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Chapter: Business Science : Rural Marketing : Rural Market and Decision

Opinion Leadership

The Needs of Opinion Leaders, Reasons for the Effectiveness of Opinion Leadership

Opinion Leadership


The process by which one person (the opinion leader) informally influences the consumption actions or attitudes of others who may be opinion seekers or opinion recipients.


Strong /weak tie source


Opinion Leadership is the process by which the opinion leader informally influences the actions or attitudes of others, who may be opinion seekers or merely opinion recipients. Opinion receivers perceive the opinion leader as a highly credible, objective source of product information who can help reduce their search and analysis time and percieved risk.


Opinion leaders are motivated to give information or advice to others, in part doing so enhances their own status and self image and because such advice tends to reduce any post purchase dissonance that they may have.Other motives include product involvement, message involvement or any other involvement.


Market researchers identify opinion leaders by such methods as self designation, key informants, the sociometric method and the objective method.


Studies of opinion leadership indicate that this phenomenon tends to be product category specific, generally one of their interest. An opinion leader of one product range can be an opinion receiver for another product category.


Generally, opinion leaders are gregarious, self confident, innovative people who like to talk. Additionally, they may feel differentiated from others and choose to act differently (or public individuation).


They acquire information about their areas of interest through avid readership of special interest magazines and ezines and by means of new product trials.


Their interests may often overlap into adjacent areas and thus their opinion leadership may also extend into those areas.

The Needs of Opinion Leaders


         Self involvement


         Social involvement


         Product involvement


         Message involvement


         Opinion leaders are four times more likely to be asked about political issues, three times more likely to be asked about computers or investments, and twice as likely to be asked about restaurants

         • Information seekers seek a ―strong-tie‖ source when they know little about a topic, and ―weak-tie‖ sources when they have some knowledge

Reasons for the Effectiveness of Opinion Leadership




         Positive and Negative Product Information


         Information and Advice


         Opinion Leadership Is Category-Specific


         Opinion Leadership Is a Two-way Street


Brand loyalty


Brand loyalty can be defined as the strength of preference for a brand compared to other similar available options. This is often measured in terms of repeat purchase behaviour or price sensitivity.


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