Consumer Behavior Topic 5

Consumer Behavior Topic 10
Personal Influence: Reference Group and Opinion Leadership
Reference Groups – use other people as a frame of reference.
Primary groups are intimate, face-to-face such as family and peer groups. Informal
primary groups include family and peer groups. Formal groups are highly defined in
structure, interact frequently, such a school groups, business groups and work groups.
Primary groups are more important to you.
Secondary groups are seen less frequently. Informal groups are considered secondary and
more impersonal as they only interact occasionally (i.e. shopping groups, sports group).
Secondary formal groups might include alumni organizations and technical associations.
Symbolic groups are those that you can never join but that you try to take on your values
(i.e., sport team).
How do groups affect us and shape our consumer behavior?
Social Power Theory (Raven & French):
There are 5 basis of power, that is 5 ways in which groups influence people:
1.Rewarded power – parents often use rewards as well as supervisors (lots of ads
use reward power)
2. Coercive power (punish) – you can be punished if you don’t do what they want
3. Legitimate power – the other person has a legitimate right to try to influence
you (i.e., religious leaders, rabbi, priest; in advertising to buy American products
or union label)
4. Referent power – persuaded by groups you’re either similar to or want to be
like (ie., sports celebrities used in advertising, Michael Jordan for Hanes – want to
be like him)
5. Experent power -with superior expertise increases trustworthiness
The 3 Processes of Social Influence (Kelman)
1. compliance – sometimes do something overtly but not believe in it –
compliance (i.e., to work on time – maybe do it because afraid of coercive
power, that is lose job)
2. identification – sometimes satisfaction comes from conforming (i.e., dressing
like members of the group you admire) or may not be a true believer and not
believe deep inside – usually goes with referent power
3. internalization – real change in attitude or behavior – assimilate it with your
own values – done when you believe in what the person is saying
(particularly if referent or expert – parents, teachers). Advertising is limited –
can not always function as referent or legitimate power (although can say to
buy American goods).
Reference Group Influence – used as a frame of reference
1. avoidance groups (negative) – groups you hate and you avoid what they buy –
you disapprove of them and won’t buy their products (i.e., Hell’s Angels and
Harley Davidson motorcycles).
2. Disclaimant group – you may be part of the group but want to be different – a
rebel (i.e., at school, dress differently such as Goth).
How reference groups influence works in general:
3 forms of reference groups (influence)
1. normal compliance – normative - reward/punishment – group works by either
accepting or not –normative – accepted if do as told (i.e., gangs, either shun you
or accept you) – you tell group to reward or punish – ostracize, shun punish or if
part of group, acceptance
2. value – expressive function – psychological association – you want to identify
with people in a group – you admire them – you need to associate with the group
so you take on the values of group – pleasure from acting like them
informational influence – way you get information (about what to buy) – AC, car,
color TV, Doctors
re: conspicuousness – Factors Impacting Reference Group Influence
1. conspicuousness of the product and status revealing (more prone to reference
group) when visibly effected by reference group
reference groups work well on publicly used products but are weak with
privately consumer products
2. information and experience – if a lot of information, less likely to be
3. credibility, attractiveness and he power of the reference group
4. personal factors – personality not very useful in consumer behavior
How are reference groups applied by advertisers?
Endorsements such as the celebrity endorser, the expert endorser (i.e., dentist, scientist);
the common man (i.e., audience of shows being captured as they leave the theater for
their raw responses to show); company executives.
Why use celebrities?
1. source of credibility – tap into trustworthiness or likeability (i.e., Hitler had
amazing ability to influence people); people we trust/like such as Bill Cosby,
Mary Tyler Moore). This is referred to as a “Q” score and these are
2. Attraction/identification (i.e., Kelly Ripca, Princess Diana, Sean Conery, Paul
Newman, Michael Jordan) – not independent from #1
3. Attention getting – people who get notice – ties with #4
4. Cue to help people remember the ad (i.e., using a sports hero’s mom)
5. Protypical bonding – image spillover – if a product has no image – try to
connect with the celebrity who has image (i.e., George Forman who is very
likeable for Meinike mufflers).
Opinion Leadership
Word of mouth – friends, neighbors, work associates
People turn to others for advise
Advertising bias – not always honest – if opinion leader, usually category specific
How measure opinion leadership?
1. self-designating method
2. sociometric method – closed community and ask people what they think about
3. key informant method – these are the central people
4. objective method
Opinion Leaders have:
1. knowledge and interest about the product
2. are innovators
3. demographics tend to be younger for the arts and older for medical
4. social class – tend to be of the same social class as the target demographic