This power stems from members perception that the group has a legitimate right to influence hem. We speak of such behavior with expressions like ‘should ought to’ and so on. Many of these feelings have been internalized from parents, teachers and religious institutions. Thus, there is some sort of code or standard that the individual accepts, and by virtue of which the group can assert its power. One mall group in which legitimate power can be seen to operate is the family. Each member has a set of roles to carry out which is legitimized by the other members.
Marketers are able to utilize this type of power in many situations by appealing to consumers values. Appeals from charitable organizations (such as the United Way and Red Cross) exert legitimate power as do those for patriotic and nationalistic such as Buy American or See America First.
This influence results from the expertise of the individual or group. Consumers regularly accept influence from those they perceive to have superior experiences, knowledge or skill. For instance we may accept the recommendation of another person for a purchase we are about take if we view that person as more knowledgeable than ourselves. Sales people make effective use of this approach with their own product expertise.
Many advertisements rely on an expert’s opinion about the product. For instance, Schlitz has used the company’s president who is a master brewer, to promote the product’s taste in comparison with other brands. Jimmy Connors promotes Wilson tennis equipment; and A J Foyt advertises Goodyear tires. Manufacturers may even create experts when no one else seems suitable. For example, General Motors Mr Good wrench, General Mills Betty Crocker and A&P Ann page all fictitious but effective endorses.
Information power often related to expert power, stems form the logic, reasoning or importance of the communication provided by the influencing agent. Ads which use information power may explain why the product is good often citing available evidence such as price, quality of ingredients performance specifications and so forth.
This influence flows from the feeling of identification an individual has with the group. As a consequence of this feeling of oneness or desire for such an identity, the individual will have a desire to become a member or gain a closer association with the group. The individual’s identification with the group can be established or maintained if he or she behaves, or perceives as the group does. The stronger this identification with the group, the greater is the referent power.
We will look more closely at the use of referent Power.
Advertisers often use referent power in promotion by encouraging consumers to be like or to do the same thing as the individual advertising the brand. For instance with many status oriented products consumers are encouraged (either subtly or not so subtly) to obtain a similar status to that of the recommender by purchasing the item advertised. Colognes, clothing, automobiles, and stereo equipment often use such an approach. Use of celebrities is especially popular in these situations whereby consumers may aspire to have or skin like Christie Brinkley. In other approaches marketers may use slice of life commercials or testimonials from ordinary consumers to show that other people experience the same problems and have found satisfaction with the recommended brand. Therefore the individual advertised to may readily identify with that situation and be highly receptive to the brand. Products such as Oils of Olay, Extra Strength Anacin, Crest gel toothpaste, and Allstate insurance have been promoted with such an approach.