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McGraw Hill defines buzz as the "Establishment of a person, product, or idea as something members of a culture must know about-that is, as a cultural phenomenon".[1]

With growing hype in the PR industry about creating 'buzz' for clients products some companies see it as an opportunity to provide new services to clients. BuzzMetrics CEO Jonathan Carson told PR Week that his company, which has as clients four major U.S. food companies, had identified 400 individuals who are major drivers of public debate on nutrition.

Carson said that while "consumers are taking a lot of control" in nutrition, his company aimed to identify key individuals who would shape their decisions. "You can't target each individual, so you have to target" the opinion leaders, he said.[2]

According to PR Week other companies which also identify key infleuncers on debates affecting clients interests are Ketchum and Rowland Communications.

Buzz for bubs

"When Sears Portrait Studios wanted to lure new mothers, it didn't just order more ads of smiling babies or mail out big coupons," writes the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Instead, the company hired the Vandiver Group "to create a word-of-mouth marketing campaign in mid-2003."

First, Vandiver identified "influentials" - people others look to for information or advice - who are mothers, using phone surveys. Survey questions included whether the moms engage in "influential" activities like writing letters to the editor or attending public meetings. Then panels of these "mom influentials" were asked "about proposed product changes, advertising and marketing strategies, other studios and what the company could do better. These conversations were designed to give insights into the company and spark the mothers to spread the word about Sears Portrait Studios. ... After the panels, the mothers received free portrait packages as a thank-you for their time." [3]


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