Sponsorship: What’s hot, and what’s not

If you’re an avid follower of pro athletes and brands on social media, you’ll have noticed that now is the time for sponsorship announcements.

While the thought of repping your favourite cycle kit, goggles, wetsuits and nutrition may be super exciting, how does it really work? Before you go rushing off applying to every brand around in the hope of becoming the ‘face of the company’, let’s take a moment and think about what is involved.

Why do brands sponsor athletes?

The motivation behind any sponsorship agreement is both support and exposure. Boosting brand awareness and gaining a loyal following of customers is all part of it, and so the selection process can be quite involved.

Brands consider sponsorship carefully, considering things like:

How involved you are willing to be? (Will you head home as soon as you’ve finished your race, or are you at the finish line encouraging other participants, showing good sportsmanship?)

How visible will you be in your local sporting community?

Will you participate in club events and group rides where you’ll have a chance to show off the brand you are repping?

Are you loyal to the brand, and are you willing to share your experience with others?

what’s in it for the athlete?

Sponsorship is more than simply getting free stuff and posting a couple of times per week on social media. We believe the best sponsorship arrangement is when there is a genuine connection between the brand and the athlete. A connection that, through its very nature, provides support, guidance and advice for the athlete and a growth in brand awareness and brand reputation for the business. (#winwin)

As a small business we are all about bringing value to our core athletes, our Bindi Crew. This means special bundles, store credits, rewards and kick-backs, pre-release products, nutrition advice and exclusive offers.

Given that we are currently offering sponsorship right now (yay for the #bindicrew) we thought we’d look into five Do’s and Don’ts  from the perspective of a brand, to help you have the best chance at grabbing a spot in our thriving Bindi Crew.

5 Do’s

1. Do your homework and research the brand. The more you know about them and their operational structure, philosophy and approach to business, the easier it is to talk them up. A good tip is to ask an athlete who is already working with the brand to find out what they’re really like.

2. Do be a current customer. The more familiar you are with a brand the higher the chances of being a good ambassador. This familiarity allows you to talk honestly about how you use the product to suit you, giving you authority and ownership.

3. Do love the product. It’s no good pretending to like something. Enthusiasm and passion are catching – the more you love the products the more your honest enthusiasm will shine through. Sponsors WANT you to love them!

4. Do have an active and clean social media feed (you WILL be researched!). Being a bit cheeky is okay if that’s your personality but don’t be too polarising or controversial. You’ll become the face of the brand, and your actions will be seen to reflect that of the organisation sponsoring you.

5. Do build a relationship. The best sponsorships are built over time. The goal is to nurture your relationship with your sponsor to a mutually beneficial end. If you are changing sponsors with the seasons simply to get free gear, offers will drop away. And don’t forget to share any injuries or life changes with your sponsor – they might surprise you and help out where they can.

5 Don’ts:

1. Don’t shoot a DM late at night hitting up a brand. No one likes receiving messages at night! And especially don’t start by telling a brand how great you are, or, even worse, sending them a schedule of your IG #influencer fees…

2. Don’t be an ambassador for LOTS of brands. Choose one or a couple whose messaging aligns and promote them well. Brands don’t want to their athletes spruiking everything under the sun; they’d rather you just promote them – and do it well.

3. Don’t expect a free ride. Sponsorship is a mutually beneficial agreement. Chances are high you will be expected to work in return for your sponsorship. Some brands will go so far as to specify a particular number of social media posts, with specific hashtags. Be prepared to give your time at events, and be prepared to share your training, nutrition and races with your audience.

4. Don’t have a private IG account. A good following is a must. You don’t need to have thousands of followers, but you need and engaged and interested audience. Social media is the BEST way for your sponsors to grow their brand awareness. Never forget it all comes back to the bottom line – return on investment. If you are posting infrequently to a very small audience, the likelihood is that your sponsorship deal will not be renewed.

5. Don’t think you have to WIN races to be an ambassador. Brands look for engaging and friendly people, who embody the brand’s essence. So, don’t get hung up on race results – focus on the training and the experience.

Here at Bindi, we look for socially active, genuine, loyal and good people for our brand. We understand that for many people stepping up on the podium may happen infrequently, if at all, but remember, the journey is as important as the destination.

We’ll help you get to that finish line and if you do it using Bindi nutrition – even better!!

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