Energizing the groundswell.

For all of you reading this, Welcome back to my blog!

 

This week’s reading was an in-depth look at the third level of groundswell thinking, energizing the groundswell. This is probably the most important aspect of groundswell thinking as the ability to get your enthusiast customers onboard to aid in increasing the awareness of your brand through word of mouth can cause your brand to go viral faster than any of the traditional marketing techniques. Why is this word of mouth technique so important? Because of the following three reasons:

  • It’s believable – “Testimonials from customers are far more credible than any media source” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 130).

 

  • It’s self-reinforcing – “Hear it from one person, and it’s intriguing. Hear it from five or ten, even if you didn’t know them before, it has to be true” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 130).

 

  • It’s self-spreading – “[I]f a product is worth using, its word of mouth generates more word of mouth in a cascade that’s literally exponential” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 130).

 

I’m sure I am not the only one, as all of you most likely have had similar experiences but, I will give an example of what enthusiast customers do for your brand. I have always had an issue with whatever I am drinking going warm prior to finishing and eventually grew tired of seeing so much of it being wasted as a result of becoming very money conscious as a student. So one day I went on a hunt to see what was out there that could potentially solve this problem. After searching the internet, I came across this bottle called a “S’well Bottle” which claims to keep cold stuff cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours.

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I then went to check to see if they are sold locally rather than ordering online, and to my findings they were in fact being sold in many different stores. This brought me to ask the employees about the product, and as expected, nothing but great ratings. The downside however is that I found out these bottles are quite pricey, ranging from $45 to $58 locally. Working in retail, I kept my barriers up as I know some may be just trying to get a sale. Prior to finding out about the product, if S’well had set up a booth somewhere trying to sell me the bottle, I would’ve just ignored it and kept walking past once I heard or seen the price. But being that the product was being offered in multiple different stores, I turned back to the internet again to check if there was any reviews before I’d take a chance on a $40 broken promise. To my surprise however, there was nothing but more positive reviews. So I decided to take plunge and buy a $45 water bottle. It does what it says it does, and it does it really well. I have left the bottle over night many times, and I swear it’s the same temperature the next morning. Many of times I have left it in direct sunlight outside in +25 degree weather, the outside would be almost too hot to hold but the water inside still ice cold. So what is the point? These enthusiast customers of S’well was so energized about the product, they went and gave positive reviews, this in turn created the buying factor for me and is now giving them another positive review with this blog.

 

So how do we connect with these enthusiast customers? Li & Bernoff (2011) determined three basic techniques that your brand can utilize: (1) tap into customers’ enthusiasm with ratings and reviews, (2) create a community to energize your customers, or (3) participate in an energize online communities of your brand.

 

Five steps for applying the techniques of energizing your organization:

  1. Figure out if you want to energize the groundswell – “Energizing works well for companies with customers who are, or could be, enthusiastic about the company and its products. It’s not for everybody” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 148). Determine if the type of product you are marketing would garner a following, if so, then it is time to consider if you should energize them.
  2. Check the social technographics profile of your customers – As mentioned in my previous blogs, the social technographics profile is so important. You want to see if your customers even use the internet. If they don’t actively use it, then ratings and reviews or even the use of online communities will be redundant.
  3. Ask yourself “What is my customer’s problem?” – Keep in mind that communities don’t arise because of your product. Most times, communities exist because customers have a problem and are looking for a solution. By determining what your customers problem are, you can better decide how to energize them.
  4. Pick a strategy that fits your customer’s’ social technographics profile and problem – “For retailers and other direct sellers, ratings and reviews make sense and have a proven payoff… For other companies, communities make sense. But check first. If your customers already have communities…then it’s best to participate in those communities rather than build your own” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 149).
  5. Don’t start unless you can stick around for the long haul – Communities require constant adjustment to grow and become more rewarding. If you aren’t invested for the long term it may end up causing more harm than good.

 

Until next time,

Jordan

 

Reference

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

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Tapping the groundswell with Twitter

 

Hello again readers!

