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REFERENCE GROUP INFLUENCE ON CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR

SOCIO-CULTURAL INFLUENCES
FAMILY
One of the most basic socio-cultural influence is that of the Family. Family provides the setting for our earliest learning experience. Family is one of the most important reference groups. Families transmit behavioural patterns to their children. Culture determines using toothpaste to clean teeth. Family decides the brand of the toothpaste. Many buying decisions are made in the familyPositioning Strategy is decided by this. Consumer behaviour starts in the family. Family is the first teacher. Families help maintain Brand Loyalty from one generation to another. e.g. Colgate, Lifebuoy, Godrej Locks. There is also a possibility of rebellion from children,> this can be used by competing products The stage of Family Life Cycle also influences Consumer Behaviour.

REFERENCE GROUPS A Reference Group/Groups positively or negatively influence a persons attitude and behaviour. Reference Groups may serve as GUIDE or ROLE Models. Membership Reference GroupsA person formally belongs to a group such s family, Church, Workgroups, Fraternities and exhibits Conforming Behaviour. Congruent Influence on individuals Behaviour and Attitude Aspirational Membership GroupA group to which a person wishes to belong E.g. Wishing for a Club Membership. CEO of a small firm wishing to belong to Chambers at the Taj Hotel Wishing to become CEO of a MNC (POSITIVE INFLUENCE) Wishing to buy a particular brand of CAR. Dissociative Reference GroupA person behaves in such a way as to not to be associated with the group.

The person has the membership of the group but disapproves of the group values, attitudes and behaviour. Acts and adopts behaviour which are in opposition to the group. You may like to drink but not join a group that goes on a binge and misbehaves OR has notoriety as Drunkards.

Disclaimant GroupDissociate from a group that accrues notoriety due to association Avoidance Group The person disapproves values, attitudes, behaviour of a particular group. E.g. Avoid Smokers, Gamblers, Drinkers. Primary Reference GroupsReference Groups that are small enough to permit face to face contact. E.g. Family, Classmates, Lions Club, Colleagues at work. Secondary Reference GroupsReference groups that are larger, more formal, less intimate . These groups have stated Goals and objectives and a Formal Organisation. These are characterized by infrequent contacts, select group interaction. E.g. Alumni Association, Bombay Management Association. Indirect Reference GroupsReference group comprises individuals or a group of individuals with whom the person does not have direct face to face contact. E.g. Movie stars, Cricketers, Sportsmen, Political Leaders. However, if a person has personal information and experience, he/she may not be influenced by reference groups.. A person with little or no experience seeks reference group advice. A person who believes that all advertising is misleading and deceptive may treat these adverts as noise many depend on reference groups. Reference Group must be perceived as Credible and Trustworthy, Attractivce and Powerful.

Reference Group s have the greatest influence on Consumer Behaviour when the product/ service in question is seen as a luxury and the consumption is conspicuous. Reference Groups may influence the purchase of cars, Vacations, TVs, Flats, Hotel Rooms. Almost every reference group has opinion leaders Someone to whom others turn for advice and/or information. Status needs also influence behaviour. Eg. Luxury cars, Jewellery.

The Reference Group one looks at are:


Acceptance BasedInvolving Recurring Purchases e.g. actresses advertising shampoos, hair Colours, Soaps, etc.

Wisdom BasedInvolving High Involvement products

Experience Based When one goes into a new Field altogether. E.g. Selecting a college for M.B.A.

Expertise Based When Purchase involves Technology, Complexity.

Informed Opinion Group Investment Consultants, Doctors, Engineers, lawyers are assumed to be well informed. The general consumer accepts their opinions without much questioning.

Expert Opinion Groups Experts in their respective fields. E.g. Music Director for Musical instruments, Race Drivers for Tires, Lubricants, Cricketers for Cricket Gear.

Common Mans wisdomProducts such as detergents, some soaps.

Informed Group Where it is difficult to compare products Expert Group Complex technical products** Celebrity GroupsAll types of products** Wisdom Group Products where Economy Counts **These groups are used to endorse products

PRINCIPLES FOR APPLYING REFERENCE GROUPS BY ADVERTISERS

The testimonial should not mince words. Endorser should clearly state that he has used the product. Expert endorsement should show expertise and say why the product is considered good. Hemant Oberoi ,Taj Chef endorsing Sugar Free. Sometimes use celebrity or expert for recall. In general, the message should be I use the product because it is good and not the other way roundOur product is good because they use it

POSSIBLE PITFALLS FOR THE ADVERTISERS Ensure that endorsements are true and credible. If this is not doneRIDICULE will be invited. Using only the strength of the Celebrity. The Celebrity has nothing to do with the product. E.g. Rani Mukherjee-Mosquito Coils, Sachin Tendulkar Insurance, Rahul Dravidcastrol, Kareena KapoorCream for foot cracks. An Expert endorsing a product not connected with his/her expertise. A common man looking too glamorous and affluent and selling a low cost soap. Ridiculous and Grandiose claims.