PR Face2Face:
Ronn Torossian, Founder, President & CEO, 5WPR

PR Face2Face is a special series of interviews with the top public relations and publicity professionals in the country, as well as with people involved in the public relations world. The first is Ronn Torossian, the founder of 5WPR.

Ronn Torossian has made quite a name for himself in the past year. Despite a bit of controversy taking on some of the legends of public relations, Ronn has done an amazing job building his business in the past couple of years. Taking the lessons of the dotcom era, Ronn built 5WPR through organic growth and acquisition to where they have had a 311 percent growth spurt, according to the latest O'Dwyer's figures.

Torossian is the Founder, President & CEO of New York City-based 5W Public Relations. Since founding the firm, he has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion, and provided advice and counsel to hundreds of companies, global interests, high-profile individuals, regional businesses, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive matters.


Ronn Torossian and Kimberly Jones aka Lil' Kim Posted by Hello


311 percent. Any comments?

5WPR is proud to be named the fastest growing firm by O'Dwyer's.

We are the results-oriented public relations firm the corporate world, entertainment world, technology world are looking for. We are hungry, and don't take no for an answer.

Our numbers say so, our clients say so - we're just a different type of firm.

You have done an amazing job building up the agency quickly, with a wide range of clients. What do you credit for your secret of success?

The reason we have grown so quickly is simple: working harder, smarter and faster. That is the philosophy for the industry: we work smarter, harder and faster than other agencies.

And look at the diverse client list - Fortune 100, technology companies, entertainment, marketing firms. It's a testament to our working habits that we can build such a client list.

Plus, it's about deep relationships within the media.

Right now, there's a bit of discussion on what are the differences between public relations and publicity. Do you envision yourself as more of a PR professional or publicist?

I am 100 percent a PR professional. Half the job is making sure the clients are in the media, but it's also about being a spin doctor. 5WPR are spin doctors, strategic consultants, to our clients.

It is not all about getting into the press. It is more than just day-to-day publicity. It's analyzing the impact of marketing communications on sales and perception.

You noted in the NYT article that you have no formal training. What do you mean by that?

That was somewhat of a misprint - I worked at IPG, and for two of the larger firms in the country.

But, as a 30-year old CEO, I am learning as I go along. We are very confident in our abilities, we do things in a different way and a different speed. We'll stop at nothing to get the results - work harder, smarter and longer.

5WPR is looking to change the entire face of the public relations business. The 311 percent is not phenomenal for us. We look to continue to grow and change the face of the business, do great work for our clients and build upon that number.

You took on Howard Rubenstein - both in the NY Post and the NY Times. Rubenstein is seen as a stalwart in NY publicity, and he's going to be interviewed tomorrow for this blog. Do you have any comments for him direct? Have you spoken to him directly since your comments?

I have nothing but the utmost respect for Howard. He has a phenomenal list of clients and a history in public relations.

But, it is time to pass the mantel or have it taken from him. 5WPR are the new kids on the block to challenge him as the leading PR person in NYC. We're not afraid of being bold, brash and aggressive. We are the absolute best at what we do.

He has had a long time of success, but our day is here.

What advice would you give students entering public relations and publicity?

Work hard. Think like a journalist. Read every single thing that you can. Be a student of the media. Be multifaceted. Understand the media.

I like to interview people from politics and sports. If you work in politics and sports, you know if you lose you're gone tomorrow.

The most important thing is to think like a journalist.

5WPR is always recruiting, so have people email their resumes.

You have an eclectic mix of clients. How do the religious groups feel about your bling bling clients?

It's not an issue. Our clients simply care about the results we bring. We're proud of the fact that we have a diverse client list.

How do you transition your Israeli tourism experience and apply it to your Hip Hop clientele?

They are one and the same - our Hip Hop clients and the Israelis are the same. They are both misunderstood by the world, unfairly portrayed by the press.

They are exactly the same people who are misunderstood by the world. Both groups are hard, focused, smart, aggressive people with their eyes on the ball.

The dotcom era brought about a lot of title inflation in the industry. Do you see PR as suffering from a lot of junior people with senior titles?

PR suffers from a lot of things. It suffers because anyone thinks that they can be a PR person.

People believe that they can get an office and a phone, and call themselves a PR professional. It's not that easy.

A better organization is needed to serve the industry. No one does anything now to push for the industry, to be the spokespeople or looking out for the industry.

Jack O'Dwyer has been calling for a watchdog environment - and I agree with him. We need something like how lawyers have a bar association, in a formal manner to oversee public relations and make sure it's okay.

You have grown your agency through acquisition and organic growth. In the past, it was common to see a 5WPR ad looking to buy single-person practices. Are you still on that strategy, or focused mainly on organic growth?

All of the above - since I've opened the doors, we have had 3 acquisitions; some were single practitioners, while others were larger agencies.

And, we are actively looking to grow. We expect to open more offices in 12-18 months, and will continue to look at small and middle-sized firms to acquire to keep growing.

