Just goes back to the honorable T Valente's argument that opinion leadership
is inherently neutral wrt innovation. Opinion leaders reflect community
values as much as shape them, so a conservative community will likely have a
conservative opinion leader who will try to protect the community against
the unhealthy influence of suckers.
From: Social Network Researchers [mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf
Of Charles Kadushin
Sent: Thursday, December 06, 2001 1:42 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Social Diffusion theory and its use in branding
Look out for the use of the terms "innovators," opinion leaders and "early
adopters." They somehow connote heroism, "leadership," and intelligence.
But it depends on the product. In a study I did a while back for a market
research panel, "innovators," those who were early adopters of some grocery
products (details are obviously proprietary), were less generally informed
and had less education than others. One might say that they were also
"suckers," easily influenced by advertising and coupon offers, and subject
to what Robert Merton has called the "fallacy of the latest word" -- a
disease known to affect academics as well.
Then too, "brand loyalty" as shown in some consumer panel data may reflect
either conservatism and insularity, or simply a resistance to any
influence. Or to get fancy, Bourdieu like "habitus." Again, the word
"loyalty" has something of a "good" connotation, along with steadfastness
and heroism -- but when it come to marketing have a second look!
All this is neither good nor bad in terms of marketing strategy, but it
does mean that up market strategies designed to appeal to or to enlist
"innovators" are not necessarily correct strategies in certain fields.