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.


(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.



  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



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