Brand Media Strategy in the Groundswell – #4

Chapters 2 and 3 in Groundswell focus not only on new technologies, but on how these technologies are used in the groundswell. According to the authors, relationships are everything, and practitioners should focus on the relationships they’re building (and HOW they’re building them) with consumers, not just the new technology available to reach them.

Strategic communication is experiencing a shift, with the relationship between companies and consumers rapidly changing. Customers are now the ones controlling the conversation (not corporations) by using new media technologies to communicate about products and companies. Groundswell attempts to provide tactics for companies to use to capitalize on how consumers are using technology. Additionally, Brand Media Strategy notes that in this shift, communication planning is moving away from the job of simply delivering message because “the starting point is the consumer, not the media channel or the discipline” (Nook 42).

Chapter 2 particularly focuses on various communication mediums like blogs, social networking sites (SNS), wikis, and more. First and foremost, when looking at blogs and wikis, the authors strongly urge companies to listen and monitor closely what people are saying and sharing about your company or brand. User-generated content on blogs for example is not regulated, so anything is possible (Nook 25). SNS are by definition “about the facilitation of relationships with technologies” (Nook 27). The authors note that that “fads can spread rapidly through SNS, displacing, undermining, or (sometimes) boosting brand awareness” (Nook 28). The authors also note Wikipedia as a perfect example of what groundswell power is: the public having the ability to determine what’s posted, including what the image is for certain companies.

Another excellent new media example not discussed in Groundswell is Pinterest. Even President Obama has an official Pinterest account that his camp uses to strategically reach constituents. A recent Businessweek article draws from Beth Hayden’s book Pinfluence, and suggests different ways for social media marketers to engage consumers from this booming new SNS including: running contests, featuring spotlight testimonials, pinning videos, telling client stories, creating a “pinfluence” contact list, creating conference boards, and hosting pin chats by integrating Twitter and Pinterest.

Brand Media Strategy shifts gears and explains why the communications world is moving at such a rapid pace and how we as media practitioners can keep up. With the rise of social media giants like Facebook and Google, it’s no wonder why the marketing communications profession has been shaken up.  Digital media in general has set a higher set of standards for branding because it allows us to track and measure user response, which in turn allows us to hone in on what each individual user is looking for. Digital media also gives consumers a more personalized experience. Young states that “users are able to get information how and when they want it” (8). An important focus for marketers should be the peer-to-peer relationship in terms of social media.  Young notes that according to comScore/ Kelsey Group research, nearly one in four Internet users looked at online reviews before selecting a restaurant or hotel or legal, travel, medical, automotive or home services” (Nook 18). Similarly in chapter 3 of Groundswell, the authors discuss the power of the Social Technographics Profile noting that “we can understand how social technologies are being adopted by any group of people” (Nook 45).

In Young’s words, “We are moving from a world of broadcast to broad “catch”.”  With so many different digital media outlets, it is getting harder and harder to catch the attention of consumers.  Instead of sitting down and watching television or reading the newspaper, people are watching TV while checking their email and Facebook account all at the same time.  That is why it is so important to utilize tools like Google and Facebook to target a consumer with exactly what they are interested in.

Branding now particularly goes hand in hand with communication planning where the emphasis is not just on reaching people, but influencing them. Young notes that “context, relevance and involvement have become important components in making the communications more potent” when devising a communication plan (Nook 44). Rogojinaru (2011) who examined Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Avon, and Disney to look at their use of “story-telling” in managing their brands through corporate books noted that “branding in particular is a peculiar interdisciplinary process and action, which combines marketing, communication, cultural aspects, visual semiotics, and discourse management” (145).

Communications is no longer about delivering messages to audiences, but also about understanding why they respond the way they do.  It is extremely important for account planning creative, and digital to be utilized together in order to understand the consumer (Young 39).  It is also important to understand where and how to advertise.  These two questions should be answered first.  Marketers have sought to create advertising that either reinforces brand message or elicits a response form the customer (Young 43).  “The Brand Media Strategy involves making a communications platform that works together with creative and involves touch point-recommendations.  Finally, it is about the brand or campaign idea and its amplification, followed by integrated execution and measurement (Young 48).”

Young says a survey reveals that among teens, 39 percent of word of mouth about a brand happens online via text, email, instant messaging, chats and blog (8).   Google is a pioneer in the digital media realm.  “Google and its competitors have created the first applications to leverage the database of intentions in a commercial manner: paid search (Young 9).” Google allows the client to know who their client is, what they are searching for, and what else their interests are in a matter of seconds.   Advertisers are able to change their marketing plan almost immediately without significant costs (Young 10).  Kafka says that December web forecast pegs Google’s share of the overall Web ad market at 44 percent, a number that has been steadily increasing. Facebook is another leader in the marketing world.  It allows marketers to target consumers by using personal information listed on their site.

“For many marketers, their Facebook fan bases have become their largest web presence, outstripping brand sites or email programs either because a brand’s traditional web-based “owned media” is atrophying or because more consumers are migrating to social media. Coca-Cola, with its 10.7 million Facebook fans, has three to four times the Facebook fan base as MyTown and Foursquare have registered users. (In fact, there are at least 11 brands whose Facebook fan pages have quietly grown bigger than the biggest geo-location providers.) That certainly trumps U.S. unique visitors to Coke’s brand website, which fell by more than 40% to 242,000 in July compared to a year ago, per Compete. Neff (2010) states that “in order to get the best results out of advertising, one must be very knowledgeable of digital media.”  Now instead of telling a consumer to check out their website, they’re telling them to become a fan of their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter. Google and Facebook are piorneers in paving a path for future marketers.

