Chapter 7: Energizing the Groundswell

Chapter 7 of the Groundswell focuses on energizing. It begins by highlighting the importance of word of mouth. Li and Bernoff describe word of mouth as “a powerful amplifier of brand marketing, achieving results no media campaign can achieve” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 130). This is true because when a friend or a family member suggests a product, I don’t see that they’re biased in any way.

According to Li and Bernoff word of mouth succeeds because:

  • It’s believable: as I said in my case, I don’t see any bias when a product is suggested to me by a friend, family member, or even coworker.
  • It’s self-reinforcing: I can be convinced almost 100% when only one person suggests a product, but imagine what it’s like hearing it from more than one person, for example, reviews found online recommending a product.
  • It’s self-spreading: simply put by Heather Locklear, “if a product is worth using, its word of mouth generates more word of mouth” (as cited in Li & Bernoff, 2011, p.130)


YouTube is a great example of energizing in my opinion. It allows users to upload different kinds of informative videos that would include makeup tutorials with suggested products to use for a particular look. I personally have some favorite Beauty Gurus and I noticed that when they would suggest a cosmetic product, another YouTuber tries it, and mentions which beauty guru suggested it. in figure 7-1 (How much online North American consumers trust sources of information about products or services), consumer products and ratings/reviews is ranked as the third highest category with 62%. (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p.132).

Techniques for energizing enthusiasts are also presented in this chapter, they include:

  1. Tapping into customers’ enthusiasm with ratings and reviews: Li and Bernoff explain the benefit of this technique and state “96 percent of customers use online reviews to help them make purchases” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p.138). also, it’s important to keep in mind that reviews don’t exist only on a company’s website, there are more ways to energize with ratings and reviews, like on a Facebook page. Here’s a screenshot of LUX Steakhouse + Bar facebook page:
    Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 7.28.56 PM


  2. Create a community to energize your customers: a community can be more informative. More opinions, details, and descriptions of different products can be shared. This is where questions or concerns can be thoroughly discussed and energize users/participants of that community.
  3. Participate in and energize online communities of your brand: this is where you have an opportunity to shine. In my opinion, this area requires not just listening, but also talking (responding to all customers’ concerns)

Lastly, there are five steps to applying the techniques of energizing to your own organizing

according to the groundswell. These steps are:

  1. Figure out if you want to energize the groundswell
  2. Check the social technographic profile of your customers
  3. Ask yourself, “what is my customers’ problem?”
  4. Pick a strategy that fits your customers’ social technographic profile and problems
  5. Don’t start unless you can stick around for the long haul

Creating a community and participating in it, would probably best apply to my initially chosen company, PwC. This is because it’s not common for accounting firms to allow clients to review their services, but the two techniques would definitely work as every customer/client would have a lot of different interests in areas like tax or economy, or even questions/concerns. I would imagine, however, that traditional word of mouth can make or break PwC’s success. this is because the wealthy can both advise and discourage their family and friends on how accounting firms served them, especially when it comes to their taxes.



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

Marketing – word of mouth image:




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