Whenever consumers or businesses react to anything, their reactions have big ripple effects. During times of economic uncertainty, this ripple effect is exaggerated. Public relations and marketing agencies have all been altering their strategies, while the budgets that brands and corporations set for their yearly advertising strategies have been drastically shortened.

Some may argue that all of these actions are short-sighted, especially during the ongoing economic downturn, which is also coupled with a global pandemic. Nevertheless, all of the responses from corporations and brands alike are more than understandable.

The current reaction from consumers has been to shift all most of their attention from commercialism towards information. Everyone around the world has been paying attention to the latest information from the news cycle, which can affect their health and well-being.

Right now, the world needs to be entertained and educated, which, in PR terms, always means great and captivating stories. However, the times have changed, and navigating the media world has dramatically shifted, in part due to the increasing number of voices contributing to an even bigger number of media outlets than ever before.

While the world has been trying to maintain some semblance of sanity, between maintaining their health and well-being, either being out of work or working from home and simply being increasingly worried over the state of affairs worldwide, everyone’s attention has migrated to the online world.

Help During Confusing Times

In the midst of the chaos, one platform has skyrocketed in popularity. It has been helping businesses and households alike in connecting with each other – the virtual-conferencing tool Zoom. After the surge in usage and popularity, the company was then involved in a big PR crisis concerning cybersecurity and invasion of privacy.

The company had some difficult time navigating the crisis in the beginning, with more and more security holes popping up at first. However, the waters have since been somewhat calm, with the platform announcing more security updates for their users.

Along with that, Zoom has also decided to create and distribute a report on transparency, similar to the ones provided by Facebook and Google, which was a smart step it needed to take, as a response to the backlash.

Everyone’s attention has been held by the massive amount of news that’s constantly being published and updated. Now it’s time for public relations to step up and place brands into these news stories in a positive way. Because when it comes to public relations, the work isn’t to just send out press releases, organize press conferences or connect brands to the right celebrities or influencers for collaborations.

Another main function of public relations is to navigate the difficult waters whenever a brand is in the midst of a crisis, which is why crisis PR exists in the first place. However, now, when the entire world is undergoing a crisis, it’s up to public relations agencies and organizations to step up and have a big impact on corporations’ reputations during this time.

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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.