An opinion leader is someone who has mastered a specific topic and has established trust within a community as an industry expert.





Opinion Leadership

Opinion leadership is leadership by an active and esteemed media user who interprets the meaning of media messages or content for lower-end media users.


Thought Leader

Speak Impactfully

The Elevator Speech




Example: Brand ambassadors are opinion leaders who confirm brands by their reputation.

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Word-of-mouth marketing (WoM Marketing) happens when consumers talk positively about a company's product or service to others with whom they have trusted relationships.


Word of Mouth Marketing WOM Marketing



The Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) crafted a code of ethics for the industry. The best word-of-mouth marketing strategies are "credible, social, repeatable, measurable, and respectful".


Brand Ambassador

Buzz Marketing

Sales Integration






Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs)

Key opinion leaders are people or organizations that have such a strong social status that their recommendations and opinions are listened to when making important decisions. Good examples of key opinion leaders are political figures, columnists and celebrities who are known for their work.

Opinion Leadership as a Service

An opinion leader can make a career out of influencing their audience based on industry trends, current events and consumer behavior within the market.

Opinion leaders can play a key role between the marketer and the consumer as brand ambassadors by communicating informally about product and service offerings and/or brands, by narrating their personal user/ customer experience to others, and by giving product news and advice to potential and current consumers.

The Process of Opinion Leadership

Opinion leadership is defined as the process in which one person (an opinion leader) influences the attitudes or actions of other person informally. Opinion leaders offer informal advice about the product or service. Opinion leaders are part of the social groups. They have a social communication network. The communication is informal and interpersonal in nature which happens between those who are not associated with the commercial selling source directly.

What is Opinion Leadership?
The most important thing for the marketer is to understand about the role of ‘opinion leadership’ in marketing of goods and services. Opinion leadership which is otherwise known as word of mouth communication is an important personal influence on consumers. With the proliferation of cell phone usage and e-mail, many people are always available to friends, family and business associates. Message spreads like virus among people. Opinion leaders offer advice or information about a product, service and how a particular product may be used. Words of mouth takes place through personal or face to face communication.

Characteristics of Opinion Leaders
Opinion leadership is a dynamic process. It is the most powerful consumer force. As informal communication sources, it effectively influences consumers in their product related decisions. The dynamics of the opinion leadership may be discussed under the following headings:
Credible source of information,
Provision of both positive and negative product information,
Source of information and advice,
Two-way street,
Specific characteristics.
1. Credible Source
Opinion leaders are knowledgeable. Their advice about a product or service is considered reliable. As opinion leaders are informal sources of information, it is perceived that they give advice in the best interest of opinion seekers. The first hand information received from opinion leaders helps in reducing perceived risks. It properly tackles the anxiety in buying new products as the opinion is based on the first hand experience.

2. Provision of Both Positive and Negative Product Information
Marketers provide information which is invariably favorable to the products they are marketing. But opinion leaders are not directly associated with marketers. They provide both favorable and unfavorable information about the product. So, opinion seekers have faith in opinion leaders. They are confident that they are receiving both positive and negative information in an accurate way.

3. Sources of Information and Advice
Opinion leaders are the source of both information and advice. They simply share their experience about a product or service. Their talk is related to what they know about a product. In their more aggressive talks, they advise others to buy or avoid a specific product. They base their advice on proper reasons.

4. Two-way Street
Opinion leaders in one product related situation become opinion receivers in another situation even for the same product. For example, a new homeowner thinking of buying a lawn mover seeks information and advice from other people about which brand to select. After purchasing the lawn mover, he may be satisfied with the product (in the post purchase experience). Now he has a compelling need to talk favorably about the purchase to other people to confirm the correctness of his choice. In the first instance, he is an opinion receiver and in the second he is an opinion leader.

Sometimes, an opinion leader is influenced by an opinion receiver. For example, a person may recommend a favorite hotel to his friend. In response the opinion receiver gives his own comments on that hotel. Finally, the opinion leader may come to realize that the hotel is too small, too isolated and offers fewer amenities than other hotels.

5. Specific Characteristics
Opinion leaders possess distinct personality traits. These include self confidence and gregariousness. They are socially inclined, outspoken and are knowledgeable.