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Other peoples’ experiences and thoughts about products are an important source of information for many consumers. They can both be more relatable since they’re written from a user perspective, and more trustworthy since they represent independent voices. But reading reviews written for strangers is just one of the many social sources consumers refer to along their path to purchase.
Public-facing reviews are matched by word-of-mouth recommendations that are often invisible to brands, since they take place in person, or through ‘dark social’ channels. Unlike public product reviews, word-of-mouth recommendations come from sources familiar to us already, i.e. friends and family. What they lack in ‘authority’, compared to a professional reviewers, they make up for in trustworthiness.
Word of mouth has the rare trait of being able to increase brand loyalty.
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