A little while ago, I wrote an article for Horse & Hound about this subject, well, could you be an equestrian brand ambassador, more precisely. Brand ambassadors take up a fair amount of my time. By which I mean looking at them, working with them, dealing with enquiries about being one for a brand of mine. The list goes on!
So, could you be a brand ambassador?
The Horse & Hound article is a must read, and I have some great advice from some big brands including Ariat, Hiho Silver and Saracen Horse Feeds. And the insight these brands gave, through working with brand ambassadors every day, is absolutely bang on and brilliant. If you’re a brand looking to work with brand ambassadors, I would urge you to have a read, and if you’re a rider hoping to become a brand ambassador, please read it too.
Equestrian brand ambassador dos (whether you’re looking to be one, or you are one!)
I thought, to help provide a little extra guidance on the issue, a list of dos and don’ts would be in order… and if you feel I have missed any then please do let me know.
- Have a genuine affinity with the brand you’re an ambassador for. If you’re applying a scattergun approach and emailing everyone, including brands you’ve never used, it’s not a good place to be.
- Get your own house in order. Make sure you own social media, website, etc is good. If you can’t look after your own brand, why would I trust you with one of mine?
- It’s not all about you. Think what you can offer not what you want.
- Give it enough time. If you’re approaching someone and you promise the world, make sure you have time to deliver it.
- Be honest, authentic and genuine. Always. Being false will annoy your audience and hurt your credibility… which is not what any brand wants to be associated with…
- Start creating content, featuring the brands you like and own, with no ulterior motive. I always try and tag the brands I’m wearing and using because I (believe it or not) get quite a few messages from people asking me where I got my hat from/what bracelet I’m wearing, etc. From a brand point of view, it fills my heart with joy when people tag a brand I work with because I love seeing kit in action and it also means I have the potential of user generated content I can share. And that makes me very happy.
- Be creative. When you do go in for the big ask, after you’ve put in a lot of groundwork I hasten to add, don’t just offer the obvious. Think about what you can do that’s different and makes you a better proposition…
- Be consistent. Show up when you should on your social media and website even when you have zero energy. People who are inconsistent pose a risk as they might not deliver.
- There’s loads more… but these are a few top ones…
Equestrian brand ambassador don’ts (again, whether you’re looking to be one or you are one!)
As important as the dos in my world!
- Don’t email every company in the world who makes products you would like to own. Buy the products, use them, make sure you like them and would be happy to be associated with them.
- Be careful you don’t work for too many brands as you will run out of time to deliver what you need to.
- Don’t work for brands that directly conflict. Many brands have products that overlap, but think about what they’re known for the best or what their messaging talks about the most and don’t tread on their toes. It does not go down well.
- Don’t let your ego get out of hand. It’s lovely to have the support of brands, but be aware that arrogance is an ugly quality and won’t win fans with your current supporters or future ones. Trust me on this one.
- Don’t become a pain. If someone says thanks but no thanks, don’t keep barraging them with messages and emails. By all means keep using their products and tagging them – prove that they should back you in the future, but becoming a pain in neck is not a good strategy.
- Don’t send a FB message begging for sponsorship. Just don’t. Email. Find the right person, PLEASE DON’T SEND FB MESSAGES.
- Don’t work with people who don’t fit your values. If you’re anti-fur, don’t work with someone who sells fur, for example. It confuses the message. And will annoy your audience. While you’re working with them as a brand ambassador for their brand, YOU ARE YOUR BRAND. Protect this.
- Don’t behave badly. I mean in real life and online. Our lives are captured on social media these days and if you’re out at the weekend getting blind drunk and vomiting in an alleyway (sorry… a bit graphic!) and that is plastered all over social media, how does that reflect you as a brand AND the businesses you’re connected to? I know it sounds like I’m being a killjoy, but I mean this from you point of view too. Trust me on this…
- Don’t feel you’re not worthy because you haven’t ridden at the Olympics. A good, engaged following doesn’t always go hand in hand with ridden prowess. Find your USP and create your content around that. That is what a possible supporter will want to get involved with. It doesn’t always have to be that you’re at the top of your sport.
I’m really thrilled with my article on Horse & Hound, and I’ve genuinely had some really lovely feedback from it, from brands and riders alike. So if you’re looking to become a brand ambassador for an equestrian brand, you have to have a read!