Groundswell Transformations: Todays Ticket to Success 

Connecting with the groundswell has proven great successful for a number of companies. It is a cheap, efficient and effective way to reach a large target audience in a short amount of time. Due to the amount of social media sites being utilized on a daily basis, it is easy for organizations to spread the word of their products and company values. There are three essential elements an organization needs to follow in order to be successful in their transformation into a groundswell.

It first has to start within the organization, a mental shift needs to take place in order to gain employee buy in. When changing how things should work in an organization it is essential to use a step-by-step process to ensure the groundswell becomes a regular part of the company’s processes (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p.217). The second step is building a plan and vision where strategies can be implemented to build a firm foundation for the organization. The third step is getting executive buy in. In order to transition the entire organization into groundswell thinking their needs to be full support from the upper management. Without them buying in to the vision, it would be unsuccessful.  Throughout this chapter they talked about how utilizing the groundswell can transform an organization into an industry leading company.  With the way society has shifted its focus towards relying on social media for its information organizations need to take advantage of this by defining themselves online.  As the steps indicated it is a strategic move and each element of change can greatly impact the organization.

Recently WestJet has exemplified themselves as being an organization who embraced the groundswell and experienced nothing but success through their transformation. WestJets culture has been built around the foundation of ‘caring for you’. Through that statement they are including their employees on every level along with their customers. In December 2013 WestJet posted a video online of customers in an airport getting to tell a digitalized Santa what they wanted for Christmas. Little did these customers know when they arrived home their presents would show up on the baggage claim. It was an extremely touching video, which showed customers deepest appreciation for the organization and their grand gesture. This video soon went viral after being posted online reaching 36 million views on YouTube. It allowed consumers to better understand the culture of WestJet while also making a difference in their bottom line. “In December, 2013, visits to WestJet’s website doubled, bookings increased 77 per cent compared with the same month in 2012, and revenue rose 86 per cent” (Krashinsky, 2014). This past December, WestJet released another anticipated Christmas video, but this year they took a different approach. They went to the Dominican Republic to a community in need and set up a digital Santa to get the wish lists of all the residents. In less than a week of the video being launched, more than 2.3 million people had already viewed it (Krashinsky, 2014).

WestJet understood the opportunity the groundswell supplied to them. It allowed them to reach a much larger part of their target market and create a stronger sense of trust among customers. Richard Bartrem WestJet’s vice president of communications and community relations, stated how in a traditional commercial it could cost them a mid-six figures just for production but for the WestJet video, it was a mere fraction of those costs (Bender, 2013).   For the amount of viewers they had reached it could be comparable to that of running a Super Bowl commercial. The only exception is a Super Bowl commercial would have cost them $4 million for a 30-second ad. Much like Unilever example given in the text they were strategic with how they wanted their organization to be ran and portrayed. They transformed not just their image but also their organization as a whole to fit their cultural goals. This video was a huge undertaking for WestJet because they were entering into new territory of the groundswell. It involved high employee buy in, coordination, and communication among the organization. By being innovative and utilizing the groundswell they were able to differentiate themselves from the competitors and become a unique sustainable organization within the industry.

References

Bender, A. (2013, December 12). The Real ‘Christmas Miracle’ Of WestJet’s Viral Video: Millions In Free Advertising. Retrieved March 3, 2015, from Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewbender/2013/12/12/the-real-christmas-miracle-of-westjets-viral-video-millions-in-free-advertising/

Krashinsky, S. (2014, December 4). WestJets’s viral success and the power of ’cause marketing’. Retrieved March 4, 2015, from The Globe and Mail: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/marketing/westjet-does-cause-marketing-right/article21962159/

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

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