Brand Love: Connecting Through Online Reviews

in Branding

Supermarket groceryOk, I’’ll admit it: I have a problem. I am a certifiable product review junkie. I’’ll spend countless hours researching anything from potato chips to shampoo before I break down and make a purchase. Admission is the first step, right?

In our hyper-connected world, it’s so easy to do online recon on most things before we buy them, so why not? Now, we have awesome technology (like smartphones) that makes it easier to do this, hopefully saving us from countless trips to the store to return unwanted gear. This is why I usually research online most of what I plan to buy beforehand, hoping to find some quality goods that others have deemed awesome (not to mention, seeking out good deals in the process).

I honestly can’t remember how long I’’ve been like this, but I would say it has become more prevalent in the past few years since I upgraded to a smartphone. With a sea of products out there (beauty and hair products are my weapons of choice), it’s nice to be able to whip out your phone and get some real-world insight before dropping $30 on that new mascara, the one you think will finally give you eyelashes, a la Kim Kardashian (good luck getting that kind of fringe from mascara alone). When faced with a buying decision, I have picked one product over another countless times, simply because of one’s stellar online reviews. If they both have great reviews, that’s where I run into trouble. And I wonder why friends refuse to shop with me…

I’’ve done a few product review videos myself (thanks, YouTube), and I love watching online reviews from hilarious vloggers, like BentleyBlonde. They are pioneers of the consumer world, paving the way for the rest of us who simply can’t make a purchase before we sniff things out. Gen Y seems to be especially fond of online reviews, as Sarah Sladek from XYZ University recently stated in a Business News Daily article: “They value trust, which is why they frequently seek out the opinions of their peers and consult user-generated review sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp.” There are also sites like SocialToaster and Influenster that celebrate brand fans by providing free product to those who have social media clout and a large following, in exchange for honest feedback on their products, then made public on their review sites. This is a pretty nifty idea – I only wish I’d thought of first (drat)!

With online reviews, there is a high trust factor involved, and it’s always important to remember that just because something worked amazingly for someone else, it may not work for you. That being said, as long as there are new products coming out in the market (do bees buzz?), I will be a review junkie who does her homework before purchasing just about everything.

What about you, are you a cautious consumer like me, or do you run down the aisles, arms sticking out like airplane wings, fearlessly knocking everything in your path into your shopping basket without the slightest hesitation? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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