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Listening to the Groundswell

Listening to the Groundswell

As a marketing student, chapter five “Listening to the groundswell” was interesting and highly informative for me personally. We learn from day one of our degree program that stakeholders (shareholders) are the people to be pleased. It is all about the revenue, the profit, how big we can be. Companies forget about their consumers, these are the people who create the revenue, profit and interests from shareholders.

The chapter states “your brand is what your customers say it is… the value of a brand belongs to the market and not to the company… it lives outside the company… The brand is an open structure” (groundswell, 2011, pp.79). It is so obvious especially in today’s society with an abundance of communication mediums being utilized by consumers, that they control the brand and what is means to them and others.


Understanding your consumers is vital in creating revenue and a strong brand, I would like to relate this to Virgin Atlantic, a company I have spoken of previously (and would LOVE to work with one day in my future).

In 2014 Virgin Atlantic, chose to work with the company Synthesio; by working with this company VA “will be able to better understand the customer experience via analysis of customer comments across the web. Virgin will be able to quickly take action on the insights gained and respond in real-time to customers requiring support on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook…. Synthesio’s software monitors and evaluates online conversations across social media platforms, review sites, forums, blogs and the comment sections of newspapers, in 50 languages and 192 countries. (Julie, 2014) Integration of this information with other sources is highly beneficial for VA, they have a family of companies to work with under the Virgin Group, which can all benefit from understanding Virgin customers all around the world.

Virgin Atlantic focus heavily on their customer experience being the best and one of a kind; most recently “Virgin Atlantic, working with air-transport specialist SITA, is the first in the industry to test how the latest wearable technology, including Google Glass, can best be used to enhance customers’ travel experiences and improve efficiency….The cutting-edge technology is being introduced as we publish the results of a major study of 10,000 airline passengers from across the world on the future of air travel” (Maxine Sheppard, 2015)

Virgin Atlantic listens to their customers as we can read from the statement below, they are usually first movers in the industry to try something new towards their customers experience.

Virgin Atlantic

“Reassuringly a lot of aspects of flying that people say they would like to see in the future, Virgin Atlantic is already introducing – for example bigger windows will be a feature of our new 787s and we’re already rolling out wifi across our aircraft. Many of our passengers now use their mobiles on board, particularly to send emails or check Facebook. We continue to look ahead and research innovations that customers might only dream of today.  The whole industry needs to listen to what these passengers are calling for, and keep innovating to bring a return to the golden age of air travel. Flying should be a pleasure not a chore” (Maxine Sheppard, 2015).

As a VA traveler I can say that their customer experience is wonderful, upon landing and taxing to my  gate at Heathrow Airport; there is upbeat music playing and flight attendants are handing out mini “sweet hearts” .

Love Hearts

This is very helpful in distracting the traveler from the time or extended time it may take to officially arrive at their gate.

Companies can follow in Virgin Atlantics steps if they start small and think big, companies must assess the wants and needs of specific customer segments, males or females, geographic locations for a specific product. These segments allow them to trial the new experience or change that is needed to be implemented, and understand its effects on their opinion of the brand. It is vital to partner with an appropriate and experienced “listening monitor” (brand monitoring and community groups)  in order to effectively and efficiently manage the information and produce positive outcomes.

As a small business or international companies, it is of great importance to listen to your consumers, they are your lifeline to success. Being able to relate to them and develop an ongoing relationship (brand loyalty) just through listening is priceless.



Julie. (2014). Synthesio. Synthesio to boost virgin atlantic’s global customer care on Social Media. Retrieved from: https://synthesio.com/corporate/newsroom/synthesio-boost-virgin-atlantics-global-customer-care-social-media/#

Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Listening to the groundswell. Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press.

Maxine Sheppard. (2015).Virgin atlantic :our style . Virgin atlantic introduces google glass trial. Retrieved from: https://blog.virgin-atlantic.com/t5/Our-Style/Virgin-Atlantic-Introduces-Google-Glass-Trial/ba-p/21547#.VOYttfnF_Ak