2009 Forrester Groundswell Awards Winners

We received 149 entries in 2009. Here are the best of the best.


Business to Consumer: Listening

NASCAR "Fan Council" - The Engine that Drives Insight into Avid Fans, powered by Vision Critical

NASCAR "Fan Council" - The Engine that Drives Insight into Avid Fans, powered by Vision Critical

By NASCAR and Vision Critical
With TV ratings and attendance slipping after a decade of growth, NASCAR refocused attention on the avid fan and worked with Vision Critical to develop a private online community to engage with core fans. Known as the NASCAR "Fan Council", this pre-qualified online community of 12,000 fans is a foundational element in NASCAR's competition, business and marketing decisions. On average, NASCAR engages members at a minimum twice a month on input specific to all industry stakeholders.

There is no incentive to participate as these passionate fans feel honored to be a part of this exclusive club. It's this enthusiasm that helped fuel a recent major rule change within the sport. After fan sentiment within the community ran high for a new restart format where drivers raced side by side as opposed to single file, NASCAR picked up the comments and pushed the feedback to senior management, who initiated a new double-file restart rule - to overwhelming positive reviews. It's a great example on how vital NASCAR views the "Fan Council" as a channel for fans to voice their ideas and opinions. And something NASCAR President Mike Helton supported when referencing on national television, cementing the value of the "Fan Council" as a vital listening agent.

Business to Consumer: Talking

Converseon Case Study: Lion Brand Yarn Drives Measurable ROI with Social Media

Converseon Case Study: Lion Brand Yarn Drives Measurable ROI with Social Media

By Converseon
The Challenge:
Establish an authentic and relevant online voice for a beloved 130 year old crafting company and institute best practices that help build relationships with passionate consumers of online knitting communities.

The Approach:
Lion Brand Yarn was not sure if its customer demographic would be likely to engage in social media but was willing to experiment with the new technology in an attempt to engage and connect with its passionate consumer base. They engaged Converseon to help them listen to the online conversation about knitting and crocheting, better understand their customers social media behavior, identify opportunities for engagement and develop a coherent and measurable social media strategy.
The brand's approach to social media hinged on an open approach to conversation and a employee driven content and relationships. The brand focused on "talking" to its customers and prospects and expanded its efforts in social media as the rigorous measurement framework indicated success. Lion Brand Yarn has taken a long term approach to community building and it is now, 18 months after the initial launch of the Yarncraft podcast, that the brand is seeing the most success and measurable return on investment.

Lion Brand teamed with Converseon, utilizing our Conversation Mining technology to map the knitting/crocheting online community, identify influential online voices and identify opportunities for engagement in social media. This listening uncovered a deep, interconnected and highly engaged community of passionate users spread across blogs, podcasts and even dedicated knitting/crocheting social networks.
With Converseon's strategic guidance, the "Yarncraft" podcast was launched. Hosted by a pair of LBY employees, the podcast was produced bi-weekly and focused on knitting and crocheting topics. The podcast was posted to a dedicated blog, distributed via iTunes and also given away as a CD in store for less tech-savvy consumers. The podcast was designed to be a conversation with customers and knitting community figures moreso than "internet radio" in the broadcast model.
In April 2008, the "Lion Brand Notebook" blog was launched, providing content and links to other knitting sources. The blog was also powered by Lion Brand employees with content ranging from customer polls for product development through to "knit alongs" that combine online/offline access allowing customers to knit the same project together. The "knit alongs" alone have proven to be a measurable driver of ROI for the brand as each virtual event drives a direct link to increased sales of the yarn featured.

Business to Consumer: Energizing

Energizing Norton Advocates

Energizing Norton Advocates

By Zuberance
Symantec, the security software company, has energized Advocates of the Norton consumer brand to spread positive Word of Mouth and increase sales. This is one of the largest and most successful examples to date of how a company can turn its highly-satisfied customers into Word of Mouth machines.

