The changing way in which customers review products can be great for business ... or terrible.
You ask a friend where she got her new Macbook Air and she gushes about the selection and service at her local electronics store so much that you decide to check it out next time you're in her neighborhood. Your boss can't decide where to go out to dinner, so you pull up Yelp on your phone and find a nearby restaurant with the highest ratings. Whether you're aware of it or not, both you and the businesses you patronize benefit from brand advocacy.
Brand advocacy is the latest reincarnation of a concept that most of us are quite familiar with: word–of–mouth advertising, individual recommendations, vouching and the like. It relies on advocates promoting brands via personal marketing, which can be as simple as telling a friend verbally or posting on Facebook.
This method is incredibly effective because of a simple – and very, very human – concept: trust. We trust our friends, the Yelp community, particular bloggers or Twitter personalities who share their preferences and influence our decisions accordingly. From the consumer’s perspective, personal testimony is vastly more relatable than pure numbers, and we value reviews over ratings. How often have you looked at a Yelp or Amazon entry without reading the reviews?...