Chapter 12: The Groundswell Inside your Company

Hello again my fellow readers and bloggers, I hope you all had an amazing long weekend!

This week’s blog focuses on how the groundswell works within your company. We are directed, yet again, back to the 5 objectives noted in Chapter 4 necessary for the groundswell to pursue in an organization; talking, listening, energizing, supporting and embracing.


From my own personal experience of working at Earls for the past 3 years, I have grown appreciation for their efforts to gather all their employees in one place MyEarls is accessible to all employees and is the main learning tool, and communication tool for the company. MyEarls has different components to it. There is a library full of all the marketing assets, different courses for bartenders, servers and managers to learn from, and a community forum called The Dish.

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 8.38.06 PM

Figure 1 (MyEarls webpage, August 2017)

The Dish is my favourite aspect of Earls as it is used for many different purposes, all with the goal of creating a cohesive community within all the Earls locations across North America. Job postings, promotions and a weekly news update are posted onto The Dish, all with a comment section to comment and congratulate one another. In the textbook it states that what you need to nurture the groundswell power of your employees is to promote a listening culture from the top down, ease and encourage participation with incentives and find and empower the rebels in your organization (Li & Bernoff, 2011, pp. 244-245), and I would say Earls does just that. The President of Earls, Mo Jessa, is present on the site, as well as General Managers and Head Chefs posting promotions, job openings, and pre-shift focuses for the week. “It’s all about relationships, not technology” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 244).


In a company, you are only as good as the people who work for you. “You want your employees to be personally invest and have a sense of accountability” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 244). By giving your people a platform where they feel empowered to post new ideas, like ID-ah! by Bell Canada, it allows the company to hear what their people want, and will fix common problems at the same time. Earls has been through some controversial times, the most recent being their “Albert Beef” uproar. MyEarls was available to staff to post the crazy conflicts they were facing, for head office to post updates and changes they were making, how to deal with questions and angry guests and much more. The site was the main hub for head office to listen to concerns, talk about what they are going to do to change the problem while energizing the staff to stay positive and embrace the positive impact they would be apart of once the conflict would blow over. A fun fact for you all is that through out the chaos, no major partners left the company. As crazy and overwhelming things got, Earls employees stuck together and overcame the issue.


I hope by reading this blog, you are encouraged and excited to find new innovative yet simple ways to interact with your company groundswell. Your co-workers are just as important as your clients, so it is beyond important to take good care of them.








CBC News. (2016, April 28). Earls switch to U.S. meat ‘a slap in the face,’ Alberta Beef Producers boss says. Retrieved from CBC News :

Earls Kitchen and Bar. (n.d.). Retrieved August 2017, from MyEarls:

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


Chapter 7: Energizing the Groundswell

This chapter was very interesting and a good read, as it was very relatable and easy to understand. The first thing to distinguish with the groundswell is what is energizing? (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 130)

  • It’s believable
  • Its self-reinforcing
  • Its self spreading

These are the things that I personally listen for when deciding to buy a product/service after a marketing message, either from a person or from the company itself. Since the groundswell is so honest in the first place, the next thing I look for is whether it’s believable and I can understand why it’s been self-spreading.

The next thing to look for with enthusiasts amplifying your product, are how they can connect with the community.

3 basic techniques for connecting with your enthusiasts:

  1. Tap into customers enthusiasm with ratings and reviews
  2. Create a community to energize your customers
  3. Participate in and energize online communities of your brand enthusiasts

(Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 134)

With these simple techniques in mind, it’s fun to energize the groundswell and get products off the ground. With companies small and large, but especially small, it’s very important to stay within the law. It’s easy to get off target and potentially break some of the anti-spam laws in place. Marketing e-mails can work, but as soon as you cross the line with it, you’re considered spam, and nobody likes that making your messages automatically trash.

5 Steps for applying the techniques of energizing your own organization:

  1. Figure out if you want to energize the groundswell
  2. Check the social technographics profile of your customers
  3. Ask yourself, “What is my customer’s problem?”
  4. Pick a strategy that fits your customers social technographics profile and problems
  5. Don’t start unless you can stick around for the long haul

(Li & Bernoff, 2011, pp. 148-149)


Event Planning

When it comes to my business of event planning, the groundswell naturally emerges with comments, reviews and ratings online. When it comes to big events such as weddings, the clients naturally are so immersed with their family and friends that the little things that may or may not have gone wrong get lost in translation. When it comes time to look back on their big day, they are still buzzing with energy on how well their day went, but because we are only human there may be one or two things that could be have been executed better. With those things highlighted, we are able to grow off that and improve those imperfections for our next client.