Business to Consumer: Supporting

myFICO: Online Customer Community Drives Accomplishment of Support, Marketing, and Sales Goals

myFICO is the consumer division of FICO, the organization that created the FICO credit score that lenders use. As a company operating within a heavily regulated industry, FICO is limited in the information it can provide to customers. While myFICO can tell consumers what their FICO credit scores are and the components that make up that score, it cannot directly give advice for how to improve those scores.

Education and support through personal credit-related situations are critical to a satisfying customer experience, but formerly were needs FICO could not address. Using social technologies, myFICO has brought its customer network together in an online community where consumers can share credit knowledge, experiences, and advice with each other (http://ficoforums.myfico.com/fico/ ). Registered users can post messages in the community, but anyone can view message threads and benefit from the multitude of online conversations on credit-related topics.

With close to 20,000 posts, 400,000 searches, and 10,000 new registrations every month, the Lithium-powered community is thriving and delivering benefits to both consumers and myFICO.

Business to Consumer: Embracing

Scholastic Book Clubs Co-Creates with Parents and Teachers

By Scholastic and Communispace
In August 2008, Scholastic Book Clubs wanted to make its iconic “flyer” even better, and decided to ask parents and teachers for help.

The colorful Scholastic Book Clubs “flyer” has been a trusted place for generations of parents, teachers, and kids to buy quality, affordable books. The company wanted to do better; it wanted to find an improved way to match the right child to the right books at the right time.

Making changes to this important sales channel for Scholastic Book Clubs, especially when it wasn’t broken, was an initiative that went straight to the heart of their brand. They knew they had to get it right or they could potentially risk losing what makes Book Clubs unique and special. Together with a private online community of 200 teachers and 100 moms, created with their partner Communispace, Scholastic went through each step of the product development process in 10 weeks. They developed not only a new flyer, but a new opportunity for Scholastic Book Clubs to connect with parents, kids, and teachers.

Business to Business: Listening

CDW and Communispace: Listening to Create a Customer-Centric Sales Strategy

By CDW and Communispace
CDW is a leading provider of technology solutions for business, government, and education. Since 2004, CDW has had the voice of its corporate customers at its fingertips through three private communities of approximately 300 members each, built and managed by Communispace. Community members are influencers and/or makers of technology purchasing decisions who are eager to learn from their peers, and have a voice in shaping the policies, products, and services offered by CDW.

CDW continuously taps members of its private online communities for all kinds of indispensible advice on its products and services, marketing ideas, and innovation. The communities also have inspired new approaches to sales both in terms of generating leads and relationship building with prospects early in the sales process.

Business to Business: Talking

The Conversation

By Eloqua
Eloqua's The Conversation (http://illuminate.eloqua.com/), is a fully interactive sales tool built to be shared, distributed and visited by those looking to learn more about how to make online marketing efforts more effective and demonstrate tangible ROI. The Conversation was built to turn Eloqua.com visitors into pre-qualified, motivated leads and to increase the sales velocity for existing prospects.

The Conversation takes a humorous and engaging approach to educating prospects about the company's suite of products by leading them through a smart, interactive Q&A - making the educational process two-way rather than simply flowing from the company to the prospect.

Business to Business: Energizing

UNLEASH 2009, the Mediasite User Conference: Energizing Users On-site and Online

By Sonic Foundry
A campaign to increase conference attendance in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, coupled with a proliferation of travel bans, budget constraints and an all-out assault on corporate meetings. Not to mention a flat marketing budget.

Why care about conference attendance at a time like this? Because we're in an emerging market and our customers are clamoring to hear from each other (and us) to make them more efficient/productive/knowledgeable. This award submission outlines the campaign Sonic Foundry built based on a heavy rotation of online video, customer testimonials, webcasting and – for the first time – social media.

Business to Business: Supporting

commonground - The Global Community for Environmental Professionals

commonground - The Global Community for Environmental Professionals

By Environmental Data Resources, Inc. (EDR)
commonground is the award winning, global social network for professionals involved in all aspects of environmental and commercial real estate property due diligence. Members include environmental lawyers, health & safety, lenders, appraisers, insurers, builders, and consultants.

