Can Negative Reviews Increase Brand Awareness?

July 31, 2018 / Shamit Patel, Managing Director

In the world of the Internet, every product or service is being talked about across many social media channels.  There is so much information available for any given business, the internet has become saturated, although the most trusted source for information on any product.  With so much available information, understand what consumers are actually looking at can be valuable for marketers everywhere.  Daugherty and Hoffman (2014) investigated this topic by monitoring where participants are looking on the screen using eye-tracking technology.  They sought to understand the difference between positive, neutral and negative reviews and how they impacted luxury and non-luxury brands more.  Their results showed confirmed the following findings:

  1. Consumers paid more attention to negative reviews

  2. Consumers paid more attention to reviews pertaining to non-luxury brands than to luxury brands

  3. Consumers were impacted more by all types of reviews for non-luxury brands than for luxury brands

What does this mean for marketers?

Given the relevance of this study in today’s society with social media being as influential as it is, there are certain ways that marketers can take advantage of this study.  First, negative reviews will come, rather than hiding them or finding clever ways to flood them with positive reviews, it’s best to embrace them.  Address the negative comments with empathy and an opportunity to resolve the situation with the dissatisfied customer.  What this does is shows consumers that you care, are human, and offer a high-level of customer service. 

In addition, non-luxury brands are generally impacted more by online reviews (electronic word of mouth) than luxury brands.  As a non-luxury brand, be sure to encourage online reviews because that’s what consumers are paying the most attention to when considering your products and services for purchase.

Thanks for reading,

Shamit Patel


Daugherty, T., & Hoffman, E. (2013). EWOM and the importance of capturing consumer attention within social media. Journal of Marketing Communications,20(1-2), 82-102. doi:10.1080/13527266.2013.797764