According to their website, Zócalo Group "is powered by the proprietary ZócaloNet system, a fully integrated technology suite that provides a 360º view of a company’s or brand’s influencers, evangelists and detractors." Ketchum claims that their system is: "the industry’s most advanced influencer profiling, data mining, predictive modeling and campaign management system. ZócaloNet screens, targets and manages category-specific peer influencers on a local, regional and national level."
The new company is led by Paul Rand, formerly Ketchum’s chief development and innovation officer. Rand is a member of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association’s (WOMMA) executive board and has been actively involved in legitimizing word of mouth marketing as a strategic communications medium.
Rand said, “Where traditional word of mouth has been focused on buzz, we’ve created proprietary methodologies that help companies and organizations identify and build connections and drive word of mouth.”
Ray Kotcher, Ketchum's CEO added: “The Zócalo Group offers yet another targeted approach to help our clients reach and motivate audiences.”
1. Word-of-Mouth Marketing (WOMM) is a term used to describe activities that marketing companies undertake to generate personal recommendations, as well as referrals for brand names, products and services. Research indicates that individuals are more prone to be fooled by WOMM than more transparent forms of promotion.
2. To "manipulate" is "to influence or manage shrewdly or deviously": He manipulated public opinion in his favor.
Posted by an Honored Guest Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Imus, what the Hell were you thinkin'? Better question... were you thinking? Well, that's spilt milk.
UNDERSTATEMENT OR WHAT?!!! Now it's the Nation's number one topic for discussion. It's eclipsed everything. You just cannot turn on the news without discussion of Rutgers flap. As we speak, the Imus franchise is being lashed by 165 mile-an-hour winds. The National Weather Service has officially labeled this a Category Five. Yikes!
Hmmmmmm... not so sure about that. Actually, as I recall, one of PR's TOP crisis management counselors is totally unapologetic.
Here we are pleased to have another guest column by Eric Dezenhall, the founder and CEO of Dezenhall Resources, one of the nation’s leading crisis management firms.
Don Imus and PR Damage Control
By Eric Dezenhall
With Don Imus in the soup for making racist remarks, communications pros have been predictably diving before TV cameras to heap praise upon the public relations industry's favorite panacea: the apology.
Apologies, of course, are staples of the Judeo-Christian culture, but when it comes to PR messes, apologies pose a big question: Do they really work as well as PR people say they do? The short answer is, not really.
In our new book, Damage Control: Why Everything You Know About Crisis Management is Wrong (Eric Dezenhall/John Weber - Penguin/Portfolio Press), we have a whole chapter in the new book on apologies. In short, they're overrated. PR people love the notion that apologies are the cure-all, but we've seen little correlation between apology and forgiveness. Inevitably, when an apology fails, some PR genius says "Well, he apologized wrong." Fact is, some apologies just don't defuse the original sin -- Harvard's Lawrence Summers apologized three times and still resigned as President after making remarks about women's capabilities in the sciences. Apologies are particularly problematic in the Internet age when the original sin keeps repeating itself. Just ask
Seinfeld's Michael Richards who was recorded on a cell phone shouting racial epithets at a comedy club.
In the new book, I write about why Senator Lott lost his Senate post but Senator Byrd was immediately forgiven after making racially tinged remarks. Why the difference? Bottom line: Senator Lott had political baggage; Senator Byrd had 45 years of racially progressive legislation under his belt -- despite having used the "n" word on national television. The difference was in the subjects' long-established political histories, not in the quality of their apologies.
Then there's Bill Clinton and Kobe Bryant. PR people nestled in the illusion that these men were forgiven after they apologized. Wrong. Both Clinton (during the Lewinsky scandal) and Bryant (during his rape case) completely decimated their adversaries THEN they apologized so they couldn't be further attacked. Damage Control argues that it was the neutralizing of their accusers that got Clinton and Bryant off the hook, not their apologies.
Then there's Martha Stewart. PR pros couldn't keep off the airwaves demanding that she apologize, the nonsensical post-Watergate logic that if she had just "fessed up," the whole mess would have gone away. Wrong again. When you're facing criminal prosecution, apologies are admissible in court. One doesn't want to be convicted before even entering the inside of a courtroom. To this day Stewart hasn't apologized and it has served her well among a constituency that supported her on the basis that she was cruelly railroaded.
The track record of recovery from making racist remarks isn't very good. That said, Imus has a few things going for him. For one thing, he's known for being outrageous and obnoxious. Some people will review his remarks about the Rutgers women's basketball team in that context and give him a break. Second, he's successful, and his producers really don't want to cancel his shows. The best Imus can do is what he's done -- apologize then vanish for a while to see if things settle. The notion that if he goes on a road show of apology this will correlate with forgiveness is nonsense.
Apologies work best when the offense is very specific and is seen as being an aberration (Sammy Sosa's use of the corked bat). Apologies are almost always declared "mishandled" when the offense comes with tremendous emotional baggage, which race rightfully does. If PR people wish to continue wrapping themselves in the banner of the all-curing apology, they should evaluate apologies strategically not dogmatically. As a strategy, apologies have occasionally been effective -- especially when mixed with supplementary tactics. As PR dogma, the track record of apologies is decidedly less impressive than the public relations profession would have you believe.
On Thursday, March 8, 2007 at 7:41 AM, Ronn Torossian, President and CEO of 5WPR, emphatically promised that he was going to sue us. No real reason, he was just irritated by our teasing him about getting in bed with pornographer Joe Francis. Anyway, Ronn gave his obscenity-laced word that we'd see the complaint in 72 hours. It's now late by
Kathleen Durazo about A Measly $2.8 Million Goes Missing, Lawsuit Results Fri, Jul 31, 10:58:34 AM Ray Durazo (the founder) sold the company to Dan in 1999. He was not involved in any of this. He (and I) found out about the lawsuit in the LA Times. In addition to embezzling this m [...]