Clients and guests of our events buzz with excitement to their collogues about how great the party was next week, and the common question from the people they are raving to is… “Who did they hire to plan everything?” … -“B Entertaining”… BOOM, our name is out there, and the word-of-mouth cycle begins. Those people who attended, heard stories or just spectators online are going to look us up and they will be able to not only read the reviews, but begin to search our services and fees, and begin to plan their own event. Our service alone of planning partied energizes all the guests and creates an atmosphere that leaves them talking about our service to their friends and family after the big event is finished. “Word of mouth is the most honest form of marketing, building upon people’s natural desire to share their experiences with family, friends, and colleagues. It can’t be faked” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 131).







Federal Trade Commission. (2017, March). CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business . Retrieved from Federal Trade Commission Protecting America’s Consumers :

Government of Canada. (2017, June). Canada’s Law on Spam and other Electronic Threats. Retrieved from Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation:

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

Chapter 10: Tapping the Groundswell with Twitter

“Twitter may well be among the simplest, most powerful social tools you can use” (Li & Bernoff, 2011).
Twitter consists of:
– Followers
– Hashtags and searches
– Mentions and retweets
– Links
– Lists
– Apps and tools

Online adults, the most influential group of people, came out in 2010 as only being 7% of the active tweeters. From the table on page 201, we can assume that those who actively use twitter, tweet and read, have an education and are somewhat successful because of their higher income compared to the average American. Telling from that graph, Twitter is used lots in the business world. “Tweeters make more money, are more optimistic about technology, and are better educated than other people online (Li & Bernoff, 2011).Screen Shot 2017-07-24 at 11.27.12 AMFigure 1 (from Li & Bernoff, 2011)

Hospitality with Twitter
In the hospitality world people often tweet about their experiences at a certain venue, or company’s party, it in a simple 140 character praise. This social interaction not only with the venues, and different businesses involved, but as well as the tweeter’s personal followers can really leverage a company and gain word of mouth motion. A simple mention or link, leads your followers to that page for them to explore and hopefully book. The use of #hashtags are awesome for events, such as weddings and conferences, to connect all the guests together. With the simple search of a hashtag, you can view many different tweets about the same event you attended or are interested in. The hashtag and following aspect of twitter really separates itself from other sites, like Facebook. These tools are known to Twitter and can make a users/business following ratio expand significantly. The groundswell uses twitter to its advantage by creating trending hashtags, and retweeting things that appeal to them.

From the textbook we can take away these 9 simple lessons of how to properly execute your Twitter profile (Li & Bernoff, 2011).
Twitter Lessons:
1. Lock up your handle
2. Listen first
3. Be ready to support people
4. Follow others
5. Be ready for a crisis
6. Respond, retweet, link
7. Staff it
8. Check with legal and regulatory staff
9. Having gathered a following, don’t waste it

Feel free to follow me @bronaghsmyth for tweets related to event planning, travel, sports and the odd meme or joke.




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

Chapter 8: Helping the Groundswell Support Itself

When it comes to the Internet, we all know it’s a trap. One minute we are looking at our friends graduation photos, and the next we end up on her brother’s, fiancées cousin’s page. Awkward. Groundswell conversations are the worst to get trapped in. Ever looked up your symptoms, and found out you’re dying? -Yah, same. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, the groundswell can super helpful and supportive. 3 examples that pop out from this chapter begin with the site called Carepages that gives friends and family the comfort and the space to those stuck in hospitals. How the groundswell reacts with the media, and the Yahoo! Answers page example.



With Carepages, it allows people who are stuck within the boring, claustrophobic walls of hospitals the space and relaxation they need to recover without constantly repeating their health status to their loved ones. The site gives access to those dearest to the family, and alerts them personally on their devices when an update has been posted. This site allows the private groundswell to support one another when times are hardest. Such a simple forum to post sympathy messages and updates about patients can mean so much to the groundswell. This type of support that rises from the groundswell can help people get through day by day.

Groundswell and the media

With the media, we see a different type of support from the groundswell. An example that comes to mind with this is when the ABC show Nashville, was cancelled and an uproar from its fans erupted social media platforms. The hashtag, #BringBackNashville, soon became a trending hit worldwide. A petition also began on to get the attention of several television providers to take on the show. It got so much attention from not just the fans, but from the stars of the show as well, that CMT decided to pick up the trending show. Below shows a tweet sent by two of the main stars, hoping for someone to save their show as well. The groundswell won the petition and got their show back, and the stars got their job back. Win-win.

Screen Shot 2017-07-14 at 3.01.53 PMFigure 1 (from Lennon and Maisy, 2016)

Yahoo! Answers

Yahoo! Answers, has helped me out many times. I frequently have issues with my laptop, and I’ve typed in “how to fix ____”, several times, and more times than not the answer that helps me the most comes from someone on the Yahoo! Forum. It’s a simple forum that allows people who need help to get it from those that happen to know the solution, while saving customer service money, on what ever product company it is. By having a place to go to that doesn’t involve long telephone waits, and a language barrier, and then a solution that doesn’t end up working after you hang up, keeps the groundswell much more happy.

