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Transparency is Key

By March 14, 2014November 12th, 2020Online Reviews

Last month, David Vinjamuri, a contributor at wrote a response article about the book entitled “Absolute Value” by Itamar Simonson & Emanuel Rosen.

In his article, David states that three of the key takeaways from the book are:

“1. Online Reviews Make Brands Transparent: It’s no longer possible to dissociate the brand from the product. Particularly for high-interest categories like electronics, travel and automobiles, consumers are acutely aware of both consumer and expert reviews. If a particular product does not meet the expectations of the consumer, loyalty will not hold consumers in a franchise.

2.Consumers Trust Other Consumers and Experts, Not Brands: Some marketers still talk about advertising ‘persuading.’ But in categories where reviews are common, only reviews can be persuasive in terms of product attributes and quality. The ‘absolute value’ that Simonson and Rosen refer to is the value of the specific product to the specific consumer, which that consumer can determine independently by reading the reviews of like-minded consumers and expert reviewers.

3.Positioning Must Start With The Product Itself: If brand positioning is merely ‘framing’ that attempts to recast a flawed product in a more positive context, it will fail in a world of ubiquitous and easily accessed consumer reviews. So brand marketing in the Rosen and Simonson’s world has to involve a dialectic between the brand and consumers: marketers define, consumers evaluate, marketers retool and consumers judge. If product design isn’t an integral part of the marketing feedback process, there’s no possibility of building a brand, because consumer won’t fall for unfulfilled promises.”

Absolute Value
To his points:

1. Transparency is key. Brands are no longer able to tout their product as the “best” without some accountability. They may be able to dupe people who don’t care enough to do their research, but they will not be able to get by most of the general public who have access to the internet (or have friends that do).

2. While brands will of course try to market their product in a way that is favorable, consumers generally know better than to fully trust what the brand says about their product. They will place more trust in other people who have actually used the product(s), even if they are strangers. This is likely because it’s commonly understood that there’s a smaller likelihood of any type of bias.

3. Again, this ties into the transparency. Brands will do what they can to position their product(s) in the most positive light, but online reviews make it so that people can get accurate depictions of what the product is really like and how it performs. Through a 4-step process (marketing, consumer evaluation, market re-tooling and consumer judgment), a product is able to undergo several transformations before becoming universally suitable for the greater public.

The article also addresses how the book mentions the prevalence of review fraud. Rosen and Simpson believe that while fraud exists, the massive amount of positive reviews on some of the largest forums mostly drowns it out. This is something that we tell all of our clients that are concerned about having negative reviews online about their business; don’t worry so much about the negative reviews. Focus instead on gathering reviews from your happy customers and in time, all those negative reviews won’t matter.

Overall, it’s obvious that online reviews are quickly becoming one of the most important tools for your business. So don’t let a bad online reputation keep you from getting more business in the door (or potentially turn away some of your existing clients); contact us at 1-877-9REVIEWS for more information about how to manage your online reputation today!