Public Relations Awards

Why Media Relations Are Still Relevant, by a Stevie Awards Winner

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Fri, Feb 14, 2014 @ 11:45 AM

5W Public Relations, in New York, New York, USA was named Public Relations Agency of the Year in the PR awards categories of The 2013 American Business Awards. (Entries to The 2014 American Business Awards are now being accepted.  Get your entry kit here.)  Agency founder Ronn Torossian shares with us his views on the relevance of media relations today.

Ronn TossorianEvery year, the argument of how “PR firms are overrated” or “You don’t need a PR firm” floats about, usually thanks to an influencer who doesn’t see the results he anticipated or because of an article in the mainstream press. As the CEO of a large PR firm, I am not angered by these comments; rather I appreciate the discussions they foster. As 2014 begins, we media relations experts must continue to showcase our ability to lead the communications discussion and execution by understanding the following:

1. Crisis communications issues are magnified.  In the past, a company could botch an order, have an employee do something stupid, make a big quarterly loss, or experience some other major dilemma, then simply wait for the crisis to blow over. Now, mostly due to the advent of the Internet, crisis issues can destroy companies if they aren’t handled correctly.

It can begin as a blog post that is tweeted and is then seen by a small town reporter who writes an article that gets picked up by a wire service … the next think you know—BOOM!—a horrible story about your company is on the front page of the Huffington Post and your competitors are stealing your clients and customers.

So, what role can media-relations experts play? They can navigate these waters by speaking with the blogger and getting the post revised, or maybe they can jump on the phone with the small town reporter and explain where the blog post erred in its reporting and why it’s NOT a story.

Someone without a communications background may be ill equipped professionally to tackle these issues. 

2. Everyone is a reporter… literally. Because we all have blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter handles, LinkedIn profiles, and more, companies need to tread lightly around sensitive issues, yet be aggressive in their promotion of positive ones.

Understanding who are the correct bloggers to reach out to, or which introductions to make at conferences or trade shows—not to mention who to respectfully stay away from—are not skills learned overnight. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of crafting smart messaging—and delivering that message to the correct people.

Companies that adhere to the “any publicity is good publicity” adage are often found by outsiders to have inconsistent messaging and confusing company structures.  This can sometimes result in missed stories that should have been big—or small, negative stories that should have been killed. Being able to discern the difference between an opportunity and a pitfall are two things that any media-relations expert can identify. 

3. … While influential Print/Radio/TV reporters are getting harder to find. While it is true that these days everyone and their neighbor is a reporter, the truly influential traditional reporters still exist. Your parents are not crazy, and many people do still read publications like The New York Times, Rolling Stone Magazine, Entrepreneur, and The Wall Street Journal cover to cover—and not on their Kindle. EVERY industry—no exceptions—has at least four or five reporters from whom all the experts, bloggers, specialists, etc. take their cues. 

Knowing who these influencers are, and having the relationships to make introductions and to generate coverage that moves the needle, are the most important reasons for companies to hire a public relations firm.

4. SEO is of high importance. This should come as a shock to no one. An entire industry has been built around search engine optimization and online reputation management, and the connection between these and public relations cannot be ignored.

Having online media results that rank very highly—especially when these reflect company messaging or are a ringing endorsement of your company—such results will not go unnoticed, particularly when third-party members of the media draft them. Prospective buyers, clients, and partners do perform due diligence, and having the online reputation to support your business is what makes the difference between an incoming lead or a phone that doesn’t ring.  And its just as important to have the volume of online content to battle negative reviews, false stories, and other content deemed detrimental to ones brand.

These objectives can all be met by having a media relations team in place to build positive online search results filled with media coverage. 

5. Content marketing both requires and creates a need for PR. Yes, even in 2014, people still use brochures and one-pagers for marketing. They also use—perhaps more than ever—webinars, white papers, video, and e-mail marketing.  These are all tools most marketers keep in their work belt.

Public relations outreach is often what drives people to download, sign up, or request more information for content marketing tools. More importantly, once that e-mail address is captured or that trade show is booked, something needs to be delivered. This is where media articles, videos, and sound bytes can best be utilized. Rather than sending out an email blast telling your prospective leads how great your company is, you can send out that same blast with a Forbes article, which will do all the telling for you.

