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CONSUMER SOCIAL CLASSES CHAPTER 4: ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES:Membership Group

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Consumer Psychology (PSY - 514)
VU
LESSON26
CONSUMER SOCIAL CLASSES
CHAPTER 4: ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES
Understanding:
Groups
 Reference Groups
 Working Class
 Non Affluent Consumers
Consumer Related Reference Groups
A group may be defined as two or more people who interact with each other to accomplish individual or mutual
goals e.g. group of two neighbors, the local cricket club, the boys' hockey team of a colony, group of friends from
college, group of cousins
Types of Groups
Mainly three types of groups may be differentiated:
1. Membership Group
A group to which either a person belongs or would qualify for membership is called a membership group. The
group of men with whom a young executive plays chess every week is his membership group
2. Symbolic Group
Group in which an individual is not likely to receive membership despite acting like member by adopting the
group's values, attitudes and behaviors is called a Symbolic Group. Professional cricket players may constitute a
symbolic group for an amateur who identifies with certain players by imitating their behavior, e.g. by buying a
certain brand of racket or wearing a certain kind if T-Shirt but he will never get the membership as a professional
player
3. Reference Group
Any group or a person that serves as a point of comparison (reference) for an individual in forming either general
or specific values, attitudes or a specific guide for behavior. Reference Group provides valuable perspective for
understanding the impact of other people on individual's consumption beliefs, values, attitudes and behavior. Also
provides insights into the methods marketers use to affect desired changes in the Consumer Behavior. Reference
groups serve as frames of reference for individuals in their purchase or consumption decisions.
Usefulness of the Concept of reference group is enhanced by the facts that it places no restriction on group size or
membership, nor does it require that consumers identify with a tangible group. The group can be symbolic e.g.
owners of successful businesses, leading corporate chief executives, music stars, cricket celebrities, etc...
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Consumer Psychology (PSY - 514)
VU
Types of Reference Groups
Two types of Reference Groups may be identified:
Normative Reference Group
Comparative Reference Group
Indirect Reference Grfoup
Normative Reference Group
Reference groups that influence general or broadly defined values or behavior are called Normative Reference
Groups. Child's normative reference group is his immediate family, which is likely to play important role in
modeling the child's general consumer values and behavior (such as which foods to select, what clothes to wear,
etc...) Normative Reference group influence the development of a basic code of behavior.
Comparative Reference Group
Reference groups that serve as benchmarks for specific narrowly defined attitudes or behavior are called
Comparative Reference Groups. Example: A neighboring family whose lifestyle appears to be admirable and
worthy of imitation (the way they maintain their home, their choice of furniture, cars, their taste in clothing).
Comparative groups influence the expression of specific consumer attitudes and behaviors. It is likely that the
specific influences of comparative reference groups to some measure depend upon the basic values and behavior
patterns established early in a person's development by normative reference groups
Indirect Reference Group
The meaning of reference groups has changed over the years. Originally reference groups were narrowly defined to
include only the groups with which a person interacted. IRC consists of those groups or individuals with whom a
person does not have direct face to face contact such as movie stars, sports heroes, political leaders, etc..
Factors Affecting Reference Group Influence
Following factors affect the influence of the Reference Groups
1. Information and Experience
First hand experience with a product or service, or can easily obtain first hand information about it, is less likely to
be influenced by the advice or influence of the others. Person who has little or no experience with a product or
service is more likely to seek out the advice or example of others
For example, a young corporate sale representative who wants to impress his client may take him to restaurant; he
knows is good or the one that is highly recommended by the local newspaper. In case of none of the above he may
seek the advice of a friend or a parent. He imitates the behavior of others by taking him to a restaurant he knows is
frequented by the business executives he admires.
Credibility, Attractiveness and Power
A reference group considered as credible, attractive and powerful may induce consumer attitude and behavior
change. Consumers who seek accurate information are likely to be persuaded by whom they consider trustworthy
or knowledgeable- that is more likely to be persuaded by sources that are credible.
Consumers Concern with Approval
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Consumer Psychology (PSY - 514)
VU
Consumers are primarily concerned with acceptance or approval of others whom they like or with whom they
identify, or those who offer them status or other benefits. T hey are likely to adopt their product, brand or other
behavioral characteristics.
Concern with Power
When consumers are primarily concerned with power that a person or group can exert over them they might
chose a product that confirm to the norms of that person or group in order to avoid punishment or ridicule
Conspicuousness of the Product
Influence of reference group on purchase decision varies with reference to how conspicuous the product is to
others
Visually Conspicuous product is the one that stands out and gets noticed e.g. a luxury item or novelty product.
Verbally Conspicuous Product may be highly interesting; it may be easily described to others
Especially Conspicuous Products are status revealing such as new automobile, laptop computer, fashion
clothing, etc...are most likely to be purchased with eye on the reaction of significant others
Privately consumed products that are less conspicuous (shaving cream or bath soap) are less likely to be purchased
with reference groups in mind. Marketers especially market leaders are interested in the ability of reference groups
to change consumer attitudes and behavior by encouraging conformity.
Targeting Conformity
To influence conformity, a reference group must accomplish the following:
 Inform or make the individual aware of a specific product or brand
 Provide individual with the opportunity to compare his/her own thinking with the attitudes and behaviors
of others
 Influence the individual to adopt the attitudes that are consistent with the norms of the group
 Legitimize the decision to use the same products as groups
New Brand Marketing
One may wish to elect a strategy that asks consumers to strike out and be different and not just follow the crowd
when making a purchase decision. In reality the non-conformity appeal can be thought of as a request to shift
one's reference (attitude or behavior) from one grouping to another reference.
