|Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies
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Corporate executives are struggling with a new trend: people using online social technologies (blogs, social networking sites, YouTube, podcasts) to discuss products and companies, write their own news, and find their own deals. This groundswell is global, it s unstoppable, it affects every industry and it s utterly foreign to the powerful companies running things now.
When consumers you ve never met are rating your company s products in public forums with which you have no experience or influence, your company is vulnerable. In Groundswell, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff of Forrester, Inc. explain how to turn this threat into an opportunity.
Using tools and data straight from Forrester, you ll learn how to:
-Evaluate new social technologies as they emerge
-Determine how different groups of consumers are participating in social technology arenas
-Apply a four-step process for formulating your future strategy
-Build social technologies into your business including monitoring your brand value, talking with the groundswell through marketing and PR campaigns, and energizing your best customers to recruit their peers
Timely and insightful, this book is required reading for executives seeking to protect and strengthen their company s public image.
"Groundswell is jammed with big ideas, useful stories, and quotable stats. This is the new industrial revolution. Are you on board?"
-Seth Godin, author, Meatball Sundae
"This book will rock your world, if social technology hasn't rocked it already. It's a tsunami of unstoppable force. Amazon, Procter & Gamble, Facebook, Google, and Dell are profiting from the crest of the wave. Are you? Li and Bernoff are the apostles of the tsunami. This book will be your bible."
-Scott Cook, Founder and Chairman of the Executive Committee, Intuit
Groundswell provides practical advice on how to stay nimble and flexible in an ever-morphing digital world. Enabling your company to respond to change quickly especially when talking to and supporting your consumers is essential for business success.
-Cathie Black, President, Hearst Magazines
"The first phase of the Internet was about getting everyone connected. In this next phase, which changes the way we work, live, play, and learn, we re starting to realize the value of those connections as well as the new communications and experiences those interactions lead to the human network. Groundswell effectively documents this shift and underscores the opportunities available to all from this major market transition."
-John T. Chambers, Chairman and CEO, Cisco
"Heed the Groundswell! It's critical reading and helped us master the new dynamics of social media."
-Christina Norman, President, MTV
"Groundswell is a comprehensive look at the tidal wave of change engulfing marketers. Nobody should attempt to engage the newly empowered and emboldened consumer without first hearing what Li and Bernoff have to say on the subject."
-Clark Kokich, CEO, Avenue A | Razorfish
"Social technologies and the groundswell impact every business and organization worldwide. Li and Bernoff have written an insightful book that takes a refreshing research-driven approach to helping businesses transform themselves and successfully navigate this new dynamic landscape."
-Steve Rubel, Senior Vice President, Edelman Digital, and columnist for Advertising Age
- Learning from your audience, customers, and community
In this very readable book Li and Bernoff draw from extensive research at Forrester to describe what they call the Groundswell: consumers using online tools to get more information from each other, and less from traditional institutions and businesses. They offer case studies showing how organizations have readjusted their thinking to take advantage of it.
Although the groundswell trend includes social networks and related technologies, the authors say, equally important is the change in consumer behavior. Listening to (and becoming involved in) the groundswell should help your organization find out what your brand stands for; understand how buzz is shifting; save research money; increase research responsiveness; find the sources of influence in your market; manage PR crises; and generate new product and marketing ideas.
Li and Bernoff caution that there is no single `right way' to engage with the groundswell. Depending on the objectives of your company, you'll choose among the following options: listening, talking, energizing, supporting, or embracing your audience.
The authors define six kinds of online consumer behaviors. Learning which types best define your audience (or clients, or communities, or target groups) is the first step in any strategy you take to reach them. The Creators are those who publish a blog or article online, maintain a web page, or upload videos at least monthly. Critics post comments on blogs or forums, post ratings or reviews, or edit wikis. Collectors save URLs and tags on a social-bookmarking service, vote for sites on a service like Digg, or use RSS feed aggregators. Joiners maintain profiles on a social networking site like MySpace. Spectators consume what the rest produce. Inactives--nonparticipants--still remain.
Nearly one in five of online consumers in the US--18 percent--are Creators. This means that a significant chunk of six of your target audience, customers, community, etc., are blogging, uploading video, and maintaining Web sites, and quite possibly discussing your company. One in four are Critics, and nearly half are Spectators.
- great book!
