Opinion-Leader in Marketing: Definition & Explanation

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  • 00:00 What Is an Opinion Leader?
  • 00:23 Conceptual Framework
  • 02:09 Lesson Summar
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley

Shawn has a masters of public administration, JD, and a BA in political science.

If you ever purchased a product based on the opinion of a well-known person or organization, an opinion leader has influenced you. In this lesson, you'll learn what an opinion leader is and how they are used in business.

What Is an Opinion Leader?

An opinion leader is a well-known individual or organization that has the ability to influence public opinion on the subject matter for which the opinion leader is known. Opinion leaders can be politicians, business leaders, community leaders, journalists, educators, celebrities, and sports stars.

Conceptual Framework

In The People's Choice (1948), sociologists Paul Lazarsfeld and Elihu Katz proposed that opinion leaders serve as filterers and interpreters of information that is used by the public. According to them, an opinion leader is both knowledgeable and highly respected for his knowledge in a specific subject. For example, a famous chef who is well respected in the culinary field may opine on a specific brand of cookware. However, an opinion leader's opinion doesn't hold much influence in other areas outside his area of expertise. No one probably listens much to the opinion of a celebrity chef on the best personal computer system.

Additionally, Lazarsfeld and Katz maintained that opinion leaders exist in all areas of society such as social, political, and economic. Finally, opinion leaders often hold positions of authority in their communities. For example, Henry Kissinger is well regarded in matters of diplomacy and served as a secretary of state and national security adviser.

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