Let’s talk about the ambassadorships and sponsorships that are available for every day athletes like you and me. For those of you that are unaware or perhaps vaguely aware, the majority of companies are currently taking advantage of our ever-increasing interconnected world and have begun using every day people like you and me to advertise their clothing, gear or nutrition. Advertising is no longer restricted to magazines, bill boards and television. They do this with ambassador teams.
What are Ambassador Teams?
Most ambassador teams provide their athletes with racing gear, sponsored attire and deep discounts to their products. Some brands require that you pay for their sponsored gear, some give it away. Be sure to read the fine print when applying.
The teams also generally create a private social media group for the athletes to use as a way to communicate with one another. The community aspect of these teams will be by far the biggest benefit. Your team will most likely be compromised of people all over the world and full of a wide range of athletic abilities and body types.
How do you Apply?
The best way to find ambassador and sponsorship opportunities is to follow your favorite brands on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). Make sure this is a brand you truly love, already use and has a core message that you identify with. Don’t go applying to every brand you see. Really think about you who want to represent. Most brands will do an announcement when their team applications are open. If this is something you really want, keep a close eye and maybe set a weekly reminder on your personal calendar to check your favorite brands.
Once a brand has open applications, get yours in reasonably quick. Hundreds of people will apply and only a select few can get chosen. Don’t rush your application, but do get it in as quickly as possible. On your application, be well spoken and be sure to do a short proof read. As someone who runs a business and has been a manager for big chain stores, I can tell you that poor spelling and grammar do not make good first impressions. No need to be Dickens, but do proof read your application.
Highlight any achievements or personal struggles, companies like both. Of course, they like high achievers, but they also like a good story. Show your personality through your writing, talk about your racing plans for the next season, what you do to inspire those around you and how you volunteer in the sport. Most importantly be an actual user of their gear. Ethics aside, if you are applying to these teams just for the free gear and are not an actual customer, you may not get far. Companies want people who believe in their core message and already love their gear.
If you are active on social media and have a good following this will increase your chances. The larger your sphere of influence, the more attractive you will be to these brands. It is not necessarily a requirement, but the majority of my teammates are active in some way, be it a blog, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. After all. this is advertising for these companies, they want to ensure that their product is going to be seen by as many people as possible. The more active you are on social media, the better your chances at getting chosen.
Those of you that are active on social media, be sure that your accounts have a fitness centric theme. Your friends may enjoy 50 pictures of your cat, but companies can’t really use that for marketing and it won’t give them a good idea of who you are as an athlete or a person. If you are unsure of where to start with fitness posts, just check out some of the athletes you currently follow that have ambassadorships and sponsorships. Look at their posting styles and see if that may mesh with your personality. I’m not saying go copy the chick with 50k followers, but you can definitely get some pointers by checking out her content.
For those of you that do not wish to use social media or perhaps have a very small following, highlight your local influence. If you are a part of a local racing team, bring it up. This is first and foremost a marketing strategy for these companies, give them a reason to want, or better yet NEED to add you to their team.
Who Gets Chosen?
With many of the brands announcing their ambassador teams for next racing season, I have seen a lot of talk from women discouraged at not getting picked. I’ve seen women complaining that only petite, super fast athletes get picked, which is definitely not the case.
So who does get picked for these teams? In my experience brands not only want high achievers and people who are active on social media, but they want to represent the field of their sport. All of the teams I am a part of have many different types of athlete, be it body shape or ability. They all include athletes from beginner to elite, from Athena to ripped. You don’t have to podium at every race to get picked and you don’t have to be shredded.
That being said, these companies are using these programs as a marketing strategy. At least 50% of the field at every race I’ve done, save the tri aimed at beginners, has been composed of super fit looking athletes. I say looking, because of course, looks can be deceiving. This means the target audience for these companies is going to be people on the fitter side. It just is what it is. These companies do research and they know what sells. It only makes sense that their ambassador teams will fit a certain look and be representative of the current field of athletes, meaning plenty of fit ladies along with average and Athenas as well.
At 5’6″ and 150lbs, I am by no means svelte. I am an average athlete with an average body. In fact, I’m currently working on dropping about 20 pounds before my next big race. I place every once in a while in short races and actually did quite terrible at my first 70.3, yet I have been selected to be a part of teams since I began doing triathlons. So you absolutely can get chosen, but I also know I most likely won’t be plastered all over their marketing campaigns and that is okay with me. I am on these teams to support the brands I love and to be a part of their awesome community.
In the end, this is just one type of team and one type of community you can join. There are many out there that are open to everyone. There are also tons of local tri teams that you can join and actually meet people in real life. Don’t base your self-worth on whether or not you get chosen. They can’t choose everyone, it just isn’t economically feasible. You could have been skipped over because they already had enough athletes by the time they got to your application or they already have enough athletes in your region, or for a hundred other reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with you as a person. If you don’t get chosen one year, but you really truly want it, work on increasing your sphere of influence, apply again next year and most importantly, keep tri-ing. Don’t get discouraged and know that you are awesome just for getting out there!