An opinion leader is an individual whose ideas and behavior serve as a model to other people. Such a person’s opinions influence others significantly. This influence may affect both other people’s thinking and their behavior.
Furthermore, that influence may spread through word-of-mouth. Because of this, an opinion leader’s stamp of approval is vital for marketers if they want to be able to promote their products effectively.
A perfect example of opinion leaders would be celebrities. Celebrities have a huge following. Having a celebrity endorse a product would automatically mean an increase in product awareness and brand recognition. A celebrity can boost in the product’s reputation.
This is why celebrities are paid huge sums of money to advertise products. Celebrities can advertise products by appearing in infomercials or by using a particular product in public (i.e. wearing or eating/drinking a product). The second way may not always be as obvious, but is just as effective since a lot of people “want to be like” their favorite celebrity.
The downside is that if a celebrity badmouths a product, it can mean a significant dip in that product’s sales.