Energizing the Groundswell

This weeks post is a little late, but we well be addressing how companies can energize their customers in the groundswell. The main point that Bernoff and Li are making during this section is that the most effective way to advertise your company is by word-of-mouth-marketing. Word-of-mouth-marketing happens best when the customers are energized and happy with the business. Bernoff and Li also suggest there are three different ways to make your customers enthusiastic about your business.

  • Tap into the enthusiasm with ratings and reviews: This is demonstrated in the book by the company Ebags who has a ratings and reviews section right on its website. Every item that can be purchased from the website has a section where with a couple clicks, the customer can see every review that has been written about this. This gives Ebags the opportunity to look at the reviews and fix the problems as soon as they can, or to have the manufactures fix the problems if that’s where they are occurring. This tactic helps to give the customers the will to say what ever they want, which in turn energizes them to give great word-of-mouth-reviews. Brewster’s could do something similar by having a review area right on their website that other customers could see. They are active on the site Urbanspoon.com but this is less effective because it is not directly on their website. They could also create a mobile phone app where users can log on while in the restaurant to rate and review the beers.
  • Create a community to energize your customers: Creating a community worked really well for the company Constant Contact. Bernoff and Li describe this company as one that lets other companies use it to send off emails to customers letting them know important information about the company. The way that Constant Contact is different is that customers are able to unsubscribe to the emails whenever they feel the need to, and they state that every contact must be obtained with that contacts permission. They are successful because people can also use these emails to refer their friends to get credits, which helps to energize the people using the email system. Brewster’s could send out a monthly email letting people know of menu changes or the beer rotations that are coming in. People would be able to subscribe to this email on their website and could get coupons for discounts on food or free drinks etc when they refer a friend to the monthly email. This well help the word-of-mouth because regular customers would love the chance to get discounts on food when they know that they are already going to be spending money there anyways.
  • Participate in and energize online communities of your brand: This point emphasizes the point that using online forums to hear what the customers are saying about the products. This point relates back to Lego and how they have used their online forums to listen to what the customers are saying, and even to get them to participate in creating new products. This energizes the customers because it gives them a voice and a say about what is happening within the Lego Company. Brewster’s would use the above noted strategies, review section on the website and monthly emails, to here what the customers are saying and to respond to what they are saying. They could use this feature to bring back menu items that lots of customers are asking for or to reevaluate service being given at their restaurants.

Bernoff and Li also state that to prepare for this change, energizing the groundswell, the management team must change its way of thinking. Which can be done in five steps: Figuring out if you want to energize, checking the customers social technographics profile, finding out the customers problem, picking a strategy that fits the needs of the social technographics profile, and not starting until it can be seen through until the very end. These steps well help to energize the customers and make word-of-mouth advertising easier to accomplish. Below is a short video of Josh Bernoff talking about energizing the groundswell.




Li, C. & Bernoff, J.  (2011) Groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing


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