- October 01, 2013, Mark Lusky
Grassroots reviews via Google and other online sites are increasingly influencing product marketing. Companies receiving positive reviews consistently across a variety of platforms can integrate these into different PR channels. Conversely, negative review patterns can provide a blueprint for improving product and/or service quality.
So, either way, reviews are a valuable asset to manufacturers. Labels can provide one excellent channel for encouraging reviews and suggestions for improvement. This can be done either by including a QR code and referencing it to register reviews, or simply directing users to a landing page. Other possible ways to encourage feedback include suggestions to “like us on Facebook” and to post opinions and observations on other social media sites. Of course, the logistics of what and how much you say on a label will tie closely to how much “real estate” exists for this type of promotion.
Regardless of how they get there, reviewers should be able to register their reviews and provide feedback/suggestions on a designated website. Just as with Google and other sites, attribution should be optional. Those wanting to register their comments anonymously should be able to do so. It also should be noted that comments may be used as part of company marketing efforts, subject to authorization by the reviewer. This is unlike Google in that it offers a way to express opinions that will be kept confidential upon request.
By addressing it this way, you encourage maximum participation and the most candid comments, while still developing (hopefully) a repository of positive, on-the-record reviews.
Once you receive comments/feedback/reviews, here are ways to use the information:
- Excerpt/republish in other marketing venues, from blogs to websites, direct mail/eblasts to press releases. Make a full range of comments appear front and center wherever possible, making it very efficient for those seeking reviews to find them without undue searching. Particularly as mobile usage overtakes desktop both in seeking and buying products/services, users increasingly demand fast, convenient access to information. Having reviews/comments easily accessible on/linked to your website instead of forcing people to search offsite can make you a more attractive option more quickly.
- Amalgamate negative threads to serve as fodder for improvement. Once you’ve made necessary changes, trumpet what you did to solve the problem(s) as a way to verify that you listen to, and act upon, consumer wants and needs. True stories detailing effective problem resolution often resonate more with prospects and customers than just performing adequately without any problems.
- Use reviews to spur further discussion. If you don’t already have a forum for exchange of ideas, insights, and other information, you can create one and “seed” it with thoughts around various reviews that you’ve already received. Ask questions. Be a bit provocative if you dare—going so far as to encourage people to share negative as well as positive opinions about your company and products. Again, neutral or negative comments are powerful tools that you can use to get better. There are studies that claim anywhere from 90%–96% of disgruntled consumers don’t say anything about their dissatisfaction—they just go away. Encouraging people to share problems gives you a potential opportunity to save their business as well as know how to improve the customer experience for others.
Labels, already tasked with performing a variety of functions from detailing ingredients to making health claims, increasingly can become a conduit for expanding PR presence.
Mark Lusky is president of Lusky Enterprises Inc., a marketing communications and content development company. Since 2008, he has worked with Lightning Labels, a Denver-based all-digital custom label printing company, as a content developer specializing in expert advice articles. Lusky presents common-sense ideas grounded in doing what’s real and right for managing and enhancing public image.