This book combines useful research, accessible language and current case studies to create a comprehensive resource (and how-to) for using social media in the corporate world. I've enjoyed it thoroughly and recommend it to anyone who has even the slightest interest in learning more about web 2.0. ...more info
- Worth Every Penny
If you are familiar with social networking this book is definitely for you. The statistics alone make the book worth every penny. If you're not familiar with social networking I would recommend starting with Wikinomics then read Groundswell....more info
- This is a must read
I've read quite a few books on social media and have yet to find one that is as good as Groundswell. It is a must read for business professionals because it lays out a framework that you can use to better leverage social media for your business and customers. It gives real world examples. Some of these case studies are dated because the companies have changed direction. But, there are rock solid cases where companies are staying the course. This book is grounded on reality not theory. That is what sets this book apart from others.
Here's a report I'm doing on Groundswell which is intended to bring to life the examples cited in the book: http://marketingthatmatters.blogspot.com/search/label/groundswell...more info
- This book rocks and is a must-read
Have you seen Jurassic Park? If so, you might remember Dr. Malcolm's (Jeff Goldblum) diatribe about the dangers of doing something just because you can:
"I'll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you're using here: it didn't require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn't earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don't take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could and before you even knew what you had you patented it and packaged it and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now you're selling it, you want to sell it!"
How does this quote relate in any way to Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff's book Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies? Maybe it's just me, but I see a direct correlation.
Groundswell is about social computing (I, a non-analyst, prefer the term social media) and how it's shaping not only the personal lives of many individuals around the globe, but also the way companies do business. It's not that social media is anything new; I've been an active participant on numerous online forums for over 10 years now. I've made money, formed close friendships, gotten jobs and learned countless things--all through different social media applications.
Lately businesses have begun to tap into the groundswell--"a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other rather than from traditional institutions like corporations"--to enhance customer relations, build brand loyalty and, of course, make money. These days hardly a day goes by where some company or another isn't discussing their web 2.0 strategy and taking the plunge--in most cases, "because everyone else is doing it." Or the opposite--doing nothing for fear of opening up a giant can of worms that, once released, will run rampant and ruin the company's reputation or slash profits.
The thing is, as the book aptly points out--doing it just because others are doing it or because it's possible isn't reason enough to incorporate web 2.0 applications into a business strategy. Just as bringing carnivorous dinosaurs back into existence just because it was possible without thinking about the consequences wasn't the brightest of ideas, jumping on the social media bandwagon just because everyone's doing it isn't reason enough to do it. Obviously the consequences of starting a blog, establishing a presence on Facebook or randomly beginning Tweeting are nowhere near those of setting loose a bunch of killer dinosaurs; however, the underlying concept is the same: maybe you should think about it before you do it.
The beauty of Groundswell is that it lays out in explicit detail the RIGHT way to develop a social media strategy. Forget just randomly tossing around a few ideas in a conference room then rushing back to the computer to start blogging or start a Facebook page; Groundswell provides hard data about the ways people are using social media and shows you how to develop a strategy that taps into your specific customers' behaviors and needs. Bernoff and Li go a step further than telling stories about what other companies have done; they provide a tool businesses can use to assess their own customers' social media behaviors in order to develop a strategy that taps into those individuals' behaviors and needs.
And of course, in addition to the facts and figures and case studies, Li and Bernoff give a very comprehensive overview of the groundswell technologies and how and why to use them.
In short, Groundswell is by far the best and most comprehensive book I've read about social media and I honestly think it's a must-read for anyone with even a passing interest in web 2.0. Forget Good to Great or those other yawners that every company has employees read before the annual retreat/brainstorming session; Groundswell is much more interesting, informative and pivotal to the way companies will be doing business from here on out....more info
- Only book on social media that calculates ROI of social media campaigns
I work in digital communications and found this to be one of the most well-thought books on how to build and execute effective social media campaigns for either a small business or a large corporation. The part that makes this book so good though is the research. Written by Forrester Research analysts, the book provides excellent case studies and even demonstrates the impact that social media campaigns have a brand's bottom line....more info
- I highly recommend this book
This is a very good book. It provides structure, process, anecdotes and histories for the rapidly changing practice of using social technologies for marketing. It's primarily written for consumer marketing, but some of the ideas can be used for B2B.
The authors use the term "groundswell" to mean a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other instead of from companies. The technologies they refer to are the social technologies that I like to put into the category of web 2.0. Web 2.0 technologies enable many to many communication and conversation.
The authors believe as I do that this groundswell effect, or by any other name, is real, here to stay for awhile and transformative or disruptive; that all attempts to thwart its spread will likely fail; and while all attempts to foster a groundswell will not succeed, not using the web 2.0 technologies for consumer marketing is a failing strategy.