Selected Consumer Reference Groups
Friendship Groups are classified as informal groups because they are unstructured and lack authority structure.
Friends are only second to one's family in influencing. Seeking and maintaining friendship is a basic need/drive for
most people. Friends provide comfort, love and companionship. Most of all they provide opportunity o discuss
things that one can't discuss with relatives or family.
The opinions and preferences of friends are important influences in determining the brands a consumer ultimately
selects
Workgroups
The importance of workgroups can be understood by the sheer amount of time that people spend at jobs.
Distinction can be made between formal and informal workgroups.
Formal Workgroups consist of individuals who work together as part of team and thus have a sustained
opportunity to influence each others opinions
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Consumer Psychology (PSY - 514)
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Informal Workgroups consist of individuals who have become friends as a result of working for the same firm.
Members of the informal workgroups may influence behavior during the coffee and lunch hours or after work
meetings.
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Table of Contents:
  1. INTRODUCTION TO CONSUMER PSYCHOLOGY:Consumer Behavior
  2. INTRODUCTION TO CONSUMER PSYCHOLOGY:Consumer research
  3. INTRODUCTION TO CONSUMER PSYCHOLOGY:Marketing Mix, Product, Price
  4. INTRODUCTION TO CONSUMER PSYCHOLOGY:Customer Value, Perceived Value
  5. VALUE AND RETENTION FOCUSED MARKETING AND CONSUMER DECISION MAKING PROCESS
  6. CONSUMER RESEARCH:Quantitative Research, Qualitative Research
  7. MAJOR STEPS IN CONSUMER RESEARCH PROCESS:Design of Primary research
  8. QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH DESIGNS & DATA COLLECTION METHODS
  9. QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH DATA COLLECTION TECHNIQUES:ATTITUDE SCALES
  10. QUALITATIVE RESEARCH DESIGNS & DATA COLLECTION METHODS
  11. CUSTOMER SATISFACTION MEASUREMENT, SAMPLING, AND DATA ANALYSIS AND REPORTING
  12. MARKET SEGMENTATION AND ITS BASES:Geographical Segmentation
  13. BASES FOR SEGMENTATION: DEMOGRAPHIC SEGMENTATION PSYCHOGRAPHIC SEGMENTATION
  14. BASES FOR SEGMENTATION: SOCIOCULTURAL SEGMENTATION USE RELATED SEGMENTATION USAGE SITUATION SEGMENTATION
  15. BASES FOR SEGMENTATION: BENEFIT SEGMENTATION:Intrinsic Cues
  16. BASES FOR SEGMENTATION: HYBRID SEGMENTATION STRATEGIES
  17. MARKET SEGMENTATION IMPLEMENTING SEGMENTATION STRATEGIES ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES CULTURE
  18. HOW CULTURE IS LEARNT ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES:Formal Learning
  19. CULTURE AND ITS MEASUREMENT ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES
  20. MEASUREMENT OF CULTURE ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES:Consumer Fieldwork
  21. SUBCULTURE CHAPTER 4: ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES
  22. AGE AND GENDER SUBCULTURE CHAPTER 4: ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES
  23. BASES FOR SEGMENTATION: BENEFIT SEGMENTATION:Market Segmentation
  24. SOCIAL CLASS CHAPTER 4: ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES:Occupation
  25. CONSUMER SOCIAL CLASSES CHAPTER 4: ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES:Affluent Consumer
  26. CONSUMER SOCIAL CLASSES CHAPTER 4: ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES:Membership Group
  27. CONSUMER SOCIAL CLASSES CHAPTER 4: ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES:Shopping Groups
  28. UNDERSTANDING PERSONALITY CHAPTER 5: INDIVIDUAL DETERMINANTS OF CONSUMER BEHAVIOR
  29. CONSUMER PERSONALITY, TRAIT THEORY AND SELF IMAGES
  30. CONSUMER MOTIVATION:Needs, Goals, Generic Goals
  31. UNDERSTANDING LEARNING:Intentional and Incidental Learning, Implications for Marketers
  32. INSTRUMENTAL CONDITIONING, INFORMATION PROCESSING AND MEMORY
  33. ATTITUDES:Characteristics of Attitudes, Attitudes have consistency
  34. ATTITUDE FORMATION AND CHANGE:How attitudes are learned?
  35. ATTITUDE CHANGE STRATEGIES:Resolving two conflicting attitudes
  36. INTRODUCTION TO CONSUMER DECISION MAKING:Decision Complexity
  37. Problem Recognition, Search and Evaluation and Decision and Purchase
  38. Decision and Purchase:Consumer Decision Rules, Output, Relationship Marketing
  39. Decisions Related to Post Purchase:Product Set up and Use
  40. Marketing Implications of Decisions Related to Post Purchase:Understanding
  41. Post Purchase Evaluation:Determinants of Satisfaction, Consumer Complaint Behavior
  42. Post Purchase Dissonance:Dissonance Reduction, Marketing Implications
  43. Consumerism:Roots of Consumerism, The Nature of Consumerism
  44. Consumerism Issues and Responses:Environmental Concerns, Consumer Privacy
  45. Review Consumer Psychology Course:Consumer Research, Consumerism