Blog Post 9 – Chapter 7


Energizing the Groundswell

As we continue to learn more about the groundswell, chapter 7 teaches us about what energizing the groundswell really means which was discussed in the previous blog post as well.  Its important to understand why word of mouth truly succeeds and is important when trying to achieve a media presence.

1) Its believable – More credible than media sources

2) Its self-reinforcing – If you hear it from multiple people, even if you don’t know them, it has to true

3) Its self-spreading – “If a product is worth using, its word of mouth generates more word of mouth in a cascade that’s literally exponential”

Word of mouth is proven to be one of the most honest forms of marketing.  I can relate to this in my everyday life because the way I usually like to learn about a product or service is by conversing with someone who’s bought it before.  To me, that is the most genuine, honest and credible way to find out if something has worked in the past or not.

Some people might ask, why is it worth to energize with your customers? The answer is that you create a community with your customers where they self-select you because they like your products and will continue buying/talking about them for years.  Here are some great techniques that successful companies have used to connect with their brand enthusiasts:

  • Tap into customers enthusiasm with ratings and reviews
  • Create a community to energize your customers
  • Participate in and energize online communities of your brand

Its also important for companies to understand the benefits of ratings and reviews.  Exhibit 7-1 shows a cost & profit analysis of ROI in terms of ratings and reviews. Its crazy to see that rating increase the conversion rate by 20% and the transaction size for those customers by minimum 10%.  In the construction industry we usually bid on small to large jobs through “active bidding” which generally requires our company to hand in a bid-binder that lists our rates, prices, and other important information.  Word of mouth AND reviews are a HUGE part in how a lot of companies win contracts.  Yes, price comes into account and is a big factor, but if a large company like EPCOR or ENMAX continually hears from clients and other industry people that a certain company did an awful job, this most definitely affects who they reward the project to.  I’ve seen this happen multiple times over and over again.  Its all about creating that positive image for yourself so when people talk, which they will, good things are said.   Here’s an interesting article that talks about small businesses relying on WOM and that 85% of their clients generally come from this simple and effective marketing tactic.

Not only does the groundswell focus on the importance of customer-business relationships but also how it can improve business-business relationships (which can sometimes be more important for those companies where other businesses ARE their customers – like the construction industry).  How you energize your customers also depends on how you want your relationships to change.  Reviews, ratings, and communities are all good examples but there are many more.  Businesses can design strategies & technologies that match the relationships they already have and then provide ways for their customers to extend those relationships.  Here are five great steps for applying the techniques of energizing to your own organization!

  • Figure out if you WANT to energize the groundswell (its more powerful & riskier than just listening or talking….people are now discussing your products)
  • Check the social techno graphics profile of your customers – how active are your customers participating in the groundswell?
  • Ask yourself – What is my customers problem? – to determine how you can fix it
  • Pick a strategy that fits your customers social techno graphics profile and problems
  • Don’t start unless you can stick around for the long haul

This chapter provides more great insight to the groundswell, and valuable information for companies to think about.  Its important to understand that energizing can potentially transform your company for the better. Its all about embracing your customers, learning from them, and letting these new opportunities take your company to a completely new place.

Until next time groundswell friends!


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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