Friday, June 8

Embracing Reviews

I spoke at the Vocus Users Conference yesterday in Baltimore ... conducted my Small Business Bootcamp which basically crams my two books and my two classes at NYU into a one hour session.  Phew, it's a fast pace but tons of fun.

As usual, the most interesting part came in the Q&A portion which for me is always the most engaging and thought provoking.  One gentleman in particular was quite fascinating so I thought I'd share.

He told the story of his company which is a small business in the plumbing space.  The company, or brand as I have hopefully convinced him, encourages customers to write reviews.  He says that about 93% of the reviews are positive, and most of the negative reviews are centered around price.  His question was, "What do I do with the reviews?"

My first reaction?  Bravo!  Your brand is embracing reviews!  Consumer comments have become such an influential touchpoint for engaging other consumers and motivating sales.  In fact, even anonymous comments are often found to be more credible than a brand's own marketing efforts.  So I applaud this gentleman for even encouraging customer comments to begin with.

My answer to his question?  Promote them, share them, post them ... spread the reviews all throughout the marketing mix.  Show consumers that you embrace reviews and that you're not afraid to share them, be it positive or negative.  In fact, how you handle the negative comments can often be more impactful than even the positive comments.  Make the reviews a part of your brand experience!

Now truthfully, a 7% negative comment rate is pretty darn good, especially when most of them center around price.  So they've got a good thing going and there's no reason not to share that!

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe North America
Author, The Experience Effect series
Professor, NYU

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