Listening: A vital but neglected business skill


Hi World!

This week I read an interesting chapter from Groundswell, by Li & Bernoff (2011), titled ” Listening to Groundswell”. This chapter talks about how companies should listen to their customers because as Li & Bernoff (2011) mentioned that “your brand is what your customers say it is”. If you think about it, this statement is true because customers specify what brands they want and not companies. Hence, it doesn’t take much if a  product is bad- mouthed through word of mouth, not even through immense advertising. Groundswell (2011), mentions several ways of listening to an audience which is through private online communities and brand monitoring.

A great example provided of groundswell’s listening concepts is by taking a look at people diagnosed with cancer (Li & Bernoff, 2011). When these patients ask their doctors for information on what they should next, they feel like they have no guidance. Hence, Lynn Perry, created a website where anyone fighting this disease can communicate with each other and share their advice and support, since listening is key.

Groundswell (2011), suggests a strategic plan for listening to help be successful, which are:

  1. Check the social technographic profile of customers
  2. Understanding how the buzz is shifting
  3. Save research money and increase research responsiveness
  4. Managing PR crisis
  5. Generate new product and marketing ideas.

The video below is about what customers want and listening to them is vital:

Therefore, listening to consumers is essential to a company. It enables instant availability of information from customers and understanding of their needs.



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



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