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Chapter 11 Group Influence and Opinion Leadership

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1 Chapter 11 Group Influence and Opinion Leadership
By Michael R. Solomon Consumer Behavior Buying, Having, and Being Sixth Edition

2 Opening Vignette: Zachary
Does Zachary meet your mental stereotype for a Harley Davidson owner? Why does Zachary desire to have more Harley “stuff”? How do Zach’s fellow RUBs influence his purchases? What benefits does Zach enjoy from his association with other Harley owners?

3 Harley Owners Group

4 Reference Groups Reference Group
An actual or imaginary individual or group conceived of having significant relevance upon an individual’s evaluations, aspirations, or behavior Three ways reference groups influence consumers Informational Utilitarian Value-Expressive Some people are more influential than others in affecting consumers’ product preferences.

5 Relative Reference Groups’ Influence on Purchase Intention
Figure 11.1

6 When Reference Groups Are Important
Social Power: The capacity to alter the actions of others Referent Power: When consumers imitate qualities by copying behaviors of a prominent person they admire. Information Power: Able to influence consumer opinion by virtue of their (assumed) access to the “truth” Legitimate Power: Granted to people by virtue of social agreements, sometimes conferred by a uniform

7 Expert Power A physician has expert power, and a white coat reinforces this expertise by conferring legitimate power.

8 When Reference Groups Are Important (cont.)
Expert Power: Derived from possessing specific knowledge about a content area Reward Power: When a person or group has the means to provide positive reinforcement Coercive Power: Influencing a person by social or physical intimidation

9 Types of Reference Groups
Any external influence that provides social cues Normative Influence: The reference group helps to set and enforce fundamental standards of conduct. Comparative Influence: When decisions about specific brands or activities are affected.

10 VIDEO: BMW Motorcycles
BMW Motorcycles uses its web site to promote communication among reference groups who use the site to discuss their product experience. Click image to play video.

11 Discussion Question Marketers often portray products being used in groups that represent favorable reference groups to the target market. What type of message does this ad convey? What type of influence is this ad designed to exert on its target audience?

12 Brand Communities and Tribes
Brand Community: A set of consumers who share a set of social relationships based upon usage or interest in a product. Brandfests Consumer Tribe: A group of people who share a lifestyle and who can identify with each other because of a shared allegiance to an activity or product. Tribal Marketing: To link one’s product to the needs of a group as a whole.

13 Products as a Way to be Popular
Many products, especially those targeted to young people, are often touted as a way to take the inside track to popularity. This Brazilian ad lets us know about people who don’t like a certain shoe.

14 Membership vs. Aspirational Reference Groups
Comprise idealized figures such as successful business people, athletes, or performers. Membership Reference Group Ordinary people whose consumption activities provide informational social influence. Propinquity: Physical nearness. Mere Exposure: Liking persons or things simply as a result of seeing them more often (mere exposure phenomenon) Group Cohesiveness: The degree to which members of a group are attracted to each other and value their group membership.


16 Positive Versus Negative Reference Groups
Avoidance Groups Groups that consumers purposely try to distance themselves from Nerds Druggies Preppies The motivation to distance oneself from a negative reference group can be as powerful or more powerful than the desire to please a positive group

17 Positive Reference Groups
This recruiting ad presents a compelling role model for young women contemplating a career in the armed forces.

18 Consumers Do it in Groups
Deindividuation: A process in which individual identities become submerged within a group. Social Loafing: People do not devote as much to a task when their contribution is part of a larger group effort Risky Shift: Group members are willing to consider riskier alternatives subsequent to group discussion Diffusion of Responsibility: As more people are involved in a decision, each individual is less accountable for the outcome

19 Deindividuation Costumes hide our true identities and encourage deindividuation.

20 Consumers Do it in Groups (cont.)
Value Hypothesis: Riskiness is a culturally valued characteristic to which individuals feel pressure to conform Decision Polarization: Whichever direction the group members were leaning toward before discussion becomes more extreme subsequent to discussion Home Shopping Parties: Capitalize on group pressures to increase sales

