Extreme Adidas Advocate: The Bob Lanier/Imelda Marcos of Sneaker Collections

NBA player Bob Lanier had big feet. Imelda Marcos has a big shoe collection. Founder of Blippy, AdBrite, and F*cked Company, Phil Kaplan, a.k.a. "Pud," has big feet and a collection of 40 Adidas sneakers all at the same time.

With that kind of collection, Phil Kaplan is undoubtedly an Adidas Advocate. He participates on the Adidas boards explicitly, and wears them all the time so you know he loves these sneaks.

-David Spark, Social Media Journalist, Spark Media Solutions

VIDEO: Excellent customer service creates Brand Advocates

Is there a brand that you enjoy more because of the personal attention they've given you? Most often this is in the service industry, but it doesn't necessarily have to be that way. Sometimes it's because you had a problem with a product and they handled it so well that you immediately became an Advocate.

Ted Rubin, a consultant with Zuberance, loves Virgin America, Dell, BlackBerry, and Verizon. They won him over because he just loves brands that do excellent customer service. When they handle his problems well, he appreciates it, and he tells people about it. (Read Ted's recent blog post that highlights the importance of customer service here.)

The brands that get the most advocacy from Rubin are the ones who engage and interact with him on Twitter.

-David Spark, Social Media Jounalist, Spark Media Solutions

Dave Carroll on creating an international fan base through "United Breaks Guitars"

Standing outside the Marriott at SXSW, I ran into Dave Carroll, a Canadian singer made internationally famous through his frustrating customer support story, "United Breaks Guitars." It just so happens that Carroll and I appeared together in a piece on Al Jazeera about his song and the unbelievable success it brought to him through the power of social media.

Carroll says that as of today, the "United Breaks Guitars" video has been viewed 10 million times. He estimates that the press from the story alone has reached more than 150 million people.

A few nice things have resulted from all this fame. Carroll's gone from being just a Canadian singer to known internationally with new fans discovering his music. And given his songwriting and storytelling abilities, other companies have approached him asking him to tell their tale in a four minute song.

-David Spark, Social Media Journalist, Spark Media Solutions

Advocating products that make your life easier

As a tech blogger for VentureBeat, Anthony Ha is always an Advocate for something. Currently, his obsession is the online travel service Hipmunk. "It's the only tolerable way to book travel," said Ha. He likes the way Hipmunk searches, sorts, and displays his travel options. Beyond writing about Hipmunk in VentureBeat, Ha will occasionally tweet about Hipmunk, but that's usually out of frustration when he can't find the flight he wants and is forced to go to another "lesser" service.

-David Spark, Social Media Journalist and Producer, Spark Media Solutions

How the Grateful Dead enabled fans to spread advocacy

One band that was never upset with Napster during the early days was the Grateful Dead. Way before the Internet was popularized, they were already allowing a non-digital version of free music sharing. The band encouraged concertgoers to record their shows on tape and trade it with each other, allowing their Advocates to spread the word about the band. It sounds counterintuitive to how musicians make a living, but it fit in perfectly with the brand of the Grateful Dead who were in themselves, counter culture. I interviewed David Meerman Scott, author of "Marketing Lessons of the Grateful Dead" at SXSW in the video below:

For other businesses bold enough to seek out alternative revenue streams, if you focus on a counter intuitive method you can break out and be successful.

-David Spark, Social Media Journalist and Producer, Spark Media Solutions

Video: SXSW Attendees answer, "What brands do you advocate and why?"

We all are Advocates of certain brands and products. And because we feel so passionately about these brands and products, we continue to recommend them to our friends. We sent social media journalist and producer, David Spark, out to SXSW to interview attendees on what brands they recommend, why they are Advocates of that brand, and how they recommend these brands to their social networks. Check out the video:

-Cara Fuggetta, Marketing Manager, Zuberance