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ADM3321 Final: Consumer+Behaviour+Summaries+Final.docx

Course Code
ADM 3321
Michael Mulvey
Study Guide

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Chapter 11: Group influence and Opinion Leadership
Group influence: when other consumers actions or images affect the decision making
process of individuals.
Opinion leadership: the ability to influence others attitudes or behaviours based on
Reference Groups
-we all belong to groups, try to please others, and take cues about how to
behave by observing the actions of those around us.
-A reference group is an actual or imaginary individual or group conceived of
as having significant relevance upon an individuals evaluations, aspirations, or
-Reference groups influence consumers in three ways 1) informational, 2)
utilitarian, 3) value expressive. Table 11-1
oTypes of Reference Groups
-normative influence- the reference group helps to set and enforce fundamental
standards of conduct
-Comparative influence- where decisions about specific brands or activities are
affected. Ex weight watchers group might exert this influence.
Formal Versus Informal Groups
-A reference group can take the form of a large, formal organization that has a
recognized structure, complete with a charter, regular meeting times, and
-Or it can be small and informal, such as a group of friends or students living
in a dormitory.
Brand Communities and Tribes
-Brand community is a set of consumers who share a set of social relationships
based on usage or interest in a product. Unlike other kinds of communities,
these members typically don’t live near each other and meet only for brief
periods at organized events called brandfests.
-Consumer Tribe refers go a group of people who share a lifestyle and who can
identify with each other because of a shared allegiance to an activity or a
-The challenge of tribal marketing is to link ones product to the needs of group
as a whole.
Membership Versus Aspirational Reference Groups
-Aspirational reference groups- comprise idealized figures, such as successful
businesspeople , athletes, or performers.
- The likelihood that people will become part of a consumers identified
reference group is affected by several factors, including the following:

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Propinquity: As physical distance between people decreases and
opportunities for interaction increase, relationships are more likely to
form. Physical nearness is called propinquity.
Mere exposure: we come to like people or things simply as a result of
seeing them more often, which is known as the mere exposure effect.
Group cohesiveness: The degree to which members of a group are
attracted to each other and value their group membership is called
cohesiveness. Smaller groups are more cohesive. As value of group to
the individual increases , so too does the likelihood that the group will
guide consumption decisions.
Positive Versus Negative Reference Groups
-Reference groups may exert either a positive or a negative influence on
consumption behaviors.
-In most cases, consumers model their behavior to be consistent with what they
think the group expects of them.
-The motivation to distance ourselves form a negative reference group can be
as or more powerful than the desire to please a positive group.
Antibrand Communities
-The web encourages the rise of a new kind of avoidance group- antibrand
-These groups also coalesce around a celebrity, store, or brand- but in this case
they’re united by their disdain for it.
oWhen Reference Groups Are Important
-Reference group influences are not equally powerful for all types of products
and consumption activities.
-Two dimensions that influence the degree to which reference groups are
important are whether the purchase is to be consumed publicly or privately
and whether it is a luxury or necessity.
-(1)Reference group effects are more robust for purchases that are luxuries (sail
boat) rather than necessities, since products purchased with discretionary
income are subject to individual and preferences and necessities do not offer
this range of choice, and (2) items that are socially conspicuous or visible to
others, since consumers are not swayed as much by the opinions of others if
their purchases will never be observed by anyone but themselves. Fig 11-1
oThe Power of Reference Groups
-Social power refers to “the capacity to alter the actions of others”.
-The following classification of power bases can help disntinguish among the
reasons a person can exert power over another.
1) Referent Power- If a person admires the qualities of an individual or a
group, he or she will try to imitate those qualities by copying the referent’s
behaviors as a guide to forming consumption preferences.
2) Information Power- A person can have information power simply because
he or she knows something others would like to know. People with info

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power are able to influence consumer opinion by virtue of their (assumed)
access to the “truth”.
3) Legitimate Power- Sometimes people are granted power by virtue of
social agreements, such as that given to police officers and professors.
This form of power may be borrowed by marketers to influence
4) Expert Power- is derived from possessing a specific knowledge or skill.
Consumers are often influenced by experts who are assumed to be able to
evaluate products in an objective, informed way.
5) Reward Power- When a person or group has the means to provide positive
reinforcement, that entity will have power over a consumer to the extent
that this reinforcement is valued or desired. May be tangible(raise) or
intangible (social acceptance).
6) Coercive Power- Although coercive power is often effective in the short
term, it does not tend to produce permanent attitudinal or behavioral
change. Surveillance of some sort is usually required to make people do
something they don’t wish to do.
-Conformity refers to a change in beliefs or actions as a reaction to real or
imagined group pressure.
-In order for a society to function, its members develop norms, or informal
rules, that govern behavior.
oFactors Influencing the Likelihood of Conformity
-Cultural pressures: Different cultures encourage conformity to a greater or
lesser degree. Ex Japanese society dominance of collective well being.
-Fear of deviance: The individual may have reason to believe that the group
will apply sanctions to punish behavior that differs from the group’s.
-Commitment: The more a person is dedicated to a group and values
membership in it the more motivated he or she will be to follow the dictates of
the group.
-Group unanimity, size, and expertise: As groups gain in power, compliance
increases. This group knows what they are talking about big its big.
-Susceptibility to interpersonal influence: This trait refers to an individuals
need to identify with or to enhance his or her image in the opinion of
significant others. Usually by products that impress people. Consumers who
are low on this trait have been called role relaxed, tend to be older and affluent
and to have high self confidence.
oSocial Comparison
-Information social influence implies that sometimes we look to the behavior
of others to provide a yardstick about reality.
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