How Connecting with Groundswell can Transform a Company.


For my blog this week, I would like to talk about how groundswell can transform a company, and I would also give advise on how to properly engage and connect with your customers using groundswell. According to Li and Bernoff (2011), transforming a company takes time and requires incremental changes to allow people to adjust. They also gave three essential elements for this transformation:

  1. Take small step at a time that have a big impact. “A mental shift takes time and practice and requires building a repertoire of shared successes” (p. 217
  2. Have a vision and a plan. Having a vision and a plan can keep the company through rough phases. It gives you something to focus on.
  3.  Build leaders into the plan. Have senior executives to support your plan in order for it to move forward and be implemented.

Bernoff and Li, in their book, gave two case studies about two companies that transformed their companies through groundswell. In this blog, I would be focusing more on Dell.

Dell is a tech company that manufactures and sell products such as laptop, desktops, and software. Dell have an in-home service where  technician can come to customers home to fix their Dell products. Unfortunately, this program was unsuccessful due to the high complaints that consumer has about the service. When Dell realized that people have been complaining in the internet, Dell decided to hire people to read blogs online to see what consumers did and did not like.Dell listened to groundswell and started acting based on what they heard. By doing this, they were able to transform how customers viewed them.

Implementing and listening goes hand in hand. Dell used feedback from customers to provide service that will ultimately add value to their brand. Bernoff and Li (2012) provided 5 steps to prepare an organization for a transformation:

  1. Start Small – Changes will take time, and you only have limited power so choose your battles wisely.
  2. Educate Your Executives – Paint the picture, use research to persuade senior executives that what you are suggesting is proven, and will ultimately transform the company for the good.
  3. Get the right people to run your strategy –Do not pick someone because they are a senior executive, or because they have the time to do it. Pick some one who is passionate about the customers.
  4. Get your partners in sync – Get your partners to invest time and resources to technology. If they don’t, let them go.  They might be slowing you down.
  5. Planning for the next step and for the long term –  Always check your progress to see that whatever you are doing is going somewhere. The purpose of a transformation is to keep a long-term success.


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



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