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21 May 2015

I Like People Like Me

Written by: Alex Eeles, Principal Writer at Edelman

Consumer Trends & Insight, Media, Trust

Who would have thought Jess S’s opinion could be so important? Or Tegwen’s. Or even my own.

Of course, the rise of ‘person like me’ endorsement (or consumer advocacy, as some would have it) is nothing new. Trip Advisor’s entire business proposition is, in many ways, based on exactly that.

Jess S Testimonial

Yet, what continues to strike me is its prevalence. From billboards and brochures right through to Jess S’s epistolary appearance in front of my eyes on a jam-packed M3, ‘people like me’ are ever more numerous. In fact, I’m beginning to wonder whether I can possibly have something in common with that many folk at all.

But I guess that’s the point. When it comes to modern media, we are all equal (providing you don’t count the fact I probably have fewer Twitter followers than you). And that means all opinions are equal too. So if I decide to say something good about a brand, why wouldn’t they use it to decorate their delivery trucks or adorn the testimonials section of their website? I’d certainly expect some kind of reaction if I aired a complaint instead.

Besides, as Edelman’s own Trust Barometer recently showed, nowadays people are far more inclined to trust my views about a company – positive or negative – than those of its CEO, a politician or even the media. And because I have a myriad of ways to publicly express myself, my feelings don’t just matter anymore, they’re highly accessible too.

For brands, that makes monitoring their customers’ views about more than just gathering insights. It’s also an effective and credible way to uncover sound bites that help them showcase the quality of their stuff. To prove that we don’t just have to take their word for it.

Meanwhile, whatever we think about privacy or becoming a vehicle (no pun intended, Jess) for company endorsement, the rest of us have a chance to make our voices heard like never before. To live in a world where our opinion matters just as much as anyone else’s.

Personally, I think that’s pretty cool, so for what it’s worth (note the earlier comment about my Twitter following), I’m going to keep sharing my views and would encourage anyone else to do the same.

Who knows, one day we might find our own words entertaining us in a traffic jam.

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