How Online Reviews Can Help Tell Your Brand Story
Here at RepCheckup, we know that online reviews are multi-faceted in the ways that they can affect businesses. They can affect the way people decide to do business with you, depending on the quality of reviews and ratings left on business profiles for your organization.
By actively working on increasing the amount of reviews left for your businesses, you’ll be able to boost your rankings on Google and make a better impression on customers who are looking at your business online, sure. There’s also another way that online reviews can be beneficial for your business. Unbeknownst to many, online reviews can also be an extremely effective tool when it comes to telling your business’s brand story.
Why Your Brand’s Story Matters
Whenever a business begins a marketing endeavor, it’s necessary to first come up with a brand to center all of your promotional efforts around. This is more than just your business itself – it’s like a personality or living being that is going to embody everything that you market to your target audience.
Branding is huge and it is only growing more and more important as the years go by and competition increases. If you have a physical product, shoppers look at your branding and packaging before they put it into their cart. This means that, if your target audience is millennials, you’ll likely want a design that looks high-end, is minimalistic and often matte for your packaging rather than something loud.
When you’re marketing online, the same “like what you see” rule applies in the sense that your branding and brand story absolutely must be on point to appeal to your target audience.
We see it over and over again; certain brands ringing the death knell are claiming it’s all thanks to those pesky millennials who are refusing to shop or eat there. One thing that these companies often have in common is that their branding is in need of a serious update and the brand story does nothing to align itself with their target audience, let alone compel them to spend money there. It’s not enough to rely on a longstanding brand name alone. In 2017, even Gucci had to give their branding a major overhaul to reinvigorate interest from their target audience. The result? Their meme-based social campaign went viral.
Your brand story is what’s going to create loyal customers in 2018, managing your reputation online is a big part of that; Right along with creating a product that is needed and of high quality.
How Increasing Positive Online Reviews Fits Into Your Brand Story
Now, you may be asking:
How do online reviews fit into online marketing and curating a great brand story?
In a huge way, actually.
A major aspect of branding is something called social proof. This is actually a psychological theory, developed by Robert Cialdini in his theory of influence, which is focused on how individuals are influenced to make certain decisions based on what they see around them.
In some cases, Cialdini’s theory means figuring out how you should act at a social event, such as being quiet and reserved in a formal gala… rather than taking shots and cheering. If you pick up on the fact that everyone else is quietly mingling and sipping on wine you shouldn’t be partying hard.
In the case of marketing and advertising, social proof means that you demonstrate to your target audience that your product, or service, is something they want and need. Getting more online reviews is an important way to accomplish that.
This goal is to get your customers to endorse the purchase they’ve made, letting others know how much they enjoyed what they bought. In everyday life, you see commercials created that show people (actors) watching “real” consumers have a positive reaction to a certain car or type of pizza. So, the concept isn’t new, but the medium used is no longer limited to TV or radio.
In other cases, companies elect to showcase their brand through online reviews to prove their point. Check out the two images below, where a company called MixTiles uses the excellent social proof of their online reviews to create a compelling advertisement for their services.
Online Reviews are Free Social Proof
You can use online reviews from real customers (not paid actors) to market your business.
The best part?
They are essentially free!
From gathering them on your professional profiles, as you should, to also showcasing them front-and-center on your homepage or individual product pages, online reviews are nothing to ignore if you want to build your brand.
If you are proactive with your businesses review profiles increasing the number of reviews provides an almost limitless supply of customer quotes to pull from, just like MixTiles has done.
Feel free to display these in store, in your newsletters, and as a part of your overall marketing plan. Google has even started their Small Thanks program, which allows business owners to pull quotes from their Google My Business reviews and print them as posters to display in-store.
Go a Step Beyond Word of Mouth When it Comes to Your Online Marketing and Brand Story
We know that personal, word-of-mouth referrals were the most popular and reliable source of new business throughout many industries.
Nowadays, consumers are placing more and more value on what is said in online reviews about a business. They’re even weighing online reviews more heavily personal recommendations from friends and family. In a well-rounded marketing plan, use your clever brand story, compliment that with online reviews to stir up the same feelings of trust that urge prospective customers to buy from you.
Your brand story should focus on the fact that you are, among other things, dedicated to the customer and truly appreciate their feedback. By using online reviews as a part of your overall brand strategy, you are demonstrating the passion for your business to current and future customers alike all while creating one hell of a compelling marketing campaign.