Behind… Hiho’s EXCLUSIVE Official Badminton Horse Trials Collection

Hiho Silver Official Badminton CollectionI am so SO excited to be able to write this one. It’s been bubbling away in the background for a while but, quite rightly, it was top secret. Now it isn’t, I am going to tell you a bit more about Hiho Silver’s new collection, because the company was unveiled as the Official Jeweller for Badminton Horse Trials not that long ago. And with this accolade, there’s an Official Badminton Horse Trials Collection. And I am beyond excited about it.

Hiho’s history with Badminton Horse Trials

If you’ve ever been to Badminton Horse Trials (and if you haven’t, it’s incredible, you MUST go!) you will have no doubt seen Hiho’s stand. It’s a big stand on the main run (Deer Park Drive) and acts as a real beacon for anyone who loves jewellery. The gorgeous purple branding draws me in each time (and did long before I started working with the company!), and that’s before you see the lovely display cabinets glistening with stunning jewellery. Hiho’s King Of The Road, Andrew Ransford (again, if you’ve been to the Hiho stand anywhere, ever, you will have met Andrew!!), and his family have been exhibiting at Badminton for nearly 20 years… so Hiho and Badminton go way back. They’re old pals really…

And then there was the sponsorship of the best dressed at the first horse inspection

Last year, Hiho sponsored the best dressed at the first horse inspection (also known as the trot up) in front of Badminton House. This happens on the Wednesday and has become a cross between a fashion show (I mean, a bit different to London and Milan!) and, obviously, a chance to make sure that horses are sound and fit for competition. The outfits that the riders wear are incredible. Some are rather wacky and out there, some beyond elegant, some bespoke. Articles are written about the fashion as much as the horses. Hiho is well known amongst eventers (and sponsors Emily King and supports Abi Boulton, Tina Wallace, Becci Harrold and Lucy Robinson in the eventing space!) so it was a great fit. The first ‘best dressed’ competition was judged by Hiho’s Andrew, Emily King and Dani Evans and was won by Paul Tapner and Danni Dunn. It was a superb sponsorship and fitted the company perfectly. So much so that Hiho is also sponsoring this year’s trot up and beyond. This further cemented Hiho’s link and passion for Badminton. And it was just lovely.

The Official Jeweller for Badminton Horse Trials… and the Official Badminton Horse Trials Collection

A couple of weeks ago, Hiho was announced as the Official Jeweller for Badminton Horse Trials. For me, I was beyond excited. And it was great to be able to tell people! Everyone at Hiho is delighted and the Badminton team are just the nicest to work with. As part of this comes an Official Badminton Horse Trials Collection, which is now available for pre order and people are already loving it!

This year’s Official Badminton Horse Trials Collection

This year, Hiho’s Official Badminton Horse Trials Collection is a capsule collection with a few key pieces. This will be built on over time and continue to develop going forward too… how exciting is that? The collection is currently made up of three pieces: a Spinner Ring, a Roller Bead and a Roller Charm Bead. All of these have ‘Badminton’ written on them and are gorgeous – combining Hiho quality and Badminton’s magic. All pieces have been approved by Badminton, as I’m sure you can guess, which, in my eyes, adds a further seal of approval.

How do you get hold of the Official Badminton Horse Trials Collection by Hiho Silver?

Simples – you can pre-order now (on the website) and your lovely Badminton pieces will be delivered at the end of April, or you can visit Hiho’s Badminton stand (188 Deer Park Drive) and see the Collection in person. Actually, you can try the ring on, spin it around, get the Roller Bead or even Roller Charm added to your Foxtail, other charm bracelet or Cherry Roller… or any other charm bracelet too. If you order online, Hiho has a superb returns policy, so if there are any sizing issues, they’ll sort it out for you!

So, that’s a little bit of the story behind Hiho and Badminton Horse Trials. Are you going to the event? Make sure you pop in and see Hiho if you are!!

Could you be a brand ambassador?

Could you be a brand ambassador?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!

Should you sponsor someone?

Should you sponsor someone?This blog is all about whether or not sponsorship is a good idea for you and your business. In my business group, Small and Supercharged, many people talk about sponsorship and it’s a subject that I think many business owners think about. Many feel it’s a ‘no brainer’ or something that they must do, but I’m here to tell you it isn’t. This is something that I am passionate about, actually, I’ve written about it before and produced some videos too…here’s a link to my previous blogs, videos and even a podcast!

You have to make sure everyone wins from the arrangement

You might think I’m anti sponsorship. I’m not. I’m against the wrong kind of sponsorship where nobody really wins long term. The sponsor feels they have no return on their investment, and the person who is sponsored gets support cut very quickly, because they haven’t delivered. Who wins here? The person who secured the sponsorship received some product, maybe even a bit of money, but not for long. And now they have a bitter taste about the business they were working with, and the sponsor has a very bitter taste about them and, often, sponsoring anyone else. No one wins. This is why sponsorship isn’t always good. However, I’m here to give you some food for thought on sponsorship – here are my top 10 things to think about…

  • It’s not a no brainer. You don’t HAVE to sponsor anyone, so take your time and make sure you’re comfortable with what you’re doing and you’ve worked out a way that it can benefit you and them.
  • Pick carefully. If you’re in business, you will get a LOT of people asking for your money and products. Don’t feel pressured. Pick carefully.
  • Work out what you want from the deal. Do you want social media content? Blogs? Vlogs? Videos? Would you like your sponsored person to come to events and maybe your shop? Would you like them to wear your logo when they’re out and about? Have a list of what you’d like.
  • Be flexible. A list is good, but listen to and consider other ideas provided by the potential sponsored person. They might have other sponsors and, therefore, some of your wish list isn’t possible, but they might have some other thoughts that could work.
  • What are you going to do for them? Can you help promote them to your audience through the content they provide? Sell yourself as well as them.
  • Be clear. Be crystal clear on how often you expect contact. How many blogs/vlogs a year/month, for example? Don’t assume anything. Also explain what could happen if these aren’t provided, for example, will the support stop?
  • How will you do it? Most people support with product, especially to start with. Some sponsors call people supported with product ‘ambassadors’, some people say they’re sponsored. It’s terminology really.
  • Look at people’s reach. Make sure the people that you’re choosing to work with have a reach and a network that’s of use. And don’t just look at the number of people who like a Facebook page. Look at the interactions and engagement.
  • Look at the quality of the content. They might produce a blog each week and fill their Instagram feed with pics, but if the copy is full of typos and the pictures are poor quality, are they right for your brand?
  • Look at personal accounts too. If you sponsor someone, it’s not just their ‘official’ page that you need to look at. Look at personal Facebook pages too. See how they behave in their ‘personal’ life. It matters. Nothing is that private when it’s made it onto the internet.

What do you think about sponsorship?

I’d love to hear your experiences with sponsorship. Have you attracted a sponsor? How did it work? Do you sponsor people? How does it work for you?