Event Planning

When it comes to an event planning company, the best type of support would be a community type forum where people can post their party details, their thoughts, and maybe even rate the overall experience. By having this type of forum, people can agree with other peoples opinion, or disagree, and when the groundswell reads everyone’s submissions, they would be able to have a general sense of the company they are considering to hire. I personally always look at the reviews of different companies I am about to hire, and I’d assume most of the population would do the same. There are many ways to communicate with the groundswell. When deciding on choosing a community based forum there are 5 points to keep in mind (Li & Bernoff, 2011).

  1. Start small, but plan for a larger presence
  2. Reach out to your most active customers
  3. Plan to drive traffic to your community
  4. Build in a reputation system
  5. Let your customers lead you

With these tools in mind, the groundswell can support and move your company to full potential.







CarePages. (2017, July). Retrieved from

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

Maisy, L. &. (2016). Twitter. Retrieved July 2017, from

Nelson, M. (2016). Retrieved July 2017, from Renew Nashville for Season 5:

Yahoo! Answers. (2017, July). Retrieved from

Chapter 6: Talking with the Groundswell

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,, 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)

  1. Post a viral video
  2. Engage in social networks and user-generated content sites
  3. Join the blogosphere
  4. 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

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

Chapter 4: Strategies for Tapping the Groundswell

Like anything these days, technology plays a big role in how we interact but at the end of the day, the people should be the core of how your business runs. Without human relations there is nothing, literally. This chapter focuses a lot on the 4 main strategies working as the foundation of groundswell thinking (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 67).





Above are the 4 binding ingredients that a company must keep in mind when working with the groundswell. Within the objectives scenario 5 additional points are needed to define the objective’s direction. Listening, talking, energizing, supporting and embracing are the ones mentioned in the book (Li & Bernoff, 2011). In an industry like event planning I think that being able to market your stuff through energizing others to speak out it is a sign of a successful company. By having your clients be able to hype up your work to others says a lot, and word of mouth referrals creates a loyal based clientele. In turn, listening to what the groundswell is saying about you is important to do so you can learn what to improve upon and what to continue doing. The groundswell can act as an important tool both to discover content and to create content.

Companies like The Wedding Club have created an app called The Knott (the wedding club). This app is interactive in the sense that consumers create an account and can plan their dream wedding from A to B. The companuy is availble to chat and assit when needed creating a community within. Users are also able to write different reviews about both the app itslef and then the third party vendors as well. The people behind the scenes can read the reviews people are writing- listen to the groundswell- and continue their efforts from there.

I personally am not in the stage of planning a wedding by any means, but my interest to plan weddings and be apart of that cutlture and had me check out the app. The app is very clean and organized. There are a lot of different things to choose from , but the app is deffinetly centralized around the states and the large canadian cities and not many options are available in the edmonton region yet. Apps like these though are very useful and can be good insight for planners that want to know what theit people are interested in.

With Canada Day around the corner event planners all over must be careful in dedicating the proper assets, listening to what the public wants, supporting their ideas, and energizing their friends to come to which ever event they are at currently. That’s all for now, happy Canada Day! Be patriotic and drink  caesar.






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

The Wedding Club . (n.d.). The Knott. Retrieved June 2017, from

Chapter 11: How Connecting with the Groundswell Transforms Your Company

Another Sunday … another blog.

When asking for help, the most important thing you can do when someone tries to assist you, is listen to what they are saying. People’s in-put matter. Not everyone is going to be right, but you can bounce off different ideas, much like what Dove did after the Apprentice (Li & Bernoff, 2011).

In this chapter, how connecting with the groundswell transforms your company, we learn three simple steps to transforming your company. First, you must progress step by step, and with one idea at a time. Rushing several ideas at once, will only end up in failure, and could possibly dig a deeper hole for your business. Second, each stepping- stone leads naturally to the next step (Li & Bernoff, 2011). Thirdly, you have to have executive support (Li & Bernoff, 2011). Like any expansion or development within a company, the executives must support you and to give you advice, or compliments along the way. These 3 steps are important because from the examples in the book of Dell and Unilever tell the consequences of following them.

In my past and present experience of working in a restaurant as the marketing coordinator, I have all these amazing marketing ideas, but the company’s budget is very tight, so my range of ideas gets cut pretty short. This can get very frustrating because my managers are always expecting and nagging me to do cool and exciting things for the store, but head office is constantly saying “no” to my ideas when I come up with them. This example of frustration illustrates the importance of having the support of executives. You can have many amazing ideas, but unless the top dogs approve of it, it won’t work.

Another thing I have learnt from my role as the restaurant Marketing Manager is the importance of listening to the public. By having a fully functioning Instagram account, it allows me to view what people like to share, what their favourite items are, that are “post worthy”, and the occasions they like to celebrate. By listening to what they like, and don’t like, it allows me to communicate it down to improve the overall functionality of the company. Listening to what your people are saying gives you the best insight for success and can lure you away from making mistakes after hearing their input.







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