Tap into the Groundswell

Chapter four of the novel Groundswell brings up a point that businesses and people face daily: that when it comes to groundswell companies know they have to be there but they do not know why they do. In order to answer that why, companies can apply a four step planning process called the POST method; this method allows you to start your plan and is the foundation of groundswell. Here is a introduction of the POST method:

P.O.S.T stands for: People, Objectives, Strategy and Technology 

People: Here is where businesses need to answer “what are your customers ready for?” It is key to asses how your customers or potential customers will engage with your groundswell. This section of the process sets out who your target market is and who you would appeal too. In order to accomplish this step, the social technographics profile needs to be applied.

Objectives: Here is where businesses need to answer “what are your goals?” If you have clear or cloudy objectives, it will make or break the strategy. The most important aspect is to have a specific goal when entering the groundswell. Bernoff and Li stated that here is where a business picks their reason for entering the groundswell. They laid out five types of objectives:

  • Listening: using the groundswell to better understand your customers by doing research, customer insights purposes.
  • Talking: using the groundswell to spread certain messages to customers about your own company, marketing and controlling the message of your firm is the purpose with the help of two way conversations rather than just one way.
  • Energizing: using the groundswell to get your most positive customers to support your company by word of mouth, selling by customers selling to each other is the purpose.
  • Supporting: using the groundswell to support your customers with tools to help other customers, the purpose here is to create a supportive environment for customers for each other.
  • Embracing: using the groundswell to integrate your customers into your business processes, this can be done by implementing their suggestions into product design or services.

Strategy: Here is where businesses answer “how do you want relationships with your customers to change? Do you want them to become more engaged?” Planning for changes in the future and being able to measure strategy will be easier to do when these questions are answered. Bernoff and Li have suggestions in regards to strategy, no matter what objectives a business is following:

  • Create a plan that is realistic in size but also has room to grow in the future: do not jump into a full scale operation right away, start small and grow.
  • Think of the negatives of the potential strategy: think about the changes it will bring.
  • Put someone of importance in charge of the strategy: the responsibility of this should be a duty of a high member of the business.
  • Be careful in deciding your technology: choose agency partners carefully to ensure they represent you in a way that reflects your strategy.

Technology: Here is where businesses answer: “what applications should you build?” Need to decide what technologies will best represent your company and reflect your customers, objectives and strategy.

Groundswell is an unstoppable force, POST method can help decide why groundswell is right for your company. “There is no one right way to engage with groundswell” just that it is important to do so in order to move forward (Bernoff & Li, 2011).

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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