In human relationships, trust is everything. When it comes to marketing goods and services, there is a shift in terms of where trust originates from. Throughout the world, companies have worked hard to build trust in their brands through advertising and other forms of paid for messages.
Today, we rely increasingly on the opinions of strangers, when we are making purchasing decisions of all kinds. For example: Amazon (star ratings and customer feedback); LinkedIn (Skills and Recommendations); airbnb (star ratings and guest reviews). Before they buy in-store or online, customers often search for the “product name” + “review” and all sorts of interesting information comes up.
Human beings love to talk. With over seven billion of us, there is a lot to talk about, including buying experiences. Companies have perished, stock prices have collapsed and management have been fired following bad press. ‘Press’ refers to print media. In the 21st century, as well as newspapers, magazines, TV and radio most of us now walk around with smartphones – which have become an extension of our brains.
Do you need to check a product / service fact, price or availability? A few taps on your phone and Voila! A vast compendium of information is instantly available. We take smartphones for granted, however, the Apple iPhone was only launched in 2007.
About 5% of us are active recommenders and we will not hesitate to give positive feedback and unpromoted recommendations to family, friends and work colleagues regarding goods and services. That leaves a silent majority of 95%. Except that smartphones now gives everyone the opportunity of instantly voicing their opinion on every buying decision that they make.
The reputation of your company and brands is build on your reputation. During my work with over 3,000 enterprises, I have found that reputation is a key deciding factor when it comes to assessing their future. It is no longer sufficient to rely on product, price, place and promotion (all of which are within ‘company control’). We have to taken into account customer conversations which are happening all around us, particularly within the digital space. Many of these conversations are hidden and therefore cannot be measured.
We live in interesting times, don’t we? Your reputation capital should be high on your list of priorities.