There are a lot of barriers to the diffusion of this type of marketing, not the least of which is letting go of the allusion of message control. The marketing arms of companies passionately attempt to control the brand message. These techniques turn that concept over and returns the "control" of the message over to customers.
Why should you have to relearn all you know about marketing? The authors' research clearly supports the trend. My research on the social impact of the web 2.0 technologies is inline with the conclusions of this book. Furthermore they assert, as examples, that:
"If you work for a media company, look out. Advertisers are shifting more and more of their money online. The groundswell is creating its own news sites (like Google News or Digg). The very idea of news is changing, as bloggers jostle with journalists for scoops. People take entertainment properties like TV shows and movies, rip them off the airwaves and DVDs, hack them, and repost new versions on YouTube or Dailymotion.
If you have a brand, you're under threat. Your customers have always had an idea about what your brand signifies, an idea that may vary from the image you are projecting. Now they're talking to each other about that idea. They are redefining for themselves the brand you spent millions of dollars, or hundreds of millions of dollars, creating.
If you are a retailer, your lock on distribution is over. People are not just buying online; they are buying from each other. They are comparing your prices with prices all over the Internet and telling each other where to get the best deal on sites like redflagdeals.com. As Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail has pointed out, shelf space creates far less power when there's nearly infinite selection online.
If you are a financial services company, you no longer dominate flows of capital. Trading happens online, and consumers get financial advice from message boards on Yahoo! Finance and the Motley Fool. Companies like Prosper allow consumers to get loans from each other, instead of from banks. PayPal makes credit cards unnecessary for many transactions.
Business-to-business companies are, if anything, more vulnerable to these trends. Their customers have every reason to band together and rate the companies' services, to join groups like ITtoolbox to share insights with each other, or to help each other out on LinkedIn Answers.
Even inside companies, your employees are connecting on social networks, building ideas with online collaboration tools, and discussing the pros and cons of your policies and priorities.
The groundswell has changed the balance of power. Anybody can put up a site that connects people with people. If it's designed well, people will use it. They'll tell their friends to use it. They'll conduct commerce, or read the news, or start a popular movement, or make loans to each other, or whatever the site is designed to facilitate. And the store, or media outlet, or government, or bank that used to fill that role will find itself far less relevant. If you own that institution, the groundswell will eat up your profit margins, cut down your market share, and marginalize your sources of strength."
Web 2.0 technologies are being created at an incredible pace. What technologies will be part of a groundswell effect. As the authors point out, it's not the technology but the relationships. The authors suggest the following questions when evaluating a new technology:
* Does it enable people to connect with each other in a new way?
* Is it effortless to sign up for?
* Does it shift power from institutions to people?
* Does the community generate enough content to sustain itself?
* Is it an open platform that invites partnerships?
The groundswell has two ingredients - technology and people. To understand what types of people would play what roles in the groundswell, the authors introduce the social technographics profile. It characterizes people by creators, critics, collectors, joiners, spectators and inactives. Once you know what the profile is for your customers, you can plan the appropriate social media approach.
If you're not involved in any groundswell activities, you may wonder, "Why do people participate/" The authors give several reasons why:
* Keeping up friendships
* Making new friends
* Paying it forward
* The altruistic impulse
* The prurient impulse
* The creative impulse
* The validation impulse
* The affinity impulse
Not only is it important that you know your customers' technographic profile, you have to have clear objectives before you start a program. The authors list five basic objectives for any groundswell program:
The authors provide ample evidence and examples of how to employ web 2.0 marketing. And, as a result, I highly recommend this book.
Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies
Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff
Harvard Business Press, 2008, 269p
Paul Schumann...more info
- Authoritative and Authentic
First, let me tell you my biases. I DON'T like books that refer to "online influencers" and tell you how to manipulate them to spread your message. I also don't like books where the author writes condescendingly that every business needs to get onboard because - oh my gosh! - customer are online and talking about you and the world has changed. This is absolutely not true for most products in 2009; it's more true for technology products and for consumer products that get people excited (like books, music, movies).
On both these counts, Groundswell is impressive. First, it refers to the most active posters as "Creators". I love this. It treats people with dignity and respect and not as tools for the marketer to use.
It's also surprisingly restrained in how it talks about this shift of consumer power, which is definitely happening but not in the numbers most alarmist authors would have you believe.
Best of all, it gets through all the anecdotal evidence that the shift is happening (we know, that's why we bought the book!) and gets into the practical steps businesses can take to understand who is online and how to engage with them. The Technographics framework for segmenting your customers is a little under-developed, but the thinking behind it is sound enough that I could develop my own modified approach to understanding my client's customers (basically - Creators, Responders, Spectators).
