Now here’s an extreme example of a Brand Advocate and how she leverages social media to promote her favorite brand: my sister Kelsey goes beyond simply “liking” and “following,” her favorite brand, the San Jose Sharks. She advocates them in any situation (wins, losses, Game 7’s, playoff eliminations), in any location (home, away, hostile enemy territory), and on many different social networks.
In her blog, Under Review, Kelsey discusses the goings-on throughout the entire National Hockey League, however she mostly uses it to promote the San Jose Sharks. After wins, she’s there to share her thoughts on the victory; and after losses, she’s there to revamp and re-energize disgruntled fans. Even in posts about other teams, she still manages to sneak in a plug for (or boast about) the Sharks. She may live in Vancouver Canucks territory, but it’s no secret to her readers where her loyalty truly lies.
What takes her beyond simple fandom to true brand advocacy is that she advocates for the entire organization. She recently touted to all her friends on Facebook, “why Sharks announcers [Randy Hahn and Drew Remenda] are effing awesome,” accompanied by a youtube clip of the Top 10 NHL goals scored in the nick of the time. (Hahn gives a widely entertaining call which is by far the best on the list.)
She uses her Twitter account to retweet posts by the Sharks, Sharks announcers, and players, and to promote her own blog. Although she uses different social networks, blog accounts, and microblogging accounts to socially promote her favorite brand, her loyalty and advocacy goes far beyond the realm of the Internet. In fact, most of her promotion happens offline: through phone calls, text messages, and sometimes even talking with people face to face! Imagine that.
During the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Kelsey took the advocacy for her brand off the web and into the real world! She traveled over 1000 miles to cheer on the Sharks as they attempted to eliminate the Los Angeles Kings in Game 6 of the Western Conference quarterfinals. She wore her jersey and cheered loudly in the midst of 19,000 angry Kings fans gathered in the Staples Center, risking her pride (and safety) for the encouragement and support of her team. Of course, the Sharks won that game 4-3 in overtime.
While this may be an extreme example of brand advocacy due to its tie into sports enthusiasm, it goes to show how much a brand can come to mean to a person, and how that one person can advocate for and promote that brand to thousands of other people.