The following is an excerpt from the upcoming book, “Energize! How to Turn Fans, Followers, and Loyal Customers into Social Media Marketing Machines,” by Rob Fuggetta, Founder & CEO, Zuberance.
George Hamma is an owner of a BMW MINI. But there’s nothing small about his passion for his beloved car.
Hamma, a youthful-looking 65, enthusiastically recommends MINI to hundreds of his friends, co-workers, and even complete strangers.
The Sunnyvale, CA resident is an active member of the Northern California chapter of the MINI owner’s club. He also shares his passion for MINI on his Facebook page, Twitter @ghamma, and on his personal website, where Hamma – an avid photographer – posts photos of MINI owners’ rallies.
Hamma is an active participant at NorthAmericanMotoring.com, a site where MINI owners meet to talk about their cars and motoring (about 16,500 members). Hamma has engaged in hundreds of conversations with current and (possibly) future MINI owners.
That’s George in the photo standing proudly next to his MINI, a 2011 MINI Cooper S Countryman ALL4, which he named “Fenton” in honor of a local ice cream parlor where his favorite flavor is also black and tan like his MINI.
MINI’s Super Salesperson
As a direct result of his advocacy, six friends have bought MINI’s. At about $35,000 per MINI, Hamma has generated about $200,000 in revenues for BMW, making Hamma one of MINI’s best – and certainly one of its most cost-effective – sales people.
MINI hasn’t given Hamma anything – not even a MINI t-shirt or key chain – in exchange for his advocacy. “I recommend MINI because it’s fun to drive. It’s a great product,” says Hamma. “Every time I drive my MINI, I get a big smile on my face,” he adds.
Hamma says he’s such an effective Advocate of MINI that his local MINI dealership has suggested he join their sales team.
“My local MINI dealership wants me to come in and sell MINIs for them,” laughs Hamma. “Hmmm...wonder how much that pays?” he chuckles.
Singing MINI’s Praises
A while back, Hamma enthusiastically recommended MINI to a fellow member of a professional chorus.
“I’m not kidding. The very next week she shows up at chorus practice in her new MINI. Same model as mine,” Hamma says.
Mad about Motoring
Hamma is a car enthusiast who drove BMW cars in the 1960s and 70s on the rally circuit. He occasionally takes lunch breaks from his job as a senior product tester at a Silicon Valley tech company by driving his MINI “quickly around twisty little roads” near the company.
“The other day I went over there and thrashed it pretty good. I came back to the office with a big smile on my face,” he says.
MAXImum Word of Mouth
MINI is one of those passion brands with millions of Advocates and enthusiasts like Hamma. MINI stokes this passion with the MINI Owner’s Lounge, a private, online community for MINI owners; MINI owner rallies and special events; online reviews and more. Plus, MINI gets plenty of organic positive Word of Mouth from user-created online communities, forums, events, and more.
One of the few drawbacks of owning a MINI, Hamma says, is that it has caused him to have a sore right shoulder.
“Every now and then, my wife will remind me if I’m driving a little too fast,” chuckles Hamma.
An occasional sore shoulder is a small price to pay for the fun of driving his black and tan MINI, says Hamma. “I tell all my friends and colleagues: If you want to have fun driving, go get yourself a MINI. You will not regret it,” he says.
Read more: Extreme Brand Advocate Stories