Another approach to digital media is offering an experience for users.  One trailblazer in this arena is Nike.  First of all, Nike created an online community for runners who purchased their shoes. They put sensors in the shoes that would be able to track a runner’s activity on their Apple IPod/iPhone.  They can then upload their activity and get advice and motivation from other runners using Nike products.  Nike also organized running events in large cities, released new sneaker lines, and sponsored TV shows like ESPN’s Sports Center. The company also does an excellent job at utilizing social media outlets like and  Stefan Olander, global director for brand connections at Nike says, “We want to find a way to enhance the experience and services, rather than looking for a way to interrupt people from getting to where they want to go.” (Young 19).

After reading about the many ways that social marketers can target audiences now using Google, Facebook and other new technologies, it was surprising to find a recent Businessweek article notes that while 76% of social media marketers say they know what their customer wants, only about 34% have actually asked them. Though Facebook and Google have been successful, a remarkable number of social marketers are not. They note that there’s a major disconnect between what consumers are looking for and what they’re actually receiving from the brands they follow on social networks. Additionally this research notes that consumers tend to seek deals and special content in exchange for social activity with their brand, thought most social marketers believe consumers see customer service as the most important return on engaging with their brand through SNS.

Li, Charlene and Josh Bernoff (2011). Groundswell.

Kafka, Peter. (5 Dec 2011). The Rise of Google, the Ascent of Facebook and the Decline of Everyone Else.  Retrieved from

Neff, Jack. (2010 August 8).What Happens When Facebook Trumps Your Brand Site? Retrieved from

Rogojinaru, A. (2011). Corporate Narrations: An Instrument of Strategic Brand Management. Styles Of Communication, 2011(3), 145-161.

Seven Ways to Market Your Business Using Pinterest. (2012, September 5)
Retrieved from

The Gap Between Social Customers and Social Marketers. (2012, September 8)
Retrieved from

Young, Antony. (2010).Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital Era.

Blog leaders: Leslie Wells and Megan Fambrough


About mfambrough

Graduate Assistant studying Mass Communication at LSU!

23 thoughts on “Brand Media Strategy in the Groundswell – #4

  1. As I was reading for this week, I received my regular email from IAB Smart Brief and some of the headlines fit in with what each of the books were explaining. The first article that clicked to me was the Top Story, What Apple’s new iPhone means for mobile marketers.”

    We see in Branding Media Strategy one of the main points of the entire book is the new age of branding. It tells us that marketing is now focused in different ways to more specific needs. In the story from AdWeek, Adam Kmiec, Campbell Soup’s global head of digital and social, addressed what Passbook means to marketers. “[It] will increase both the adoption and importance of real-time, geo-contextual mobile marketing,” he said. (AdWeek, 1) They are looking at what Groundswell would call technographics. They have to find the people they are looking to market to through the new arising of the iPhone 5.

    Another article that was on this same email that hit on these topics was TechCrunch’s Twitter Rolls Out Enhanced Geo-targeting for its Marketing Customers. Twitter is still catching up to the big fish like twitter and is now realizing that they need and want to be making money. The company announced this month, that it has made changes to its marketing tools which will now allow brands to geo-target consumers so that they can reach out to them. This seems like they are late on the ball at least Branding Media would agree. It is past geo-targeting we have moved into technographics.

    Branding Media explains the two top dogs of this consumer change. Although General Motors decided that one of the top dogs wasn’t worth its money, Chrysler surly did. ClickZ, a marketing news and expert advice website, posted a story Chrysler Joins Ford on Facebook Logout Page. Chrysler decided to run an ad for its Town & Country minivan on Facebook’s logout page. “The car company last week launched a campaign for the vehicle, one that includes a video-centric website touting the van’s suitability for real family use” (Clickz,1). And the best part of this whole AD campaign according to the article, “Facebook won’t reveal the cost of its logout page ads, but in the past the company has told ClickZ that 37 million people log out of Facebook each day, many from public computers” (Clickz, 1).

  2. According to Li and Bernoff (2011), businesses can master the groundswell by concentrating on relationships with their consumers. Unlike the cartoon at the top of this week’s blog post, Home Depot seems to know what to do with their social media sites. The company created “social media store associates” by choosing current store employees and assigning social media duties to them two days out of their workweek. Home Depot saw value in the knowledge base of their employees, who spend large amounts of time talking to customers about current home improvement trends.

    Home Depot answers questions on Twitter. The company created a style guide app that dispenses home improvement and style advice. The company’s website features project and buying guides, forums, and a blog. The Home Depot YouTube channel, featuring various home improvement tips, lists 37 million video views. Their use of Pinterest impresses me the most. When someone says “Home Depot,” I picture tall shelves of plywood and a paint center. But since most Pinterest users are female, the company uses that site to display ideas for weddings, home décor, decorating for holidays, and DIY projects like wreaths and headboards.

    Groundswell also states that businesses have no control over how consumers classify businesses or their products. The Home Depot Wikipedia entry includes sections on cases that the company probably wishes to forget, such as allegations of unwarranted backcharges against vendors. Wikipedia also mentions criticism of the style of construction used on Home Depot stores that collapsed and killed customers during a 2011 tornado in Missouri.

    Using this strategy and these social media sites, consumers may go beyond considering visiting Home Depot for a purchase and instead seek out the company for project advice and encouragement. This is what building a relationship is all about.

    Corn, D. (2011, May). Home Depot puts new spin on ‘sales rep’ with social media. Retrieved from

    Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.

    Wikipedia entry, Home Depot. Retrieved from

    Young, A. (2010). Brand media strategy: Integrated communications planning in the digital era. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Zmuda, N. (2011, September). Home Depot’s social-media strategy pays off. Advertising Age. Retrieved from

  3. Gone are the days when businesses only had a couple of venues to market their product or service. Enter the marketing age of what we know today courtesy of technology and groundswell. I’m amazed at how pervasive marketing is and how quickly it ballooned to keep up with demand. Case in point: Google. I remember at least five years ago I googled something random and on the right side of the screen, I saw ads that offered what I was looking for. I wondered how “they” knew what I needed. I had no idea that AdWords were using algorithms to deduce what I needed and where I could get it. Genius! Now, I’m not sure what I would do without it! But that’s only one tiny part of the groundswell.

