Outside of 5W, Torossian serves as a business advisor to and investor in multiple early stage businesses across the media, B2B and B2C landscape. Torossian is the proud father of two daughters. He is an active member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of multiple not for profit organizations.