Social proof is a major asset when selling a considered purchase for the home. When uncertain about how to maintain, improve, or reimagine their properties, homeowners look to fellow homeowners to reinforce or rationalize their decisions. According to motivational consultant Cavett Robert, “Since 95% of people are imitators and only 5% are initiators, people are more persuaded by the actions of others than by any proof we can offer.”
What type of social proof should marketers employ for their products or services? Third-party endorsements from a celebrity can yield dramatic returns. But finding the correct celebrity at the right price point is trickier than it looks. Testimonials from actual customers are effective, but it’s hard to capture one that doesn’t appear to be faked, forced, or phony. That’s why Wingman has turned to independent reviews from social media sites such as Yelp, Google Places, and Yellow Book. These reviews have an air of credibility because they’re from customers whose sole motivation was to inform others about their personal experience with a product or service.
Example: Rhino Shield
Rhino Shield is a ceramic coat that is eight times thicker and lasts five times longer than traditional house paint. It’s guaranteed to never crack, chip, or peel and these unique properties make it ideal for homeowners near the beach or those who wish to save money by ending the repainting cycle. Rhino Shield is a high-quality paint product and although it’s well known in home improvement circles, it has yet to overtake paint in the eyes of homeowners.
Rhino Shield Los Angeles, owned and operated by Sam Chapetta, had received glowing reviews on Yelp and other review sites. Knowing that homeowners look for social proof when considering a major purchase of the home, Wingman wanted to incorporate online reviews into their new commercials. Wingman decided to create a radio campaign touting Rhino Shield’s positive reviews from residential homeowners, people with beach-area properties, and commercial building owners.
Wingman’s creative execution was a two-minute advertorial radio spot where Chapetta was interviewed by Jennifer York, a well-known L.A.-area broadcaster. At the beginning of the interview, York read an online review and then asked Chapetta about the specific customer. Chapetta fondly remembered the people behind each review which revealed the personal connection that Sam shares with his customers. The residential review was glowing: “My wife and I were through-the-roof happy with how amazing our house looked.” As was the commercial review: “They have earned my business for life and I look forward to working with them on my 12 other shopping centers.” The beach-are homeowners review was very complementary of Sam. “From the get-go, I loved Sam. Honest, straightforward and I could tell he had a good work ethic. Since the job was completed, we’ve had rain and sand blowing and it still looks great.” Wingman’s creative team was confident the Residential and Commercial spots would deliver quality leads, but was curious whether “Beach Review” was aimed at too small a target.
After a month on the air, the “Beach Reviews” creative drove double the phone call volume of the incumbent “control” creative it was 50/50 split tested against. Wingman took a risk by tightly targeting L.A.-area homeowners near the beach, but we reasoned that the upside was simply too attractive not to pursue. Before Rhino Shield, no competitor had talked to homeowners about how they can save their homes exteriors from the ocean climate, but we are already seeing that change. We’re also noticing Rhino Shield’s competition beginning to make their first attempts at social proof campaigns, to which we say “welcome to an incredibly effective ad strategy … we thought you’d never catch on.”