The Power of Testimonials – "We are Marshall" Case Study
December 19, 2006I was interested to see what critics had to say about the movie “We are Marshall” since I’m going up to Huntington, WV to visit my wife’s family over the Christmas holidays. Their town is all fired up about this movie that pays homage to their football team which died in a tragic crash some years ago and celebrates the school and town’s resurgence. I use rottentomatoes.com as my default movie search since they aggregate the reviews of many critics into one metric – the Tomato-meter. (On a side note, remember that the world of aggregating, not publishing (Google, Myspace, etc.) is where the most profitable and scalable business models are.). Unfortunately the movie did not fare that well with the critics, which is a bit unusual given that it is about a tragedy. Usually critics give a movie good reviews at least out of that “don’t speak ill of the dead”-type of obligation.
Bonus Lesson About TestimonialsLooking through reviews of particularly bad movies did remind me of the power of testimonials, though. Most critics of major publications roundly pan the movie. However, there were a couple movie reviewers that had a distinctly different outlook on the film…
Conspicuously Distinguishing Testimonials
“We Are Marshall rates as one of the best sports movies ever made. This is a masterful triumph from the director McG that will make your heart soar in joy at the end.” – Gary Brown, Houston Community Newspapers
- Are journalists of minor publications more optimistic (newer on the job, perhaps)?
- Did Gary just love the movie (I’m sure many will)?
- Did Gary understand that nearly every critic would not like the movie, and by being such an outwardly-spoken advocate of the movie, his review would appear featured on the page.?
- Did Gary consider that every fan of Marshall (or of the story itself) would probably read his review?
Notes about Using Testimonials for Public Relations
- Remember that people purchase based on emotion. A movie trailer is a perfect example. I love going to see the trailers – especially if “movie guy” is doing the voice-over for it.
“In a world where men are men and women are…We then use facts such as critics reviews or friends’ opinions to justify our emotions. Testimonials from a real live person instead of a ream of statistics provide both – facts (the product/service works) with emotion (this guy/gal loves this product/service enough to send a note)
- Who makes products or services that you like that are loosely related but not directly competitive with yours?
- Can you write a believable testimonial and get it in the hands of the owner?
- If they don’t have testimonials on their site, maybe you could even suggest that they take yours and others and sprinkle them around. The latter suggestion is a bit more forward and a bit more “PR-whoreish” (if whoreish is a word) but if you can pull it off in good taste.
- How about trading testimonials with your suppliers and customers who own businesses?
- When you put testimonials on the websites, be sure to have an active html link that search engines can follow.