extreme brand advocate story

Extreme Brand Advocate Story: MINI Advocate’s MAXImum Advocacy #Energize

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.

MINI Hazard

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: “Energize! How to Turn Fans, Followers, and Loyal Customers into Social Media Marketing Machines”

Read more: Extreme Brand Advocate Stories

-Rob Fuggetta, Founder/CEO, Zuberance

Extreme Brand Advocate Story: Justin Dorfman, a CDW Champion and Friend #Energize

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. Most people assume that advocacy is limited only to sexy or cool brands like Apple, Starbucks, or Porsche. Not true. Advocates of business brands can also be just as enthusiastic.

Hard-Core CDW Advocate: Justin Dorfman

Justin Dorfman is a self-described “hard-core CDW Advocate.” (CDW is a leading provider of technology solutions for business, government, education, and healthcare. Ranked No. 38 on Forbes’ list of America’s Largest Private Companies, CDW features dedicated account managers who help customers choose the right technology products and services to meet their needs.)

Dorfman, 26, is a support engineer for NetDNA, a content delivery network based in Los Angeles. Dorfman’s passion for CDW was ignited back in 2004 when he bought his first product – a RAID controller, a device that manages physical disk drives – from CDW while working for Western Costume Company, a costume warehouse in Hollywood. He was so impressed with CDW’s responsiveness and customer service that he said: “Oh my God, I’m in love with this company.”

The Interal CDW Champion

Since then, he’s purchased hundreds of thousands of dollars of computer gear from CDW while serving in IT positions for other companies. For example, when he started a new position as a junior systems engineer in December 2009 at Mahalo, he started buying gear from CDW. “I turned Mahalo into a CDW customer,” says Dorfman. In the 16 months he was at Mahalo, the company purchased about $200,000 in computer gear from CDW, largely as a result of Dorfman’s enthusiastic advocacy.

CDW has never paid Dorfman for his recommendations. “I put my reputation on the line for CDW and they’ve stood by me. They deliver every time,” says Dorfman. He adds: “They’re reliable. They don’t lie. You get your own account manager. There’s no calling and waiting on hold. They care for IT professionals. They know what we’re up against. They really get it.”

Establishing Advocate Relationships

Dorfman has become Facebook friends with CDW Senior Account Manager, Matt Cipolla. Cipolla has even recommended Dorfman on LinkedIn. “We know each other’s girlfriend’s names. We’re on a first-name basis. You’re just not going to get that from other IT companies,” says Dorfman.

In addition to evangelizing CDW to colleagues and friends offline, Dorfman recommends CDW online on Twitter (@jdorfman, where he has 443 followers as of July 2011;) by re-Tweeting CDW’s content and deals; talking them up on his blog (blog.justindorfman.com); his personal website Frugal IT; and on Spiceworks, an online community for IT professionals, where he created a “I love CDW” icon.

Lauren McCadney, Sr. Segment Marketing Manager for CDW, says: “I believe he (Justin) has come to represent the future of marketing:  influential Brand Advocates that establish a personal relationship with their favorite brands.  I've worked him for more years than I can count. And it was only in the last five years that I've come to really know customers like Justin as both a source of consumer insight but also as a friend.”

Read more: “Energize! How to Turn Fans, Followers, and Loyal Customers into Social Media Marketing Machines”

Read more: Extreme Brand Advocate Stories

-Rob Fuggetta, Founder/CEO, Zuberance