 

In the book this week was on the topic of Twitter and how you can tap into the groundswell if you decided to use it. Over the past few years, the use of social technology has exploded into a whole new way of keeping connected with others. Thus, the trend to follow was with organizations adopting it as a new channel to connect with its market. Of the many out there, Twitter has become one of the largest, allowing for its users to post short public messages directed at whatever content they wish, while allowing for the message to be shared by whoever may see it. Described as being an “ecosystem of interactions”, it consists of the following elements (some of which are color coordinated to the image above):

 

  • Followers – “A follower is another Twitter account that has followed you to receive your Tweets in their Home timeline.” (Twitter, 2017)

 

  • Hashtags and searches – “A hashtag is any word or phrase immediately preceded by the # symbol. When you click or tap on a hashtag, you’ll see other Tweets containing the same keyword or topic.” (Twitter, 2017)

 

  • Mentions and retweets – “Mentioning other accounts in your Tweet by including the @ sign followed directly by their username is called a “mention.” Also refers to Tweets in which your @username was included. A Tweet that you forward to your followers is known as a Retweet. Often used to pass along news or other valuable discoveries on Twitter, Retweets always retain original attribution.” (Twitter, 2017)

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  • LinksLinks are web addresses in which users can add to tweets to increase the value and power of the message. “You can share an article or anything else on the web along with a note recommending it… These links, videos and photos make twitter far richer than just text updates”. (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 199)

 

  • Lists – “From your own account, you can create a group list of other Twitter accounts by topic or interest (e.g., a list of friends, coworkers, celebrities, athletes). Twitter lists also contain a timeline of Tweets from the specific accounts that were added to the list, offering you a way to follow individual accounts as a group on Twitter.” (Twitter, 2017)

 

  • Apps and tools – There are many apps that associate with Twitter as a result of it content being open to the public. This allowed for the creation of many apps and tools in which allows for twitter content to be analyzed in different ways. One of the examples mentioned by Li and Bernoff (2011) is TweetDeck, a free application for collecting your mentions and searches into columns in a full screen interface to make responding to them easier.

 

Prior to entering the world of Twitter, Li and Bernoff (2011) once again says you should ask yourself the question “what do you want to use it for?”. By participating in Twitter and it’s elements, organizations can use it to help achieve the objectives in their strategy, of which have been described in my previous blogs. With this, the chapter closes with some advice to consider when your business decides to use of Twitter:

 

  • Lock up your handle – If someone else obtains and tweets from your handle (i.e. business name) before you are able to get it, you will most likely be misrepresented and your consumers being subject to imposter information. Luckily to help prevent this Twitter has a “verified account” feature that brands and individuals can use to ensure the handles belong to a real company/person.

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  • Listen first – “Know what people are tweeting about you before you start posting” (Li & Bernoff, 2011 p. 2010)

 

  • Be ready to support people – “Consumers will expect your Twitter handle to support them… You need a procedure to identify tweeters who need help and hand them off to your customer service or technical support group” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 210)

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  • Follow others – To be able to “direct message” people, you must be a follower of that handle. It is also “…a best practice for providing support where people need to share personal information with you” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 210).

 

  • Be ready for a crisis – People will look to your account when something goes wrong. A plan is needed that allows your Twitter handle to act as an information channel for the public when crisis arise, regardless of what your initial objective was for your Twitter account. (Li & Bernoff, 2011)

 

  • Respond, retweet, and link – Respond to people tweeting you; retweet or mention posts that your followers will find interesting; link interesting material on your site as Twitter handles that lack this participation only frustrate your customers. (Li & Bernoff, 2011)

 

  • Staff it – Twitter needs to be in somebody’s job description, whether it’s the “…marketers, PR people, or support people, their job description should allow time in their day for tweeting” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 2011).

 

  • Check legal and regulatory – Since all Tweets are of public speech, are searchable, and can be linked/shared, such statements that are inappropriate to publish are also deemed inappropriate for Twitter. (Li & Bernoff, 2011)

 

  • Having gathered a following, don’t waste it – If your building interest in an account, make sure to create a plan for what to do once you’re finished using it. (Li & Bernoff, 2011)

 

With this information, I would hope I have given you some insight into the online world of Twitter, as well as some guiding points to help make your handle successful.

 

Until next blog,

 

  • Jordan

 

Reference

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

 

Twitter. (2017). Twitter glossary. Retrieved from https://support.twitter.com/articles/166337#

Talking with the groundswell.

