by: Mark Rogers
Joe Marchese over at MediaPost has a good post on the Watts vs. Keller controversy. He, too, thinks that the truth lies in a middle ground. Influencers are important, but not for viral marketing. Hubs/mavens/folks with high “betweenness centrality” scores are helpful in that case.
The experience of our client the UK confectionery manufacturer Cadbury in two separate 2007 campaigns would seem to support this. In one campaign we helped Cadbury communicate with nut allergy sufferers when they wished to announce a product recall of incorrectly-labelled product. We identified authorities (influencers) in that topic and PR agency Blue Rubicon contacted them individually. The negative coverage (which had been considerable) dropped from 30+ negative items a day to 1 in a week.
In the second campaign Cadbury launched a video made by ad agency Fallon showing a gorilla performing the drum solo from the Phil Collins song “In the air tonight”. For this they targeted high volume media bloggers inside and outside the “chocolate” conversation and made the video available for easy download. The resulting buzz included more than 100,000 separate blog and messageboard posts and millions of online views of the video on YouTube and elsewhere. The campaign had 4 times the response of Sony Bravia’s “bouncing balls”. Targeting “influencers” would have been irrelevant here.