    Further into the Groundswell reading, I was particularly interested in the fact that “most of the activity in the groundswell is uncoordinated…that the groundswell emerges from the interactions” and still achieves success for the most part. However, when the activity is coordinated, it can create a revolt, as it did in Egypt (Crovitz), or cause terror, as it’s doing to embassies around the world today, to apologizing for said as some Libyans have recently (Edmunton). Even terrorists are taking to using social media in fighting this very asymmetrical war! (CBC News). The method by which we fought wars, communicated or organized events even fifty years ago has changed significantly and now we can see things unfolding in real time, courtesy of social media and all it entails.

    Another interesting part of the reading (In the Young reading) was how an organization’s “brand” is part of the marketing of said organization. One epic fail in “branding” that always comes to mind is Coca Cola. The company saw their share lead over its competitor (the unnamed Pepsi in the Coca Cola article) so they felt they needed to do something to shake things up a bit. After 99 years of using the same formula, they decided to change it in the Spring of 1985. It met with such resistance and backlash, they quickly returned to their old formula, calling it “Coca Cola Classic.” It did have a positive outcome, however, because people were hoarding and rationing the original version of the soda, writing songs about it and forming protest groups. They got incredible press, which served to reinforce to everyone how much they needed their Coca Cola. As intense as the ensuing chaos was for Coca Cola, I can only imagine how insane the groundswell would have been if Facebook and Twitter had existed in 1985.

    All in all, it’s safe to say we are using a new, completely revised playbook, which includes never-before used formations and executions in the game involving the media world. Facebook, Google, Twitter, Blogging, Branding….all these words are part of this playbook, which will likely be obsolete in the next fifty years.

    CBC News. (2012). Terrorist Groups Recruiting Through Social Media. Retrieved from

    Coca Cola Company. Coke Lore. Retrieved from

    Crovitz, L. G. (2011). Egypt’s Revolution by Social Media. Retrieved from

    Global Edmonton (2012) Retrieved from

    Google AdWords. Retrieved from

    Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2008). Groundswell. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.

    Young, A. (2010). Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital Era. New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan

  4. The blog leaders this week made a very good point when they noted that communications is no longer only about reaching the people. If one would take a cursory glance at the current communication system, both online and otherwise, he or she may disagree with that point. However, as the leaders said, it is about figuring out what will reach them to garner the desired results. Once we can figure out what people want and how they want it, we, as communicators, can use the tools at our disposal.

    In “Brand Media Strategy,” Anthony Young points out that communication goals should be built around outcomes and not output (51). There is no other way to accomplish this than knowing your target audience. Presently, the brand of a company is what needs to be communicated, but there are so many different extensions to branding which make the use of technology more difficult for companies. A cohesive message is necessary, especially when managing different outlets where all comments may not exactly be positive.

    According to Li and Bernoff (2011), how we communicate through these various technologies represents the dispersion of power (20). Yes, technology is beneficial for getting a message out and also, for consumer support. Nevertheless, as a company, you do not want the power of negativity getting beyond your reach. Li and Bernoff (2011) use Walmart as an example. Even though the large company has “haters” posting on their various outlets, they still manage their exposure. “Walmart has been forming relationships with bloggers, tweeting, and posting on Facebook, embracing its customers’ desire to get great deals and save money” (57).

    Scott Brinker, the author of the blog “Chief Marketing Technologist” said, “The agile marketing interpretation of customer collaboration retains the spirit of working with customers, not merely trying to sell something to them from an abstract market plan.” In other words, know what they want and capitalize on that as opposed to sales techniques. People tend to want a conversation instead of a one way discourse.

    Brinker, S. (2012). 10 Key Principles of agile marketing management.

    Li, Charlene and Josh Bernoff (2011). Groundswell.

    Young, A. (2010). Brand media strategy: Integrated communications planning in the digital era. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

  5. In this emerging age of brand media strategy, we see over and over, the importance of engaging the consumer. As was noted in Brand Media Strategy, former Gateway online strategist, Antonella Pisani believes “You are capturing people while they are interested.” This is the driving force behind Google’s advertising strategies. They seek to display ads that directly correlate to the consumer’s search. This has proven to be extremely effective for not only Google, but the companies, regardless of size, that choose to advertise through it.

    Google is not the only site marketers can use to capture its audience. Facebook, the biggest website in the world, has completely changed the way the companies participate in the groundswell. For example, Best Buy refrains from promoting products on its Facebook page. It uses the page solely as a means of engaging its customers in product discussion. It not only provides the customer with the experience of other consumers, it also provides the company with product feedback.

    The authors made a great point, practitioners should really focus on how they are building customer relationships, and not just using new media the same way. Nike has taken heed to this invaluable advice. In “How Nike outruns the social media competition” writer Erica Swallow looks at how the mega company uses social media to blow its competitors out of the water. According to Nike’s Global Digital Brand and Innovation Director Jesse Stollak, “Ultimately, we are about connecting with the consumer where they are.” They encourage consumers to participate in the conversation as opposed to using new media in a traditional manner. Nike expands its socials media communities by using the most relevant social network site in that country. Another way Nike gets its consumers involved is through its very own SNS, Nike+. The site allows runners to track their running records and health stats, as well as challenge their friends and get motivation and advice. The two- year old site has already reached over five million users. In another article found on PR Newswire, CEO of Socialbakers, Jan Rezab put it best when he said, “There was a time when primetime slots around major sporting events were essential for maintaining position as a household name; but social media has leveled the playing field. Through its savvy social strategy, Nike demonstrated that you no longer need prime time to create brand buzz.” It is likelu that the smart brands demonstrate this as well.

    Swallow, E. (2011, September). How Nike outruns the social media competition.

    PR Newswire (2012). Retrieved from

  6. There has been a lot of talk in the past few years regarding the rise of digital media and its impact on communications practitioners. The authors of Groundswell and Brand Media Strategy do a great job in covering these implications.

