The way I understand talking with the groundswell is by going through the four techniques for talking with the groundswell and giving examples;
1. Viral videos- post a video online and let people share it. For example, George Wright the marketing director for Blendtec has cracked the code in his own unique way for talking to the groundswell. He created a customer brand through a video camera and a few dollars for materials. The video starred the CEO, Tom Dickson placing an iPhone into the blender and in less than a minute it turned to dust, he called it “iSmoke”. This video went viral on YouTube scoring 6 million views in the first week because Blendtec’s web expert posted the link on Diggs.com after setting up the video on Blendtec’s site (Li & Bernoff, 2011). These lead consumers to their website http://www.willitblend.com to form further relationships with customers.
2. Social networks-engage in social networks and user-generated content sites. Creating a personality within the social networking site is the simplest way to brand your product but it’s harder to get into a conversation. The key to succeeding in social networking is to help people spread your message and to measure the result. For example, Adidas and its agencies Isobar and Carat invited consumers to choose between two philosophies of soccer and two types of shoes when visitors went to their web page http://www.myspace.com/adidassoccer.com. The site is filled with opportunities to engage with visitors. Engaging paid off because the campaign for MySpace and Carat in a 2007 report called the “Never Ending Friending”-every $100,000 spent in advertising drove 26,000 people to become more likely to buy, based on their exposure to Adidas’s MySpace page. The consumer to consumer marketing is the effect that makes talking through social networks so powerful (Li & Bernoff, 2011).
Branding on social networks is not for everyone; this is only one way to reach customers. Here is some advice when considering; use the social technographics profile to see if potential customers are in social networks. Age matters because some will already be involved in networks; move forward if people love your brand. For example, Victoria Secret etc. have loyal followers who will friend them; see what’s out there already. Some people might have a fan page (not by the company) or networks setup before the company gets involved. For example, Mountain Dew addicts group on MySpace had almost 5,000 members; or create a presence that encourages interaction. Your fans want to engage with you on your Facebook page, what will you put on your page? How will this help spread the message of you brand? Having staff to responsible for programming will help because they can build the webpage up and get potential customers involved.
3. Blogs-join the blogosphere. Blogging is another way to talk to groundswell if you’re ready to make a longer term commitment to you customers. Encourage your executives and staff to write blogs because they are perfect candidates to talk about it, they are knowledgeable. For example, Vince Ferraro, an HP vice president who heads worldwide marketing for HP’s LaserJet printers started a blog on how to solve a problem customers were having with their product Vista LaserJet. This opened up communication because customers were able to comment and ask questions about the product. Ferraro responded to the customers with more details on his blog and by starting other blogs. HP now has over 80 executive blogs, on topics from storage and mobility to small businesses (Li & Bernoff, 2011).
4. Communities-create a community. This is a way to engage and deliver value to your customers. For example, Procter & Gamble found a unique way to use communities to talk to a very challenging collection of customers. Bob Arnold is part of the feminine care products to young girls at P&G and he and the team needed to find a way to speak to their customers because traditional advertising was not working. They came up with a website called beinggirl.com to solve girls’ problems instead of marketing to them. This is a community about everything that young girls deal with (Li & Bernoff, 2011).
Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). groundswell. Boston, Massachusetts: Forrester Research Inc.