Consumer Reports CEO says her organization is relevant now more than ever
The venerable product testing and review organization continues to give consumers objective and well-researched product reviews and research.
In a world of on-line reviews full of hidden bias and conflict, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Consumer Reports (CR) said consumers can continue to count on her organization for fair and objective product analysis.
Marta Tellado is the first Latina CEO of Consumer Reports, a non-profit organization which conducts product testing, consumer-oriented research, public education, and advocacy.
“People know us for ratings and reviews.” Tellado said, noting that CR tests thousands of products and services.
She continued, “We reveal the truth; we equip consumers with the knowledge they need to make decisions.”
Tellado said many on-line reviews have all sorts of undisclosed conflicts.
“You don’t know if those reviews are paid for,” Tellado said. “It [the on-line reviews] is not transparent.”
That’s where CR is different.
“We don’t take a single dollar in advertising,” Tellado said. “We’re mission driven.”
As a non-profit, she explained, CR does not have corporate sponsorship.
This allows CR to be different from most companies and people who review products: “It gives us the ability to stand by the consumer.”
CR currently has approximately six million members.
What does membership provide?
“Becoming a member provides you with a remarkable sense of confidence in a marketplace that is opaque,” Tellado said.
CR first started in 1936 and is mostly known for its magazine, but Tellado said as technology changed, so has CR.
CR has launched a website.
It has also developed several resources for the Hispanic community on the internet.
They created an on-line newsletter in Spanish called Lo último in June 2018, and a Spanish language news feed by the same name was started in October 2017.
Taking advantage of new technologies allows CR to reach new markets and consumers; this includes a new show which first aired on January 5, 2019 on Telemundo entitled “Taller del Consumidor” (Consumer Workshop in English).
The show is a follow up of an English language show on NBC that has produced more than 20 episodes.
Tellado said this was the first foray into television by CR.
“Mainly shot on-site in CR’s state-of-the-art labs and 327-acre auto test-track, Taller del Consumidor, features host Jack Rico, a curious consumer and dynamic personality, alongside CR experts and everyday consumers. The English-language version of the show, called Consumer 101, debuted on NBC in October and airs there Saturday mornings,” a press release from CR said of the show.
“This is a way to bring consumers to Consumer Reports,” Tellado said of the new show.
She said viewers will be taken behind the scenes to learn how CR does its product testing and reviews and learn the “scientific rigor” behind CR’s product tests and reviews.
Tellado has spent approximately 25 years as a consumer advocate; her career includes stops working for Ralph Nader, the Ford Foundation, and for former Democratic Senator Bill Bradley.
She has spent time both as an executive and as a board member.
She said the CEO and other executives are responsible for the day-to-day decision making in an organization.
Of her role as a board member, Tellado said, “That [the board] is the way you hold the CEO accountable... The board is really there to advise, to hold you accountable.”
While the board is there to oversee the executives, Tellado sees the relationship as a partnership.
“My success is related to the board’s success,” she said.