    In Groundswell, the authors make an important distinction. The argue that the principle for mastering the groundswell is in concentrating on the relationships, not the technologies (18). I thought that this was important to note. The basic foundation for public relations is grounded in its principle of building meaningful relationships. We often focus on the technology itself rather than the implications of the technology on effective strategic communication. Regardless of the technology, relationship building is of key importance. You want your customers to form a relationship with your company and its brand. Since it can be difficult to focus on this aspect with the rise of such new and rapid-changing technologies, understanding this is extremely important for marketing professionals.

    In chapter 3 of Groundswell, the authors introduce the Social Technographics Profile. This helps to group people based on their technology behaviors in groundswell activities. I think that this is extremely useful for marketers in conducting market research as they can tailor their communication efforts to different users both online and offline.

    The authors of Brand Media Strategy also shed light on the subject of branding in a digital age. They mention how this increased speed and accessibility of data allows communication practitioners to analyze and alter campaigns during (rather than after) the campaign’s duration. Additionally, they define the distinction between media planning and communications planning: media planning is more about reaching audiences while communications planning is more about influencing them. While it may seem simple, communications planning and brand media strategy require a more strategic approach. Moreover, brand media strategy encompasses both “where” and “how” — where to play and how to win (43).

    I stumbled upon a blog maintained by JPL Creative, a strategic integrated communications firm in Pennsylvania. The blog includes posts from various professionals regarding communication in the digital age. In a post from John Walker, he describes the communication process and points out that you must first create content and then amplify reach by utilizing sites (such as SNS) by using KYDEX as an example. I found this interesting as it reinforced the planning process outlined in Brand Media Strategy.

    Social media for B2B: It’s more than Facebook. Retrived from,

    Li, Charlene and Josh Bernoff (2011). Groundswell.

    Young, A. (2010). Brand media strategy: Integrated communications planning in the digital era. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

  7. Perhaps one of the most interesting subjects I found while reading about this new phase in social media was public relations’ role in social networking sites’ shift. Public relations practitioners have noted that social media, although an intense and complex network, is a beneficial outlet in promoting and creating a market for clients. An article by Papasolomou and Melanthiou (2012) explaining social media’s impact on the public relations profession states that within in terms of online dialogue, customers and audiences are the ones creating and leading the conversations (Papasolomou & Melanthiou, 321).

    This source also introduces the concept of Marketing Public Relations (MPR). Defined as a method of achieving marketing objectives, this new MOPR is explained as a connection to the customer that, …”nourishes loyalty and continued usage” (323). Although this seems like an effective method, this relationship requires a trust that is not always achieved quickly (Papasolomou & Melanthiou, 321; Young, 2008). I would be interested to see how the professional sites within the social media world (ex: LinkedIn) differ from the more social, casual sites in terms of marketing success. However, by asking this question, I am obviously pointing out that social media’s lines of differentiation are blurring, and they are blurring at an increasing rate.

    Along with the shift in strategic communication that Groundswell mentions, there is the user experience that must be constantly fed (2011). For example, among the drink giants, Coca Cola is now using Spotify to promote its Coca Cola Music program (Mike, 2012). Spotify is quickly growing momentum as a music listening site intended to help users create their own listening experiences. According to Mike’s article (2012), Pepsi is now outsourcing the research done on social media to companies like SoicalFlow—social media optimization firms that analyze information going through SNS. Mike’s interview with Shiv Singh, global head of digital for PepsiCo Beverages, points out that social media and celebrity’s use of social media during campaigns are another method of, “…integrating into pop culture in a meaningful way” (Mike, 2012).

    Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.

    Mike, S., & USA, T. (n.d). Cola companies get social in battle. USA Today.

    Papasolomou, I., & Melanthiou, Y. (2012). Social Media: Marketing Public Relations’ New Best Friend. Journal Of Promotion Management, 18(3), 319-328. doi:10.1080/10496491.2012.696458

    Young, S. (2008). Online marketing’ walking the talk. Retrieved from

  8. It is important for businesses to know how to use social media. As the blog states digital media gives the consumers a more personalized experience. Companies need to not only take note of what consumers say but they also need to embrace what they say so they can help their company grow.

    In “Groundswell,” Li and Bernoff explore technological advancements and the potential problems that they can cause for companies. It’s important for companies to learn how to control these problems before they start. Bad reviews and false accusations can undoubtedly harm a company’s reputation. However, it seems like companies are becoming more proactive. For Example, an article by USA today, titled “Social Media is Reinventing How Business is Done,” talks about how Dell uses a site called IdeaStorm to gauge what their customers want. According to the article the company allows their consumers to post about problems with the computers, ideas for improving Dell products or ideas for new products. The article also says that the company posts its own ideas so that it can get customer feed back. By giving their customers a forum to discuss their products, whether it is positive or negative, Dell is actively listening to their customers. Dell is aware of problems their products might have or if customers are satisfied. Dell is giving their customers a way to discuss their issues in an environment that Dell itself can somewhat control.

    Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2008). Groundswell. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.

    Mullaney, T. (2012, May). Social Media is Reinventing How Business is Done. Retrieved September 16 from:

  9. In Groundswell they say that in order for businesses and institutions to take advantage of the groundswell phenomenon they must think of it like mastering the art of jujitsu (17). This means harnessing your opponent’s power to your own advantage (Li 17). In chapter 2 the authors go into detail on how various social media such as blogs, wikis, and social networks work (Li 18-34). They also discuss how many people use these forms of social media, how they form part of the groundswell, how they threaten institutional power, and how companies and institutions can use them to their advantage (Li 18).

    However, one of the features that they failed to mention that in my opinion that makes up the groundswell and can threaten companies is the phenomenon of advertiser filtering (Young 22). Advertiser filtering is when consumers are filtering or blocking ads (Young 22). New technologies such as TiVo and internet ad blockers allow consumers to get content they want completely ad free. Many people feel that social networks like Facebook have too many ads and don’t feel comfortable with the whole concept of data mining (Nicole, “Social”).

