Listening to the Groundswell

Hello everyone and welcome to blog #3!

This weeks reading in Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies, was all about listening (i.e. Chapter 5). The main point I took home from this chapter was that your company does not own the brand, the consumers does. Which obviously makes sense if you really think about it, a company can promote themselves as much as they want but if the consumers have a different perspective of the company, then that’s technically what the brand is; “[the] brand is what the customer says it is” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 78). The way a company can change this is through listening, or as titled in this chapter “Listening to the groundswell”. Listening can be done two ways:

  • Private Communities – “A private community is like a continuously running, huge, engaged focus group” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, pg. 82). One of the largest suppliers of private communities is Communispace, however other have been emerged (i.e. Markettools, Passenger).
  • Brand Monitoring – “Hire a company to listen to listen to the internet” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, pg. 82). Many companies, such as Cymfony, will deliver summaries based on information that they collect, via social media, blogs, reviews etc. to see what consumers are talking about surrounding yours brand.

However, as this chapter states, listening by itself is ‘sterile’. If a company gains any kind of information about their brand, it will mean nothing if they don’t use it or act on what has been learned. Six reasons why a company should listen to their consumers are that it will help to (1) find out what your brand stands for, (2) understand how the buzz is shifting, (3) save research money and increase research responsiveness, (4) find the source of influence in your market, (5) manage public relations crises, and (6) generate new product/marketing ideas.

So what now after you started listening? As with everything in business, their must be a plan… and this one is called the listening plan.

  1. Look at the Social Technographic Profile (covered in my previous blog) of your industry to figure out how your customers participate in the online world (aka the groundswell).
  2. Start small but think big so that it does not get too expensive too quick.
  3. Make sure your listening vendor has dedicated an experienced team to your effort so that the information is understood correctly.
  4. Choose a senior person to interpret the information and integrate it with other sources so that the information will be managed and used correctly.

This listening plan will likely cause your organization to change its power structure, become addicted to this type of information from customers, reduce ‘stupid’ policies and procedures that could have limited the brands success, and allow the company to talk confidently, knowing this information, when marketing itself.

Until next week,

Jordan Fewer



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


Social Technographics and the Groundswell.

Hello everyone and welcome to my blog #2!

This week I did some reading on a concept called Social Technographics, from Chapter 3 of the book Groundswell by Charlene Li & Josh Bernoff. To summarize from what I understand, Social Technographics aim to classify and segment internet users based on the way they use social technology. The book breaks these down into seven categories:

  1. Creator – Create/publish their own work (i.e. videos, blogs etc.)
  2. Conventionalist – Posts & updates their status
  3. Critics – Rate & review online material
  4. Collectors – Use RSS feeds, vote online & tag various pages/photos
  5. Joiners – Maintains a profile & visits social media sites
  6. Spectators – Read and listens to various social media & forums (i.e. tweets, blogs etc.)
  7. Inactives – Do not participate in the online world

Although it is broken down into seven categories, it is associated with being more like a ladder (see picture below) allowing for categories to overlap – “most Creators are also Spectators” (Li & Bernoff, 2011).


Applying this concept to a company like the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), the technographic profile of their target market would be very broad and does not focus on a specific age or gender, thus a consumer profile analysis of Canada as a whole is analysed:


From this analysis, we can see that the majority of the Canadian population choose to be more of a spectator, which reads or listens to online information, as well as joiners, who like to visit and maintain online profiles.


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

Marketing4Health. (2010). Do canadian patients trust others like them? Retrieved from

My First Blog – “Users of the world, unite!”

social-mediaDespite my lack of preference for writing, here goes my first blog post!

Thinking back on my past, I can honestly say that I have used social media, or some form of it, since before I was even in high school. Of the many that failed to hold my attention, MSN Messenger was the first followed by Myspace; but, once Facebook came around (which I began using in high school in my ‘screen age’ years’) seemed to have held my attention the most. I can even say that I signed up for Twitter not too long after Facebook but, it just felt like a whole other world to me. With that being said, I now have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Snapchat, all of which I fail to utilize 100% (i.e. make statuses and tweet) but constantly view multiple times daily to keep “up to date” with whatever is happening in the online world of social media.

Now on to the present moment, I have successfully read “Users of the world, unite! The challenge and opportunities of Social Media” and it did bring an alternative light to my current experience. Up until now, I just categorized social media as online sites similar to Facebook or Twitter but interestingly, this article brings mention to virtual game worlds and virtual social worlds such as World of Warcraft and Second Life being a form of social media. Once you think about it, it makes complete sense as to why the writers place these in the same category. It’s all about connecting people and online gaming does just that. With that in mind, I believe the best points taken home from the article (for me to be more effective with social media) are:

(1)   Be active – “Social media is all about sharing and interaction, so ensure that your content is always fresh and that you engage with your customers” (Kaplan & Haenlin, 2010, p. 65).

(2)   Be interesting – “Nobody is interested in speaking to a boring person…if you would like your customer to engage with you, you need to give them a reason for doing so” (Kaplan & Haenlin, 2010, p. 65).

(3)   Be humble – “Never forget that social media existed before you decided to engage in them… take some time to discover it and to learn about the history and basic rules” (Kaplan & Haenlin, 2010, p. 65).

(4)   Be unprofessional – “social media users are people like you, who understand that things do not always go smoothly” (Kaplan & Haenlin, 2010, p. 66).

(5)   Be honest – “Never expect that other participants may not find out who stands behind some anonymous user account… your dealing with some of the most technologically sophisticated people on the planet” (Kaplan & Haenlin, 2010, p. 66).

Until next time… or should I say… next blog!

  • Jordan

Kaplan, A. M., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media. Business Horizons, 53. Retrieved from