3 Ways To Generate Online Reviews For Boring Brands

Word-of-mouth recommendations have been influencing purchase for decades, but technology, the Internet and social media have had a tremendous impact on the continual change to the ratings and reviews landscape. 

When looking for products to purchase, the Internet can be your best friend and your enemy. As a consumer, sorting and organizing a search for a new product can be overwhelming. So it’s no surprise that consumer reviews have become an arrow in the quiver. 

No one would argue with Quidsi’s Josh Himwich, the creator of and, who said, “The importance of ratings and reviews is immense, and it’s a story that we’re only at the beginning of. When presented with the tyranny of choice, reviews are like a beacon of light that cuts through the options and clarifies what the customer should click on.” And this was in late 2010, nearly five years ago. 

I remember when Trip Advisor, founded in 2000, and Yelp, founded in 2004, exploded, and were powered by the consumer voice. Then Amazon moved from a bookseller to an A-to-Z seller of everything and paved way for the 5-star ratings on consumer goods, previously reserved for just restaurants, hotels and local businesses. At that time, CPG brands with reviews seemed optional. If your products were not sold online, why would you need a product review or star rating? We laugh at that thought today, because we know consumers are going to search the reviews before they buy, no matter what or where they buy. 



CPG brands have an additional challenge: getting customers to say interesting things about them. Picture this, the brand manager sitting next to you is responsible for innovating and launching the latest cosmetic line, has celebrity endorsements, and is being featured in all of the top magazines and has a budget of $50MM for digital marketing. And then there you are. You manage toilet bowl cleaner or dental floss, you are afraid that when you get your product placed on the mass sites like Amazon, Target, Walmart and Club stores, you will hear crickets. Fear not. Here are three ways you can ensure reviews and get that ever so important 5-star rating for your brand. 

Ask consumers to promote your core values. 

We worked with a client of a major battery brand. Let’s face it, driving social conversation and online reviews about a battery is pretty tough. Batteries either work or they don’t. End of story, right? However, brands like this still need to stay top of mind, and still face the struggle of their message being drowned out. Online reviews and social conversation cut through this clutter, so it is still vital brands like this stay in the “reviews and recommendations” game. 

To help drive conversation, try focusing not just on spreading your value proposition, but highlighting your core values. In fact, forming an emotional connection on shared values is one of the key elements in driving customer loyalty. 

Align with causes important to your consumer. 

Fifty-four percent of millennial women have switched brands because they support a cause they care about. Aligning and promoting a cause the brand is associated with allows seemingly “dull” brands to instill some passion into their customer reviews and conversation. There are countless examples of brands, when separated from their causes, are really not that interesting. Think of Tom’s shoes – their cause is the very center of their marketing, and it shows in the conversation their customers start. 

Develop use cases.

When it comes to judging reviews and recommendations, people respond most to personal stories. Asking consumers to share their use case helps surface that personal story. Chances are there is a customer story out there that you would have never imagined. Some brands can even challenge customers to produce the most interesting use case. 

To all boring brands out there – don’t worry, you are not boring, your brand is just talked about in a different way.

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