Altogether, the best book I've read on social networking with one point taken off for using a Seth Godin testimonial on the back. Does any intelligent business leader care what Seth Godin thinks?...more info
- It is in one book a blueprint of change
This is the seminal book on using social networking tools today. Forrester and these two authors have done the rest of us a terrific favour by putting this book [...] together. This goes well beyond detailing how the tools are used by major companies, by closing the loop on how best to implement, with lessons learned and some of the red flags illustrated. It is in one book a blueprint of change I loved two comments - Your brand is whatever your customers say it is ( Its not about you) and Caterina Fake's description of the "culture of generosity" (Ie why people add and edit content for free). I really enjoyed it and could not put the book down!...more info
- Several books rolled into one
If you want to get a handle on new marketing technology and techniques, you couldn't do better than to start here. "Groundswell" covers a lot of ground!
1. A clear, concise overview of what the groundswell phenomenon is all about, how and why companies must understand and leverage it, and all the particular elements of the groundswell universe. If you're confused about the differences between a wiki, a forum, a chat room, and a blog, this book will clear it up for you.
2. Useful statistics (supplied by Forrester) on who's using the Web, where, and for what. How many Americans are reading blogs? How many Germans participate in online forums? Find out here.
3. A wide array of case studies that demonstrate how B2B and B2C firms are using (and misusing) groundswell strategy and tactics. Here you learn how to identify your groundswell market and what you need to do to engage it.
4. A fascinating and instructive look into the groundswell future.
This book should help "new marketing" novices and experts alike. The conversational and simple writing style makes every one of their ideas accessible, and their high level perspective is broad enough in scope that even experts should learn something new....more info
- A timely and thorough introduction to social media
Groundswell is a great book providing a thorough and up to date discussion of how to use social media, and more, to connect with and energize your customers. The book approaches the discussion from the reader's objectives - listening to customers, talking to them, energizing them, empowering them - rather than from technologies or approaches. It has plenty of discussion of how to use technology like blogs, wikis, social networks, bulletin boards and more but always in the context of what you are trying to achieve. I particularly liked the way it brought in approaches not based on new technology and integrated them with the story.
The book is well written and readable - a real book not a long analyst report (despite the authors being Forrester analysts). It should also remain current for a while as it is focused on problems (and how to solve them) and opportunities (and how to exploit them) rather than on the nitty gritty of a particular technology. It's examples are truly illustrative and the authors do a nice job helping the reader place themselves in the context of the opportunity to see what will work in their organization rather than providing a one-size-fits all mandate.
If you are in marketing and have been wondering how all this social "stuff" is going to affect you and what you can do about it, this book will help. A lot....more info
- Social Media for the Enterprise
'Groundswell' can serve as both a great overview and an introduction to the social media trends. Being an early adopter myself, I can't say that this book has changed my view or understanding of the industry, but it is definitely a book I will recommend to any newcomer. Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff provide a number of great examples of how companies have leveraged the 'Groundswell' movement to their advantage, but are also clear that these strategies are not for everyone, and require a substantial amount of resources. Their discussion on the ROI of the social media is a great contribution, and a must read for any consultant.
Perhaps not surprisingly (coming from Forrester researchers), the book offers the most to an enterprise reader who is interested in the social media trends, and needs a solid ground to evaluate both the feasibility and the strategy of their campaign....more info
- The Latest and Greatest on the Topic...
I have to admit, I'm fascinated by the topic of how online communities, both business to business and business to consumer, will change the environment of how businesspeople and consumers interact, market, buy, sell etc. So I've read almost everything recent on the topic and, as those who write about this topic seem to the most seasoned and up to date business writers and/or educators out there, I have yet to be disappointed.
Groundswell is the latest book I've tread, and I have to say it's one of, if not the best on the topic right now. Filled with current statistics on consumer demographic usage of social media, and clearly outlining the "how" in business participation in social media, Groundswell not only builds on the information and thoughts of prior publications, but adds insight never before revealed so clearly or thoroughly.
The authors early in the book map traditional business functions (research, marketing, sales, support, development) into their "groundswell" alternatives (listening, talking, energizing, supporting, embracing) and map out both the fundamental strategic vision that needs to precede and accompany any corporate social media presence, and combine it with plenty of real life examples of good and bad methods of approach and participation.
