Listening to the Groundswell





The topic for this week is on listening to the groundswell. This is where companies use the technologies online to create value and further improve offerings by listening what the customers or the users online are saying. Corporations are investing millions of dollars in market research to satisfy not just the customers but also all of the other stakeholders. Nielsen and IMS Health are some of the market research companies that helps identify the discussions online about a certain product. For example, discussion forums that review the pros and cons of the product features, or comments and ratings of a travel agency on the TripAdvisor. This research produces a significant amount of information that companies are willing to pay millions of dollars.

Image Source: Google

Ricardo Guimarães, the founder of the Thymus Branding, states that “The value of a brand belongs to the market, and not to the company” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p.79). It is an interesting statement that values the opinions, the comments, and views of the public about the company. Any reviews of the customers will have an effect on the brand name. That is why businesses have to tap into the technologies online and do a market research to understand how they will create value to gain competitive advantage. There are two listening strategies. First, corporations can set up their private community. It is a natural interaction with a setting where the company can listen in and contains large focus groups (Li & Bernoff, 2011). Communispace is one of the vendors of a private community that generates insights for their clients. Second, begin brand monitoring. This is where companies or businesses hire a company to do the research and listening on behalf of them. Either one of the strategies will provide companies the information they needed to produce value.

Six Reasons to start listening to the groundswell

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

Adobe’s Customer Listening Post and Customer Immersion Program is an excellent example of how the listening to the comments, reviews, opinions, or views on the internet impact the brand of their company. Below is a short video that explains their program.

Source: YouTube


Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff mentions few things that are most likely to change:

  1. Change the power structure of the organization
  2. Instant availability of information from customers can be addictive
  3. The no-more-being-stupid factor



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


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