Waggener Edstrom is one of the top three PR firms in the world, and deservedly so. We have reviewed their website and digital connectedness any number of times in the past, and readily acknowledge them as the leader in online public relations engagement. But, there is obviously no guarantee that even the mighty cannot succumb to the pitfalls of creating or promoting terminology for the sake of appearing authoritative. The danger of spinning out of control to sell one’s own market value may be obscure, but it is real even for Waggener Edstrom.
In a recent article I read the world’s leading digital communications company dredged up something called the “influence multiplier” to describe an aspect of video game marketing and purchasing metrics. According to the author, Waggener Edstrom analytics senior VP Dan Gallagher conjures up this and other terms to describe why gamers buy games. Does anyone really need to do a study to reveal that the gaming demographic purchases games primarily because of word of mouth? Furthermore, is it necessary to coin phrases like the following to synthesize the idea that there is such a thing as an influence multiplyer?
“Compared to all video gamers, Influence Multipliers are a hyperinfluential subset of friends who are also far more connected to other gamers.”
In other words; “newbies rely largely on veteran gamer friends in making their game purchases.” Now there is some rocket science for you, I hope WE did not spend too much to figure this out. The study cited also points out that that gamer friends actually have more influence on buying habits than family members! Sorry for the tongue in cheek, but visualizing Mom and Pop recommendations outweighing “Sniper Killer Bob’s” is laughable – the equivalent of letting one’s little brother pick a girlfriend.
Waggener Edstrom need not feel too badly though, Gamasutra used another similar study to reveal the same Earth shaking facts earlier on. Why do agencies like WE endeavor to “paint” such pictures? Well, they have and need clients too. Buzz terms and superficial studies abound when money comes a calling I suppose. It would not surprise me to find out this study was conducted for an existing or wanted client of WE, in fact the opposite would be more ridiculous.
The point here is, Dan Gallagher likely knew the statistics on game marketing before the so called Moments of Influence™ software, Harris Interactive, Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, or any other metrics methodology/collaboration existed. Whether the press release WE put out was designed to make people think they are in the know on gaming, or as some after function of this ground shaking marketing news, building technical sounding jargon that looks like BS is pretty lame. For all their efficiency WE should at least be able to do better than “hyperinfluential friends?” I wonder if Melissa Waggener Zorkin will want the etymology on that term at the next board meeting? LOL
Next Waggener Edstrom will describe the need for brand management by expressing it so; “the scalar effect of tropospheric propagation of a brand with a negative coefficient resonance frequency.” A glossary of already profound technical terms can be had here for those interested, but mastering these will not make you an expert.
Without further pomp or circumstance we award Waggener Edstrom this week’s PR Goofy Award for being overly technically profound. When a company is the best, scrutiny for such auspicious awards necessarily becomes more focused.