In Search of…

That elusive word: buzz. Building buzz is a holy grail for marketers, and by extension PR pros. Wasn’t it Malcolm’s Gladwell’s musings in The Tipping Point that ignited the recent hysteria over buzz-making and trend-setting methodologies? In either case, buzz is a visceral phenemonon that would not be buzz without publicity. Today this includes the conversations of citizen-journalists as captured in Intelliseek’s Blogpulse and others.

This morning, the publisher of Esquire waxed to The New York Times about the magazine’s plans to create its own buzz by commandeering (at no cost) a $12 million bachelor pad in Manhattan for use by designers. In exchange for the free rent, the magazine promises publicity coverage for these designers and the real estate property, no doubt. I wonder if this means Esquire has bartered its feature pages, or it is simply promising to publicize the pad?

In either case, it’s clear to me that buzz wouldn’t be buzz without a decent dose of media coverage. Brand proprietors continue to be captivated : “We live in a world gone mad,” [Esquire publisher] Mr. O’Malley said. “If you don’t have buzz and heat around your brand, you aren’t relevant.” (BTW: This is not the first time the magazine has gone the bachelor pad route.)

I’m not sure I’d trust those who claim to hold the keys to buzz marketing, but I do know that the PR component is key. PR pros thus need to think more like marketers in conjuring up non-conventional strategic alliances that can generate the requisite press to feed buzz.