Public relations experts know that media results speak for themselves—and they know how to use them to get results from your marketing practices.

Read more on the 5W PR Agency’s blog.

About Ronn Torossian
Ronn Torossian is the founder, president, and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations (5WPR), a top 25 US PR Agency with more than 100 employees.  Ronn is known for his resourceful, results-focused approach and for his close relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians, and celebrities. Under his leadership, the firm has become one of the fastest growing agencies in the industry, with work that spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional businesses, government agencies, and academic institutions, managing both their routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. 

Ronn has been recognized as a semi-finalist for Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year and named to the "40 Under 40" lists of both PR Week and Advertising Age. The country's most influential media frequently feature Ronn's commentary and opinion on reputation management issues. His book, For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations, was released in 2011. Ronn is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and serves as a board member of numerous non-profit organizations. Ronn was born and raised in New York City and resides with his family on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

About 5W Public Relations
5W Public Relations is a full-service PR agency known for innovative programs that engage with businesses, individuals, and ideas. With over 100 experienced professionals serving clients in industries spanning Beauty & Fashion, Consumer Brands, Entertainment, Food & Beverage, Health & Wellness, Travel & Hospitality, Technology, Nonprofit, Corporate Communications and Reputation Management, Public Affairs, Crisis Communications, and Digital Strategy, 5W provides leading organizations and individuals with a resourceful, creative and results-oriented approach to communications.

Tags: communications awards, business awards, PR awards, stevie awards, agency of the year, public relations awards

10 TIps for Winning PR Awards in the 2012 Stevie Awards

Posted by Liz Dean on Tue, Nov 01, 2011 @ 10:30 AM

We've just updated our 10 Tips for Winning PR Awards in the Stevie Awards tipsheet for 2012.  Get it here.

There are many opportunities for public relations professionals - public relations directors, event planners, SEO specialists, email marketing strategists, communications managers, and more - to be recognized in the Stevie Awards, the world's premier business awards programs.  This brief tipsheet will outline the 10 best ways that public relations professionals can be honored in the four Stevie Awards programs in 2012.  The programs are:2012 Stevie Awards Logo

There are categories to recognize PR departments, campaigns, teams, and individuals, categories for work such as produced tools including web sites and videos, and much more.  This tipsheet will help you to choose the categories and competitions in which you'll have the best chance of winning a 2012 Stevie Award.

What Stevie Awards for Public Relations will you be applying for?

Tags: communications awards, PR awards, stevie awards, agency of the year, public relations awards

Top 2 Tips for Businesses Trying to Break Into Latin America, From a PR Award Winner

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Thu, Sep 01, 2011 @ 10:19 AM

Q&A with Edward de Valle, CEO of AMGW Agency of Brazil and Miami, Florida, USA, which received the Stevie Award for Public Relations Agency of the Year in Mexico, Central, and South America in the PR awards categories of The 2011 International Business Awards.  The IBAs are open to all organizations worldwide.  This year’s awards ceremonies will be on October 11 in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Edward de ValleWhat are your top tips for U.S. and European companies or organizations thinking of doing business in South and Central America?

1. Do not try to take on the entire region at once, as it is extremely large.  Focus on key markets that are of interest to your organization. Each section of Central and South America has a different cultural working environment. For instance, if you want to focus on Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile that would be considered a Southern Cone business push. On the other hand, if you prefer to work with Venezuela, Peru, and Colombia, that is known as the Andean Pack. Focus on the markets that would best utilize your goods or services.

2. Tailor your goods or services for the markets you decide to work in. For example, if your company is a marketing consultancy like my own agency—which offers public relations, media placement, translation, and creative services out of our Miami offices—you might do well to offer just a few of those services in Central or South America.  Not all of your products or services may make sense in the competitive make-up of such widely different markets. In Brazil, for instance, we have found it best to offer media placement and public relations, but not our creative services.

What item of news recently caught your eye and why?

I am fascinated by news stories on the ever-changing global economy. When I learned recently that American corporations were working very hard to increase their global sales rather than focusing on the U.S. and Canada, I felt that finally someone was listening to what I have been trying to tell people for years. The profits of American corporations will be over 50% of their P&L by 2015 (right now it is at 40%) so I feel that AMGW Agency is in the right place at the right time to help these companies expand their ever-growing businesses into new areas.