Hello again readers,

This week’s reading of the groundswell was on the topic of “talking with the groundswell”. Some of the main points I was able to understand from this chapter was that talking differs from your traditional marketing, aka ‘shouting’ which has been losing its effectiveness as time goes on. The authors briefly explain this marketing funnel theory (shown below) which assumes that consumers will pass though each phase before becoming buyers.

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(Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 101)

 

Opposed to this ‘shouting’, the authors then narrows down four ways to ‘talk’ with the groundswell:

 

  1. Post a viral video – “Put a video online and let people share it” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 103). A prime example of this is when Old Spice decided to post the “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” to YouTube in 2010 which has garnered over 53 million views as a result.
  1. Engage in social networks and user-generated content sites – “Creat[ing] a personality within social networking sites… is one of the simplest ways to expand your brands reach” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 103). However, you must first determine if using social networking is appropriate for your company. Once this has been determined, you can move forward if people love your brand to see what is out there already, and to create your own presence to encourage interaction. For example, Wendy’s Twitter has been known to have hilarious responses to many people, and has warranted significant likes and retweets for it. By utilizing a down-to-earth, and personal voice to “keep it real” on Twitter, the brand is engaging the appropriate target market to garner attention.

wendy's

 

  1. Join the blogosphere – “Empower your executives or staff to write blogs. Integral to this strategy is listening to and responding to other blogs in the blogosphere” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 103). Just as I am using my blog to provide information to you about the groundswell, brands can implement blogging in similar ways. To ensure successful blogging, Li & Bernoff (2011), offer ten suggestions on how to start blogging: (1) Start by listening; (2) Determine a goal for the blog; (3) Estimate the ROI; (4) Develop a plan; (5) Rehearse; (6) Develop an editorial process; (7) Design the blog and its connection to your site; (8) Develop a marketing plan so people can find the blog; (9) Remember, blogging is more than writing; and (10) Final advice: be honest.

 

  1. Create a community – “[C]ommunities are a powerful way to engage with your customers and deliver value to them. They’re also effective at delivering marketing strategies, as long as you listen, not just shout” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 103). So, is your market a community, or could it be one? Using the social technographics profile, you can determine the community readiness, then ask yourself whether your customers really are a community. If they are, do they already communities that have formed? Once you have figured that out, you can ask yourself questions such as: “What are we going to get out of this? How will talking with this community benefit us?” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 123). Lastly, do not continue unless you can support the community for the long term. They may be cheap to create, but require significant support to maintain it. Just like real communities, they need care and feeding – whether it be with new content, redesigns, etc.

 

By utilizing these four techniques, you are well on your way to becoming an expert in talking with your consumers within the groundswell. These techniques incorporate word of mouth extensively, and is such a powerful marketing tool in the groundswell that can stimulate conversation, inevitably increasing your company’s sales if used correctly.

 

As the authors say at the end of chapter, “If we can leave you with one thought about talking with the groundswell it’s this: the conversation will evolve continuously. Even as the technologies change, the basic conversational nature of those technologies will remain central. If you learn to talk, listen, and respond, you’ll master the middle of the funnel” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 126).

 

Until next week,

 

Jordan Fewer

 

References:

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

POST Process

This week in the groundswell we looked at a four-step planning process, known as the POST method, that looks at the people, objective, strategy, and technology aspects of your business to help build your groundswell strategy. The POST method, broken down into each step, is as follows:

  1. People The first step in utilizing the POST method is to look at your people. In this step, you will want to ask the question “What are your customers ready for?” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 67). This is important because to utilize the groundswell effectively you must know your audience and how they engage and interact with the online community. For example, if your audience does not understand or use social media, such as Facebook, it would be pointless to try to engage with them though that channel.

 

  1. Objectives – According to Li & Bernoff (2011), the next step that you will want to take is with asking yourself the question “[w]hat are your goals?”. This is where you would look at whether you want to utilize the groundswell for external purposes (i.e. increase marketing by talking or generate sales by energizing customers), or internal (i.e. help your employees work together more efficiently). This section consists of five specific objectives that you can choose from:
  • Listening – “Use the groundswell for research and to be understand your customers” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 68)
  • Talking – “Use the groundswell to spread messages about your company” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 68)
  • Energizing – “Find your most enthusiastic customers, and use the groundswell to supercharge the power of their word of mouth” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 68)
  • Supporting – “Set up groundswell tools to help your customers support each other” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 69)
  • Embracing – “Integrate your customers into the way your business works, including using their help to design your products” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 69)

 

  1. Strategy – The third part of the POST method addresses your strategy by asking the question “How do you want relationships with your customers to change?” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 68). For example, you can either aim to have the customers help by spreading the word about your company, or you can aim to have these customers be more engaged with the company.

