Energizing the Groundswell

3 Feb

How does a company go about energizing their audience to buy their product?

In Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies authors Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff write about the importance of companies energizing the “base” (the most enthusiastic customers) so that positive publicity spreads naturally through word of mouth. Li and Bernoff write, “According to the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), word of mouth ‘is the most honest form of marketing, building upon people’s natural desire to share their experiences with family, friends, and colleagues.'”

3 Basic techniques for connecting with your brand’s enthusiasts:

1. Energizing with Ratings and Reviews. Enabling customers to write reviews on a brand’s website makes the site more credible. Groundswell states that:

  • 96% of customers use online reviews to help them make purchases
  • and 80% of reviews tend to be positive.

One certain company, eBags, used a negative review to energize one of it’s customers. Jim Noble, a computer security engineer from Georgia and frequent traveler, bought a laptop bag from eBags and the zipper failed. Ebags sent him a new bag the next day! What energized Jim was that the people at eBags actually listened to the review that Jim posted on their Web site, contacted him, and then improved the product.

2. Energizing by creating a community. People like to feel like they are apart of something. Companies should create community amongst their customers, making them feel like stakeholders in their business. Once a customer feels like a stakeholder and feels like they are part of the success, why would they ever want to leave?

3. Energizing an existing community. Some products develop such enthusiastic supporters that communities spring up naturally. When this happens, a company needs to respect the community. Groundswell states that “Community is about people’s needs to connect, not your need to control.”

One community that has a natural following already is Red Bull. Between Red Bull racing, Red Bull Flugtag, New Year’s No Limits, Red Bull Crashed Ice, and not to even mention the multitude of athletes sponsored by Red Bull! In order to help energize this community, Red Bull created the Student Brand Manager program. In which they recruit college students to be apart of their global brand and take charge of their own college campus in energizing others for Red Bull!

Take a look at this commercial from Red Bull… Now tell me you aren’t pumped up after watching this?!


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