Ronn Torossian Featured in El Al Magazine

Atmosphere (November 2008)
“Speedy Torrossian”

By Avihu Kadosh

How did Ronn Torrossian become one of the
promising publicists in the US at the age of 34 and
only six years after his company’s establishment?
Quick action and determination are part of the
recipe.

A politician involved in a scandal? A software
company that wants to create a technological
buzz? Everyone uses public relations to
bring their personal stories to the front page of the
weekend newspaper. Indeed, public relations is a
dynamic business. The numerous media outlets,
demands of the public and the need to create a
new story and headline every hour lead many
individuals and business owners to hire the services
of professionals.

One such professional is Ronn Torrossian. The
founder and CEO of 5W (Who, What, Where,
When, Why?) Public Relations, Torrossian’s swift
ascent to fame is a fascinating story. The 34-year-old
established the firm from scratch and today, less
than six years later, 5W Public Relations is considered
one of the most promising firms in the
American Market.

Bred in a Jewish household, as a boy Torrossian
served as the president of the Betar youth group.
“Since I was 12 I’ve personally known everyone
from [Israeli politicians] Uzi Landau to Binyamin
Netanyahu through to Roni Milo. Until I became
involved in Betar I was only interested in girls and
basketball. But thanks to Betar I connected to Israel
and my Jewish roots. I participated in demonstrations
and whatnot. At a certain stage in my life I even
considered making Aliyah to Israel. At the age of 22,
after I graduated from college, I spent a year and a
half in Israel. I became very involved in politics and
founded my own organization called ‘Our
Jerusalem’. We were committed to our desire to settle
Jerusalem with Jewish residents.”

How did this evolve into public relations?

“I worked at a top public relations firm in New
York and I knew that I wanted to establish my own
firm. At the time, I noticed none of the CEOs of all
the major firms was under the age of 50. I wanted to
launch a firm that would grow quickly and although
I have been honored to appear on the list of the top
500 growing companies in the United States, I am
still only at the beginning of the journey. I have 90
employees, 20 of whom work at our branch in Los
Angeles. In the near future I plan to open a branch in
Miami. The world has changed drastically. Public
relations is the fastest way to build a brand. Look at
the presidential race, hit movies or the best video
games on the market. Public relations is the best way
to shape people’s minds and opinions.

“Once there was no such thing as blogs, for
example, or My Space and Facebook. Today nobody
gives their top stories to the Wall Street Journal –
but post it on their website. Why? Because if you
call me and tell me that tomorrow you’ll publish a
negative story about my client, I’ll create a spin on
the story and an hour later it’ll be up on all the competing
websites. It is also a matter of money. I prefer
to represent start-ups that no one has heard of
rather than Donald Trump. They simply pay more.”

Who is a good publicist in your opinion?

“The best known publicist is Samantha from ‘Sex
in the City’. She spends her days drinking cocktails
and partying. There is no chance that she would be
successful in real life. A good publicist is a combination
of a lawyer and a strategist. You must always have
your finger on the pulse. There’s a book that says ‘it’s
not the big that eat the small, but the fast that eat the slow.’ I truly believe that. This is a 24/7 job. I
always carry a few cellphones and am continuously
answering e-mails and messages, because if I miss a
call, I might miss a deadline. There is no such thing as
rest – there is always a brand to create.”

How would you brand El Al?

“Israel is very important to me personally and
business-wise, and it should be more accessible to
tourists. Who do you want to bring? What is your
target population? I work with Evangelical
Christians, for example, and to them you advertise
the religious and historical aspect of Israel. With
reform Jews you describe Israel’s beauty and entertainment
aspects. I remember when I was in Israel
two years ago and called my office at three in the
morning. They heard the loud music in the background
and thought I was partying in the hotel. You
see, there are people in America who still believe
there aren’t any clubs in Israel and that the main
transportation is camels. El Al is connected to Israel
and aviation and of course – security.”

Torrossian’s list of clients includes top-tier
names, such as Israel’s Ministry of Tourism, Ahava,
McDonalds, Microsoft and Barnes and Nobles
alongside celebrities including Pamela Anderson,
Ice Cube, Lil’ Kim, Snoop Dog “and my hand is still
stretched,” he stresses.

How about politics?

“Of course. I worked with Prime Minister
Olmert, Shimon Peres, Benny Alon, Rafi Eitan and
Limor Livnat. I personally know more than a third
of the members of the Israeli Knesset. Look, connections
are extremely important but I never
picked up the phone and asked for work from
somebody. All of my clients arrived at my firm
through word of mouth or through meetings and
events I have organized.”

What guides you? Money?

“It’s not only money, but also that I am not afraid
of taking risks. It’s OK to make mistakes and put
oneself at risk. What is important is to be aggressive
and focused. I still reflect on the book ‘The Little
Prince’ by Antoine de Saint Exupéry and consider
myself his student.”

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