    Further, another factor with social networks is that people often self-censor themselves (Ephiho, “What”). For example, there could be something that a person could really be into something that many might find “weird” or “inappropriate”. That person would love to receive updates and offer feedback to the company that fulfill this person’s interest, but doesn’t “like” the company’s Facebook page or subscribe to its Twitter feed for fear that others may see it. As result, the person receives no updates and the company gets no feedback thus leading to a total disconnect.

    But there may be a way to solve this problem by using the newly created social network of Google+ (Nicole, “Social”). Here’s a link to the following video explaining what Google+ is:

    As you can see with Google+, more privacy settings are offered than that of Facebook or Twitter, while still allowing that person to socialize. Now that person in our previously mentioned example can receive updates and offer feedback to that company that caters to their strange niche privately (Ephiho, “What”). As Kristen Nicole’s article “Social Networks are Dead: the Business of Google+ as-a-Service” best puts it, “If Google can simplify the user experience around control settings, the user in fact has more incentive to interactively share information.”

    I think it would be very smart for many companies to take advantage of Google+ since offers companies a chance to target many micro groups that have yet to be tapped (Young 34). Personally, I feel that advertising on sites like Facebook and Twitter is increasingly becoming overcrowded and impersonal much in the same way as traditional media like television and radio. Google+ might be the right jujitsu to counter this problem (Li 17).

    Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2008). Groundswell. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.

    Young, A. (2010). Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital Era. New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan.

    Nicole, Kristen. “Social Networks are Dead: the Business of Google+ as-a-Service.” Forbes, 12 Sept. 2012. Web. 16 Sept. 2012.

    Epipheo. “What is Google+ (Google Plus) and do I need it?” 21 Jul. 2011. Web. 16 Sept. 2012.

  10. It seems that the common theme in the reading for this week has to be interactivity between producer and consumer. The technologies discussed have now created a two way exchange of dialogue between producer and consumer. As the text states, “The groundswell has two key ingredients: technology and people (37).” It’s now become evident that producers must provide incentive for the attention of the consumer. Once again, the main priority here is attention. The term “attention economy” arises once again.

    The challenge is to utilize the technologies available in a mature and effective way. The text states “it pays to concentrate on the relationships, not the technologies (41).” It’s easy for any company to have a Twitter page or a Facebook page, but it’s a different animal when thinking about how that company utilizes that resource. The literature then shows the types of people that are more likely to engage in social media with producers. In turn, these producers have an entirely new market to consider and address with their marketing and products. For example, “Right away you can see that young people are more active in the groundswell than the average consumer, which is no surprise if you’ve ever met any (47).”

    The ultimate theme then for companies utilizing social technologies is to make sure you’re “accomplishing a useful business goal and, on top of that, how you’ll measure that success and then prove that the groundswell effort was worth it (62).”

  11. Chapters 2 and 3 of Brand Media Strategy focused on the ever-changing media outlets in today’s world. Today people are constantly connected through smart phones and social networking sites. Digital media has forced companies and organizations to rebrand and reorganize their advertising campaigns in order to reach consumers. Google has become an aid in this reorganization as it is allowing companies to see what consumers are searching and companies are able to capitalize on the search engine.

    An important step for agencies is to plan their strategy. Media planning is the ability of a company to reach the right audience at the right time in the right place with the right cost (35). In contrast, communications planning is focused less on reaching people but influencing. Influencing is an important step in the process because consumers need to be influenced in order to purchase. Communications planning is not just about delivering a message, but includes the concept of understanding the consumers thought process.
    Planners can utilize platforms such as the Consumer Pathway in order to build an understanding of the consumer. The Consumer Pathway employs various stages of brand influence such as: awareness of a product or service, involvement, active consideration, purchase, consumption, relationship building and advocacy.

    Chapter two of Groundswell defines many different types of sites and ways for companies to utilize the Consumer Pathway. This includes blogs, social media sites, Wikipedia, and RSS feeds (19). All of these technologies are way for people to be involved and are interactive for the consumer. These technologies can be tools for companies to mediate what people are saying about their products, connect with consumers and influence new consumers. The importance of creating a “buzz” about their company or product can be found in this pathway.

  12. Though the world of public relations and advertising changed due to emerging technologies, the principal reason for the industry, connecting to an audience and selling that audience something, has not. In today’s world, brand media strategy is the solution needed in order to reach consumers. Amidst the millions of messages we receive everyday, something has to stand out in order for it be seen or heard. In Brand Media Strategy, Antony Young says, “People don’t want more products, they want more experiences” (18). To have these experiences, brand media strategy is needed to deliver “memorable, interactive and emotional occasions with the brand” (29).

    In Groundswell, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff illustrate in chapter 3 through several graphs how people view the internet. Though some of us are Creators, Conversationalists, Critics, Collectors, Joiners or Inactives, we are all Spectators. (39-62) We want to be engaged.

    In 2010, Cornell University performed a study to identify why consumers prefer experiences over products. The study discovered that “‘experiences’ are more rewarding than ‘things’ because of the way people tend to evaluate their happiness by comparing themselves with others” (Rosales). In other words, as consumers we’re more likely to compare a physical product we own with a similar product a friend owns, and if it’s not as good, we become jealous. It’s much more difficult to compare experiences, therefore the chances of feeling jealousy are less likely. Experiences are pleasing because “we truly ‘own’ them in that they become integrated into our characters and help shape our personalities” (Rosales).

    When companies and organizations tap into the consumer’s need for an experience over a product, their communication plans are more likely to be successful.

    Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2008). Groundswell. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.

    Young, A. (2010). Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital Era. New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan.

