CHICAGO—Omnicom has launched a new word-of-mouth marketing agency to help clients develop measurable, systematic and disciplined initiatives to create sustainable word of mouth and customer evangelism. Zócalo Group will be led by Paul Rand, formerly Ketchum’s global chief development and innovation officer and will be based in Chicago.
According to Thomas Harrison, chairman and chief executive officer of Omnicom’s Diversified Agency Services group, word of mouth has become a distinct and measurable part of the marketing mix. “Word of mouth and customer evangelism is increasingly becoming top of mind for many of our clients, yet the space is still being defined,” says Harrison. “Listening to chief marketing officers today, their primary interest is to first create demand for a product or service and secondly to sustain it
“The Zócalo Group approach provides the kind of sophisticated, rigorous and disciplined methodology that is needed to become a credible part of the marketing mix.”
A member of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association’s executive board, Rand helped develop word-of-mouth capabilities at Ketchum, introducing its Influencer Relationship Management program. Prior to Ketchum, Rand founded Corporate Technology Communications, a public relations agency that Ketchum acquired in 2001.
Joining Rand at Zócalo Group as a partner will be Patrick Rooney, formerly of Ketchum and most recently president of Expand Communications, along with a number of other word of mouth marketing specialists.
“Wheareas traditional word of mouth has been focused on buzz, we’ve created proprietary methodologies that help companies, brands and organizations identify and build sustainable connections and drive word of mouth beyond their 15-minutes of fame,” says Rand. He says Zócalo will employ “a measurable, database-driven approach in identifying the factors in creating and maintaining positive word of mouth for products and companies.”
Zócalo will be an Omnicom and Ketchum company, and is the second new agency launched by Ketchum over the past year. In 2006, the firm introduced Emanate, a communications firm that combines the power of research, psychology and integrated marketing to generate results for its clients. A Zócalo is a small, central square or plaza in a Mexican city, a place where citizens have traditionally gathered to exchange information and views.