Support the groundswell; create a community

Do you have the desire for psychic income. Or do you even know what it is? I sure did not before reading chapter 8 of the book Groundswell. But the desire for this is vast; the way the authors use is it, they are pretty much saying people want to help others out of the goodness of their own heart. For the feeling belonging to a community. People want to help each other and people trust other people over companies. So how do companies soak up this desire for psychic income?

In a previous blog post I brought up the POST method, for why companies should be joining the groundswell. The O, stood for objectives; this is where a business picks their reason for entering the groundswell. They laid out five types of objectives, one of which was supporting (Li & Bernoff, 2011).

“The purpose is to create a supportive environment for customers to support one another, rather than just the company itself”

There are three aspects that need to be examined when trying the help the groundswell support itself.

  1. What problem you will solve with this support activity: Why will people participate?
  2. How will you participate in it: Support needs activity. Li and Bernoff said that, “activity creates content, which drives traffic and links” (2011).
  3. Create or join: Is there an existing community or do you need to create your own?

When needing to create your own community for support, Li and Bernoff offered up some suggestions:

  • Start small, but plan for a larger presence
  • Reach out to your most active customers
  • Plan to drive traffic to your community
  • Build a reputation system
  • let your customers lead you


Sephora created their own online community called Beauty Talk. It is a specific branch of their website that allowed customers to exchange tips, discuss products and give reviews and feedback between themselves. Sephora experts aka employees also offer up tips and tricks, as well as post how to tutorials. From personal experience, this page has saved me from buying products and has lured me into buying products. Being able to review products before spending that kind of money for makeup really allowed for me to feel connected to the brand a bit more.


Starbucks created an online community called My Starbucks Idea. This allows customers to share ideas, see other people’s idea and discuss ideas regarding what they want to see at Starbucks. Starbucks has added their customers in their development process.

Having this support, connects customers and connects customers with the brand. It does more than save companies money in terms of spending only thousands instead of millions helping customers yourself. It generates value and trust, which turns into profits (Li & Bernoff, 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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