Once again we are reminded how important the people are to the groundswell and the well being of business. This chapter discusses the actual communication between companies, their customers, and of course, the groundswell.
The example of Blentec’s “Will it Blend?” segment is perfect because they took an ordinary household item, and did something extreme with it. This caught the public’s eye as a form of entertainment. The company began interacting and taking suggestions from the public of what to blend next. It is quite amazing how their sales soared 700 percent since the “Will it Blend? series appeared on YouTube (Li & Bernoff, 2011). When I first saw the video of the Blendtec blender crushing the iPhone, I thought to myself, “I wouldn’t have any problems blending my smoothies with this bad boy”. I was tempted to buy one just to see if it really was that good.
Talking vs. Marketing
The authors discuss how many companies advertise [market] their product by shouting, which only works so far. Advertising thrives on repetition by mass measured through reach and frequency (Li & Bernoff, 2011). The marketing funnel shown below outlines how consumers engage through a purchase decision. Shouting- advertising- herds them in the end, but it isn’t nearly as effective as it used to be. By the time they reach the middle of the funnel, shouting hardly works at all (Li & Bernoff, 2011). When consumers are stuck in the middle of the funnel, that’s when talking with them comes into play. Social technologies like blogs discussion forums, and other social networks are outlets for people to ask questions, and write reviews with the hope of a response. Companies that interact (talk not shout) with their target audience are going to be not only successful but create loyal consumers – the best.
Figure 1 (from Li & Bernoff, 2011, p.101)
Techniques for talking with the Groundswell
Proctor and Gamble’s, beinggirl.com, is the perfect example of talking with their audience. They took an awkward topic that teenagers hate thinking about, let alone discussing and created a safe site for them to learn more about their bodies and to realize they are not alone (Li & Bernoff, 2011, pp. 118-120). To help further understand how to properly talk with the groundswell, the text has outlined 4 common and effective strategies to do so.
Techniques for talking with the Groundswell (Li & Bernoff, 2011)
- Post a viral video
- Engage in social networks and user-generated content sites
- Join the blogosphere
- Create community
With all of the above points, how could you go wrong? By no means is it easy to interact with the groundswell. It’s time consuming and you must always have a response for the good and the bad. People respect when companies can admit to a mistake and communicate their solution to fix it. With everything, there are going to be ups and downs to a business, but talking with your people helps tremendously.
Blendtec. (2013). Will it Blend? . Retrieved July 2017, from http://www.willitblend.com
Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, Massachusetts, USA: Harvard Business School Publishing .
Proctor & Gamble . (2017). BeingGirl. Retrieved from http://www.beinggirl.com/country-selector/