Advocate Recommendations: Much Stickier than Olympic Sponsorships

Do you know who's sponsoring the 2012 Summer Olympics in London? According to, 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

To Build Consumer Trust, Brand Advocates Are the Key

These days, the consumer decision journey is more fragmented than ever. Shoppers have an abundant amount of online resources to help them decide which product to purchase and where. With so much information at their fingertips, trust and authenticity are key factors of influencing purchases. recently conducted a study (featured in eMarketer) that found that there are 10 primary trust “elements,” or cues, that brands must establish in order to engender trust, including accuracy, expertise and transparency. 84% of respondents felt that brands needed to prove themselves trustworthy before they would interact with them.

In a social media context, the #1 way (at 41%) that brands can build trust with customers/prospects is allowing them to see reviews from people in their social networks.

Now, I know what you're thinking...How can I get more positive reviews on social networks?

By finding and activating your best customers- your Brand Advocates! Your Advocates won't just write any review. They'll write reviews that are oozing with enthusiasm and excitement. Parallels, a desktop virtualization software company, has energized its Advocates to create and publish reviews on Amazon. The average of star rating was 4.7/5 stars which boosted Parallels' star rating on Amazon from 3.5 to 4.5.

But wait! Advocates' advocacy doesn't stop at just reviews. As Lauren McCadney, head of social media for CDW and a Top 2012 Digital Marketer would say, “A review created by an Advocate is only one manifestation of advocacy. This is just the start of a relationship with Advocates, not the end.”

Brand Advocates are eager to be part of your brand. The question is, how do you want your Advocates to support you? Click here to read 7 ways (beyond reviews) to turn your Advocates into a marketing force.

-Cara Fuggetta, Marketing Manager, Zuberance

Loyal Customers Are Not Always Your Best Customers

What V. Kumar, J. Andrew Petersen, and Robert P. Leone highlight in their article “How Valuable is Word of Mouth" is that contrary to popular belief, “your most loyal customers are not your most valuable ones.”  This is because the value of a customer cannot be measured simply by what he or she purchases.  In fact, “how your customers feel about you and what they are prepared to tell others about you can influence your revenues and profits just as much.”

For example- Members of airline frequent flyer programs are valuable in that they repurchase, but most aren't recommending that airline to their friends. Advocates are more valuable because they will stay loyal and recommend brands.

Here’s another example from yours truly- In my quest to get fit, I find myself trying all sorts of health food products.  Almost every day I bring to work with me a cup of Safeway brand non-fat plain Greek yogurt.  Now I don’t know if you’ve ever had non-fat plain Greek yogurt, but it is NOT good.  It’s flavorless and sour, and the absence of any sort of delicious milk fat makes it thin and runny instead of nice and thick and creamy.  I would never recommend this brand to any of my friends or family, unless I wanted to laugh as their faces change from the hopeful expectation of dairy goodness to surprise and distaste as they shove the cup back toward me.  In spite of this, I am still an avid consumer of the stuff because it’s part of my healthy diet and the brand is readily available and affordable.  However, I don’t think Safeway brand non-fat Greek yogurt will be calling me their most valuable customer.

On the flip side of this, I also regularly drink a protein shake made by Gold Standard 100% Whey in Extreme Milk Chocolate, and I love it!  Most of the time people laugh when they see me break out an enormous five pound tub of it, but then I explain to them how great it is.  It only has 130 calories for a scoop, hardly any fat or carbs, as much protein as four eggs, and it helps you recover from workouts while keeping you full for hours.  Plus it tastes like chocolate milk, and who doesn’t like that?

Do I sound like a paid actress advertising this brand?  I’m actually just an Advocate!  Not only am I a loyal customer, but I also recommend this brand to my friends and family because I don’t want them to suffer through the gross taste and grittiness that often accompanies other brands of protein powder.

The lesson to be learned here is this: It is not always just a customer’s loyalty and cash that you want, but their social recommendations. And, you can't assume that your loyal customers are Advocates of your brand.

-Molly Bowman, Marketing Intern, Zuberance