Strategies for Tapping the Groundswell

The four-step planning process, known as the POST method, should be used by companies when building their groundswell strategy. The POST method stands for the people, objective, strategy, and technology (Li & Bernoff, 2011, pg. 67).


What are your customers already doing within the groundswell? This information can be found using the Social Technographics Profile and will help you plan around what customers are already doing.


What are your goals within the groundswell? How can you change what you’re already doing to fit the groundswell?

In order to clarify your objectives, there are “5 primary objectives that companies successfully pursue in the groundswell” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, pg. 68) and individuals should pick the one that best matches the objectives of their company:

1. Listening: Use the groundswell for research and to better underdtanf your customers. This is ideal for firms that are looking for customer insights to help them with their marketing and R&D.

2.Talking: Spread your company’s message via the groundswell. This is helpful for firms who are working on extending their current digital marketing initiatives (i.e. banner ads, search ads, email) to a more interactive channel.

3.Energizing: Find out who your most enthusiastic customers are and use the groundswell to surpercharge the power of their word of mouth. This works best for those who have customers who are very brand loyal.

4. Supporting: Set up groundswell tools to help your customers suppert one another. This works for companies who not only has the ability and money to set up support but also has the customers who have a natural affinity for each other.

5. Embracing:
 Integrate your customers into your company. For example, allowin them to design your products. This is the most difficult out of the 5 goals and is best suited for a company that has had success with the other 4 already.

(Li & Bernoff, 2011, pg. 68-69)

The table below, which can be found on page 69, shows the relationship the 5 objective goals has with a company’s business functions.Screen Shot 2017-03-11 at 6.07.31 PM.png


Are there changes that need to be made between you and your customers?  How do you want them to talk about and engage with your company? (Li & Bernoff, 2011, pg 68).


Once you’ve decided on the people, objectives, and strategy then you can decide on the appropriate technologies to use. This can include blogs, wikis, social networks, and et cetera (Li & Bernoff, 2011, pg. 68).

After you’ve gone through the POST method, it is time to create the plan. However, start off small with your plan because changes within the groundswell are not unexpected and there is always the potential that your planning is obsolete by the time you finish it (Li & Bernoff, 2011, pg. 72). It is also important to consider the end game– a very different relationship with your customers, how the groundswell changes the way you run your business, how will it affect your advertising and PR functions? What are some consequences ( Li &Bernoff, 2011, pg. 72)? Amidst all of these changes, there should be someone in charge of all of this, and that person should be someone of importance and has power, such as an executive.

ELLE Magazine: Example

ELLE has publications all over the world and connect with their readers in a variety of ways and are extremely active on the groundswell through social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. Since ELLE is published in different parts of the world, their content is generally specific to that geographical location. Elle Magazine INDIA released a short 2-minute long video titled “UnGender”.

The video addresses the gender stereotype issues Indian women face. The video highlights some of the daily struggles women face simply because they are women. In fact, women in India have been conditioned to cover up their bodies so, as a result, even while just doing everyday tasks like going to the salon or reading a book at a cafe, they’re supposed to be prim and proper. The video interjects this oppressive thought with a powerful message of “Let Her be”.

People- ELLE’s a publication that’s geared towards women, so it only makes sense to create a video tackling a women’s issue. Moreover, this is an ELLE India produced video, so it addresses an issue that, while not exclusive to India, is a big issue over there.

Objective – They want to change the Indian peoples perspective that women have the be self conscious and aware of their actions at all times in order to remain proper, especially around males.

Strategy – They make a video that is easily relatable, with women of all shapes, size, age, and professions, to get their message across. The examples in the video are not exclusive to India so it can be understood across the globe.

Technology – Posted on Youtube so it is easily accessible to all, not just their readers in India.

Existing business functions and their groundswell alternatives [Picture]. Retrieved from

Li, C. & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies.  Boston, USA: Forrester Research Inc.


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