If as a business or an individual you are interested in this topic, definitely read this book. I agree with the authors, that "you cannot ignore this trend...The groundswell trend is unstoppable, and your customers are there. You may go a little slower or a little faster, but you have to move forward. There is no going back."
- A great reference source
Groundswell is a great book for anyone - especially a client - who feels like they are behind in learning about social media and online marketing.
Just the first 50 pages will provide a client with good working definitions of blogs, RSS feeds, Twitter, tagging, wikis, forums, etc. and what needs the different tactics address.
Best of all, it strongly encourages companies to come up with a strategy before jumping in.
My only caveat is that the authors are researchers for Forresters and occasionally certain sections can sound like a sales pitch for Forrester methodology, but the logic is sound.
Good book....more info
- A Great "How To" Book on Implementing Social Media Into Your Business
Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff have provided an incredible resource with their book Groundswell. I am marketing professional and it is important for me to understand and keep-up with the fast pace of technology. What I love about this book is that it is actionable. You can walk away with practical tactics, tools, and ideas that you can put into place right away. Groundswell is also a great reference tool because it explains social media in a way that is easy for anyone to understand. It breaks down the various forms of social media from blogs, user-generated content sites, member-driven sites and social networks and explains how they work, how many people are using them, how they enable relationships, how they threaten institutional power, and how you can use them.
The most important thing to realize is not every form of social media is right for every company, and Groundswell can help you figure out a strategy that matches your customers' social technographic profile. After all, understanding your customers and connecting with them in a relevant and meaningful way is key to any successful marketing strategy.
All and all it is a great book! I highly recommend it to anyone in marketing, but also would recommend it to anyone involved in trying to grow their company and stay agile in our ever-changing digital world.
- A terrific aid for those in my generation
As an executive in my mid-50's, I was aware of many of the new "social technologies", and even had my own FaceBook page. But what I did not understand until I read this book is how these same technologies are totally changing the game with respect to customer interaction and the control of information about businesses. I have since made Groundswell required reading for my senior managers, and it changed many of the ways we are now doing business....more info
- Grounded view of the Groundswell
Charlene presents a very well-researched, clear, and grounded introduction to how the web is changing business and people's lives. If your business is considering experimenting with social networks, blogging, Twitter, etc, this is a perfect book to educate, inspire, and give you cover from skeptics on the inside....more info
- Great Resource
Groundswell is a useful book for companies that want to penetrate the market in a digital age. The primary thesis is: you can't stop the groundswell, but you can understand it, live with it, and thrive in it. This book tells you exactly how to do it.
In Part 1, the authors describe the groundswell. They tell their readers why the groundswell is happening, what kind of technologies are involved, and then explain how people participate in it.
In Part 2, the authors provide businesses with strategies for participating in and benefiting from the groundswell. Each chapter in this section covers a different element of their strategies: listening to, talking with, energizing, helping, and embracing the groundswell. Each chapter includes case studies of real-life situations where companies have utilized the social technologies described in the first part, tapping into the groundswell.
In Part 3, the authors explain the benefits that can result from the utilization of the groundswell. The last chapter focuses on the future of the groundswell.
This book is an excellent resource for companies that have not yet tapped into the social technologies that make up the groundswell. It examines the use of blogs, member-driven news sites, social networks like Myspace and Facebook, user-generated content sites like YouTube, tools that share internet bookmarks, and content resource sites like Wikipedia. The authors examine each of these technologies using case studies involving real companies and real situations where businesses have benefited from utilizing the groundswell.
What makes this book even more important for its audience is the relevance of the technologies explored. Not only are the case studies great examples of how the groundswell can benefit companies that tap into it, but the technologies are still relevant to readers today. Granted the book was written in 2008, but that is generations in terms of technology.
I recommend this book to anyone/any business with an interest in improving and updating marketing techniques and communication with customers/consumers.
- Many case studies but not in the tourism field
I found the book very interesting, with many case studies. I appreciated the "social technographics profile". Unfortunately I was mostly interested in the travel industry, which is the single largest industry affected by Internet and I found just one case (Carnival Cruise). I was also disappointed when linking to [...], which looks very "sell-oriented"....more info
- Twenty five examples are laid out in this valuable guide
No longer Is mass media only an outlet for those with money and corporations - with social sites such as Myspace, Youtube, and Wikipedia, the public has far more say against the corporate media. "Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies" is a guide on how companies can view this new surge of media not as a threat to their power, but an opportunity for greater success. Twenty five examples are laid out in this valuable guide, making "Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies" highly recommended for all businesses initially fearful of the Internet as a marketing tool....more info