The following is an excerpt from new Amazon best-selling PR book by Ronn Torossian “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations.” Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5WPR, one of the 25 largest PR firms in the United States. Clients have included Jalen Rose, Allan Houston, Roy Jones Jr., Snoop Dogg, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Ice Cube and others. The book is available for purchase at Amazon.com, here.
A Rose by Any Other Name Smells as Sweet
Jalen Rose hired us in 2004. Rose was a good basketball player, famous for his role in Michigan’s Fab Five and a former NBA all-star. He knew he had a few years left in his professional basketball career and wanted to build a stronger brand to accomplish his post-career goals of being a broadcaster and eventually a general manager or team owner. He is a soft-spoken, decent man and is smart with his money (in contrast to many of his peers who made and lost tens of millions of dollars).
Our PR efforts weren’t about getting any media for Rose—this was a guy who’s been interviewed daily for the past 20 years. Our strategy was making sure he appeared in media that people wouldn’t expect to see him in, and that the media saw him in the right light. He differentiated himself with his sense of fashion; he was very proud of his clothes, which allowed him to get media in fashion magazines, outlets where he wouldn’t usually be featured. This despite the fact that when he first hired us, he was playing outside the United States for the Toronto Raptors, regarded at the time as the worst team in the NBA.
We maximized his charitable giving via his foundation, the Jalen Rose Foundation, and promoted and hyped his social media activities, all things that allowed him to be seen not only as a basketball player but as someone who takes responsibility and cares about his community. This effort appealed to many. We highlighted his many donations, like his scholarship fund and his donation of $100,000 toward a hospital in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. His charity work helped position him for the next phase of his career, namely to make him a marketable broadcaster and off-the-court personality.
We were able to secure interviews and features with Rose in major print and broadcast outlets across the country. We worked around his NBA schedule, generating feature stories and one-on-one interviews with Fox News, BET, and The Source magazine, Vibe, Penthouse, Hemispheres, Complex, Black Men, Dime, and a slew of others.
Rose is one of ESPN’s lead NBA commentators and is a fixture on the network’s programming. While many athletes speculate about what they will do when their careers are complete, Rose’s ability to successfully make the transition during his career through strategic public relations has served him well. And I really do think a lot of it had to do with positioning Rose as a person who was deeply committed to charity, doing the right thing, and helping others. We created the persona of a smart, well-rounded man, not just on the court but off it as well.
The book is available for purchase at Amazon.com, here.