Word of Mouth

From Christopher Balding:

This distrust extends well beyond official data to most everything in China. From infant milk formula to
vaccines, Chinese consumers maintain a strong preference for foreign made goods and what they perceive as more trustworthy products.

This spills over into a chronically low trust society.

…The Italian Nobel Prize winner Umberto Eco calls this phenomenon the “censorship of noise”. Bombarded with conflicting signals, some of which may contain valid information and others with false signals, but unable to distinguish between the truth and blasphemy we shrug and laugh at this censorship of noise.

As Eco writes “it is in silence alone that the only truly powerful means of information becomes effective: word of mouth. All people, even when they are oppressed by the most censorious tyrants have been able to find out all that is going on in the world through the popular word of mouth.”

Under the censorship of noise, Chinese rely on the word of mouth for information validation.

If a Chinese school is affiliated with an American or British school, like Harrow, a parent can click around and see the Western school’s nice website, see some rankings, etc. Per Balding: parents trust foreign brands.

Maybe that will hold for many years. Or things could get more complicated.

Lots of Chinese schools with similar affiliations are being created. What then?

One path is that parents will then prefer Chinese schools based on the rankings of their American/British affiliate.

But more likely is that parent word of mouth will determine which school is perceived as better.

What’s the best way to build parent trust? I think there are 2 key parts.

One is obvious: actually create a great hour-by-hour experience for the students. No shortcuts to that.

The second I learned long ago from one Charlie Sposato. It’s each teacher connecting with each parent proactively, often by phone, for short chats about how the child is doing. That goes a long way.