Tag Archives: Groundswell

Supporting the Groundswell… Fan Phenomena

After reading chapter 8 ”helping the groundswell” in my textbook “groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies; I started to think about fan phenomena. What shows are currently benefiting from this fan phenomenon.

An example of a show that benefited greatly form groundswell technology is Walking Dead.

We have all at least heard of this series if not watched it. The series has a huge fan following not only online. The show has benefited by adding talk shows that have viewers and actors come together to discuss the series after each episode, generating more revenue and pulling in even more fans and growing there community. The series also have a large Walking Dead product offering: clothing, games, toys, books, shoes, home-ware and much much more.

I believe that the start to the successful fan following they receive began online, on fans forums. Just click on the –> Walking Dead Forum to take a peak.

Now the series started on October 31st , 2010;  I believe because the series was developed from a comic book, there was already a large fan following,

There are tons of comic forums, beautiful communities for those like minded individuals, to talk comics. There are focused communities that create new stories together, sharing their knowledge and passion. Having an online fan following prior to the series conception was very valuable.

The online forum has been active since the start of 2011 and maintains a high level of activity. Keep in mind this is not the one and only Walking Dead forum, there are many more; some a bit darker than others. Below is a recent example from the  Walking Dead Forum:


The image is a bit a small.. but the number of views this post is at 162,587 and was originally posted in August, 2011.  This is relevant as the discussions are ongoing over years, the most recent was posted yesterday 2015. Now this is just one discussion out of 300+ pages of different discussion and posts on the Walking Dead Forum.

The shows ROI on these forums and online presence is huge. They are getting fans to generate (free) marketing content to each other all over the World (Wide Web). Majority of the online communities involving Walking Dead are not operated by the show itself. It is purely the fans. Due to these online communities the Walking Dead is gaining revenue  not only from the show but their products as stated before. The communities created the fan phenomena; the people look forward to discussing the series and learning more about the characters from other fans. It can be  called “psychic income“: rewards (as in prestige, leisure, or pleasant surroundings) not measurable in terms of money or goods but serving as an incentive to work in certain occupations or situations.

The fans are enjoying the surroundings of the online forums and gaining a sense of belonging. We can apply  a POST analysis to the Walking Dead and we would see it is perusing all objectives listed: listening, talking, energizing, supporting and embracing. It has the right People, Objectives, Strategy and utilization of online Technologies ( I have a previous post about the  POST analysis related to Virgin Atlantic , click here to view.)

Overall i feel the Walking Dead show and community have done an excellent job in supporting its fans and  increasing the level of fan phenomena surrounding the series.


Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Helping the groundswell support itself. InGroundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.


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

Social Technographics and Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic and how they connect with Social Technographic groups?

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic target market has a large demographic, their Economy, Premium Economy and Upper Class are set at various prices at a large range dividing their target market and marketing strategy. Their target markets psychographics are very specific; they would have specific life style interests such as; traveling, change, excitement. The target market would have an attitude associated with the Virgin brand, and what a represents to their peers.

This target market have specific lifestyle interests such as travelling, most travelers research their destination of choice as well as flights online, as this is where most relevant information about travelling is readily available.

The social Technographics profile 7 groups:  Inactives, Spectators and Joiners, Collectors, Critics Conversationalists and Creators.

Forrester Research Inc.


Virgin Atlantic does a great job targeting their online market; they are active at all levels of the Technographic groups stated above. It was stated in the readings the United Kingdom and Europe have the highest level of participation within the Joiners and Spectators group followed by Critics. This is where most of their focus should be.

Virgin Atlantic communicates with their target market in a variety of online mediums all with a high-level of participation. I was unable to find a Technographic breakdown for Virgin Atlantic but will be discussing what online mediums relate to each Technographic group.

The following social media sight listed below allow for Virgin Atlantic to reach out to Spectators, Joiners, Critics and Conversationalists. They participation levels of these sites do differ significantly, Virgin Atlantic should focus on increasing its presence on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram as they are sites with a high level of sharing and participation as there is less privacy for users.

Twitter: 359,000 followers

Facebook: 384,048 likes

Pinterest: 1361 followers

Instagram: 23,300 followers

Branson’s Blog: and Virgin Atlantic Blog: Is a strong tool in reaching their Spectators, Conversationalist and Critics Technographic groups. Virgin Atlantic should be more actively participating and adding content from other bloggers about the various destinations they fly to.

Google+: 2,772 followers and 89,188 views: Virgin Atlantic has various links that are first to pop up on a Google search and maintain a Google profile. They could utilize this site more to encourage the Collectors group to re-post and share their information throughout the World Wide Web.

YouTube: 8136 subscribers, this number is considerably low if we compare it to the other online mediums. However Virgin Atlantics most recent 2015 Advertisement has been viewed over 800,000 times. Their YouTube presence also brings in the Critics however their discussion feed has a minimal online participation.

Virgin Atlantic will have to continue to grow their online presence, reaching more consumers, pulling in more followers and likes everyday. This will increase Virgin Atlantic’s Brand Awareness and will force those in the Inactive group to start their online journey with Virgin!



Forrester Research. (2011). Empowered. Retrieved February 7, 2015, from http://empowered.forrester.com/tool_consumer.html

Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). The social technographics profile. InGroundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press.