Managing online reviews

Online reviews can make or break a brand – but marketers often underestimate how much control they can have over the process

Things Have Changed

Before the internet, a customer’s power to respond to bad service or a bad product was limited. Companies offered the opportunity to provide feedback through comment cards. Journalists would publish their opinions in magazines. Disappointed customers could pen a strongly worded letter. Stories of poor experiences could be passed on to friends, family and colleagues through word of mouth. Or you could vote with your feet, by opting to purchase a product or service from elsewhere.

This isn’t just true for the B2C world – it’s true everywhere. Falling out of the top right-hand corner of the Gartner magic quadrant can be disastrous for a brand. Clashing with a well-mobilised user group may not prompt a mass-exodus to open source, but it can cause long-term damage to a brand. Similarly, consistently good reviews across a wide variety of platforms can have a broad halo effect for a brand’s reputation, from better supplier interactions and prospects who give you the benefit of the doubt to easier hiring.

So what are the most important things to know?

  1. The first step in the evolution of online reviews dates back to 1999, when the first ever reviews site, Epinions, was launched. Epinions
    gave consumers the ability to give honest, public feedback on their experiences, to help other consumers decide on a purchase
  2. Today, the web is saturated with on-site reviews (think of the star ratings on Amazon and John Lewis), third party review sites such as Trustpilot and Feefo, reviews on social media, and, of course, there is the opinion and advice of magazines and journalists, as well as analysts
  3. There’s also search engine optimisation (SEO) to consider. Reviews tell search engines that the person or thing being reviewed is trustworthy, so if there are negative reviews they’ll be penalised in search rankings. Similarly, it may inform a click-through; if there are negative reviews on a search engine, it might even stop you clicking through to the website

These thoughts come from the rich bank of resources we have from over thirty years of delivering campaigns for B2B and B2C brands from CenturyLink to Crucial, LG to Simplehuman. This information can help you make the right decisions and ensure that you handle your reviews programme as effectively as successful as possible. We’d love the opportunity to discuss your ideas – drop us a line on and we can schedule a call.

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