Buzz raises the bar

The Anatomy of Buzz: How to Create Word of Mouth Marketing, by Emanuel Rosen; published October 2000 by Doubleday; hardcover, 304 pages, $38

The Anatomy of Buzz: How to Create Word of Mouth Marketing, by Emanuel Rosen; published October 2000 by Doubleday; hardcover, 304 pages, $38

‘Buzz… is the aggregate of all person-to-person communication about a particular product, service, or company at any point in time.’

You know when you come across a book that makes you think, ‘The world might just be a better place if everybody would read this’?

The Anatomy of Buzz is one of them. Here’s why.

Buzz is value. If you can create word of mouth, you have de facto created and promoted a product that is of such value to people that they take the risk of suggesting it to their circle of influence.

Buzz demands better products. If you want to create buzz, you must have a ‘contagious product.’ If all things were developed from the outset with a view to surviving word-of-mouth’s brutal honesty, they would be much better poised to exceed customer expectations.

Buzz demands better advertising. Advertising can stimulate and facilitate buzz, but in order to do so it cannot afford to suck.

Buzz demands a new focus on the individual. It’s not enough to stimulate people in the target to take action; marketers have to excite them into being advocates within their network.

If the book has a shortcoming, it’s that the author could have gone further in building on this topic’s literature from the past few hundred years – buzz is not exactly new. Of special interest would have been more depth into the psychology of why people talk about products and what motivates them to do so.

But The Anatomy of Buzz serves up a detailed guidebook of how to do word of mouth. It left me energized (and terrified) by a new understanding of the world’s most powerful medium, and by some very practical ways to harness it. I challenge you to read this book. The world will be a better place.

BookMark Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Mark Szabo is an account director with Parallel in Calgary. He can be reached at mark.szabo@parallel.ca.