Basic logic tells us that negative opinions have a negative impact on our perceptions. If a man leaves a restaurant complaining about the service, he’s likely to drive other customers away. But this is not always the case: even negative reviews provide publicity and visibility, and a good can outshine the bad.
The Curious Case of the Envy 100
Last month I went shopping for a new computer printer after my trusty HP Photosmart give up the ghost. Being an iPad user, I decided to look for one that supported Apple’s AirPrint functionality. This left me looking once again at HP’s product line.
As I so often do, I spent some time familiarizing myself with the various products before heading out to the store. I quickly discovered that no one had yet analyzed only those printers that support AirPrint. Since I was interested in the topic, I decided to write up my experiences for my blog.
I was initially impressed by HP’s sleek and shiny Envy 100 all in one printer, but further investigation revealed the basic printer engine underneath. I concluded that the Envy 100 was not a good value for the money, and instead purchased the plain but functional Photosmart Premium FAX model instead.
But a funny thing happened since I posted my review. Of the tens of thousands of unique visitors my series on HP’s AirPrint compatible printers generated, dozens of people clicked through my links the Amazon to purchase one of the models listed. Surprisingly, HP’s Envy model is the top seller among those who purchased based on my series of reviews.
Credible Means Fair and Balanced
Why would someone rush out to buy after reading a negative review? Perhaps the answer lies in the review itself. Although I concluded that the Envy 100 was not a good value, I did praise its good looks and features. I also pointed out that fashion-conscious Apple buyers (who incidentally make up a large portion of my audience) would find the printer appealing. In short, my review was fair rather than negative.
I have found that fairness, mixing the good with the bad, yields much better results than effusive praise. This is especially true on the Internet, where credibility matters above all else. Clearly, my readers felt that my review was a fair depiction of the product and made their buying decision based on this unbiased view.
Corporate marketers can learn a lot from this experience. Although it can be upsetting to see the negative aspects of your product called out in public, it may not be the catastrophe you anticipate. It is difficult to let go and allow social media and unbiased reviews to stand, but they are your best advocate. Don’t get too upset when the commentary goes negative, as long as the overall tone is fair.
You might also want to read 4 Steps To Respond When Social Media Goes Negative and Always Punch Above Your Weight