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 & 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.