Seth Godin is a master of saying a lot with relatively few words. We have been pushing trust for a long time — Joe has some groundbreaking and highly cited research on trust that was published in the late 1990s. Our textbooks lace trust across several chapters – including when we cover branding. But once again, Seth makes a point clearly and concisely and in a way worth sharing with you and possibly your students in “The trust brand” (Seth’s Blog, September 7, 2013). We have also posted this at Learn the 4 Ps.
We have posted before about fake reviews — click here or click here. In addition, our books have an Ethics Exercise/Case that promotes discussion of this issue. It is worth a re-visit because students find the the topic interesting and this short (2:22) video provides way to introduce the topic in class and generate a discussion of ethics.
In the ethics exercise in our book, we make the question a bit less one-sided by suggesting that a restaurant’s competitor appears to have already engaged in this activity. The video also raises questions about the role of reviews in consumer buying. Consumers trust reviews much more than advertising — and it has helped retailers like Amazon and review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor thrive. A discussion of fake reviews can delve into why companies that post reviews have a vested interest in weeding out the fakes. We have also posted this at Learn the 4 Ps.
The recently published 18th edition of Basic Marketing significantly increased the coverage of trust across a number of chapters. Customers buy brands and products they trust — and one source of trust is certification labels. Some certification labels have engendered customer trust, while others have been less successful. This short Fast Company article, “Certification Labels That Make the Grade,” (January 12, 2011) describes five labels and includes data on awareness and whether it influences behavior.
As some of you may know, I have done a fair amount of academic research on trust. I believe that trust is a very important factor in marketing. This article cites a recent study on trusted brands, “Study: Amazon.com is most trusted brand in U.S.” (CNET News, February 22, 2010).
Consumer reviews are playing an increasingly important role in buying behavior. This means that traditional marketing communication vehicles are likely to be less influential. As a nice supplement to this article (“What Do You Think? Companies are learning to make the most out of customers’ online reviews of their products,” The Wall Street Journal, October 12, 2009), pair it with the results of a July 2009 Nielsen survey that asked consumers how much they trust various sources of information. As this survey makes clear, 70% of consumers trust online opinions from people they don’t know. I copied this table (right click on graphic, choose “copy image”) and pasted it into my PowerPoints (right click on the slide and choose “Paste”). Before showing the results, I asked students which sources of information they trusted the most and the least – choosing a set of five from this list. The article and survey can lead into discussions about what marketing managers can do with consumer reviews. For a related story, see “Amazon: Turning Consumer Opinions into Gold,” (BusinessWeek.com, October 15, 2009).