The Zero model

An excerpt from the book Homo Imitans by Leandro Herrero:

The Zero model is popular by definition. It counts on the presence (and identification) of influential people or influencers, both in society and the organization.

In the macro-social world, this model dominates disciplines such as market research, market trends and ‘applied sociology’. Not surprisingly the quest has always been to find those particular people or groups whose influence can be ‘used’ for market(ing) purposes. For example, in their book, The Influentials4, the authors describe individuals in the American society who are likely to exercise high influence on others. Their demographics include middle-aged, middle/upper class, college educated, married with children, homeowners, employed and executive or professional. Beyond demographics, the authors claim that the influentials are above all (1) ‘activists’ (attending community meetings and political events, as well as volunteering), (2) wellconnected people and (3) …err, influentials (others tend to look to them for advice).

The name of the game in this type of sociological efforts is predictive value. Pollsters, market researchers and sociologists love this. In the Clinton-campaign, Mark Penn5 gained prominence with his creative segmenting of societal layers to predict voting (one of them being the famous ‘soccer moms’). The idea is always to match segments with their particular influence, which will then lead to your desired action.

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