Chapter 4: Strategies for Tapping the Groundswell

This chapter begins with a short conversation about a client who is worried about how their competitor, Sears, taking a step in the groundswell. What Li and Bernoff want us to learn here is that many companies do realize the importance and the rewards of tapping the groundswell, however, many do not know why, which differs for each company. They also mention Victoria’s Secret, which is actually where I work part-time, however, my main career goal is to work for PwC. But I can comment on why they mentioned Victoria’s Secret. Victoria’s Secret prioritize customer satisfaction. I sometimes check their online store to see if there are new products we don’t have yet, but I always notice that the Canadian price is so much higher than it actually is for the exact same items we have at the Kingsway location, which made me wonder why isn’t it equal to what it should be from U.S to Canadian like it is online. I think it’s because the online shopping for Victoria’s Secret isn’t popular for Canadians, but shopping in store is, so they want to focus on what is more popular and thus give a reason for their customers to come back. I also noticed that we have tons of unique promotions that can only be received online, for example, an email would be sent which they can show us and receive $10 off an item or even a free item. These promotions are exactly why the customers keep coming back and Victoria’s Secret definitely knows that although they can’t “energize” their customers to sell online, they focus on “talking” as an objective to market and they are successful at it. (Li, Bernoff, pp. 68, para 7,8)

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, the objective of this chapter is to understand that it is important to answer the “why” of wanting to enter the groundswell. Li and Bernoff introduce a planning process that consists of four steps, to help better answer it, these steps are:

  • People: we must know our target market, using the Social Techno-graphics Profile, we can determine whether they’re creators, collectors, or spectators. In PwC’s case, I talked about wealthy individuals being their main target meaning that they’re more spectators in Chapter 3 blog. This helps PwC determine that it’s best to focus on offering data that would be consumed by their clients. For example, data about the economy, daily updates on exchange rates, or tax rates or policies changes.
  • Objective: although it is important to focus on the customer needs, it is also just as important to realize your objectives, which can be determined by asking yourself, if you’re planning to market your product or sell it through an e-commerce site. The five objectives explained by Li and Bernoff do not apply to PwC because their target is spectators who will consume data more than engage.
  • Strategy: as discussed in chapter 11 blog, by entering the groundswell, you lose control. It is important to know what and how the relationship with the clients might be affected and what should be done. PwC should be prepared when negative attention is brought by the clients due to what type of data they share.
  • Technology: I think the best technology for sharing data for PwC, would be a blog that can be both accessible through a computer browser, and a mobile browser. This way if a blog is shared on their Facebook page, anyone can open it whether they’re using a smartphone or a computer.

The two screenshots below show how CPA of British Colombia has realized that they can reach an audience. They have a blog where they talk about topics like “Tax Tips”, and a page on Facebook where they share their blog posts. I think that PwC should follow a similar strategy.

There are many questions regarding income tax filing for people who are small business owners. Here are the answers to three popular questions regarding income taxes for small business owner

Posted by Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia – CPABC on Thursday, March 10, 2016




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




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