Reference Group Influence


external influence, groups, roles

Review the activity below or download the PDF student worksheet

Student Worksheet: Reference Group Influence

Student Discussion Activity

In this activity, you will assess the extent of group influence across various purchase decisions. Listed below is a series of situations that you may be exposed to.

Your task is to determine, given the particular situations, what you are most likely to do.

What would be your response (if any) to the following situations/comments?

  1. Several of your friends tell you about a great movie that has just come out
  2. You notice that most of your friends buy the same brand of drink each time you go out with them
  3. When you go to your friends’ homes, they usually serve some unusual cocktails. This has become a talking point among your friends. Next week your friends are coming to your house
  4. One of the other students in class, who is an expert on the computer, tells everyone about a great piece of software that has just come out, which automatically corrects spelling and grammar while you type – and it’s much better than the standard word processor software
  5. You overhear another student stating that Heinz is their favorite brand of Baked Beans
  6. When you flick through a magazine, you notice that several celebrities are wearing the same style/look of clothes
  7. You start a new job. You dress very formally on the first day, but you notice that most other employees at your level dress more casually
  8. You’re about to buy a new smart phone and read in the newspaper that Apple’s smart phone is now the most popular one in the world

Student Discussion Questions

  1. What would you do in each of the above situations?
  2. What do the situations where you are influenced have in common? How do those situations differ from the ones where you are not influenced?
  3. Given your response to Q2, can you construct a simple model to guide marketers in regards to reference group influence?
  4. Outline the ways that marketers can use your model in Q3.

Related Activities

Understanding Situation Influence

Understanding In-store Influences (Servicescape)

External Information

Reference Group Influence on Product and Brand Purchase Decisions (Academic Journal)