Energizing the Groundswell

The third level of groundswell thinking refers to energizing. 

The first example given in this chapter refers to a company called eBags, an online store that sold a customer a laptop bag. After the customer faced failure from a key zipper on his bag, eBags had replaced it the next day. Energizing was done by listening to the review the customer had left on their website, contacted him, and then focused on improving the design so this would not happen again. eBags had found an enthusiast customer and turned him into a word of mouth customer who now relays his experience with his bag to whomever is the lucky guest that sits next to him on a plane.

eBags was able to attain his : attention√ loyalty√ and word of mouth

“Energizing the base is a powerful way to use the groundswell to boost your business” (Li & Bernoff, 2011).

Word of mouth proves effective as it is more believable as the idea stems from a real customer. Moreover, hearing it from more than one person allows it to be self-reinforcing. This idea ties in with how it is self-spreading, meaning word of mouth will create more word of mouth when a product is worth using.


image retrieved from: https://www.getambassador.com/blog/why-referral-marketing-keeps-word-of-mouth-positive-and-effective

In order to truly connect with your passionate and enthusiastic customers and make it easy for them to spread the word about your product, there are 3 techniques: 

  • Ratings & Reviews
  • Create a Community
  • Participate & energize in online communities

The idea or ratings and reviews hold many benefits to it. Based on ratings, it is easier to find the ROI of ratings and reviews at a site. Even though negative reviews may scare off a company, they are what make the positive reviews even more believable as most people tend to leave positive reviews. Reviews also help with suppliers as they are able to tell what is selling and what is not. As well, the company is able to rectify any problems that happen when they see a bad review.

“About 96% of customers use online reviews to help them make a purchase” (Li & Bernoff, 2011)

The most obvious example  I can think of a company using reviews is Amazon. They have the most efficient ratings and reviews section in my opinion due to the fact that you are able to quickly look at the products rating in a average rating out of 5, or go more in detail. For a customer who is just browsing and wants a general idea, this is effective and gives the option to look more in depth afterwards by actually being able to read these reviews. For example:


image retrieved from: https://econsultancy.com/blog/9366-ecommerce-consumer-reviews-why-you-need-them-and-how-to-use-them/

There are 5 steps for applying the techniques of energizing to any organizations:

  1. Figure out if you want to energize the groundswell – this approach does not work for everyone as you need to ensure your customers are enthusiastic about your products; you cannot assume they want to.
  2. Check the social technographics of your customers – check how active your customers are in participating in the groundswell.
  3. “What’s my customers problem?” – relating back to eBags, the problem by stem from travelling in general, not just luggages.
  4. Pick a strategy that fits your customers’ social technographics profile and problems – utilizing ratings, reviews, critics, or communities are all dependant on your audience.
  5. Don’t start unless you can stick around for the long haul – Creating a community is a commitment that requires a long term perspective. Constant adjustments allows your company to grow and makes it more rewarding.

Overall, although energizing is a risky move that requires an organization to truly examine its customer base, the payoffs it can provide can really benefit an organization. By measuring the different dynamics of all your customers, this approach requires finding out what works best for your company. To relate this to the HR industry, almost any function can benefit from energizing. It is a good tool to solicit feedback as to what is working and what isn’t. From this, you are able to make changes that suit your customers needs and relay this information back to your team. For example, when the HR team is conducting exit interviews, they are energizing their staff by asking what they thought of the company and what they can improve on. By listening to stakeholders and utilizing word of mouth techniques, the HR team can figure out solutions that suit the needs of their clientele and can continuously mold this as they adapt to needs.

References: Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press


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