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Fake News Blues - From Bogus Reviews

Building Trust in Your Brand


When diving into the world of potential clients and assessing their business reputations, the reviews section often provides a treasure trove of insights. Recently, while conducting a preliminary analysis of a potential client's business, one particular review caught my eye. It wasn’t the name of the reviewer that stood out, even though "Clarice" is quite distinctive and reminds one of the character from "Silence of the Lambs." What truly struck me was the reviewer's face.


As someone who struggles to remember names, dates, and phone numbers, I have an uncanny ability to recall faces and conversations, particularly those my brain feels are important. This particular face seemed very familiar. However, it turns out that Clarice is also Allyson, Nicholla, and even John.

I stopped looking after three pages of results, but you get the idea. I couldn’t find the original source of the image, possibly because it is probably buried on page 103 of the search results. Nevertheless, this person is a prolific reviewer of services, bars, beauty salons—you name it, they seem to have been a paying customer who highly rates everything they interact with.


For brand owners, founders, and CEOs striving to enhance their brand's credibility in the market, the authenticity of customer reviews cannot be overstated. Authenticity is as crucial to a brand as the product and the marketing strategy itself. Reviews are a significant factor in driving trust. However, it appears that, in an effort to gain trust, hundreds of people are relying on fabricated identities and experiences to make their point.


Of course, not every client wants to be identified, and fewer still are happy to supply a headshot to post on your website. We are not all extroverts, and I know many people who don’t even like their photo being taken.

I still find it amusing that when I jump on Zoom and Teams calls, people sometimes say, "You look like your profile picture," and I think that sums up the issue. People are increasingly becoming skeptical of reviews because they are exposed to "fake" ones.

My advice: do better, be better, be authentic.


In my line of work, getting large numbers of reviews is difficult. A client might work with me for brand and product development for over 12 months, which limits the quantity of possible reviews I can post. I know that algorithms like frequency and love to see as much feedback from people as possible. But think, when you are next online buying something and it says, "22 other people are also looking at this product" or "Low stock, order now," these things, along with reviews, might not be an exact representation of reality.


By discussing this subject in what sounds like a negative way, I might be seen as actively sabotaging the principle and value of customer reviews, but I think it is important that from CEOs looking for services, down to employees looking to spend their hard-earned cash on the next product they see, need to be more cautious about what they trust and believe in.

It takes seconds to ask AI tools to supply someone with profile images and words for a review. Less scrupulous marketers and salespeople know this. Don’t join them; get real reviews from real people.


Clarice (or whatever your name is), if you are out there, just know your headshot seems to be one of the most famous in the world right now! Perhaps it’s time to leverage your personal brand, speak up, and amplify the message that people need to be more cautious when buying and more honest when selling what they do.


So Why Do Authentic Customer Reviews Matter


Firstly  authentic reviews serve as social proof, demonstrating that real people have had genuine experiences with your products or services. Potential customers are more likely to trust reviews that come across as sincere and detailed, helping to build credibility. When customers share their personal stories and experiences, it creates a deeper emotional connection to your brand for the reader.

Reviews also contribute to positive evolution of your brand. Identifying recurring themes or common issues that might need addressing. For example, if multiple customers mention the same problem, it signals an area for improvement, demonstrating that the brand listens and responds to feedback.

One of the very often overlooked elements of authentic reviews is the fact that they naturally use keywords that your customers use when interacting with a brand like yours…. Because they are the words of the customers. With some businesses spending hundreds if not more on SEO and keyword identification imagine that your customers give you that for free!

The more the system is abused the less effective it becomes, so keep it real. Ask customers for reviews and lets all work together to market and grow brands ethically and sustainably, before the system is broken by fake news.

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