The Brand Value of a Reviews Strategy

It’s easy to focus on reviews as a catalyst to new business in the obvious way — some stranger is researching what you offer and checks out reviews before deciding to contact you directly.

For fee-for-service nonprofits like schools, hospitals, museums, treatment centers and more, reviews are an important gateway to a new client, patient, member or enrollment.

But cold acquisition from search is not the only benefit to a reviews strategy.

A few weeks ago I got a short, simple email from the time tracking software company we use at Iris Creative. It started as a check in from the service team and a reminder that all service is included. If I needed anything they are happy to help. Then they thanked me for my support over the last 13 years and then asked if I’d consider leaving a review with a hyperlink to the place they wanted it.

I am sure they could see in their database that I haven’t asked for anything in years, pay on time and renew. A perfect target to ask to leave a review.

Here’s what they actually did:

  1. A casual, friendly opener with an offer help
  2. Reinforce with a reminder that I don’t have to pay extra for service
  3. Gave me 2 easy ways to get help
  4. Thanked me while reminding me how long I have been a customer
  5. After all that buttering up, asked me to do something for them
  6. And gave me a one-click way to do it

All in 99 words.

Writing a Review Connects People to their Experience

Asking a participant to write a review has as much if not more impact than the ones that show up randomly.

  1. Being asked to help holds value. Once my car got locked in a parking garage overnight and I called my 26-year-old niece and asked if I could stay with her. She was so excited to be asked to help and exclaimed “I feel like a real adult now.”
  2. Writing a review connects people to how they feel. This time keeping tool changed my business, but after 13 years it’s now just part of the day to day. Writing a review brought that feeling back to the front of my mind.
  3. Refresh and test relationships. When things go smoothly – like a donor’s check comes every year – it’s easy to expect it and go on relationship autopilot. A personal request for a review allows you to re-engage with people. It’s an easy soft ask that may give you data on who is interested enough for a follow up ask to volunteer, give, or increase participation.

After I wrote my review I got a lovely thank you email from the company. And then yesterday a small, hand addressed package showed up. Inside was a moleskin notebook, some cute stickers with inside jokes that only a designer would appreciate, and a note with a Starbucks gift card.

None of that was necessary, but I definitely noticed and will remember. And that’s a huge part of what brand communication is supposed to do. Awareness is the starting point. We want to build to “brand adoption” where people grab their friends by the hand and drag them over.

Thinking about branding? Download our explainer on the three different types of branding projects or send us an email to set up an intro call.