Nat’s Stats: Bad Reviews Can Be Good For Business

nat's stats

Chattanooga, Tennessee—

Getting bad reviews online is generally considered to not be good for a business, but a new study finds this is not always the case. University of British Columbia researchers found that negative comments have little effect in cases where brand relationships are strong and consumers personally identify with a brand’s products. In some cases, the scientists found negative reviews can actually have positive effects for brands. They found that social proximity (demographic or geographic location) of a negative reviewer plays a role in how consumers respond to a negative review. In the case of three different products, researchers found participants who read a negative review by a socially distant reviewer actually showed higher interest in purchasing the product. Study leader Dr. Lisa Cavanaugh explains, “When consumers personally identify with a brand, they see facets of themselves in that brand. When a reviewer leaves a disparaging comment about an identity-relevant brand, consumers feel compelled to protect that brand, and by extension themselves, by scrutinizing the source of the negative review.”