Talking with the Groundswell

This week was all about talking with our customers, and not just shouting at them when it comes to advertising and communication. In 2009, marketers spent more than $400 billion on advertising , mostly on TV commercials (Li & Bernoff, 2011). This isn’t talking, this is shouting. Companies need to create personalized ways for communicating with their customers, instead of the old fashioned way of TV commercials which are becoming  ineffective.

The Marketing Funnel

Below is the marketing funnel concept, which describes how consumers go down the path from awareness to purchase and loyalty (Li & Bernoff, 2011). Advertisements, or shouting, brings people in to the funnel metaphor, and once they get to the middle, shouting doesn’t work at all (Li & Bernoff, 2011). Once customers are in the middle of the funnel, this is when companies need to reel them in with a personalized experience, which will hopefully bring in a purchase. Using the social media sites and communication forums we have discussed in previous blogs, companies can start conversations with current and potential customers, instead of shouting at them in commercials.


Techniques for Talking with the Groundswell 

Although there are many ways to talk with customers, below are four of the most effective ways to communicate, along with some examples within the hospitality industry!

  1. Post a viral video 

    Post a video and let people share it amongst their social media sites. A great example of a company who does this is West Jet. I’ve seen so many videos of amazing things they do for so many people, and although this isn’t advertising people to buy their flights, its a form of communicating in which people remember the amazing things they do and will more than likely choose their company over another.This video is one that’s close to home. The Fort McMurray wild fires brought so much devastation to so many people, so West Jet decided to host a Christmas party for them to release some stress and create memories with their family. They also threw in a free flight for everyone that attended! How amazing is that! This video was trending all over social media, which thousands of people saw. Yeah they gave away some flights, but image the publicity they got and how much more money they made by connecting and communicating with people on a personal level like that.

  2.   Engage in social networks and user generated content sites.

    Creating a social media presence online is a great way to extend your brand reach. A company that does really well with this is Taco Bell. They are all over Twitter replying to peoples tweets. Below are some examples of types of conversations they get into. They have a great sense of humour that so many people love!enhanced-buzz-23115-1342106429-8taco-bell-social-media
  3. Join the blogosphere.
    Empower your executives and staff to write blogs, and don’t just listen, talk! Responding back to comments and blogs is an integral part of the strategy (Li & Bernoff, 2011).

    Marriott International is one company that connects with their customers through a blogosphere called Marriott on the Move. This blog is written by Bill Marriott, the executive chairmen, and chairmen of the board for Marriott International, as well as the son of the founder of Marriott. Although he is in his 80’s, he realized that the world is changing to a heavily online presence, and the internet is a huge part of a companies success. He adapted to this change and is succeeding in it quite well through his blog. Goes to show you are never to old to join the online world!

  4. Create a community. 

    Communities are powerful ways to engage with customers and deliver value to them (Li & Bernoff, 2011). As long as you listen and don’t just shout, this is also a good way to market your brand (Li & Bernoff, 2011).


10 Tips for Successful Blogging

In Groundswell, Li & Bernoff (2011) give 10 tips to implement the strategy and goals you wish to accomplish. Remember to first start with the POST process before beginning.

  1. Start by listening.
  2. Determine a goal for the blog.
  3. Estimate the ROI.
  4. Develop a plan.
  5. Rehearse.
  6. Develop an editorial process.
  7. Design the blog and its connection to your site.
  8. Develop a marketing plan so people can find the blog.
  9. Blogging is more than just writing.
  10. Be honest.



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





Author: chloep2017

A young aspiring human resource leader with an appetite for success.

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