The commercial real estate market is off more than 70% in 2009 vs. 2008. As a result, environmental professionals are turning to EDR's commonground social network for help with difficult questions, jobs searches, education, advice, and business opportunities. For many members, commonground has become an important part of each and every day.

In just over a year, commonground has grown to 3,900 members from more than 1,600 companies, all 50 states, and 67 countries. There are over 600 blog posts and 3,000 discussions ranging from US & International environmental due diligence, green building, and climate change, to business issues, risk management, and even travel tips for those in the field.

In February 2009, commonground was recognized by the Environmental Business Journal (EBJ) for a 2008 EBJ Business Award for its innovation, contributions, and value for all environmental professionals. It is also frequently recognized and referenced in many leading environmental industry publications.

Business to Business: Embracing

The Archer E-GRC Ecosystem

By Archer Technologies
Archer Technologies is a leading provider of enterprise risk, governance and compliance (GRC) solutions. The company has created two online collaboration tools - the Archer Community and Archer Exchange - which allow customers and partners to share knowledge, best practices and the actual applications they have developed using Archer's SmartSuite framework.

The Archer Community is an online social network for Archer's passionate user base to interact, support each other, share ideas and drive Archer's product development. Through the Community, Archer communicates daily with clients, employees and partners to broadcast updates, solicit feedback and facilitate the sharing of best practices for solving business problems.

The Archer Exchange is an online marketplace where clients download best-practice applications developed by fellow clients, Archer product experts and top-tier providers.

Business to Business: Spreading

MetricStream community By Regalix

By Regalix
Regalix client - MetricStream -- is a venture-funded regulatory compliance solutions provider operating in the B-to-B arena. Competing in a highly competitive and fragmented marketplace with sales cycles of more than six months was proving to be a challenge for this startup, especially when the competition was some of the large Fortune 100 companies. Enter ComplianceOnline.com - an online portal built with the goal of creating and nurturing long-term leads in a non-invasive environment. ComplianceOnline was built to serve as the premier destination for content, training, and advisory services dedicated to regulatory compliance, IT governance, and corporate risk management. Today, it attracts more than two million visitors annually, 500,000 registered member-base, and is now a strong lead engine for its parent company - MetricStream. Some of the capabilities of this portal include -
- Education and training for the compliance professionals
- Forum for compliance experts to sell their services and products
- Largest compliance-focused search engine on the Internet
- Help community members educate each other

Employee & Non-Profit Applications: Managing

UPSjobs Delivers a Groundswell by TMP Worldwide Advertising & Communications, LLC

By UPS & TMP Worldwide Advertising & Communications, LLC
UPSjobs Delivers a Groundswell by TMP Worldwide Advertising & Communications, LLC

UPS Corporate Workforce Planning partnered with its digital advertising agency TMP Worldwide, LLC to create and deploy a “spreadable” social media campaign to efficiently and more cost-effectively attract, engage, and recruit jobseekers.

The UPSjobs-Problem Solved "spreadable" campaign launched in August 2008 created a groundswell that has attracted, and engaged millions of people to learn more about U.S. employment opportunities at UPS and ultimately driving them to apply at UPSjobs.com

In one month alone, from October 20, 2008 to November 20, 2008 over 1,000,000 people viewed these UPSjobs-Problem Solved videos.

The UPSjobs-Problem Solved "spreadable" campaign resulted in over 150,000 applications being submitted from August 20, 2008 through December of 2008.

Employee & Non-Profit Applications: Social Impact

Flowerdale Bushfire Recovery

By Flowerdale Community
Flowerdale was devastated by the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria. 13 people died, 224 houses were lost.

The community was desperate for help and was initially forgotten. See http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25033006-5018722,00.html

We have used social media and web 2.0 tools, like pbworks, blogger, vimeo and youtube, flickr to communicate, raise funds and build a temporary village and more importantly to help residents vision a safer and sustainable future.
See http://www.vimeo.com/4163527