    Rosales, L. “Consumers Want Experiences Over Products, Do You Know Why?” 13 April 2010. Retrieved from

  13. As I was reading Groundswell and Brand Media Strategy, I began to think of my job. I work as the PR Graduate Assistant for the Center for Academic Success on campus, and I am currently working on attracting a larger audience to engage in our social media. The reading was perfect for me when discussing “relationships.” Chapter three of Groundswell stated is not important to learn the motivations of the customers but to “find the levers that you can pull to get your customers and employees to participate with you” (Li, Bernoff, p. 62). It is not that great of importance to understand the technology that is in use, but to understand the people that use it.

    In chapter two of Brand Media Strategy, the idea of understanding your audience continues. It lends advice to the readers by telling them to pinpoint micro groups in order to take “waste out of the equation” (Young, p. 34). It is both time and money efficient to know your customer, their behaviors, and what holds their attention. In order for Lexus to push the new ES, it has tapped into the mobile game application Gem with Friends. While users are playing, advertisement that sparks their interest pops up for them to watch. Engineer technologies strategist of Aquity Group, Scott Forshay, state “Within the framework of the age-old adage of right place, right time, right message, advertising placements on popular gaming apps makes perfect sense,” (Lamb, 2012, p. 1).

    Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2008). Groundswell. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.

    Young, A. (2010). Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital Era. New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan

    Lamb, R. (2012). Luxury Daily: Lexus taps mobile game for ES push. Retrieved from

  14. It’s a two-way street now. Gone are the days of marketing at a consumer. It is now a constant dialogue between motivated consumers and those who are looking to sell a product.

    Technology is the catalyst that created this dialogue, but technology — and keeping up with the latest technological fads — is not the focus for producers of goods or services. In “Groundswell,” Li and Bernoff say the key to mastering the groundswell is to concentrate on the relationships and not on the technologies (18).

    According to a 2010 study, consumers want companies to be more engaged with social media for customer support and customer service. In the study, according to Biz Report, 70 percent of consumers trust company information given to them through social networks and want access to company experts. And the same study cites 57 percent of customers through social media would improve their loyalty to that company.

    There are many reasons why individuals participate in this groundswell and the book goes on to detail the motivations. But the goal is beyond understanding and acting on those motivations. “It’s one thing to understand what drives the groundswell–it’s quite another to dive into it and turn those forces to your advantage(62).”

    Legatt, Helen. “Biz Report: Loyal Marketing” July 21, 2010.

  15. The social consumer climate described in “Groundswell” is an open channel of new consumer-based communication where consumers utilize consumers to get what they need. While communication is centered around the consumer in this age, branding allows for a more level-playing field in regards to influencing consumer decisions. Branding allows consumer communication to function as both a marketing tool as well as a vehicle for researching more about the consumer base. (Li, 2008)

    Lisa Charles pointed out sites like Google using AdWords in an interesting marketing technique. Selected advertisements are slated to be shown based off of prior searches. One company that utilizes a similar strategy is internet dating website OKCupid. Unlike it’s relationship-based contemporaries, OKCupid uses the data posted internally that collects as a dating site and uses that data for creative marketing purposes. People create OKCupid accounts to find love and become part of a creative marketing focus group. Interesting discoveries from data harvesting are posted on OKTrends where future marketing ventures are planned and results are analyzed. (Del Rey, 2012)

    Tumblr is another company that takes branding quite seriously. Like Pinterest, Tumblr is visual-based and immediately appealing. The Tumblr community is a very specific group which would benefit several companies trying to promote their brand on a young, media savvy network. Tumblr actively sponsors get-togethers around the world where members of the “Groundswell” actively cross paths and discuss the website. Sparksheet’s Sarah Mc-Mahon Sperber sheds some light on the impact of Tumblr’s reach, “On a monthly basis, tumbleloggers are receiving up to 9,000 nametags and 3,000 Tumblr stickers from the platform’s community organizers in order to facilitate these Tumblr-centric events.” (Mc-Mahon Sperber, 2013)

    DMS: Building the Data-Driven Brand: OKCupid from Digiday on Vimeo.

    Del Rey, J. (2012, September 16). The key to the business of love? data, of course. Retrieved from

    McMahon-Sperber, S. (2012, March 26). When content meets community: Brands on tumblr. Retrieved from

    Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2008). Groundswell. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.

  16. I found the readings for this week to be very interesting. It’s amazing how much the use of branding and media can either play a significant positive role in the eyes of the consumers, or a negative role.
    In Groundswell, they make a great point stating that people in India don’t use the same social networks as people in Germany and also as in other countries, but “the fundamental emotions that drive people to the groundswell-the desire to connect, to create, to stay in touch, and to help each other- are universal,” (Bernoff, 49). With this said, most countries want to stay on top of the technology train and all of the top-of-the-line social media sites; such as: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, etc.
    Let’s take the Olympics for example. The Olympics is a nation wide spectator event that allows millions upon millions of viewers to watch and get the latest news at the tips of their fingers. Personally, through Twitter and certain websites, I was able to get access to all of the sporting events that I was interested in, without having to watch the actual event. “The organizers of the IOC conformed to the first social media Olympics by launching the Olympic Athletes’ Hub, a website that aggregates photos, videos, and chats from Olympic Village,” (Lopez). This phenomenon of social media, brought out a lot into the branding image of the athletes.
    The way that our generation uses social media is something that I believe still takes people by surprise. Some of us were at the edge of our seats waiting for the next thing that Ryan Lochte was going to tweet, or seeing if Misty May was going to tweet a picture of her with Kerri Walsh. Their brand image was evolved through social media, and it’s important for athletes to use it and not abuse the privilege that they have. “Rule 40 of the Olympics charter explicitly bans athletes from using social media to promote personal sponsors, limiting what the athletes can post on a platform that naturally provides its users with a candid voice,” (Lopez). As you can imagine, this didn’t go over well with some of the athletes. By creating restrictions on them, they weren’t able to voice their opinions and thoughts to their fans. The article goes on saying that the IOC was unaware of the repercussions that would ensue, and basically didn’t have an understanding of the power of social media.
    The article quotes, “Social media should be used as a symbiotic tool in the delivery of information,” (Lopez). The use of social media outlets has a major impact on the brands and their image that they project. They have the ability to generate a profit from the use of social media. “Your athletes represent your brand, so they should be trusted to carry out that message responsibly. Let mistakes happen, and learn from those minor slip-ups. If you can’t recover and learn from experience, then maybe the Olympic brand just isn’t strong enough,” (Lopez). I love that this is stated in the article because people who sponsor athletes trust that they are going to represent themselves and their brand in a positive light, but sometimes that isn’t always the case. It happens, and you just have to move forward from it.

