Is sourcing Equestrian Brand Ambassadors using a public SEARCH worth the effort?

There’s no denying the benefits of businesses using Brand Ambassadors to help promote their products and services but how do you find the right Ambassador for your brand and how can you ensure that the relationship will offer good value?

We have recently seen a huge increase in businesses looking to source Brand Ambassadors via social media but is this a truly effective method to find an equestrian rider to market your business?

Benefits of Brand Ambassador Search for Businesses

• You are likely to gain a large increase in social media following and expand your audience reach during the Brand Ambassador Search promotion.
• You hope to gain enthusiastic Brand Ambassadors who actively promote your products or services on a regular basis.
• In return for free product and/or financial incentives you hope to receive genuine product endorsements to help market your business.
• You gain access to a new audience or discipline to help grow your business.
• Enables you to directly support new talent and deserving riders.

For businesses, the downsides of using a Brand Ambassador Search are:

• You receive a vast amount of applications of varying levels of age and experience
• It’s hugely time-consuming to read every entry
• You don’t have the time to research each applicant thoroughly
• Applicants are obviously sending ‘blanket’ emails to the lots of companies
• The applicants are NOT your target audience or likely to become customers
• The applicants are not familiar with your products and are likely to have never used them
• Applicants may not be loyal to your brand alone so the relationship may not be seen as authentic
• A good application does not mean the rider has any authority over their audience
• You don’t have the time to manage the relationship after the initial arrangement is agreed
• The rider does not meet their obligations
• The arrangement does not generate sales or provide any real value to your business
• After the initial flurry of activity, nothing further happens.

Benefits of Brand Ambassador Search for Riders

• Enables you to work directly with equestrian brands that you admire
• Provides you with free product and/or financial incentive to promote a new brand
• Allows you to genuinely promote new products other horse owners
• Helps to raise your personal profile through brand association
• Offers you support to help achieve your riding goals
• Expands your social media following
• Can provide access to new opportunities with more brands

For riders, the downsides of applying to a Brand Ambassador Search are:

• The business receives so many applications that yours may not be read
• You spend hours preparing and submitting your entry and don’t receive a personal reply
• You are given unrealistic expectations in return for low value product
• There are no set guidelines or agreement in place so you are unsure what is expected of you
• You are unable to work with businesses that are competitor brands

When a Brand Ambassador Search Can Work

When looking for a Brand Ambassador, you’re looking for someone that you can have a long and rewarding relationship with.

Using the Brand Ambassador Search method to find a rider who will genuinely and authentically promote your brand, can work well with some careful planning and by setting out your key objectives in advance.

Consider your ‘Brand Ambassador’ marketing like any other marketing stream which means
that you need to set a budget, any expenditure needs to be accounted for and all results need to be measurable.

All in all your brand ambassador marketing HAS to work hard for you and not just seen as giving away a bit of free product in the hope that you may get some brand exposure from it!

Brand Ambassador Key Criteria

• Your new Brand Ambassador will need to have an established audience. Ideally their audience will match your target customer demographic, or maybe it’s a new audience if you’re trying to reach a new demographic.

• The person you choose to work with needs to carry themselves with professionalism both online and offline.

• They need to share your company or your brand values.

• Ultimately however they do it, they need to be able to influence other people’s buying decisions. It’s not enough just to display a logo, that’s not going to make sales!

• Your Brand Ambassador should be someone who will deliver on their obligations so it’s essential to set out clear terms in advance. No matter what level the rider is at, ensure you have a contract or rider agreement so that both parties know what is expected of them and when.

Rider, Writer, Equine Influencer and Brand Ambassador, Samantha Osborne, says, “I have thoroughly enjoyed representing a range of companies that have initiated a number of ways; after being selected as the winner of a Brand Ambassador Search competition, after being approached by the Equestrian Sponsorship Hub or from direct approach from independent companies.

As a rider, it is important to remember that being a Brand Ambassador takes time, thought, creativity and dedication. You are ALWAYS representing that brand and it is important to be professional, active and passionate about what you do and the way you promote yourself and the brand in turn.

It is a privilege for me to product review items and to gain support and status as a result of joining in partnership with a brand, and I have been fortunate enough to experience once in a lifetime opportunities thanks to the networks I have been opened up to because of my role as a Brand Ambassador.

The positives certainly outweigh the negatives for me personally but as a home produced amateur in DIY livery, the minute I accepted Brand Ambassador deals, I was ruled out of many showing classes and was unable to be called an ‘amateur’.”

Conclusion

Finally, it’s wise to appoint one person to take responsibility and ownership of all Brand Ambassador activity whether that’s you or a staff member or whether you outsource your rider management. Sometimes it’s better to outsource it and bring another person to the party! It’s prevents that awkward feeling when you have to push for content or activity or negotiate new terms plus it can bring fresh ideas to keep the relationship active.

As part of my Brand Ambassador and Sponsored Rider Coaching Programme we cover Rider Management, where I share a proven structure and provide you with a tailored toolkit that you can use to implement your own rider management programme and successful Brand Ambassador Scheme.

If you’re a business looking to use Brand Ambassadors to help grow your business, GET IN TOUCH today!