21 Home Shopping Parties Women at a home Tupperware party.

22 Group Influences Group pressure often influences our clothing choices.

23 Conformity Conformity
A change in beliefs or actions as a reaction to real or imagined group pressure. Norms Informal rules that govern behavior. Factors Influencing the Likelihood of Conformity Cultural Pressures Fear of Deviance Commitment Principle of Least Interest Group Unanimity, Size, and Expertise Susceptibility to Interpersonal Influence Role-relaxed consumers

24 Social Comparison Social Comparison Theory: Resisting Conformity:
Asserts that people look to the behavior of others to increase the stability of their self-evaluation Co-oriented peer: A person of equivalent standing Resisting Conformity: Independence: Being oblivious or indifferent to the expectations of others Anticonformity: Defiance of the group is the actual behavior Reactance: The negative emotional state that results when we are deprived of our freedom to choose

25 Discussion Question This ad for a video game says, “Conformity Bytes!”, but then captions, “Join the Revolution!” Why? Does this ad encourage independence or anticonformity?

26 Word-of-Mouth Communication
Word-of-Mouth (WOM): Product information transmitted by individuals to individuals. Negative WOM and the Power of Rumors: Negative WOM: Consumers weigh negative info from other consumers more heavily than they do positive comments

27 Word-of-Mouth The U.S. Postal Service hopes to create a buzz via word of mouth.

28 Rumors is a Web site dedicated to tracking hoaxes and debunking product rumors.

29 The Transmission of Misinformation
Figure 11.2

30 Changing Information Serial Reproduction:
Technique to examine the phenomenon that information changes as it is transmitted among consumers Assimilation: Distortions tend to follow a pattern from ambiguous to conventional to fit with existing schemas Leveling: Details are omitted to simplify structure Sharpening: Prominent details are accentuated

31 Cutting-Edge WOM Strategies
Virtual Communities Virtual Community of Consumption: A collection of people whose online interactions are based upon shared enthusiasm for and knowledge of a specific consumption activity. Multi-user Dungeons (MUD) Rooms, rings and lists (e.g. chat rooms) Boards Blogs (weblog)

32 Multi-User Dungeons

33 Four Types of Virtual Community Members
Tourists: Lack strong social ties to the group Minglers: Maintain strong social ties, but are not interested in the central consumption activity Devotees: Express strong interest in the activity, but have few social attachments to the group Insiders: Exhibit both strong social ties and strong interest in the activity

34 Virtual Communities Figure 11.3

35 Guerrilla Marketing Guerrilla Marketing Viral Marketing
Promotional strategies that use unconventional locations and intensive word-of-mouth campaigns to push products. Brand Ambassadors Viral Marketing Refers to the strategy of getting customers to sell a product on behalf of the company that creates it.

36 Guerrilla Marketing Ads
Ads painted on sidewalks are one form of guerrilla marketing.

37 Opinion Leadership The Nature of Opinion Leadership
Opinion Leaders: People who are knowledgeable about products and whose advice is taken seriously by others. Homophily: The degree to which a pair of individuals is similar in terms of education, social status, and beliefs. How Influential Is an Opinion Leader? Generalized Opinion Leader: Somebody whose recommendations are sought for all types of purchases. Monomorphic: An expert in a limited field. Polymorphic: An expert in many fields.

38 Opinion Leaders Market Shoes
Opinion leadership is a big factor in the marketing of athletic shoes. Many styles first become popular in the inner city and then spread by word-of-mouth.

39 Types of Opinion Leaders
Innovators Early purchasers Innovative Communicators Opinion leaders who also are early purchasers Opinion leaders also are likely to be opinion seekers The Market Maven Describes people who are actively involved in transmitting marketplace information of all types. The Surrogate Consumer A person who is hired to provide input in purchase decisions.

40 Perspectives on the Communications Process
Figure 11.4

41 Fashion Opinion Leaders
Fashion opinion leaders tend to be knowledgeable about clothing and highly motivated to stay on top of fashion trends.

42 Identifying Opinion Leaders
Self-designated Opinion Leaders Sociometric Methods Trace Communication patterns among members of a group. Referral Behavior Network Analysis: Focuses on communication in social systems Referral Network Tie Strength: The nature of the bond between people. Bridging Function: Allows a consumer access between subgroups. Cliques: Subgroups

43 Revised Opinion Leadership Scale
Figure 11.5

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