Chapter 11: How Connecting with the Groundswell Transforms your Company

This chapter talks about the importance of making the customer central to the company and what steps should be taken to achieve that.

Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff remind us that there’s a risk that a company would lose some control of its brand when we use the internet (groundswell) as a marketing tool in addition to the benefits mentioned, such as “[…] your organization goes through a mental shift-you become so engaged with your customers that you walk in step with their needs and wants”(para. 2, p. 217)  which shows that as a company, we get to see how customers react to new products/services if we allow them to communicate with us through the groundswell which ultimately increases customer satisfaction. Unilever was one that took the risk to let go of control of the brand to win the customer. Dove’s campaign for Real Beauty took a risk by replacing the model-looking women with average looking women (focusing on the customer), they were able to reach more customers generating “10 million Euro” (Ogilvy & Mather Group UK, 2009)

This video illustrates the success of Dove with their focus being on the customer:


This chapter also mentions how a traditional company can achieve that transformation by applying the following three essential elements:

  • take it step-by-step
  • follow a plan: supporting strategies
  • have executive support

Dell is a great example of a company that failed to apply these steps which led to a decline in their customer satisfaction in 2005 even though they realized the importance of centralizing the customer to the organization (Li & Bernoff) proving a point that connecting with the groundswell we must have executive support and they “must be prepared to change thinking […] to educate people about new technologies” which shows everyone must be in the boat to transform an entire company.



Ogilvy & Mather Group UK. (2009, April 7).“Campaign For real Beauty” – Dove film by Ogilvy [Video file]. Retrieved from

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


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