2019 has rolled in and understanding the digital assault on Brands is timely.
We wanted to replace a sofa over the holidays and things became very confusing - very quickly. Furniture is an interesting category in the US with multiple brands trying to sell nationally, regionally and locally with wide variations in price. There is a lot of movement to online buying for all categories of furnishing and furniture. See statistics of the US furniture market at Statista.
The problem is:
Almost all furniture brands have poor reviews and customer feedback
Most brands advertise on Google so Google ads are in full display. But brand owners don't seem to Google their own brands. How could many brands with 1.5 star reviews still be in the market? Our guess is that managements don't seem to checking. If they checked, they'd find solutions to this brand fiasco.
Marketing as currently taught involves (1) Identifying a customer need (2) Providing a high value solution ( 3) The high value is made up of the 4P's of marketing viz. a great Product, a great Price, great Place (Distribution) and then great Promotion (including online ads, social media etc.).
Missing in all this is the ease with which customers can do research online today. And this "research" is often faulty because its easy for a dissatisfied customer and too easy for a competitor to make up bad experiences. For example, if a brand has hundreds of bad reviews on websites (just Google a few furniture brands and see for yourself)- it doesn't make sense that there are no unresolved BBB customer complaints and these brands seem to have impressive foot traffic.
Beyond furniture, many many local and regional business in different industries (eg. home services) will find that their reviews are mixed. So if you are a plumbing company you might find great reviews on Angies List/Home Advisor and bad reviews on your company Facebook page that you have been neglecting recently.
Here are 5 tips to make the most of 2019 with respect to your brand reviews:
- Recognize that the days of traditional marketing and one way communication are over. As a brand owner you cannot hope to "command and control" what you want your customers and the world to know.
- Assume that your customers will Google your product/brand
- So put yourself in your customers' shoes and Google your "(brandname) reviews". To get a sense of different search results try while you are logged in to your Google account and also when you are using a browser where you are not logged in. See the Google Ads but focus on the organic search results. Do this from your mobile phone as well as desktop.
- If you have other locations for customers then ask someone in that location to check as above, or try one of the options for local search listed at Search Engine Journal.
- Repeat for other relevant websites to your industry eg. Angies List and Home Advisor for home services, Yelp for restaurants etc. Do check comments and ratings on your brands social media accounts including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn etc. There are services like www.ReviewPush.com that consolidate reviews in one place and are worth checking out.
Once you know what is going on, reach out to the relevant websites to correct any misinformation out there. Be polite but insistent- it works!
Wishing our readers a happy healthy 2019!