Reference Groups and Family Influences

Reference Groups and Family Influences

What is a Group?

•      Two or more people who interact to accomplish either individual or mutual goals

•      A membership group is one to which a person either belongs or would qualify for membership

•      A symbolic group is one in which an individual is not likely to receive membership despite acting like a member

Broad Categories of
Reference Groups

•      Normative Reference Groups

•      Comparative Reference Groups

Table 10.1 Positive Influences on Conformity

Group Characteristics

•      Attractiveness

•      Expertise

•      Credibility

•      Past Success

•      Clarity of Group Goals

Personal Characteristics

•      Tendency to Conform

•      Need for Affiliation

•      Need to be Liked

•      Desire for Control

•      Fear of Negative Evaluation

Factors Encouraging Conformity:
A Reference Group Must …

•      Inform or make the individual aware of a specific product or brand

•      Provide the individual with the opportunity to compare his or her own thinking with the attitudes and behavior of the group

•      Influence the individual to adopt attitudes and behavior that are consistent with the norms of the group

•      Legitimize the decision to use the same products as the group

Selected Consumer-Related
Reference Groups

•      Friendship groups

•      Shopping groups

•      Work groups

•      Virtual groups or communities

•      Consumer-action groups

Brand Communities

•      Group of runners who meet at the Niketown store in Boston on Wednesdays

•      Saturn car owners who meet for reunions and barbecues

•      Harley Davidson Owner Groups

•      Saab owners

Reference Group Appeals

•      Celebrities

•      The expert

•      The “common man”

•      The executive and employee spokesperson

•      Trade or spokes-characters

•      Other reference group appeals


The Typical Household?

•      Canada/England: Nuclear family

•      Bangladesh/India: Extended family

•      USA: Not married, children/no children

Other Functions of the Family

•      Economic well-being

•      Emotional support

•      Suitable family lifestyles

Dynamics of Husband-Wife
Decision Making

•      Husband-Dominated

•      Wife-Dominated

•      Joint

–   Equal

–   Syncratic

•      Autonomic

–   Solitary

–   Unilateral

The Family Life Cycle

•      Traditional Family Life Cycle

–   Stage I: Bachelorhood

–   Stage II: Honeymooners

–   Stage III: Parenthood

–   Stage IV: Postparenthood

–   Stage V: Dissolution

•      Modifications – the Nontraditional FLC