Looking for rider brand sponsorship? The MirrorMePR Equine Team are approached continuously by riders enquiring about sponsorship with our brands, so how do you win brand sponsorship as a rider?
It never ceases to amaze us what we find in our email inbox!! Sponsored riders can bring huge value to a company, but you need to think of this as a two-way street.
Still keen to get some brand sponsorship?
We hope this will give you some clear guidelines and some inspiration in your approach!
Hello & Goodbye!
The biggest ‘no go’ which we see a lot of, is the email addressed to Sir/Madame or worse ‘hello’. This is then followed by a short novel from the person asking for sponsorship. Seriously, if you want something from someone, take the time to find out who to contact and address the email or letter to him or her personally. We appreciate it is not always possible to find out names or personnale within larger companies, but you could call up them up and find out who deals with sponsorship, e.g., Their job title so at the very least you are focusing your email on the right person, even if it has to go through a generic email address.
We do take time out to reply to these kinds of emails and some we have even taken time to flag up gently some suggestions, but the sad fact is that most people don’t even bother to reply.
I Want, Doesn’t Always Get
The next mistake we see a lot is for the rider to state precisely what they want from the company.
e.g.: I would like a new saddle, ten bags of feed and five rugs and 2K worth of clothing. Presuming riders reading this are not already a top international rider name, then approaching a brand with a defined ‘wish’ list is not going to win you brownie points. Your first contact with a company should be an enquiry and also an opportunity to ‘sell’ yourself.
If the brand or company is interested, they will come back to you with an offer, and from there you can decide whether to negotiate or accept. In our experience most brands do not give financial sponsorship, it’s more product led. However, that can depend on the product and value of the rider association. It is a great idea to have a figure or package in your mind, but also think about how the relationship with that brand could help you:
Could it help attract other perhaps more significant sponsors?
Or even raise your profile?
As a rider, of course, you don’t want to undersell yourself. However, considering a small offer on the table now, could prove to be a lucrative move for the future.
This is especially true if the brand is keen to promote your association and have a marketing and PR machine already in place. Having a pro-active PR and marketing team on board can dramatically help raise your profile and could attract further sponsorship. Look at the bigger picture when making decisions about brand affiliations.
All The Info Without The Waffle
When you contact the brand, make sure you give them a biography of yourself. A biography is a (short) summary of your life up to now and is the CV equivalent to what you do now. Sending in a traditional CV with your qualifications (unless horsy) and including your other hobbies is probably of no interest to the potential sponsor. The brand will want to know all your equestrian experience and background, your horses (key ones past and present) and any (realistic) plans you have for the future.
Most riders’ dream of riding for their country, riding around Badminton or being the next Carl or Charlotte and of course, its great to have ambition, but where are you on that journey right now? It’s essential that you include information about the level you are currently competing at now, and you could also incorporate information on who your trainer is (if well known) and your past successes such as bringing on a youngster to compete at championship level. We want to know your short-term ambitions (National and international). Your long-term aspirations are also important (Olympics).
Remember to include contact details that you check regularly!
A mobile contact number (with answerphone please!)
Email address (if you check it regularly)
Other assets that rider brand sponsorship teams like to see are photographs of you and your horse competing. Also, don’t forget to include any press cuttings and also probably one of the most information considerations is to explain why you like the brand and products:
Have you fed your horses on this feed brand and seen results?
Is the bedding the best on the market?
Why is it that you want an association with the brand?
What Can I Offer?
It’s also important to list what YOU can do for the brand too!
If you are willing to do personal appearances at their stores/shows
If you’re happy to give up some time to represent them via branded rider clinics/win a lesson opportunities, then tell them.
Would you be proud to wear their logo and branding on clothing/saddle cloth etc.? If so, tell them!!
The more pro-active you appear now, the more it will further enhance your chances of getting some interest!
If you are starting to build a name for yourself on the local circuit, then it might be more valuable to speak to local firms and brands for sponsorship in the first instance, rather than big national companies. Big international brands and businesses are approached all the time by riders looking for sponsorship deals, and, these opportunities, on the whole, have been planned and finalised over a period. Therefore, your chances of getting on-board as a newcomer (unless you already have a big profile) are considerably slim, especially these days with budgets being so much tighter. However, for a local firm looking to support ‘local talent’ and raise their profile at the same time, can prove to be a prosperous partnership for both parties and also a springboard onto bigger things.