Energizing the Groundswell

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the POST process (people, objectives, strategy and technology) and explained a company should only choose one of the five standard objectives which are Listening, Talking, Energizing, Supporting and Embracing. I have written about Listening, and also Talking – more recently, so now I am going to move on to Energizing.

Say for example, your business such as The Wine Store, has been growing steadily for a few years now and there has been a steady increase of returning clientele.  In fact, some customers are enthusiasts and most likely the reason for your continued success.  Word of mouth is an incredibly powerful way of marketing because it doesn’t come from the business, it comes from customers.  Consumers tend to trust each other more than they trust any marketing campaign.  For this reason, The Wine Store would be wise to energize some of its aficionados and give them tools to spread the word. In the book Groundswell, it is stated that there are three basic techniques for connecting with your businesses devotees (2011).  These are:

“Tapping into customers’ enthusiasm with ratings and reviews” (R&R)(Li & Bernoff, 2011).

Looking back at the Social Technographics Profile chosen by The Wine Store, Critics were only 42% of the targeted audience while Spectators and Joiners were over 80% (Forrester, 2017).  By engaging with the critics and offering them a rating and review system, they will influence the other top segments. Customers would purchase wine, consume it and rate it.  It would also serve clientele as a diary for what they have tried in the past if their memory is uncertain. In other words, a R&R platform would serve as an excellent idea for The Wine Store and it is measurable when figuring out ROI.


“Creating a community to energize your customers” (Li & Bernoff, 2011).

This is a community created by a company with the intent of its members to share experiences and encourage each other. This is a wise choice if your customers and stakeholders benefit from shared common problems such as in business to business communities. In a mature community, the members support each other and there is less need for attention.  In a blossoming community things can get out of hand quickly and it is up to you to turn the situation around.  The Wine Store would have to dedicate considerably more resources to such a community, controlling the direction of conversations. Perhaps the focus in the forum would be hard to maintain and would be better off without it.

“Participate in and energize online communities of your brand enthusiasts” (Li & Bernoff, 2011)

Is your business is connected to a product or service that is associated with an existing community?  The Wine Store sells fine wine to a select group of connoisseurs who love to share their passion and knowledge.  There may be communities already established in which wine lovers from all over the world unite to share information.  Researching some of the enthusiasts in your area and reaching out to them may provide opportunity in building strategic relationships.  This also could provide insight on trends in the business and where it is heading in the future.  Something to remember, as a business it is important to respect the community’s purpose which is for people’s needs and not to interfere with that.  Because these communities are global, it may be difficult to reach out and find the right supporters.  The Wine Store would also have to share the market with global offerings and may result in negative exposure due to its much smaller trading area (Li & Bernoff, 2011).


Forrester. (2017, 02 04). The customer-obsessed blueprint. Retrieved from Forrester: https://go.forrester.com

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



Tweet More Often

Twitter is a great way to communicate with your customers and can have great effect in the way you conduct business.  The Wine Store owner can quickly sign up and start spreading the word about their product, promotions, prices, etc.  Connections can form quickly and before long your followers will be eager to hear about the interesting things you tweet in 140 characters or less.

Some of the other benefits of incorporating Twitter into routine business activity is by searching for information or feedback.  All tweets are public so this makes it easy for you to search any tweets related to your industry.  Using the pound symbol (#) at the beginning of a key word or phrase creates a hashtag which are basically designed to mark a tweet as referring to a topic.  Twitter also provides “Trending Topics,” which can keep you updated in all the current news.

twitter-evolve.jpg                                                                                                                                                              (Zapar, 2014)

The frequency of tweets can be unlimited as long as you are sharing pertinent information with those who follow you, without overwhelming them.  I recommend one or two posts a day and then increase your frequency, experimenting with the kind of content you are sharing.

Be sure to know your abbreviations as you might see some strange ones. Some of the more common abbreviations are: RT- ReTweet, used to RT someone else’s tweet.  MT – Modified Tweet, used when you want to ReTweet, but need more character space to comment.  FT – Final Thought, used mostly in Twitter Chats, it is the last tweet about a subject,  cc – carbon copy, used the same way you “cc” someone on an email (Li & Barnoff, 2011).

My Twitter



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

Zapar, S. (2014, Feb 11). Top 12 Twitter Tips for Social Recruiting Success. Retrieved from Recruiting Daily: http://recruitingdaily.com/top-12-twitter-tips/


Getting Started with a Community

This week’s blog covers the benefits of starting an online community so that your customers can support each other.  The Wine Store now has a weekly blog as a tool for communicating with its clientele but still needs to find a way to add support for customers who have questions or possibly answers to questions.  This wine community will allow consumers of all knowledge levels to participate in asking questions and reading the variety of results others post as answers.

First off, The Wine Store’s employees and the weekly blog postings would have to direct traffic to the community.  The staff and owner would also be required to provide answers, monitor activity, and find ways to help people, modeling the activity as the forum grows.  The key strategies would be to make the advice credible and to build a reputation for reliable assistance.  As the community develops, there will be more active users than others.  These enthusiasts will slowly help the support system regulate itself and continue to grow (Li & Bernoff, 2011).

As an owner or manager, there are many benefits in utilizing the forum for future plans and direction.  A few examples – You can monitor customer concerns and reviews.  Listen to how your customers use your products, such as wine pairings and serving temperature.  Recognize enthusiasts and ask them for feedback on product and services.  Whether you are listening to, energizing, or supporting the community, you will end up having customers help grow your business (Li & Bernoff, 2011).

The Wine & Food pairing can be confusing for even the most brilliant sommeliers.  Here are a few guidelines in basic combinations.


(Winefolly.com, 2017)


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

Wine Folly. (2013). Wine and Food Pairing Chart. Retrieved 2017, from winefolly.com: http://winefolly.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/wine-and-food-pairing-chart.png




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: http://www.annsentitledlife.com/laugh-for-today/laugh-for-today-521/




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: https://go.forrester.com

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 st.depositphoto.com: http://st.depositphotos.com/1636517/3260/i/950/depositphotos_32609095-Cartoon-illustration.-Man-tasting-wine-in-wine-shop.jpg


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 (LRWMotiveQuest.com, 2016).


Figure 1:  LRW MotiveQuest Website

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

(LRWMotiveQuest.com, 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: https://www.lrwmotivequest.com