    Lopez, A. (2012, August 3). A New Social Media Strategy for the Olympics, Future Sporting Events – Forbes. Information for the World’s Business Leaders – Retrieved September 16, 2012, from

  17. Li and Bernoff really emphasized the importance of building relationships with the audience through technologies as opposed to focusing only on using these technologies (18). While there are definitely brands to follow in branding, marketing and outreach, there are always new technologies joining the groundswell that must be evaluated for individual company interests (36).

    Evaluating new technologies is necessary, because there are new social networking sites (SNSs), blogs, user-generated content sites, open sources, forums and online communities being added to the groundswell constantly (35). Relationships are always key.

    A unique application that comes to mind is Spotify. This music streaming service out of Sweden is about four years old. The user subscriptions really peaked just over a year ago when it was made available to several other countries including the United States. What really sets this application apart is its social media integration. Some highlights include shared listening, real time RSS feed on what friends are listening to and playlists. This is a great tool for brands and companies. For example music festival promotion has often included public playlists showcasing lineup performers’ music. This helps spread the word and can boost ticket sales.

    While other online music services (Pandora, Songza) provide similar features, Spotify gives almost full authority to the user. Users create playlists, choose exactly what they want to hear and share, and they can publish playlists for their friends to hear. Music, I feel, appeals to emotional motivation. People listen to music just about everywhere using desktops, mobile apps and other online channels. The amount of music online users listen to regularly is pretty high, giving some brands an opportunity to reach their audience in a distinct way.

    Some organizations using Spotify include: the Obama presidential campaign, Fuse TV, Bonnaroo Music Festival, GQ Magazine and Buzzfeed.

    This infographic tells us how users are listening to music:

    Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2008). Groundswell. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.

  18. Li and Bernoff summarize the role of corporations in the groundswell as centering on relationships, rather than technologies (18). While this is a more timeless and theoretically empowering view of the field of strategic public relations, I consider the technologies to be an equally important component of creating relationships with brand identities. Another way of interpreting the groundswell and the impacts it has on corporate branding is the theory of “collective consumer creativity” (Kozinets 341). According to the Journal of Macromarketing, it occurs when “social [media] interactions trigger new interpretations and new discoveries that consumers thinking alone, could not have generated” (Kozinets 341). “Consumers are increasingly acknowledged in theory and practice as creative agents participating in the co-production of value, not merely as the consumers or users of the value provided by organizations” (Kozinets 340).

    While the groundswell focuses on the shared experiences of consumers and the impacts their user-generated content can have on a company’s brand image, collective consumer creativity is a means to join forces with the technological habits of users and ultimately strengthen an organization’s relationships with consumers. Li and Bernoff emphasize the opportunity for organizations to participate in the user-navigated groundswell in order to empower positive brand associations and minimize negative reviews. Online collective creativity far outreaches offline consumer collaboration—and Kozinets identifies four key online consumer communities with which user-brand collaboration can happen; Crowds, Hives, Mobs, and Swarms (345). In all four communities, corporations encourage interactive online experiences for users to contribute creative ideas to new and innovative projects. This participation often includes contest submissions, “thinktanks,” open-source forums, YouTube filmmaking projects, product-design generating sites, and even activist, grassroots movements.

    In all forms of collective consumer creativity, the brand initiates the conversation and allows users to engage in a free flow of ideas. Kozinets notes that while these projects may initiate from the top-down, the creative process that takes over is almost entirely directed by users (351). The brands interact with users along the way and allow for truly engaged experiences—relationships that would have never been possible without an equal emphasis on modern technological opportunities.

    Kozinets, R. V., A. Hemetsberger, and H. J. Schau. “The Wisdom of Consumer Crowds: Collective Innovation in the Age of Networked Marketing.” Journal of Macromarketing 28.4 (2008): 339-54. Print.

    Li, Charlene, and Josh Bernoff. Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies. Boston, MA: Harvard Business, 2008. Print.

  19. This week’s reading of Groundswell and Brand Media Strategy talks about how influential “word of mouth” strategies are and how one can use that to an advantage when it comes to marketing a product or brand. Google is the perfect example of a successful marketing communicator. “It forced a paradigm shift for advertisers, moving their decision making away from targeting demographics and mass audiences to connecting with individuals in a much more relevant way.” (Young, 9). I experienced the power of word of mouth when I worked for an optometrist since the first day her office opened. With the help of Facebook, Google, and an online marketing tool, her appointments went from a few a day to booked solid for at least a week. I find that the majority of her patients are from “Alpha Moms” who choose where their husbands and kids go for their check ups. According to Figure 3-5 in Groundswell, Alpha Moms make up about 55% of the Spectators group. (Li, 48). Spectators “consume what the rest produce” such as blogs, forums, and reviews (Li, 45), and in that case, the spectators are an important group for brand awareness.

    Another example of the importance of social media for brand awareness is Erika Bearman’s story. She is the director of communications for Oscar de la Renta, a famed fashion designer. She created the twitter account “OscarPRGirl” to give inside details of the fashion label and to connect with the audience. The label noticed the incredible impact of OscarPRGirl when their product quickly sold out after some buzz from a live-stream show (Holmes). “For, which saw an extensive relaunch last month, referral traffic from social activities and sales are both up by 30 percent in a three-week period.” (Strugatz). The effects of social media are undeniable, and it is interesting to see how companies are using it to help their business.

