Groundswell by Li and BernoffNotable passages from
Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff

Harvard Business Press, Boston, 2008

The Social Technographics ladder

   Each step on the ladder represents a group of consumers more involved in the groundswell than the previous steps. To join the group on a step, a consumer need only participate in one of the listed activities as least monthly.


  • Publish a blog
  • Publish your own Web pages
  • Upload video you created
  • Upload audio/music you created
  • Write articles or stories and post them


  • Post ratings/reviews of products or services
  • Comment on someone else's blog
  • Contribute to online forums
  • Contribute to/edit articles in a wiki


  • Use RSS feeds
  • Add tags to Web pages or photos
  • "Vote" for Web sites online


  • Maintain profile on a social networking site
  • Visit social networking sites


  • Read blogs
  • Watch video from other users
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Read online forums
  • Read customer ratings/reviews


  • None of these activities


Five objectives that companies can pursue in the groundswell

  1. Listening. Use the groundswell for research and to better understand your customers. This goal is best suited for companies that are seeking customer insights for use in marketing and development.
  2. Talking. Use the groundswell to spread messages about your company. Choose this goal if you're ready to extend your current digital marketing initiatives (banner ads, search ads, email) to a more interactive channel.
  3. Engergizing. Find your most enthusiastic customers, and use the groundswell to supercharge the power of their word of mouth. This works best for companies that know they have brand enthusiasts to energize.
  4. Supporting. Set up groundswell tools to help your customers support each other. This is effective for companies with significant support costs and customers who have a natural affinity for each other.
  5. Embracing. Integrate your customers into the way your business works, including using their help to design your products. This is the most challenging of the five goals, and it's best suited to companies that have succeeded with one of the other four goals already.