Group Processes
Group: Two or more individuals who share a set of
norms, values, or beliefs and have certain
implicitly or explicitly defined relationships to one
another such that their behaviors are
Notes about groups and group processes:
• Interdependence
• Purpose
• Influence on behavior
– 2 ways: as individuals & group decisions
• Dichotomous membership
Types of Groups
Reference group: an actual or imaginary
individual/group conceived of having significant
relevance upon an individual’s evaluations,
aspirations, or behavior
Any external influence that provides social clues can
be a reference group
1. Aspiration groups
2. Dissociative/avoidance groups
3. Formal vs. Informal groups
When Reference Groups Are Important
Social power: capacity to alter the actions of
Types of social power:
Referent power
Information power
Legitimate power
Expert power
Reward power
Coercive power
How Groups Influence Consumers
3 ways:
 Group Influence Processes
 Roles
 Conformity
How Groups Influence Consumers
How do you get information from groups? Through what
1. Group Influence Processes:
a) Informational
* Acquire information from the group
Normative (utilitarian)
* Gain approval or avoid disapproval from group
c) Identification (value expressive)
* Identify with the group and incorporate group
values and norms as part of your own selfconcept and identity
How Groups Influence Consumers
2. Roles
Defn: specific behaviors expected of a person in a
given position
Role Related Products: group of products needed
by a person to fulfill a role
What are Some Role Related Products for Students?
Functionally necessary product for students?
Symbolically necessary product for students?
The Asch Experiment
Which of the 3 lines (A, B or C) are closest in length
to the length of line X?
Why did these subjects make the wrong choice?
Were the subjects convinced or did they just go
along with the crowd?
How Groups Influence Consumers
3. Conformity
Defn: Changing behavior or beliefs toward a group as a result
of real or imagined group pressure.
Two types of conformity: compliance & private acceptance
i) compliance – the consumer conforms to a group without
really accepting the groups beliefs
ii) private acceptance – the consumer actually changes his
or her beliefs in the direction of the group
What would lead someone to conform to group pressure?
How Groups Influence Consumers
What Factors lead to Conformity?
Within the group
Within the individual
Information available
Attractiveness of the group and Need to be liked
Type of decision
Product salience
Degree of conspicuousness
Guerrilla Marketing
Origination of term ‘Guerilla’
Ambushing consumers with
promotional content in places
where it is not expected in order to
get people talking
Good for small businesses or
limited budgets
Smirnoff underpass in England
Burnout 2 speeding fines
Discover and New Year’s Eve
Viral Marketing
Company recruits customers to be sales agents by
offering some incentive to spread the word about the
Providing opportunity for exponential growth
Includes implied endorsement from a friend
Must be easy to transfer and replicate
“Get Your Free E-mail at”
Grew from 0 to 12 million users in 18 months
Grew more rapidly than any company in any media
Budget $50,000
Other examples:, e-cards
Where does 6 degrees of separation
come from?
Not Kevin Bacon
Each person has a v. close network of 8 to 12 people
Broader network of hundreds or thousands of people
Milgram late 60s
Chain letter sent to 160 random people in Omaha, Nebraska
Included name and address of stockbroker in Boston
Write name and address and send to friend or acquaintance who
you think would get letter closer to stockbroker
Looked at the list of all those whose hands it went through to get
there and establish how closely connected someone chosen at
random from one part of the country is to another person in
another part of the country
What’s the difference between
Buzz vs. Hype?
Word of Mouth
Group Communications
Opinion Leadership – what is it?
Knowledgeable group member
Greater product involvement and knowledge
Public individuation – willing to act differently
Influence others’ attitudes and behaviors
Group Communications
Market Maven
Someone who has a lot of information on a lot of different
products, prices, or places
Likes to share the information with others but not a persuader
Know lots of people
Social glue – bring people together
Persuaders through trust and rapport not forced conformity
Emotional contagion (Cacioppo) – expressive and contagious
From “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell