by Matt Weik
By a show of hands, how many people love getting paid for something they are passionate about as well as being given free supplements for your services? Go ahead and put your hands down. Again by a show of hands, how many people think they would make for a great brand ambassador for a supplement company? If you don’t have your hand up, then you can simply disregard this article as it really won’t pertain to you if you don’t have the desire to become an ambassador. For those of you who have your hands up, only a select few of you will EVER get the opportunity to team up with a brand and become an ambassador or sponsored athlete for them—in some cases you might not even be compensated for your time!
Brand ambassadors and sponsored athletes are extremely important to a brand and in helping to get their name out. Even the larger supplement companies are bringing ambassadors on board to push their product line and any new launches or exciting news to present on their person social media platforms. So what exactly do you need to do and what steps should you take in order to be considered?
1. Who are you and what do you want?
How do you go about letting brands know you are interested in becoming a brand ambassador or athlete? Simple, almost every brand has a tab on their website that says “contact”. Send them an email or message within the site (however they have it set up) and let them know who you are and what you can bring to their business.
The biggest thing I see these days are people who THINK they are bringing something of value to the table. The toughest thing to swallow is rejection when you think you’re a perfect candidate. Once reality sets in, the brand could actually come back to you saying they have no idea who you are. Then they may follow up with more questions such as do you even lift bro? Do you compete? Why do you want to represent their brand? What products of theirs do you like best? How big are your social platforms are and how many followers you have? Overall, you’ll need to have some pretty impressive credentials to be considered as a sponsored athlete or brand ambassador. So don’t just randomly choose brands you want to work with, make sure they align with your personality and that all parties would benefit from what you bring to the table. And don’t forget to do your homework on the brand. Know their background and key people who work there.
2. Your personal brand/image
This topic is really a hot button. With no disrespect to those who are overweight, not being in shape year round will most likely be a deal breaker with any company. You don’t necessarily need to be a competitor to get a deal, but your overall physique better look like you’re ready for a photoshoot at the drop of a dime. Your appearance means a lot to a brand and if it’s not the look they are going after they will move right along. So that last sentence we need to dissect a little more. By all means you can reach out to whatever brands you wish, but try and be selective on your main two companies that you have your eye on. Do you fit well in their mold? If they are a hardcore supplement company and you come walking up to them inquiring about being an ambassador or athlete and you’re 130 pounds, your chance of getting struck by lightning twice would be a better gamble.
Another key piece that brands look for are if you have a brain. You have the muscles but is there anything going on upstairs? Are you knowledgeable about the industry and their products? Can you hold a conversation with people if they were to use you at events (booth work) and help educate fans/followers on several topics regarding health and fitness? So get your smart-on and knock their socks off with just how much you know. And if they have you coming to shows to work for them, show up on time! Nothing leaves a worst taste in their mouth if you show up late. Or worst yet, late and hungover!
What you do outside of the industry while it’s your business, any behavior that would be seen as inappropriate will cause some issues with the brand you work with. Practice what you preach. If you go out and get sloppy drunk every weekend you’re literally shooting yourself in the foot.
3. Email blast/social media messages
It should go without saying that simply emailing every company that you can get contact info on is not advised. The fitness and supplement industry is pretty tight and word might get out that you’re hunting for any position you can fill and not truly because you believe in the brand or products and want to help them grow. So if you feel the need to email blast everyone saying you love their products and use them all the time, by all means please take a hammer to any device you have that can send emails or messages. By blasting everyone, you will almost certainly block yourself from any opportunity out there. Desperation is not a good look for anyone.
4. Social media craze
In the world of selfies and self-promotion, you are going to need to be savvy with your social platforms. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, are all great platforms to use as an ambassador or athlete of a brand. They are going to require that you have at least one of the platforms I just mentioned. And if you only have one, it better be slammed with followers. But in the same breath, if you’re a fake and paid for followers and of the 100k followers, you have only three engage you every day with a like or share/retweet, that isn’t going to impress any brands out there wanting to work with you. Product placement and brand plugs are going to be required, but you need to think outside the box when posting as to not look like a total sellout to your followers. There’s nothing worse than looking at or reading a blatant post that gives the followers the feeling that you were just compensated for the shameless promotion.
Social media can help make or break your career in the industry. If you sign on with a brand as an athlete or ambassador and you swear like a sailor on your social media (or in person) or post about sensitive topics, that’s most definitely going to be your one-way ticket back to finding a new brand to work with. Brands like to maintain good status with all demographics and by your potentially stupid remark, it could make the brand look really bad.
5. Welcome aboard!
So you finally buttoned up the partnership of your dreams with a supplement company—so now what? First of all, pat yourself on the back because getting a sponsorship or ambassador role with a brand is fairly difficult (at least with big name brands). The second thing you need to do after patting yourself on the back is to remember one thing, while you don’t directly work with the company, what you do is a reflection on the brand you are an athlete or ambassador for. If you embarrass yourself, you’re also embarrassing them. That type of behavior will most certainly have everything pulled out from under your feet and you’ll find yourself looking for another company to work with. But remember something I said earlier, the fitness/supplement industry is very close and everyone knows each other. If word spreads that you’re a pain to work with or a diva, good luck finding your next home. Or, if you do exactly as asked and go above and beyond, you could land yourself a role with an even larger company down the road.
You really need to make good impressions with the brand through your contractual duties to keep them happy. If the brand doesn’t feel like your fulfilling all of the items in your contract or if you do them half-heartedly, you can watch your contract go up in smoke. Be a great ambassador and the company will make sure you get your share. It could be monetary (but highly unlikely unless you’re a top competitor), free supplements, entry fees if you compete, even covering your hotel costs at a show. So put your best food forward.
We’re going to end with an unfortunate side of this journey. You’re simply not going to make every shot you take, but you’ll miss every shot you never take. Keep that in mind. To get signed there are many obstacles that will be in the way, so don’t take rejection to heart and break your spirit. They could already have all the athletes/ambassadors that they need and the timing of your request just wasn’t right. It might have nothing to do with you even. So don’t let it bum you out. Either keep on them, showing them that you’re truly interested in becoming a part of their team or if you use another brands products try to reach out to them. But keep your list of brands you’d like to work with VERY short. This is going to be a wild ride to fulfill your dreams. Don’t give up. If it were easy everyone would have a sponsorship who was in the fitness industry. Keep your head up and keep moving forward.