I was in the process of getting another laptop since my last one was broken. I decided to visit a local computer store to talk with its owner; I had been doing business with this company for over several years. I was looking for an inexpensive laptop since I already had a desktop.
However, the owner suggested that he could build me a basic computer for a small price. I trusted and respected his opinion. Yet, I went against the opinion leader because he didn’t fully understand my bottom-line. Likewise, today’s opinion leaders who lose sight of their own constituents can lose their followers also.
For the record, an opinion leader is someone who is frequently able to influence others’ attitudes or behaviors. Michael Solomon, author of Consumer Behavior, suggests that opinion leaders tend to share consumer values and beliefs so that there is a connection between the opinion leader and the consumer.
Marketing expert Guy Bergstom further maintains that an opinion leader is anyone who has an active voice in a community. Therefore, these individuals often speak out on issues and get asked to provide advice.
In society, there are people who possess natural stature and credibility. Product developers use Hollywood celebrities because they are popular icons that allow them to be opinion leaders.
Currently, the media heavily influences consumer behavior. The Washingtonpost.com has over 10,000,000 readers worldwide. Opinion leaders use this medium to influence public discussion while others come to learn more about the issues.
For example, most Americans feel negatively about outsourcing abroad, primarily to China and India. They view these foreign countries as a serious threat to American way of life. A recent Gallup-China Daily USA survey demonstrates how media can shift public opinion. Two-thirds of the public and a sample of United States opinion leaders view China to be a friendly ally of the United States.
With the assistant of the Internet, many individuals can influence other people like never before. In fact, bloggers and website owners often upstage traditional media because these nontraditional sources because a frequent source for the average person. However, it is important that opinion leaders never forget their followers in this social engagement.
Discuss your professional and personal experiences with opinion leaders.
© 2012 by Daryl D. Green