The groundswell isn’t new. How you engage in it and what can your company gain from it is. Many fear the unknown. Stepping away from the tried and tested normal marketing strategies is hard. They are proven, they make money, and the most important aspect of them is that the executives understand them.
Groundswell is not something that all executives know or understand. It can be scary! You have to give up control of parts of your brand and image. For companies that have spent millions to build this and protect it, the thought of giving up even a fraction of control is lunacy. But to those brave few that have taken the groundswell at face value and really embraced have proven it’s not so scary. In chapter 11 we learned about Dell and Unilever (Bernoff & Li, 2011). Unilever had a proactive approach and strategic plans to embrace groundswell and have it act as a change agent for them (Bernoff & Li, 2011). They benefitted greatly and their Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty reached customers in a new and exciting way utilizing one of the groundswell technologies, YouTube (Bernoff & Li, 2011).
On the other hand we had a cautionary tale of Dell. They did not have a plan or proactive approach. Theirs was a reactive one. While they may have taken longer to get engaged, they did so with humility and honesty about the current state of customer feedback (Bernoff & Li, 2011). This leap into the groundswell was rewarded by customers; finally feeling their voice is being heard.
So how can you transform your company? What’s a blog post without a few simple steps!
- Start Small – it’s going to take time, so take small steps and focus your fight where it’s needed.
- Get the executives on board – this may take some time, you’re going to need to prove why they need to embrace this. They will need to see the benefits, and probably more than once. So have patience and be consistent.
- Build a team – ensure that you have the right people at the helm of your groundswell and make sure any business partners are on board as well.
- Have a plan – make sure you know where you want to go and what you want to do. If you’re going to start blogging, plan your topics out. Have a flow to them. Listen to the feedback to help build new topics. Be consistent in your posting and responding to comments. (Bernoff & Li, 2011)
By engaging in groundswell you can shift your company from reactive to proactive. You can be responding to your customers in real-time and mitigate potential issues before they get blown out of proportion.
Bernoff, J., & Li, C. (2011). groundswell. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press.