    Young, A. (2010). Brand media strategy: Integrated communications planning in the digital era. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Li, Charlene and Josh Bernoff (2011). Groundswell.

    Stugatz, R. (2012, September 4). Social Media’s Issue: Does It Drive Sales? Retrieved September 17, 2012, from

    Holmes, E. (2010, September 15). The Importance of Tweeting Oscar: The Invisible Style Setters Who Dish Personal Details and Plug the Brand for Their Designer Bosses. Retrieved September 17, 2012, from

  20. As several of you have discussed, Li and Bernoff emphasize the importance of relationships in social media as opposed to the technologies themselves. Relationships are the critical part of social media as they create brand loyalty and increase communication among users. While this can negatively impact an organization, if handled correctly social media can be a driving force for an organization.

    Marketers and advertisers realize the importance of relationships in social media. In a recent study conducted by Awareness marketing and advertising professionals cited their top business objectives for social media as better customer engagement. This was ranked above revenue generation. I think this speaks volumes to the impact of social media and the importance placed on relationships. Marketing and advertising professionals realize that focusing more on customer engagement and building relationships not only will grow revenues in current periods but will allow for future growth and development.

    Li, C. & Bernoff, J. Groundswell.

  21. I did not understand the broad spectrum of tools and social media devices that make up the groundswell until reading these two chapters. It is amazing to me how many different avenues we have as a society to communicate with one another about the products we are using as well with the corporations that are providing these products. I think these two chapters do an excellent job laying out how people are involved in the groundswell and how their involvement can directly effect the success of businesses. However, as chapter three states, “It’s one thing to understand what drives the groundswell – it’s quite another to dive into it and turn those forces to your advantage” (62). It is evident that companies need to take into consideration the audiences they are trying to reach and which ways are more effective in reaching them.

    It is evident that the groundswell has grown a lot over the last couple of years, and this is do to the fact that we now have more avenues in which to build relationships and network with one another. “A tool that enables new relationships in new ways will catch faster than one that doesn’t” (35). I think a lot of times when we think of the term “social networking” we automatically assume that it deals with social media and online devices, and the more information that a company can put out there the better. I agree with Brad Smith, founder of FixCourse, that companies need to put more emphasis on what they are saying rather than the frequency in what they are saying. The company needs to research first the kind of relationship they have with their consumers, so they can create messages on avenues such as twitter that will “motivate” buyers to take action.

    I thought this cartoon was appropriate….

    Businesses don’t need to develop short cuts when developing plans to use social media when communicating with their audience. As we learned from our readings, every business or company is different and may have different types of consumers, some may be creators, critics, spectators, joiners, or even inactive. Its up to the company to understand who they are trying to reach.

  22. Chapters 2 and 3 in Groundswell focus on new technology that is available to businesses. These two chapters also downfalls business executives may face if they dive headlong into the groundswell without a plan. Li and Bernoff warn of the dangers that lie ahead for the senior official whose company is a bit behind on the Groundswell and try to play catch-up by launching something quickly to generate interest. They explain that before anything is done to create blogs, social network sites, podcasts, etc., executives should create a plan that details what the company is working towards, who they expect to reach, and what new advantages do they expect to create for the company. Another important dimension of the groundswell they mentioned was tags. Tags are often the last thing that we think about when submitting blog posts, reviews, videos, etc., but Li and Bernoff state they virtually shape and organize the online world we see (30). Tags are very valuable to companies and products alike because they help to shape their image. They bring out examples about the livestock farm equipment and the subway debate to help shed light on just how valuable or detrimental the right or wrong tags can be for a company or product.
    In “A recommender system based on tag and time information for social tagging systems”, Zheng and Quidan Li report how social tagging has become prevalent on the internet, providing effective ways for users to organize, manage, share and search for various resources throughout the internet. They also mention how users incorporate tags into different posts to share their emotions about certain products, business, etc. The importance of tagging is growing throughout the internet because tags help to mold an image of a certain brand based on the opinions of certain user.
    In chapters 1 and 2 of Brand Media Strategy, Antony Young describes how Google and Facebook have shifted the way advertisers target future consumers. These two power corporations have shifted the way communication between consumers and corporations take place. Google “searching” has brought the services and products that users need directly to their fingertips. The 500 million members of the Facebook community have become some corporation’s biggest advertisers. The power of word of mouth within these small groups has expanded and now makes a mark globally for many companies.

  23. With the emergence of new social medias coming into light everyday, it is easy to see why companies are now placing importance in their content found on and messages portrayed. I use these social medias everyday without even really thinking about what I, as the consumer, am promoting. The idea that consumers now are the ones driving activity is new, but holds validity in the face that bad press on a social networking site could become detrimental if that company is not monitoring and is able to preform a fast clean up/ reputation repair.

    For example, a couple weeks ago an acquaintance posted a picture on facebook of a burger they ordered from McDonalds. This burger was disgusting looking, the inside didn’t even look like meat and the cheese looked rock hard. By the end of the day, her picture of the burger had nine likes and twenty-three comments. While this is but a small portion of people on facebook, I for one, have not ate McDonalds since seeing the photo and there’s no telling how many people saw the picture without liking or commenting. I’m sure this will not prove detrimental to the company and will not affect their business on a large scale, but on a small scale Baton Rouge McDonalds could potentially lose a couple customers.

    I found a website with multiple blogs on brand marketing and social media and thought I would share (attached below). In the first article, Mr. Daye, a Management Partner and Brand Consultant, gives another good example of branding in conjunction with social media. This example, which focuses on the “I Voted” button featured on Facebook around election time, analyzed data to understand the impact of the message and found nearly 60,000 people were directly influenced and voted because they saw their friends had. Clearly Facebook contributed to more people voting that perhaps didn’t intend to.

    Daye, Derrick. “Brand Marketing: Powerful Networks and Weak Ties.” Branding Strategy Insider. The Blake Project, 18 Sept 2012. Web. Web. 17 Sep. 2012.

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