Do you have a favorite business app?

Not an app per se, but I follow an applicable way of thinking and working using ZMOT from Google. Amazing! It’s incredible how quickly marketing is changing and I am constantly going back to ZMOT to reference great new thinking and ideas.

If you could choose another profession, what would it be?

Motivational speaker. I believe that youth globally is headed in a very dangerous direction. Expecting instead of creating has become the norm. We need to create, create, and create.

What quality or qualities do you most value in your business associates?

That they love what they do and are eager to help our clients get a return on their marketing investment—which can be very difficult at times.

What do you think is the worst bad habit to have at work? 

Counting how much money you will make off each paycheck or client profit. If you work thinking only about what you earn, you do not have passion. Passion comes first and money later. Also, people first and money later.

As someone at the top of your profession, what keeps you inspired or makes you hit the ground running in the morning?

To be honest with you, sometimes I do not know. I think it must be the drive inside me that never stops wanting to make things happen for others. I love helping people and I work every day with this in mind. I see a great company with bad marketing tactics and I salivate to get them on track. That’s the real thrill for me: getting results for clients.

About Edward de Valle

Edward de Valle established AMGW Agency ten years ago.  Prior to that he worked in the publishing industry, most recently as Director of Sales at Newsweek Latin America.  His career began at General Electric as the Marketing Manager for GE Power Systems Latin America.

Edward is Cuban American. His great-great-grandfather, Alfredo de Zayas y Alfonso, was the 4th President of Cuba and his great grandfather was the owner of one of the largest newspapers in Cuba, El Avance. More recently, his father ran a construction and real estate business in Florida, while his mother is a director and principal of education. His formal education includes a B.S. in International Business, an M.B.A. in corporate marketing, and three years of completed doctoral work in the science of organizational behavior at Nova Southeastern University.

About AMGW Agency

AMGW Agency provides essential services for luxury brands, developers /hoteliers, and medical/healthcare companies around the world. With its core services in media planning and buying, public relations, sales consulting, and interactive marketing, AMGW executes marketing strategies in all seven continents. The company has regional offices in the United States (Miami, New York, San Francisco); Mexico; Panama; Colombia; Venezuela; Dominican Republic; Brazil (Sao Paulo, Goiania, Brasilia); United Kingdom; Italy; Netherlands; Russia; India; Dubai; Qatar; and Lebanon. Recently AMGW Agency formed a global alliance with El Taller Creativo of the Dominican Republic, making AMGW the number one advertising, PR, and communications firm for The Americas and Caribbean. Its newest offices are located in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and Sao Paulo, Brazil. To learn more about the agency visit

Tags: communications awards, business awards, PR awards, stevie awards, agency of the year, public relations awards, AMGW

2 Reasons Why Weber Shandwick Is 2010 Agency of the Year

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Thu, Nov 04, 2010 @ 01:59 PM

5032467131 e3edd0410c mNow that we're coming to the end of 2010 and we look back over the Stevie Award winners for the year, it's apparent that Weber Shandwick truly is the agency of the year for its haul of pr awards.

The agency won the Stevie for Public Relations Agency of the Year in The 8th annual American Business Awards back in June in New York.  You can read the full-text of their Stevie-winning nomination on the ABA web site.

Weber Shandwick Europe then won the International Stevie for Public Relations Agency of the Year in Europe in The 7th annual International Business Awards, which were presented in Istanbul, Turkey on September 27.  That award was accepted by Rose de la Pascua, Chair of Weber Shandwick Spain and Executive Vice President for Continental Europe.  Read the full-text of Weber Shandwick Europe's Stevie-winning entry on the IBA web site.

Members of the Weber Shandwick network around the world also won honors in Stevie Awards's public relations awards categories in 2010, including among others AC Sanafor in Finland, McCann PR in Romania, Corporate Weber Shandwick in India, and Weber Shandwick in Dallas, Texas among others.

In addition, the agency won a raft of other awards in 2010.

So who'll be the Stevies' agency of the year in 2011?

Tags: communications awards, PR awards, agency of the year, public relations awards, pr award, public relations award, awards pr, award pr, weber shandwick, communications award