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The real value of product reviews programmes

Posted by Louise Palmer on 30th September 2010

Product reviews. A key part of many a consumer-tech PR programme, but all too often the familiarity with this long-established tactic means they can become a throw away line in a PR proposal.

I imagine it’s not because product reviews are an after-thought but rather because it’s assumed they will naturally be a part of any consumer-tech PR campaign.

But that bothers me. Because a decent product review can be the most valuable weapon in any brand’s armoury.

At Wildfire, we’ve been running product reviews programmes for years and we’re lucky to work with some of the market-leading brands.  But while I’m sure Humax is relishing the recent media feedback on its new Freeview HD box, in What Hi-Fi and TechRadar for example, the product reviews programme is serving to be so much more than a file full of shiny five star clippings.

So here’s my thoughts on the key ways that product reviews can really push a consumer-tech brand’s sales and reputation to another level:

Generating sales

Ok, I’ll start with the obvious; generate a positive review in the right place, with an independent recommendation, and you are likely to grab the attention of your target consumer and make them seriously think about buying your product.

It doesn’t stop there though. Ten years ago, people may have shared their glossy copies of What Satellite or Stuff with a few friends, pointing out the latest piece of tech that’s grabbed their attention. But with the onset of social media and plethora of online news sites, it’s so much easier to share articles with hundreds – or even thousands – of people in an instant.

And of course, if someone is looking to buy your product, it’s great to have some positive reviews showing up in search results – you never know, it might just be the one thing that convinces them to buy.

Boosting customer loyalty

Regardless of whether or not you’re a tech enthusiast, isn’t it nice to know you’ve chosen a product that’s been developed by a highly respected brand?

Positive product reviews can generate a great sense of brand loyalty, ensuring your existing customers know they made the right choice when they selected your product over those of your competitors. And you never know, they may feel much more inclined to share their love of your brand with others when you continue to reinforce that you really do know your stuff.

Engaging retailers

While some brands do sell direct, the primary sales channel for many remains the retailer, either operating in bricks and mortar stores, online, or both. It’s all very well presenting a product to a buyer and waxing lyrical about its array of features, but why should the retailer simply take your word for it?

A stack of positive reviews, written by a host of independently-minded journalists and bloggers, can be just the ticket to guaranteeing high volume orders.

Securing partners

For brands like Humax, gaining credibility in the industry can be key to establishing and developing partnerships with key partners, from the likes of the BBC, Sky Player and Freeview. These brands need to be reassured they are working with high quality brands that can deliver on their promises and a host of product reviews can give them the confidence they need to sign that contract and make you a partner of choice. 

Industry recognition

A few industry accolades can be the ideal way to prove your brand’s credentials and capabilities to retailers, partners and even competitors.  But how do you convince those judges that your product is the very best in its field?

Our product reviews for Humax play a key part in the brand’s award entries, securing wins with awards schemes including ERT, Independent Business, Freesat product of the year and Get Connected.

Louise Palmer

Deftly switching between business and consumer accounts, the focus for Louise remains the same; how can Wildfire tell clients’ stories in a way that is faithful, relevant and engaging? Her wide technology PR experience makes Louise an agile Managing Director, combining the strategic management of PR programmes with a hands-on approach to get under the skin of clients and motivate her teams.