Blog Post 4 – Chapter 11



This week we learn about how connecting with the groundswell can transform your company.  This is especially interesting to me because my company could definitely use help with this. Who knows, maybe ill learn something valuable that I can bring back to my managers and it will become an organization-wide movement!

This chapter focuses on two particular case studies where large & well-established companies transformed a traditional marketing and customer support organization into one that is led by the groundswell. Crazy huh?

I think its super interesting when Li & Bernoff (2011) mention that organizations who let the groundswell “take over” requires a mental shift.  This ultimately means becoming so engaged with your customers that you are completely in sync with their needs and wants.  Not only does this mental shift take time, it requires practice & building a repertoire of shared successes.  Its like losing weight…it takes time, effort, hard work and determination – and most importantly, it requires commitment.  Interestingly enough (and similar to maintaining the groundswell), you must MAINTAIN.  This must become a regular part of your life (just like incorporating the groundswell must become a regular part of your organizational focus).  Creating a plan and a vision will allow you to go through the steps and help you overcome any obstacles that may come your way.  The third step is executive support.  This means catching the attention of people higher in the company who will hopefully see the value in groundswell and support your mission.  If this happens, groundswell has the ability to catch fire throughout the organization and make a tremendous change.  Lets summarize this!

1 Step: Step by step – patience, practice, adjustment

2 Step: Natural Progression into the next steps – plan, vision, strategize, lead

3 Step: Executive Support – Sell & empower

I found this interesting & educating article online that gives some steps on how companies can implement social media marketing plans in their companies.  Take a look.  Social Media Business Strategy Steps 

Its important to understand that transformation takes time.  My company currently has barely any social media, limited website information, and not a lot of ratings or customer feedback threads online.  Here are some 3 steps I could tell my manager when trying to incorporate more groundswell.

  1. Take small steps that have big impact.
  2. Have a vision and a plan
  3. Build leaders into the plan

He also needs to know that success doesn’t come easily – and we may fail before we see the light at the end of the tunnel.  It allows you to put your company open to negativity and judgement and can potentially lead to loss of control over your marketing plan, but if executed properly, the benefits outweigh the negatives. Everyone involved in the movement needs to be on the same page, and allow themselves to internalize whats happening.  I can relate to page 222 of the text.  In my company there are many “old fashioned” men who have never really used technology. A lot of baby boomer’s are “top executives” of companies, and its important to educate these people on WHY this is so important.  It takes investment and time, and most importantly TEACHING these people how to get through and use the groundswell in an effective way.

After reading the dell case in chapter 11, there are points listed as “what we can learn from dell”

  1. It took a crisis or two to get Dell started
  2. Dell mastered one thing at a time, starting with listening
  3. Executive push and cover made the difference
  4. Authenticity was crucial

And most importantly

  • Start small
  • Educate your executives
  • get the right people to run your strategy
  • get your agency and technology partners in sync
  • plan for the next step & for the long term

I absolutely love how chapter 11 places importance on “its okay to fail”.  I know for a construction company like mine where people don’t have background in the groundswell, it would take a tremendous amount of time and effort to get these people on board.  I think the whole purpose of this chapter is to make people feel comfortable knowing that its not easy, it takes hard work and commitment, but in the end the result is worth it.


Charlene Li, Josh Bernoff,. (2011). Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies. (expanded and revised edition.). Harvard Business School Press.



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