Consumer Behavior and Groups

Informal and Formal Groups

In this week’s post, I will be reflecting on the various groups I belong to, categorizing each group as either formal or informal. In addition, I will be highlighting the significance of each group and how each contributes towards my overall purchase decisions keeping this criteria in mind:

Make a list of all the formal and informal groups that you belong to. Use the ATO model to determine which is the best fit for you to purchase (at least hypothetically). Which ones are most important to you? Reflect on why you believe this is. How long have you belonged to these groups? If they are formal groups, what was the process of joining?

Formal Group:

1.) American Business Women’s Association (ABWA)

Informal Groups:

1.) Friends

2.) Family

3.) Classmates

4.) Coworkers

As shown from the lists above, I am currently more involved in informal groups than I am in formal groups. In my last semester of college, I want to focus on my informal groups comprised of friends, family, and intellectuals in order to build a strong network of people to guide me in my future endeavors after I graduate. I usually turn to my friends and family for personal purchase decisions, such as renting a new apartment or adopting a new pet. I will ask my classmates for advice on more school-based purchase decisions, such as buying a new textbook or scheduling an elective class. I have been at my new job for nearly 6 months now, so I am just starting to branch out and ask different coworkers for different advice based on the project, task, or idea I need an opinion on.

Using the ATO Model, it is clear that informal groups have more persuasive qualities on my purchase decisions than formal groups. While I enjoy the opinions of club members in ABWA, the opinions of my closest friends, coworkers, and class mates have more effect on my overall purchases. These informal groups are more important to me as I have longer ties between each emotionally, and I see these members much more frequently than I do members of ABWA. In addition, formal groups require more commitment to interact with club members as certain outings or events may require attendance versus a member voluntarily choosing or not choosing to attend. The formal process to join the ABWA chapter at ASU is very simple; members must pay a yearly membership fee to the university and the national ABWA organization and attend meetings regularly in order to maintain a position.


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Advertising & marketing aficionado | Movie enthusiast | Cat lover | Coffee infatuate | Passionate creator

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