Hello to my lovely followers!
Wow, I can’t believe it has been a week already. Time flies when you’re having fun I guess!?
This week in the wonderful world of the groundswell, is all about the POST process. This process is basically the foundation for groundswell thinking and is a four-step planning process that provides a framework for assembling a plan to build a groundswell strategy. So, what is POST anyways? Well, I am glad you asked! POST is an acronym for People, Objectives, Strategy, and Technology. (Li & Bernoff, 2011)
To provide further explanation, let’s look more in depth to each:
People – With this section, you should be looking at what your customers are ready for. Remember the Social Technographic Profile, from some of my previous post? Well, this is the section meant specifically for that. Using this information, you will assess how your customers will engage based on the types of activities that they already do. For example, critics are more likely to post rating/reviews of products, comment on other people’s blogs, contribute to online forums, etc., so knowing this, will give you information about the best way to reach them.
Now let me give you a specific example. As I have mentioned in some of my other posts, I really aspire to work for the government once I am completed school. Probably the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) in Fort McMurray. So, the people I would focus on is pretty generic. Realistically, the main customers I would engage with would be any person who lives in the city, pay taxes, works, etc. As such, these people are ready for the RMWB to get involved, to listen to what they are saying, and to actually take into consideration their needs. Canadian people, in general fall into the joiner, spectator and critic categories, at 64 percent, 57 percent, and 29 percent respectively. This means the RMWB needs to be aware of how these people are involved before they can determine the main objective they want to achieve.
Objectives – Next, is the objectives section, which involves looking at the goals your organization hopes to achieve through this plan. Is your goal to talk with your customers in the market? Is it about generating sales by energizing your best customers? Or is your goal to tap into the groundswell internally to help your employees? Whatever your goal is, there are five main objectives that you and your company can pursue.
- Listening – You may remember me talking about this previously, and you’re right. This objective exists for the purpose of “us[ing] the groundswell for research and to better understand your customers” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 68). This should be your objective if your goal is to gather insight from our customers to help with marketing and development.
- Talking – This objective is used as a way for you and your company to “[u]se the groundswell to spread messages about your company” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 68). This should be your objective if you are looking to extend your current digital marketing initiatives to become more interactive with your customers.
- Energizing – This objective allows you to “[f]ind your most enthusiastic customers, and use the groundswell to supercharge the power of their word of mouth” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 68). This is a good objective if you and your company knows that your brand is something that your customers are enthusiastic about.
- Supporting – Using this objective allows you to “[s]et up groundswell tools to help your customers support each other” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 69). This is a good objective for your company if there are significant support costs and you have customers who want to help each other.
- Embracing – Lastly, objective is used to “[i]ntegrate your customers into the way your business works, including using their help to design your products” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 69). This is a good objective if your company has succeeded with one of the other four objectives already. However, this is the most difficult to implement.
Now, time for another example. Continuing with the RMWB example, the goals that they seek to achieve involves targeting the customers who want to have a say in what happens in the community. Therefore, the best objective for the Municipality to choose would be listening. They would be best to listen to what the people are saying, especially the critics that were identified, and to seek their insights on how to improve and change in their developments.
Strategy – Now we will look at your strategy. This section looks at how you may want your relationships to change with your customers. “Do you want customers to help carry messages to others in your market? Do you want them to become more engaged with your company?” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 68). By answering these questions, you will be able to plan for the changes you seek, as well as determining how to measure them once this plan starts.
Back to my example again; the RMWB wants to garner interest in the choices and opportunities that the community embraces. This involves gaining consumer feedback for every aspect, and really listening to what they have to say. The key strategy that the municipality should embrace is more engagement by the community members, and to actually consider what the community is saying. This will create a more positive community, and more consumers who are proud to call the RMWB their home.
Technology – As the last step in the process, this section looks at the types of applications that could be used by the organization. Should your organization start a blog, or would social networks be better suited? After deciding on the other three steps, you will be able to determine the most appropriate application to either implement or create.
For the RMWB, the technology involved should be social media sites, such as Twitter or Facebook, to be used to set up surveys/polls which would allow for open and honest communication with their target market. This may garner significant negative remarks from many of the citizens, but they should not become discouraged. This negativity could actually be enlightening as to what the people perceive in the community, and may shed some light on some of the tasks the city is embracing that may not be as important as they thought.
Once you start this process, you will start to see the fundamental changes that are occurring between the organization and its customers. Just remember, there is no “right way” to engage with the groundswell. Go with the flow, follow your plan, and you will see a world of difference!
Until next week,
Crystal Willette 😊
Li, C. & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell expanded and revised: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing.