The planning process that should be used to build a groundswell strategy is called the four-step POST method. POST stands for people, objectives, strategy, and technology.
- People: People asks the questions about what your consumers are ready for. This refers to the social technographics profile and being able to predict and figure out where your consumers fit into the social technographic profile so you know the best way to reach them through the groundswell. By looking at what they are already doing and using tools such as the one found at groundswell.forrester.com will save you from guessing wrong which could harm the success of this step.
- Objectives: This step refers to figuring out what your end goal is and what your reasons are for using the groundswell. There are five different ways that companies can pursue the groundswell and they are listening, talking, energizing, supporting, and embracing. Listening is used to better understand the consumers, talking to spread your message to consumers, energizing to excite consumers about your business, supporting to help customers interact with each other, and embracing to get your customers involved with your company. Choosing one of these and entering the groundswell with a good objective/strategy will help in creating success.
- Strategy: This step is recognizing the change that is going to happen upfront so measuring them will be easier once the strategy is implemented. This step also needs the business to get buy-in from their employees so that everyone can be on the same level and no one will feel threatened by the change in relationships.
- Technology: The last step is deciding which form of the groundswell you are going to use to reach your customers such as blogs, social networks etc. This step should only be done once you have completed the other three to ensure the form of technology you will be successful.
Following and knowing these steps will help anyone to get involved with the groundswell and for the efforts to be successful. Below is a summarization of the POST process as shown by forrester.com.
Bernoff, J. (Designer). (2007, October 11). The POST Method: A systematic approach to social strategy [Print Graphic]. Retrieved from http://forrester.typepad.com/groundswell/2007/12/the-post-method.html
As was previously noted, the majority of the Brewster’s consumers are considered spectators. Spectators are people who just watch, read, and listen to what others are posting on blogs, wikis, and YouTube. Because of this a good objective Brewster’s can take is to energize their consumer. They can make blog and video posts that their consumers can follow that would inform about things happening within the company such as daily specials, or special promotions that are happening. The first two steps of the POST process have been accomplished at this point. The next areas that will need to be addressed will be creating a strategy, and deciding on the best technology to use to reach the customers.
Reference for POST process
Li, C. & Bernoff, J. (2011) Groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing