Talking to Customers

In my last blog, I discussed the 4-step P.O.S.T. process and how one could use its strategy for tapping into the groundswell.  The second step in the process is “Objectives” and I touched on one of them in Listening to the Groundswell a few weeks back.  Today I am going to write about the second objective, Talking (Li & Bernoff, 2011).

I have explained  in the POST blog how the objective of “Talking” would be my technique for the wine store already but never really explained its purpose.  In the book Groundswell, it is stated that a company needs to understand what its communication problem is when adapting social media tools, or in other words, what are you trying to do?  Do you have an awareness problem and people don’t really know about your business or maybe a word-of-mouth problem, where it would be useful if people talked to one another.  Maybe you have an accessibility problem where you can reach out to your customers for support and clarification.  For my wine shop I have decided that there is a complexity problem and by giving information to share about products and practices I can solve this (Li & Bernoff, 2011).


(Ann, 2015)

Complexity Problem

When talking to consumers of wine, they generally have the same questions and concerns, such as the value, quality, and origin.  These are not the only questions but they do tend to come up when approaching a customer.  I feel they are unprepared when choosing a wine and make decisions based on spontaneous judgement that results in cognitive dissonance.  Many do not want to ask for help because they feel their questions are silly or too simple for a fine wine sommelier.  An idea to incorporate a weekly blog that would allow me to communicate with my customers was discussed in my last article.  More importantly, it would allow me to educate my clientele and provide answers to the more common questions that may hamper their decisions.  The overall purpose of the blog will be to reassure people before, during, and after a sale (Li & Bernoff, 2011).


Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell, Winning in a World Tranformed By Social Technologies. Boston, Massachusetts , USA: Harvard Business School Publishing.

Ann. (2015, 05 29). Laugh For Today. Retrieved from Ann’s Entitled Life:




Using the 4-Step Post Process For Wine Store


Now that Wine Store is up and running, it’s time to think of strategies for tapping into the groundswell. A good method to achieve this is the 4-step process known as POST.  POST is an acronym for People, Objectives, Strategy, Technology, and is a foundation for building a social media marketing strategy.  The following document outlines each section and makes a recommendation for Wine Store (Li & Bernoff, 2011).


                                                                                                                                           (Forrester, 2017)


The target market for Wine Store was determined as millennials aged 18-29 because they showed the largest percentage increase in preference for wine between 1992-1994 vs 2012-2013.  The book Groundswell explains that using Social Technographic Profiles allows creators to tap into the most effective area of online activity (Forrester, 2017).  This knowledge will determine our objective.


There are 5 standard objectives to select from, namely, 1) Listening, 2) Talking, 3) Energizing, 4) Supporting, and 5) Embracing, and it is advised to choose only one.  When referring to the target market established above, Talking is the most logical objective because the main social behavior is passive (reading, listening, watching.)  Listening and Energizing were eliminated as choices because this group does not often post ratings, reviews, and comments, nor do they commonly upload or contribute to content.  Supporting was eliminated as a choice for Wine Store at this time because any support that would be provided to the business’s clientele would be group-related as opposed to one-on-one questions, and this would be best-served under the Talking objective.  Embracing was eliminated simply because it is a more complex initiative, and not advised for an initial effort.  To recap, the chosen initiative will be Talking.


As Wine Store is a small, specialty establishment, its main goal is to develop a loyal following of customers, and for its customers to engage more with the business.  This may be achieved by educating customers about various types of wine, wine regions, or food pairings.  This would hopefully instill newly-found curiosity and passion for the product.  Customers would be encouraged to join Wine Store’s exclusive Wine Club, which provides purchase discounts and special offers.


In order for Wine Store to share information about its products, it would be best to develop a blog.  As stated earlier, this blog would provide customers with education and insight into the complex world of wine.  In addition, it would encourage its followers to share this blog via Facebook or Twitter.

In summary, it is recommended that Wine Store’s owner develop an informative blog directed to its joiner and spectator millennial target population.  The initiative will be evaluated for its success every 3-6 months, and revised as necessary.




Forrester. (2017, 03 12). The customer-obsessed blueprint. Retrieved from Forrester:

Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell, Winning in a world transformed by social technologies (Vol. 2). Boston, Massachusetts, USA: Harvard Business School Publishing.


Connecting To the Groundswell

This week’s blog is about embracing the groundswell by incorporating a blog or other forms of social media to build relationships with your customers.  In the wine industry, it is important to know what your customers want.  The scenario I will be advising on is incorporating a blog when opening a new wine store and revealing the value it provides in the future.  You have built a store with a beautiful decor and the location is convenient for locals to stop in but now it is time to stock your shelves.  The first step is listening to what your customers want.  This may be hard to do when initially purchasing inventory but by establishing a connection with your patrons perhaps with a blog, could make your decisions a little easier.  At the time of your grand opening, clientele could be notified with special offers and discounts to initiate the participation.  By directing your customers to the blog’s incentives when they first visit, will help you to get the engagement needed for effective feedback.  In the book Groundswell, authors Charlene Li and Josh Barnoff explain to that it is important to listen first before acting (2011).depositphotos_32609095-Cartoon-illustration.-Man-tasting-wine-in-wine-shop-2.jpg

                                                                                                                St. Deposit Photos. (n.d.)

The second step is to identify issues or opportunities by tapping into the groundswell and hearing what people are saying about your business.  Using the blog to get inside your customer’s head, finding out more information about what things are working and what is not.  Larger corporations use this strategy for staying ahead of unforeseeable challenges that may occur.  They also use blogs to show more transparency and rectify problems that may otherwise go viral.  By building your new wine store on a foundation of customer management instead of product management, will create added value to your products and services (Li & Bernoff, 2011).



Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell, Winning in a World Transformed By Social Technologies. Boston, Massachusetts , USA: Harvard Business School Publishing.

St. Deposit Photos. (n.d.). Man Tasting Wine in Wine Shop. Retrieved from


Listening To the Groundswell

This week’s topic is about how to listen to the groundswell and help determine what your brand identity is among your consumers.  Companies listen to their customers, but in a different way than we might think.  They spend a lot of money to do so, and call it market research.  In chapter 5 of Groundswell, authors Bernoff and Li, explain that it is very important for a company to know what advantages it may gain by brand monitoring and/or setting up a private community (p.79, 2011).

A private community is an ongoing online focus group that allows the host to observe what consumers are saying about its brand.  The community could be populated by using technographic profiles that were explained in my previous blog post.  By accepting a small gift card or reward, participants would agree to spend around an hour a week on the forum discussing their interactions with the brand. This provides insight for the company on how its participants behave and interact with its product in a natural way (Li & Barnoff, p.80, 2011).

Brand monitoring is basically putting one’s ear to the ground and seeing what people everywhere are saying about a product (Li & Barnoff, p.89, 2011).  This could be simple, such as performing Google searches associated with the company’s products, or complex by hiring a company such as MotiveQuest to monitor the brand’s online buzz.  A snapshot of the website in figure 1, displays a simple construction and example of how to acquire their services (, 2016).


Figure 1:  LRW MotiveQuest Website

Screen Shot 2017-02-12 at 1.54.10 PM.png

(, 2016)

Both of these strategies are meant to provide useful feedback such as positive or negative consumer opinions associated with a brand and its image.  Because of the groundswell, this has become easier to access and the resources are always available (Li & Barnoff, 2011).


Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell. Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business School.

LRW MotiveQuest. (2016). Too Much Data, Not Enough Insight. Retrieved from LRWMOTIVEQUEST:


Social Technographic Profile

This week’s blog is about how to use social media in the most effective way by identifying a target market and then using a Social Technographic Profile to help make the right platform (Li, Bernoff, 2011).  I will apply this strategy to my industry of choice, and of course… it will be about wine connoisseurs.

The first thing I have done is a little research on demographics of the most growing profiles in the industry.  As seen in Figure 1, the millennials have taken up interest in wine consumption while gen Xers have been declining (Gallup Poll, 2013).  With the information provided, I have chosen millennials to target and now I will figure out in what way?

Figure 1


From the book Groundswell, chapter three explains that using Social Technographic Profiles, allows creator to tap into the most effective area of online activity.  The backbone of the profiling tool is called the Social Technographic Ladder (Li, Bernoff, 2011).  The ladder consists of 7 labeled steps that show different ways consumers use social media.  Figure 2 shows how each step represents a group of consumers and their most common practices (Forrester, 2011).

Figure 2


Forrester once had a free tool available to enter data into but lately has become unavailable.  It is now only included in their packages for a price undetermined.  In Figure 3 below, a snapshot of the Forrester tool with a similar age selection as my target market shows the majority of users are Joiners or Spectators.  Keep in mind, if I had access to the Technographic tool, this data would show a more current sample and probably have increased numbers overall.  Especially in the “Creators step”.  But for this purpose, it will serve as a good example (Forrester, 2017).

The data in figure 3 would give me insight on how to involve the end users in my new social media platform.  So, If I were to move forward with design and development, I would be inclined to cater to the Spectators and Joiners as more effective measures of social media.  This was interesting to me and thought I would share it with you. Cheers everybody.

Figure 3





Forrester. (2017, 02 04). The customer-obsessed blueprint. Retrieved from Forrester:

Gallop Poll. (2013, 08 12). The Demographics of US Wine Consumption. Retrieved from Chris Parente – Home of Work, Wine and Wheels:

Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell, winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, Massachusettes, USA: Harvard Business School .


Know your Audience

I always wanted to create a blog about wine reviews and ratings.  In fact, I opened an WordPress account three years ago with this in mind but just didn’t get around to doing it. I have been studying wine and spirits for about three years now – not every day but at least once a week.  I do not work in the industry however my library is full of great wine books and my cellar is full of good wine.  I have become certified in the Court of Master Sommeliers and working on completing my diploma in wine studies through the Wine & Spirits Education Trust.  My love for this glorified grape juice goes back over 8 years ago when I met a wine maker in a small town in central California.  He explained to me what I was tasting and what it took to make good wine as it was not that easy to accomplish.  Almost a decade later, I remain passionate about viticulture, vinification & professional service and as the wine maker got my interest, I would like to do the same with my audience.

Just who exactly is a wine advocate or a wine enthusiast?  What kind of person is he or she that spends their hard earned disposable income on such a sophisticated product.  In the article “Users of the world, unite!”, authors Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein explain that in order to make an effective blog, you need to know your audience (2010).  I think my audience are oenophiles (lovers of wine) and connoisseurs that believe socializing is critical to a healthy lifestyle.

In the next few weeks, I will be blogging about some of my favorite and not so favorite wines including practiced wine pairings and details of the wonderful cuisine that it accompanied.  I will be also writing full ratings of value priced selections along with details of the local market supply and availability.  Hopefully I can convert a few casual sippers into a full out epicure.  Cheers everyone!


Kaplan, A. M., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media. United States: Kelly School of Business.