 

  1. Technology – The final aspect of the POST method is technology. This is where the question “What applications should you build?” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 68) is asked and an organization decides on the appropriate technology (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.) to interact with the people, go forth with their strategy, and work towards the organizations objective.

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To put this method into perspective, let’s refer to RBC from some of my previous blogs. Using this, we’ll first look at the people. In terms of the who they target, it can be considered pretty general. Any person old enough to do banking and who chooses to bank at RBC is considered their target market. Looking at the Canadian Social Technographic Profile, the main users are more likely to be spectators at 64 percent, Joiners at 57 percent, and critics and 29 percent. So, when determining who to target, RBC would be best suited to focusing on these key groups.

One of the key objectives that RBC should focus on is talking. Using this, the organization would be able to create stronger two-way communication with their customers to bring awareness to what RBC offers, new marketing campaigns, and to increase customer interest and interaction.

The strategy that RBC should implement will include getting the customers more involved in the organization through conversations about hot topics, future marketing campaigns, changes to certain aspects of the company, etc. This will allow customers to provide insight into what they think, as well as potentially even suggest new ideas for the company to consider.

As for the last step in the process, RBC should be trying to utilize their social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, to the full extent. This will help to increase the communication between the organization and customers allowing the organization to introduce and participate in a variety of conversation topics to help obtain their customers attention, as well as create some polls/surveys to get input on new ideas, how to improve, etc.

 

Until next week,

Jordan Fewer

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Reference:

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

Connecting with the Groundswell to transform your company

Hello again everyone!

Closing this week, along with some rain outside, involved reading about the topic of ‘how connecting with the groundswell transforms your company’. The main point to take home from this chapter is that when an organization begins to engage and embrace ‘groundswell thinking’ along with a social strategy, it tends to create a change within the organization (Li & Bernoff, 2011). As well, it begins to transform the organization’s marketing approach and the way it works with customers, placing the customer in the center of the organization.

To assist with this concept, Li & Bernoff (2011) go into great detail about how two companies, Dell and Unilever, transformed as a result of this kind of thinking. To make groundswell thinking happen, three important elements contribute to a successful transformation:

  • Taking it step by step – A mental shift takes time and practices to allow for the organization to adjust. Changing too many things all at once may lead to change fatigue within the organization.
  • You need a plan and vision – A solid foundation is needed for progression in any organization, thus a vision of where the organization wants to go, and how it will get there must be clear, concise, and reasonable.
  • Executive support – For groundswell thinking to become ingrain into an organization, support for from upper management is vital and necessary to aid in the growth of new ideas.

In addition to the elements mentioned above, the following aspects were presented as being vital to successful transformation within an organization:

  1. Start small – Changes takes time. You only have so much power so pick your battles and aim for having a series of smaller successes that have impact.
  2. Educate your executives – Some may be ignorant, believing it has no purpose. Change this thinking with showing them research. If possible, get them active in the groundswell.
  3. Get the right people to run your strategy – A passion for building customer relationships is vital to successful utilization of the groundswell and the social strategy so you will want people running your strategy that openly engage with the customers.
  4. Get your agency and technology partners in sync – Get them to invest the time and resources to learn the groundswell, if not change agencies.
  5. Plan for the next step and for long term – as with any plan, there must be a vision, you will want to know where the groundswell and your strategy/plan is going to take the company.

(Li & Bernoff, 2011)

Putting these concepts in perspective, many large organizations seem to be embracing and utilizing the benefits of the groundswell more each day. For example, WestJet, and from my previous blogs, the Royal Bank of Canada, use many forms of social media (i.e. RBC’s Twitter, WestJet Twitter) daily to keep closely connected and listen to what the public is saying, maintain a connection with customers, share a variety of information, while even providing an alternative account specifically for question via @AskRBC or hashtags like #OwnersCare.

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Cheers until next week,

Jordan Fewer

References:
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).

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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:

social-technographics-ladder-all-canadians-jan-2010

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.

References:

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 https://marketing4health.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/social-technographics-ladder-all-canadians-jan-2010.jpg