Outstanding social applications by companies such as Accenture, Intuit, National Instruments, and Starbucks were honored today at the Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR) Consumer Forum in Dallas. The second annual Forrester Groundswell Awards recognize excellence in accomplishing business goals with social applications. Forrester developed this awards program to support and recognize the principles outlined in the Forrester book Groundswell: Winning In A World Transformed By Social Technologies (Harvard Business Press, 2008).

Winners were chosen across seven categories: Embracing, Energizing, Listening, Managing, Social Impact, Supporting, and Talking. These are the main goals Forrester recommends companies consider as reasons to use social technologies to interact with customers. For demonstrating their business effectiveness and value in these categories, the winners are:

  • Embracing: MyStarbucksIdea.com by Starbucks
  • Energizing: Hershey’s Bliss House Party by House Party
  • Listening: Mattel’s “The Playground” Community by Communispace
  • Managing: Borderless Workplace by Accenture
  • Social Impact: Artshare, Click Exposition, and Posse by Brooklyn Museum
  • Supporting: Nerd Network by National Instruments
  • Talking: Young & Free Alberta by Common Wealth Credit Union

In addition, a special award was designated to capture the powerful changes happening across all functions of one particular organization. Intuit, Inc. was recognized for excellence in Company Transformation.

This year’s awards process included a new element — the ability for people to rate and comment on all 151 entries online on the Groundswell Web site, groundswell.forrester.com. Forrester took the community’s evaluations into account when selecting winners but chose winning entries based on proof of business value, not which applications ended up the most popular.

“This year’s Forrester Groundswell Award winners demonstrate the business case for embracing new digital channels and fostering collaborative communications with customers on an ongoing basis,” said Forrester Research Vice President and Research Director Carrie Johnson. “The reality is that consumers are in control, and companies must be in tune with them in order to constantly adjust to their needs and behaviors. Aligning with customers is the only way to maintain loyalty and market advantage, particularly in a down economy where fighting for every customer counts.”

Forrester’s Consumer Forum Presents Strategies For Engaging With Empowered Consumers And Communities

More than 700 professionals gathered in Dallas this week for Forrester’s Consumer Forum 2008 to discuss evolving customer behavior and how to keep ahead of that behavior to create successful long-term strategies. The Forum’s keynotes and panel discussions offered insights across all of the marketing and strategy roles served by Forrester. For example:

  • eBusiness & Channel Strategy professionals learned how to manage customer data and use it to improve their business.
  • Consumer Product Strategy professionals examined the needs and behaviors of consumer when they are considering new products and discussed product innovation best practices.
  • Consumer Market Research professionals explored research methods that will help them gain deep insight into the future demands of consumers.
  • Direct Marketing professionals focused on how to develop a multichannel view of customers and leverage it to establish an enterprisewide customer contact strategy.
  • Customer Experience professionals discussed how to model the business impact of customer experience and deliver great customer experiences across multiple channels.
  • Interactive Marketing professionals were offered tips for leveraging social networks to acquire new customers or build relationships with existing ones.
  • Marketing Leadership professionals learned how their organizations can remain relevant to consumers by offering uniqueness, connections, and control.

Industry leaders who spoke at the Consumer Forum included:

  • Debra Coughlin, Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, Citi Brands
  • Cameron Death, Vice President Digital Content, NBC Universal
  • Dave Finnegan, Chief Information Bear, Build-A-Bear
  • Daniel P. Garton, Executive Vice President, Marketing, American Airlines
  • Seth Greenberg, Director, Online Advertising & Internet Media, Intuit
  • James W. Keyes, Chairman and CEO, Blockbuster
  • Patricia Seybold, CEO; Consultant; and Author of Outside Innovation, Customer Revolution, and Customers.com; Patricia Seybold Group
  • Lisa Sherman, Executive Vice President, General Manager, Logo from MTV Networks
  • Tim Suther, Senior Vice President, Digital Marketing Services, Acxiom
  • Paco Underhill, Founder and Managing Director, Envirosell

In addition, attendees took part in one-on-one sessions with Forrester analysts, peer networking, and a technology showcase where 27 sponsors — including platinum sponsor Acxiom and gold sponsors Blast Radius, Critical Mass, InQ, and WhittmanHart — shared their solutions.

Members of Forrester Leadership Boards’ marketing groups also met at the Consumer Forum. They attended exclusive sessions hosted by The CMO Group, the eBusiness Council, the Interactive Marketing Council, the Direct Marketing Council, and the Market Research Council. The CMO Group members discussed best practices for customer engagement and how to drive innovation throughout an organization, the eBusiness Council focused on how to build best-in-class eBusiness teams, the Interactive Marketing Council learned about social marketing metrics and how to prove the value of interactive marketing programs, the Direct Marketing Council examined the future of customer analytics and direct communication channels, and the Market Research Council discussed its role during challenging economic times and how to make market research actionable. More information on Forrester Leadership Boards is available at: www.forrester.com/LeadershipBoards.

For more information about future Forrester Events, visit: www.forrester.com/events.