Opinion leaders are people who are of particular importance for the formation of opinions and the behavior of other people. When it comes to the diffusion (spreading) of products on the market, a distinction must be made between three effects of opinion leaders:
Own effect - The opinion leaders' own effect is that their first purchase probability is greater than that of the other consumers. This effect is based on the above-average willingness to innovate on the part of opinion leaders, who are therefore also referred to as early adopters.
Mediation effect – Der Vermittlungseffekt besagt, dass die Meinungsführer Informationen über neue Produkte an andere Menschen weitergeben, d.h. sie betreiben positive oder negative Word-of-mouth advertising. Dieser Effekt beruht auf der überdurchschnittlichen Kommunikationsfähigkeit der Meinungsführer (akquisitorischer Customer value).
Influencing effect - The influencing effect means that the communication of opinion leaders has a stronger influence on the opinions and purchase decisions of other people than communication via mass media. This effect is based on the above-average credibility of the opinion leaders.
A person's opinion leadership depends on two factors:
Involvement and caregiver influence potential.
A person is usually the opinion leader for products in which he is particularly involved and therefore competent. On the other hand, people also act as opinion leaders because their friends, acquaintances, colleagues and neighbors orientate themselves on them. The influence of caregivers on purchasing decisions is particularly strong when it comes to socially conspicuous products such as B. Cars and fashionable clothing. In the case of socially inconspicuous products, the involvement of a person mainly explains their opinion leadership.