I’ve teamed up with Consumer Reports and am proud to be one of their paid brand ambassadors; my personal opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Consumer Reports.
I might have a problem, depending on how you look at it. Personally, I call it a strength, but you may disagree with me. My name is Kristin, and I research EVERYTHING!
Friends, don’t call it a problem, they call me a resource. And, while I use a variety of resources to decide which vacuum cleaner or mattress to buy, Consumer Reports is always a factor in my decision. So, I was thrilled when they reached out to me and invited me to become a Consumer Reports ambassador.
Recently, I went to New York to attend the Consumer Reports annual meeting, and get a behind the scenes tour of their headquarters. The annual meeting was interesting, instead of a buttoned up boring affair where I found myself daydreaming, I was tuned in to every word. Because instead of going over numbers and discussing how great they are, they had a panel of experts in their various fields discuss important ways the average person can impact what’s happening with privacy, healthcare, and our food supply.
MY TAKEAWAY: We can make a difference and Consumer Reports is more than just an organization that evaluates products. They are advocates for a fairer, safer, and healthier marketplace. Research, facts and data are the foundation for everything they do.
Yes, I knew ConsumerR is non-partisan, and doesn’t accept advertising but, I wasn’t aware they are a non-profit. They shop for the products they test just like an ordinary consumer and pay what they would purchasing the product from the same store.
You may not know Consumer Reports has been around for 80 years. Maybe to you it’s just a magazine your Aunt enjoys reading, or something your parents have lying around on the coffee table. For me, it’s always been a resource used when making a purchasing decision.
I thought they were just about ratings and comparisons, but on this trip I learned they’re about so much more!
Now, for the real fun, visiting the Consumer Reports headquarters in Yonkers. Let me first describe my expectations: I thought we’d arrive, and once in the lobby be forced to sign non-disclosures, top secret waivers, surrender our smartphones, walk through a metal detector, take a lie detector test, and more. (okay so I might be exaggerating a bit)
Reality: We entered the building with our guide, and went right into a common area in the building for a breakfast and introduction.
Split into two groups we went on a tour of the Consumer Reports food testing lab, vacuum testing lab, technology lab and sound room. Side note: I might be contemplating building the same sound room in my house, for the kids.
It was fascinating to see how products are tested and how Consumer Reports works to remove all bias from product testing. For example, in the food lab, there aren’t labels, and samples are referred to by identifying numbers instead of “red jello” or “yellow jello.”
Now, I can go into all the details on how they test products, how meticulous they are, and why Consumer Reports results can be trusted. But, I know some of the other ambassadors will cover that. Let me just say this, in a world where reviews are everywhere and conducted by everyone, no one has a more developed process or more experience than Consumer Reports.
Instead, I want to share how impressed I am with their transparency and advocacy for the consumer. During lunch, CEO Marta Tellado, popped by to thank us for visiting. Some might see the “world of blogging” as a competitor to CR, with the amount of product reviews now available on the web for free. Instead Tellado and her team, are embracing bloggers as ambassadors, wanting to work as partners.
Throughout the day, we met with various Consumer Reports employees, and not only was everyone glad to have us on site, but they fielded questions about anything and everything. Then it was our turn to join a panel of editors, and weigh in on concerns regarding privacy and finances. The main purpose: to discuss how Consumer Reports can communicate on timely topics to their readers. Yes, privacy is a major concern, but are people really recognizing the issue and making changes?
When the day was over, I felt like I’d learned a lot from meeting with Consumer Reports, and hopefully, they learned a little from us as bloggers and consumers who share the same desire to make the world a better place.
CR just underwent a visual makeover, but it’s much more than just a face-lift. They want to communicate their willingness to evolve to make themselves more useful to the consumer. Visit consumerreports.org and check out the new easier to use ratings system for yourself. I find it especially helpful when shopping for holiday gifts. Speaking of holidays and holiday gift guides, check out these “Perfect Gifts For Car Lovers”, by Consumer Reports.