Advocate Recommendations: Much Stickier than Olympic Sponsorships

Do you know who's sponsoring the 2012 Summer Olympics in London? According to AdAge.com, it's statistically understandable if you don't. A survey by Toluna Global Omnibus found that many consumers are unable to correctly state who sponsors The Olympics.

Out of the 1,034 U.S. Consumers surveyed...

  • 19% incorrectly identified Burger King as an Olympic sponsor vs. the 40% who correctly identified McDonald's as a sponsor.
  • 28% incorrectly identified Pepsi as an Olympic sponsor vs. the 47% who correctly identified Coca-Cola as a sponsor.
  • 37% incorrectly identified Nike as an Olympic sponsor vs. the 24% who correctly identified Adidas as a sponsor.

In the eyes of an Ad Man (I've been watching MadMen recently) this data is not impressive. Not only do brand advertisements fail to stick in consumers' heads, many consumers think that brand competitors are in fact sponsoring The Olympics. Adidas must be pissed.

Attaching your name to The Olympics is expensive. AdAge reports that Adidas spent £100 million ($156,570,000) on its Olympic Marketing in the last four years, part of which gave Adidas exclusive marketing rights within the United Kingdom. Why should Adidas waste their money if when asked who sponsors The Olympics, more consumers say Nike?

Marketers are spending money in all the wrong places. Instead, brands should invest in finding and activating their most effective salespeople- their Brand Advocates. In an earlier ZuberRants postRob Fuggetta breaks down what a brand could achieve through an advocacy program instead of investing $3 Million in a 30-sec Super Bowl ad. We're talking 2 million energized Advocates, 10 million authentic recommendations, and a 10X ROA (Return on Advocacy).

Adidas, I encourage you to put more eggs in the Advocacy basket. Because let's face it, consumers don't trust brands, they trust their friends.

-Beau Cowan, Marketing Coordinator, Zuberance

Taco Tuesday: Neighborhood Advocacy in Action

I was part of Word of Mouth (WOM) and Brand Advocacy (more like Taco Advocacy) long before I truly understood what these terms meant. When I was in high school, my friend, Nate Kristoff’s family had everyone and their mothers over for tacos every Tuesday afternoon. Believe me when I say everyone and their mothers.

What started out as a small, weekly tradition for families and friends, grew into something larger as unknown members of the Marin Catholic High School community were encouraged to go to the Kristoff’s for swimming and tacos once a week.

I remember my first Taco Tuesday. My friend John always talked about it and insisted I go. He was constantly spreading his taco excitement by recruiting newcomers. Hardly anyone knew me my first time, but the genuine hospitality the Kristoff’s displayed not only made me feel welcome, it made me come back multiple times—often with a guest of my own. Five years later, Taco Tuesday still thrives.

The Advocacy wiz might already see the relevant marketing mechanisms at work in my story. But for the rest of you, let’s break down my experience.

  • Taco Tuesday and the hospitality of the Kristoff family created highly satisfied guests and enthusiastic Advocates.
  • Taco Tuesday grew quickly because Taco Tuesday Advocates (like John) recommended Taco Tuesday to others in the community.
  • John and other Taco Tuesday Advocates were trusted sources as they weren’t incentivized by the Kristoff’s in any way—it was genuine advocacy at work.

Now, in this case, Taco Tuesday and community bonding at the Kristoff’s wasn’t about dollar signs; but imagine if it was. Kristoff Tacos could have been commoditized and sold for a profit, and with all the other elements of my story in place, you can guess what would have happened. If you’re thinking soaring sales, you are on the right track.

The WOM for Taco Tuesday occurred offline. But what if Taco Tuesday Advocates like John were given the means to spread their excitement via Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, or email?

These ideas and their value are seemingly obvious, but marketers and business owners should go beyond simply hanging a “write us a review on Yelp” sign in their store windows. Instead, marketers should be systematically identifying Brand Advocates, giving them the tools to spread the word quickly and conveniently, and tracking the boost in sales that are surely to come.

-Beau Cowan, Marketing Coordinator, Zuberance