Supporting the Groundswell

Throughout the textbook groundswell written by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff we have not only learnt how much time and energy must be spent within the groundswell to make it the experience for your company worth it but how that time and energy spent much be effectively utilized in order to be successful. In saying that, it shouldn’t be hard to see the several advantages that can be gained from allowing an open communication channel for your customers to interact with one another. By allowing your customers to engage with each other and share knowledge and information regarding a particular product or service greatly helps to lessen the load put on your company’s traditional support which in turn helps to reduce the cost associated with this type of support. This type of open communication as outlined by Li & Bernoff can be in the form of blogs, such as the CarePages, forums or even wikis. (Li & Bernoff, 2011)

Of course as with developing and implementing any type of a new strategy the company must put in the time to ensure that the new implementation is the right one for the company. As we all know by now, it is simply not about adapting the strategies of other successful companies but rather finding what types of strategies are best suited for your company and ultimately which strategies best help your company reach their goals. “Before you start, you should examine three things: what problem will you solve, how will you participate, and whether you should create a support community or join an existing one. (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 171) By answering these three questions it helps the company get a better understanding about what it is they are trying to achieve and how they can set out to achieve it. Once your company has gone ahead and creating a support community or tapped into an existing one it is vital that you as a company are present within it. Think of it as an opportunity to learn and grow. If you are not listening to what those participants in the support community have to say that why put the time into creating the communication with them. “This dialogue-especially with your most active customers-inevitably draws them into your development process. You end up collaborating with your customers to create better products. That’s taking the power of psychic income and building it into your business.” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 176)

Within my work experience that I have been exposed to this summer working with the GNWT at Student Financial Assistance I have been able to gain important knowledge which I could bring forward to the department. This past week was the deadline for post-secondary students to submit their applications to receive financial assistance when they head to school in the fall. Of course, as you can imagine with the extreme popularity of procrastinating this is the day we receive the most applications throughout the entire summer; over 500 applications to be exact. We have a relatively short staff within our division so we need everyone involved in order to get done what we need to get done, however with constant e-mails and calls coming into the office with students asking question after question makes it hard to do what we need to do. That’s where the open communication in the shape of a forum really gains popularity for me. If we were able to incorporate some type of support forum for students to post their questions online and allow for others to answer their inquiries it could potentially help to eliminate the high volume of phone calls that our office receives. It would also help to increase the timeliness that students would receive a response to their question due to the fact that with such a short staff we are often struggling to reply to student’s questions as quickly as we would hope too. “So take the plunge. Let your customers support each other. But you’d better be prepared for how this will change the way you do business.” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 176) Supporting the groundswell helps the groundswell continue to grow, so make sure you are putting in the effort to evolve otherwise you will simply stand still.

References

Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press .

 

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Talk the Talk When You’re In the Groundswell

Commercials simply just aren’t cutting it anymore like the way they used to when it comes to marketing. Unless you are advertising during the Super Bowl, no one is interested. People have become so exhausted of having to sit through commercials that someone was actually smart enough to create a way of profiting from giving individuals the freedom of “commercial-free” services. As Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff point out in the textbook groundswell, television commercials is not a form of talking, it is shouting. This type of advertising thrives on repetition, so the more time and the more individuals a company can shout out through this stream of advertising, the better. (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 101) Unfortunately people no longer want to be shouted through this type of advertising. With how quickly technology continues to develop within the past 5 to 10 years social technologies have really revved up the need that consumers have for conversations instead of simply being shouted at. Consumers want the opportunity to build a relationship with the company and/or the product that they are marketing. They want to be able to see it work, hear what their peers have to say about it and they want to be able to ask questions. Allowing for this type of communication to take place has proven to be quite beneficial for many companies as Li & Bernoff have discussed. The pair introduced four techniques when it comes to talking with the groundswell which can be very rewarding:

  1. Post a viral video.
  2. Engage in the social networks and user-generated content sites.
  3. Join the blogosphere.
  4. Create a community. (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 103)

These four techniques have become revolutionary when it comes to marketing; however, it is important to remember that branding on social media may not be for everyone.  Of course with anything in life, just because you have heard of someone else’s success doesn’t mean it can simply be mimicked.Of course these are four techniques that Li & Bernoff have provided to help talk to the groundswell but it is important to note that these are not the only ways that communication can exist between the groundswell. The more innovative a company can be when developing ways to market themselves the better. Blendtec’s “Will It Blend” videos are a perfect example of this. From simply posting a video into the social network the company was able to create that community for a relationship between themselves and their potential customers. The key to succeeding in social networks is to help people spread your message and to measure the result. (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 106) I think what sticks out the most to me after reading Chapter 6: talking with the groundswell, is the importance of being original and being true to your company. Never stop looking for ways to communicate with your customers and always be willing to listen to what they have to say because it is the customers who drive the success of your company and if you can get your customers to speak well for you, you will be success in the groundswell.

 

References

Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press .