Listening to the Groundswell

“To begin with, you won’t hear from everybody; you’ll only hear from people willing to talk. So listening to the groundswell comes with a huge caveat-you’ll gain new insights, but don’t assume that the people you hear from are representative” (Li & Bernoff, 2011).

The focus of chapter 5 is centralized around the idea of listening to customers and the potential advantages and disadvantages.The importance of brand is also emphasized, showcasing how this concept is ultimately up to your customers and how they define it. The whole concept of listening is labeled as market research. This is a strategic way of mapping trends to find out what is most appealing to your audience. Although costly, methods such as surveys, allows you to hear thousands of consumers for different amounts of time. Finally, focus groups allow natural responses to come about as a group of individuals are given whatever is thrown at them. This serves useful to give honest opinions and to listen to negative and positive responses. 

 Two listening strategies that prove to be vital include:

  • Setting up your own private community 
    • Similar to a continuously running focus group, openly available for listening
  • Begin brand monitoring
    • Summary reports from companies that listen to blogs, discussions forums, Twitter, etc.



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Whether choosing a private company or brand monitoring, there are six reasons the Groundswell gives proving why listening is seen as the most essential neglected skill:

  1. Find out what your brand stands for
  2. Understand how buzz is shifting
  3. Save research money;increase research responsivenss
  4. Find the sources of influence in your market
  5. Manage PR crisis
  6. Generate new product and marketing ideas

Given all the tools and resources available, noticeable changes are likely to begin in a given organization. It will impact how decisions are made, create instant availability of information, and creates a two way conversation of listening to the groundswell and then reiterating this through traditional media. “Your job becomes to communicate what you’ve learn – to turned insight into change” (Li & Bernoff, 2011). In the context of the Human Resource Management, this quote heavily aligns with the industry as a whole. The ideology of listening and communicating back to team members serves as a tactic to reach organizational goals. As the HR team works closely with management, listening to consumers feedback (negative and feedback) in a variety of methods can fully engage an organization to a successful platform.

Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, MA, United States of America: Harvard Business Review Press.



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