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Using online opinion leaders to promote the hedonic and utilitarian value of products and services

Hsin-Chen Lin, Patrick F. Bruning and Hepsi Swarna

Business Horizons, 2018, vol. 61, issue 3, 431-442

Abstract: Research and applied evidence suggest that online opinion leaders are important promoters of products and services. However, managers and firms need to choose which opinion leaders to work with and better understand how to collaborate with those leaders to promote different types of products and services. Online opinion leaders should be used to promote the experiential (hedonic) and functional (utilitarian) value of products and services over different online forums. In this article, we describe how online opinion leaders can serve appeal leadership functions, serve knowledge leadership functions, and take multiple roles (e.g., experts, celebrities, micro-celebrities, micro-influencers, early adopters, market mavens, enthusiasts). We then present a five-stage planning process designed to guide partnerships with online opinion leaders. Specific steps in the process include: planning (setting the objectives of the campaign and the role of online opinion leaders), recognition (identifying influential and relevant online opinion leaders), alignment (matching online opinion leaders and online forums with the products or services promoted), motivation (rewarding online opinion leaders in a way that aligns with their social role), and coordination (negotiating, monitoring, and supporting the influence of the online opinion leaders).

Keywords: Electronic word-of-mouth; Hedonic and utilitarian value; Online opinion leaders; Social media marketing; Influencer (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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