For most of us, when we’re shopping for an important product, we look to what other people are saying about the product, the brand and their experiences with both. We want to our purchase decisions to be validated, before and after we buy.
Amazon.com is a great example of this in real-time. During the research phase of making a purchase decision, you can see how it’s rated and read all about what others have experienced using that product.
But have you ever wondered about the credibility of those reviews? You’re not alone.
Recently the PsychNology Journal published an article title “Avatars and Expectations: Influencing Perceptions of Trustworthiness in an Online Consumer Setting.”
In this study they set out to determine if and how an avatar (the personal image commonly used to identity and represent yourself) influenced the perception of credibility when it comes to product reviews and customer testimonials.
They confirm what we know instinctively, that “online peer reviews provide a unique vehicle for consumers to get important information about products” and that “the peer aspect provides a word of mouth styled exchange, which is often considered more trustworthy because it is based on another individual’s experiences.”
They continue, “research also suggests that consumers will rely heavily on decision aids like peer reviews when making purchasing decision…” but that the problem for brands is that when it comes to peer reviews and how the represent your brand, “…the sources are of peer reviews are not experts and the reviews are not professionally produced like an advertisement…” so the quality can be like a coin toss.
If you’re like us, then you see this problem as an opportunity for innovation. Instead of being at the mercy of whatever’s being said about your brand, you can control the conversation.
We believe it’s important for brands to be able to put their best foot forward, by selecting the social media posts that should be highlighted and showcasing what people are saying about their products; uniting the face of advertising with what your customers are saying.