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Long gone are the days by which brand marketers own the dialogue that influences the consumer decision making process from controlling the message to promoting the product. Living in the digital age, the consumer now drives this action through the internet via Web reviews and social media. But what does this mean for your brand? In the face of this rising phenomenon, how can your brand adapt and thrive? These are some of the questions Vision Critical Founder and President Andrew Reid tackles in his latest article featured in Forbes.

While there are no quick solutions in the world of lousy online reviews, companies can incorporate a few key tactics in their marketing strategies, including using a customer community based approach to better understand customers and tapping social media for added insight. Additionally, brands can let buyers properly test products and services before purchase. They can make it a point to react quickly to poor web reviews and they can do more in owning the marketing message they seem to be losing.

Andrew explains:

Let them try before they buy

Consumers don't know what they like until they try it out, and only a few industries (vehicles) give people a chance to do so. But what if you're a restaurant or phone manufacturer? How are you giving people the chance to have an opinion without asking them to shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Don't let reviews fall by the wayside

If you're not yet sold on the importance of online reviews, look no further than Fitbit. Undergoing scrutiny right now, Fitbit is a good example of how online reviews can make or break a brand. All over the news, social media feeds and review sites, FitBit has grown in popularity and plunged to the bottom almost entirely due to consumer reviews.

Hold the consumer accountable

Turn the tables like Airbnb and Uber are doing. Review Emily like she's reviewing you. Is she a good customer? Is she too cheap and always returning items? Is she rude? Create a better balance between you and Emily so that you can once again have control over your brand message.

As Andrew states in his article, "By continuing to uncover nuances and keeping a close eye on hidden messages through social media and a customer community based approach, you're on the right track. By giving her a chance to try a product, reacting quickly to her reviews and turning the tables to hold Emily accountable by reviewing her and consumers like her on quality of interaction and behavior, you've now caught up."

Check out the entire article in Forbes here.

the value of insight communities

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