Listening to the Groundswell.




In this week’s blog, I would like to share a little tip on how to listen to what people are saying about your brand!

Some marketers spend millions or even hundreds of millions, of dollars on advertising alone. They put a lot of emphasis on making the brand well known, some even say that the brand are theirs. According to Li and Bernoff (2011), this is all bs. “Your brand is whatever your customer say it is. And in the groundswell where they communicate with each other, they decide” (p. 78).

To reiterate, the brand does not belong to the company. It belongs to the consumers. Sounds weird, right? Here is one explanation I found: Guimaraes stated (as cited in Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 79), “The value of the brand belongs to the market, and not to the company. The company in this sense is a tool to create value for the brand… Brand in the sense – it lives outside the company, not in the company.”

To get on with the topic. You are probably wondering on what do I mean by listening.

To some companies, listening means doing a very costly market research. Market research is very good at finding answers to a specific set of questions because it’s very easy to put together a focus group, do a survey, and get some answers. A downside to this is that you only get a specific answer to a very generalize question. eg. “how well is our product selling? You know those types of questions, there is really no insight into it.

“Market research…is just not so effective at generating insights” (p. 79). This is where groundswell comes in. Consumers who are involved in the groundswell are doing all the talking. They are constantly blogging about their experience, they’re discussing on forums, and they’re rating product and services. All you really have to do is listen. Before you start listening, let me give you a little bit of warning.

1. Since only a select handful of people are blogging, do not assume that they represent the majority.

2. There is so much information on the web, and it’s very hard to track which one really gives insights.

Lucky you, who stumbled upon this blog because I would be giving away two strategies on how to solve this problem. Here are they:

  1. Set up a private community – A community allows people to share their experiences about a certain product or service where no other market research could. A community is made up of many consumers; therefore, each one could relate to each other making it easier to share to each other. “A private community is like a continuously running, huge, engaged focus group – a natural integration in a setting where you can listen in” (p. 82).
  2. Begin brand monitoring – Hire a company to listen for you. In this way you’ll save time on looking for internet blogs, twitter, forums, etc…

If you listen very carefully to what consumers are saying about your brand, then, you would be able to have a better idea on what your customer wants and needs. Ultimately, this will lead you to have a competitive advantage among your competitors.

One last tip, listening is good but acting on what you heard is the way to go.

Oh. You think setting up a private community, and hiring a third party company is expensive? Here is an interesting YouTube video I found that shows the cost of not listening:



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



Social Technographic Profile


For my blog this week, I would like to talk about the importance of using social technographic profile. According to Bernoff and Li (2011), social technographic profile are tools that allow “people in business to examine and then create strategies based on the groundswell tendencies of any group of people, anywhere” (p. 41). It is a way to group people based on activities they participate in, and it helps businesses to segregate potential customers into groupings.

The figure below classifies consumers according to their involvement, and their level of participation in the groundswell:



We can use this ladder and apply it to different variables using the free Forester Social Technographic Tool. For example, on figure 3.1 below, 26% of Canadian men from 25-34 years old are Creators; 43% are critics; 27% are collectors, and so on. Playing around with the Forester tool, I noticed that among the groups, Spectators has the highest percentage no matter what profile I choose. I believe this is because it does not take much to just browse around the web than to create something – think of how many people, and how many hours they spent from scrolling down Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc..

We can also use this tool to examine how each groups are represented;therefore, making it easier for the firm’s marketing department to figure out a way that would appeal to each group.

Figure 3.1


Using a medium-market accounting firm, for example. Individuals and business owners who are looking for financial services are the key target market of these accounting firms. The age range could be as low as 18 years old to as high as 80 years old. Since there is a wide gap on the age range, I would use the median which is 45-54 years old, in Canada, and without a specific gender. Instead of focusing a strategy to appeal to creators, it is better to focus the marketing effort towards spectators and joiners because they participate more on these specific groups at this age range. These can save a company from placing emphasis on the wrong strategy.

figure 3.2

Forrester 2

Before I finish this blog, I just wanted share with everyone a very nice point made by  Bernoff and Li (2011), which is the answer to why people participate in groundswell. They gave many answers, and all of them are right. I would only give an example of the ones that sounds unfamiliar. Here are they:

  1. Keeping up with friends 
  2. Making new friends
  3. Succumbing to social pressure from existing friends
  4. Paying it forward
  5. The altruistic impulse –  People that wants to contribute, eg. Wikipedia
  6. The prurient impulse – I cannot think of an example, but this is define as having or encouraging an excessive interest in sexual matters.
  7. The creative impulse –  People who likes artsy stuff and wants to share it with the world, eg. Flickr, YouTube, etc…
  8. The validation impulse – People who ask questions on forums such as Yahoo!
  9. The affinity impulse – Forums where people can discuss common interest such as sports, foods, etc…


Forrester Research. (2016). Social technological profile tool. Retrieved from

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

Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media.

Not Copyrighted.jpg


Hello everyone, and welcome to my blog!

For now, this blog would mostly relate to social media marketing to fulfill the requirements of the course I am currently taking. I would also be giving out advise on how to use social media as a marketing tool that you can use for yourself, and maybe for your company or business. I am hoping that it would help!

Also, please stay tuned because once I finished this course, there is a probability that I would be using this blog to talk about my life as a NAIT student – if ever you are interested to know what its like to be a college student in Canada.

For my first blog, I would like to talk about the article by Kaplan and Haenlein called “Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media” (2009). The authors of the article talks about six different types of Social Media, but before I give them to you, I would first like to define social media. According to the article, “It is a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of User Generated Content” (p. 61). For most, Web 2.0 and User Generated Content (UGC) might sound unfamiliar, but let me define it here to save you time googling it.

Web 2.0 – “A platform whereby content and applications are no longer created and published by individuals, but instead are continuously modified by all users in a participatory and collaborative fashion.” (p. 62). This are sites that have functions that includes, but not limited to: Adobe Flash Player, RSS(Really Simple Syndication), and AJAX((Asynchronous Java Script).

UGC – Are all the ways people can use web 2.0.

Now that we are good with the definitions, here are the 6 different types of social media:

  1. Collaborative projects – A joint creation of content by the people, or as the tech people refers to as end-users. A very well-known example that I can of is Wikipedia. The site is very helpful because it give you the gist of what you are usually looking for. The downside on this is reliability. Since it is free for everyone to edit, everyone can just put their own biases, and distorted knowledge of the subject.
  2.  Blogs – Sites that are managed (usually) by one person. I am pretty sure I don’t have to explain to you guys what a blog is. If you don’t know what a blog is at this point, then I believe you are living in the wrong era.
  3. Content Communities – Websites that allows you to share videos, pictures, and audios. An example that I can think of is YouTube, Flickr, and Soundwave.
  4. Social Networking Sites – These are websites that allows you to connect with people that you know through instant messaging, and also by sharing personal information. Examples are Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter.
  5. Virtual Game Worlds – Online 3-D games that allows users to personalized a character and interact with other player just like in real life. An example would be League of Legends, World of Warcraft, and Counter-Strike.
  6. Virtual Social Worlds – Similar to Virtual Game World, but in this realm the rules of interactions are more free. “There are many possible interactions, except for basic physical laws, such as the law of gravity”

Now that I have explained to you the different types of social media, I hope that this will, in any way, be of benefit to you or your business. Business and people have access to all of this social media. When the authors did the research, they found that 75% of internet surfers uses social media – and that is 7 years ago. Imagine the amount today. Since almost everyone uses social media, businesses can greatly benefit on using it to generate more business, and get more exposure as long as the content of their social media gives valuable information to their followers.

I also wanted to give you this table because it classifies the six types of social media based on social presence, media richness, self-presentation and disclosure. I thought that it will help you out more to understand each one of them:

Six types of social media

Source: Kaplan and Haenlein (2009)

If you would ask me what is the most important thing I learned by reading this article, I would say that in order for you to be successful in using social media, you must be active and interactive. You must always engage and reply to your followers in a timely manner, and that you must have interesting content that is of value to your followers.  What good is it, if you have all this social media but you do not have a strong relationship with your followers?

Social media is not just about gaining more exposure, but more importantly, it’s about building relationships.


Kaplan, A., Haenlein, M. (2009). Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media. Business Horizons, 53, 59-68.