5WPR is not going to stop or slowdown. This is just the beginning for 5WPR - we are just getting started. We're actively looking for acquisitions, looking to grow organically. We keep hustling, grinding, harder than the next guy in all sectors: celebrities, technology, corporate communications.

It's all about winning.

Your company does not have a blog - what are your views on the blogosphere and pitching blogs? Any short-term or long-term plans for launching a 5WPR blog?

Long term, 5WPR is interested in launching a blog. It's an increasingly important form of communications that we are actively going to get involved with in the coming days, weeks, and months.

Who do you look to as your mentor in PR? From whom have you learned the most?

My role models are Karl Rove, who does a phenomenal job in spinning the media. Bill Clinton who knew how to work with the media. Sean "P. Diddy" Combs is a master of PR. Rudy Giuliani is a master of PR.

I am a student of the media, always analyzing the messages and how it works for public relations and public perception.

During your work, whom have you met that totally blew you away - where you lost the professional composure because you just were in awe.

God awes me. My mother, my father, my sister and my wife awe me.

What are the long-term plans for 5WPR? Are you open to an acquisition/merger of the agency, or do you prefer to continue on your own?

We're very interested in growing, continuing to grow and being the best in doing what we do. We have experienced success and there are no limits to looking at what we do.

We are the best in the world at what we do, and will continue to be

The O'Dwyer's numbers speak for themselves, and wait until next year when we blow them away again.

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14 comments

  1. Is it just me, or do other people think that Ronn Torossian is completely full of himself and is nothing more than an arrogant, self-righteous prick that is clearly in love with himself and unaware of his true self worth?

    I am interested in hearing feeback from those who work with him as I have no knowledge about him except for what I read on this blog.

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  2. I completely agree; I have dealt with RT and based on everything I know about him, including his representation of fundamentalistic religious groups along with organizations and media personalities that are completely removed from the values espoused by the former, if you were to call Ronn a whore due to his inability to say no to a potential client, you would be sorely insulting the members of the world's oldest profession.

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  3. From his comments I can't tell if he works for clients or himself...I'm old school, and in that i think that the PR agency should be behind the scenes. For RT, it's the opposite.

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  4. The place is a hand-job. Get a blue chip media hit the day you are hired or else you wont see a second Monday there. There is Zero patience for anyone there.

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  5. Being a small business owner, from what I've read, Ronn is right on target. Too few companies really promote their own companies. If the CEO of a PR firm is unable to promote his own company do you really want them to promote yours?

    I'd rather work with someone who is passionate. Only time will tell if Ronn is really on to something or if he is just self-promoting.

    As for not being "old school". There is nothing worse in this day and age than being "old school". Businesses need to constantly innovate, promote, advertise and bust their butts. With the internet, cell phones, email, IM, RSS, Blogs, etc. - time doesn't sit still.

    I'm meeting with Ronn this week to discuss PR for my ecommerce/catalog company, www.DelightfulDeliveries.com (It would be anti-PR not to plug my url). If I have any updates I'll post them here.

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  6. Actually, I agree with a lot of what he said in the interview, and I don't think any agency owner or practitioner can argue with his methods because of the revenue they generate. Can the firm sustain its growth and maintain its core clients? I have no idea. (Full disclosure: I've interviewed with 5WPR twice -- its mid-level positions were too media-focused for my tastes.)

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  7. I would have to agree with a previously posted comment regarding Ronn's self-promotion. Public relations is about selling: you've got to get the journalists to buy it, plus the audience needs to be motivated as well. If someone can't sell themselves, what makes you think they will be able to get your company out there? There is a reason 5W can boast 311% growth and has been named the fastest growing PR firm for the past two years (O'Dwyer's). I can assure you that this status was not given because the company was old, crusty and laid-back.

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  8. Having had the pleasure to meet Mr. Torossian on several occasions, I have to state that he is extremely passionate about what he does and what his firm does.

    I think that in todays day and age, if one is not passionate about what they do, especially in the PR field, how can you expect them to be passionate in promoting your business.

    I know in promoting our company offshoreXplorer we seek exactly such passionate individuals and I would venture a guess that any successful company does the same.

    My hat's off to Mr Torossian for his work ethic and what it accomplishes for his firm and its clients.

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  9. I've been working with 5WPR for over a year now and overall been satisfied with them. They have good people working over there and try hard to get you in front of the media. Are the perfect? No. But, I would recommend them to anyone looking for press.

    Visit our Press Page at www.delightfuldeliveries.com/press and see what they have done for us.

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  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  11. RT is the nastiest person in the world. He is losing clients and staff. He is just down right horribe human being and should be shot

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  12. 2008. Ronn Torossian 5WPR is up to 90 employees - Still fastest growing and still doing amazing work. Congrats are in order.

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  13. Really anonymous, you couldn't put your name on a complimentary comment?

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  14. From his comments I can't tell if he works for clients or himself...I'm old school, and in that i think that the PR agency should be behind the scenes. For RT, it's the opposite.

    ReplyDelete