As we near the end of the strangest May I can remember, many horse owners have adjusted well to the ‘new normal’. The tight restrictions on our lifestyles are slowly starting to ease and there are more and more hints every day that we might see some equestrian competition before too long. It’s a bit of a strange feeling as I still don’t know if there will be a chance for me to take EquiAmi on the road this year, or whether I should just accept that 2021 is when I’ll next get to see you all face to face!
I know that when I speak to my sponsored riders, they are feeling the same way. It’s one thing keeping horses ticking over, but if you need a horse to be fit and performing well on a specific date in the future then preparation begins months in advance. Hopefully we’ll all get some firm news soon and can make proper plans.
Chatting to this fabulous support network during lockdown reminded me how lucky I am to have a stable of brand ambassadors who take the time to support me on social media, share the benefits of EquiAmi with their fans and generally help me reach a wider audience! I thought it might be an interesting blog for both ambitious riders and new brands to learn what’s involved in working with sponsors.
What does a sponsored rider do?
Signing up a rider as a brand ambassador or sponsored rider normally involves gifting them equipment (or clothing or feed, depending on the type of business you have!) in return for them promoting your product. Sometimes sportsmen and women are also paid for being a brand ambassador too, normally when they are right at the very pinnacle of their sport and have a huge profile.
That promotion might come in the form of them displaying your logo on their clothing, lorry website and saddlecloth. Social media posts talking about why your products are a key part of their stable management or riding routine will help spread the word. For EquiAmi, that’s meant riders posting videos showing how they are using the lunging aid in their preparation for key events. Riders could also mention you if they are interviewed for any magazines, blogs or podcasts and show up for fan meet and greets when you exhibit at a show or event they are at.
Finding the perfect match
A little bit like finding a date on Bumble or Tinder, you want to make sure you find a brand ambassador who is the right fit for your business. Are they young, fun and energetic? Professional and super-serious? If your target audience is younger riders, then your best bet is to work with a rider that young horsey fans follow and support!
If you’re hoping that sponsoring them will help raise your profile on social media, make sure they’re really active online with a decent-sized audience. If they have approached you first then it’s worth digging around to find out why. If they’re a long-term fan of your brand and use your kit all the time they it could be a match made in heaven! If they appear to know nothing about what you do, the chances are they have been blanket-messaging horsey brands in the hope of getting a reply… avoid!
It’s very important that both parties set expectations before you agree to sponsor a rider. It would be disheartening and expensive to hand over stock, only for the rider to never feature it in a post or even mention it! Make sure you make it clear what you would expect from them in return for your support (i.e. one social media post a week, a mention on your website and try to mention whenever you can). In return, they might be keen for branded clothing or financial help to get a logo on their lorry. Each case is slightly different, but it’s worth spending the time agreeing it in advance.
I’m so lucky to have the support of my brilliant sponsored riders, including dressage supremo Amy Blount and eventing star Rosie Thomas! You can often spot them on my social media updating us on their progress and demonstrating the benefits of the EquiAmi for their followers to see. Not following us on social media? Click here to like my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/EquiAmiLungeAid/