Posted by: glenstidolph | May 9, 2010

The Value of Negativity

True or False: Its a fundamental rule of marketing that the messages about a product must always be 100% positive?

OK…i hope nobody says True (and if you did, please contact me so i can get you the urgent medical attention you need for delusional afflictions)

Negative ‘comments’ can actually have a wonderfully weird and even dramatically positive effect.

Negative word of mouth is what adds credibility to a product. Everybody knows that few products are 100% perfect. (for those of you who do think this, i’m guessing you also answered True to the above question, and also suffering from a delusional affliction)

As much as consumers would like to believe in the marketing fantasy, they seek out ways to try and establish the ‘truths’ and want to know what they will get when they ‘buy’. They want to know where the faults may be, and its this new age of ‘transparency’ largely due to freedom of information on the internet, that helps the consumer make an ‘informed’ decision.

The way a company responds to negative comments can create positive positive comments. (Please see the comments on the previous post, ‘is Marco Robinson mad’ as an illustration of this) According to studies, half of all negative comments comes from consumers who feel a sense of injustice about the way they are treated by a company when they have a problem, rather than the shortcomings in the product or service itself. So, the way a company responds to these negative comments becomes a very important part of the ‘conversation’, possibly THE most important part of it.

Its definitely fair to say that companies who have only mediocre products and amazing customer service receive far less negative comments than companies who have great products, but really shitty customer service.


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