The Beauty in Word of Mouth | KHWS

The Beauty in Word of Mouth

Behavioural Insight

“When you say it, it’s marketing. When your customer says it, it’s social proof”.

These are the words of Andy Crestodina, Co-Founder of Orbit Media as he explains the psychology of social proof. Brain science tells us that, as consumers, we have a hardwired desire to conform to others. With over 88% of buyers trusting online reviews as much a personal recommendation, customers are provided with evidence that their purchase decision will be accepted by others. By honing the “informational social influence” that visitors, influencers, subscribers and other buyers alike have through the comments and reviews they make on social platforms, marketers are presented with a simple and powerful tool to improve consumer’s initial overall value judgements of brands.

Testimonials sourced from these platforms provide great supportive content for any marketing ploy. Sprinkling them throughout a brand’s website, alongside the various product and services they align with, offer the social proof that a brand’s consumers are relying on. For example, the ways in which Dove utilise the landslide of social support that their Self-Esteem Projects and campaigns receive, showcases the power well-placed testimonials can have. Consumers engage with the Dove brand because it invites them to become a part of a bigger, more positive movement. Below, real customer Megan talks about the ways she is involved in the wider self-esteem movement, and how Dove enables her to do that.

Image: Megan’s YouTube video testimonial placement on the Dove Website

Every image consumers see on the brand’s website, features women from real life, reflecting real versions of beauty, supporting the consumers desire to feel as though their next purchase will reflect the more authentic, unique and real version of themselves. Digital Marketers are assisting consumers to make purchase decisions which will ostensibly lead them to be accepted by other women, as they’ll be seen to be supporting the pledge towards real beauty. Marketers have been wise here to share user stories and inviting users to create videos that testify to their use of Dove’s products and services. It’s far more powerful than any engineered marketing material, as it provides an objective third-party perspective. It’s better, authentic and less refined.

Reviews often go hand in hand with testimonials and can become a particularly powerful marketing tool when the opinions of larger audiences are accounted for. Beauty and cosmetic retailer Sephora, collects and displays a ‘Beauty Board’ on their website, which features consumers reposted Instagram-glammed looks. Each post features a photo, accompanied by a list of all the products (with respective prices) which the consumer has purchased to ‘get the look’. These posts are then further supported by a written review the products used by the customer.

Image: Ollviatanada’s Instagram reposted and featured placement on Sephora’s Beauty Board

Thus, the ‘Beauty Board’ acts as an embedded platform feeding consumer reviews directly to customers from trusted linked personal social media accounts. By leveraging this, we see the power of social proof and its succeeding ability to build the foundations for the brand’s scalable word-of-mouth position.

Both Sephora and Dove have had incredible success in influencing their customers through the generation and sharing of social proof through various online platforms, multiplying the discovery of their brand and adding to brand influence. In furthering our understanding the ways in which brands can leverage comments and reviews (i.e. social proof) in social media to generate sales, and aligning these findings with how, as consumers, we are hardwired to take shortcuts when making a purchase, we can as marketers learn how to bring brands to life in a way that turns interactions into transactions.