Kn.U.C.K.L.E.S. – The Ins & Outs of Sponsorships
Knowledge. Use. Conduct. Kindness. Loyalty. Education. Social Media.
Everyone would like to be sponsored/endorsed by a company. Companies that sponsor can outfit you with fancy wardrobes, provide supplies to help better your success or give you money to get down the road. Either way, an endorsement or two is nice to have.
What many people don’t realize is that endorsements are a two-way street. There are so many people out there that would like to be sponsored and finding the right fit is equally important to the company. We hope our Kn.U.C.K.L.E.S. example will give you some insight and guidelines to sponsorships.
Knowledge: Companies aren’t just looking to sponsor talented individuals; they’re looking to sponsor people who can, first and foremost, increase awareness and revenue. Once a company knows your name, they’ll need proof that you are educated on what you do and what they offer, be it insurance or ropes. Companies want to sponsor someone who can have quality conversations with a variety of people about the company’s services or products, standards, contact info, etc. Hint: If you want to impress a sponsorship committee/individual, ask them for materials to share with potential customers before you are sponsored.
Use: Do you use the product? A company can hire anyone and teach them how to talk about the product, but they can’t teach just anyone how to USE and love the product. Know how many of their products have you used. Be able to explain the difference theirs versus the competitor. If the owner of a company you are sponsored by shows up to an event, will you be using their product or just wearing the patch? Sponsorships are a two-way street. Companies give you discounts, merchandise, money, etc. in return for their products to be displayed, used and talked about at all the events the people they sponsor attend.
- Example: Someone sees you’re Lone Star Ropes patch on your shirt at a roping, rides up and asks you what head rope you prefer when it’s hot and muggy. You need to be able to say I usually use a soft Helix, but in this weather, a medium soft holds up better for me.
Conduct: Someone is always watching! How you act and present yourself in and out of the arena is critical. If you’re a person who is always smiling, lifts you chin when things don’t go quite right, helps others, shakes hands with other contestants, fans, and officials, you are probably in the clear. If you are a poor sport in the arena, holding your head down, cursing when things don’t go right, jerking on your horse, arrogant, rude to peers, fans or officials, drinking excessively, doing drugs, partying, etc. you probably won’t be considered. No matter if you wear a patch or not, you are a representative of yourself and this lifestyle. Be responsible, respectful and set a good example for yourself, the sport and the people you represent and the sport love.
Kindness: Are you kind? Do you put off a good vibe? Do you shake hands/hug/high five your peers when you see them or when they do well? Do you look people, including children, in the eyes when you speak to them? Do you kneel-down to take a picture with a child or let them pet your horse when you walk by? Are you humble? Companies want people who set good examples show kindness to everyone involved.
Loyalty: How long have you been using the company’s products? How often do you switch brands? Do you use a similar product from other companies as well? For example: Do you have just Cactus Gear leg boots in your trailer or do you have also have Classic Equine, Tough 1 and Iconoclast in your trailer? Have you been sponsored by four different rope companies in the past? If you are sponsored by Cactus Gear and wear their patch but you have Iconoclast boots on your horses in every picture, you won’t keep your sponsorship long.
Education: Before you even think about approaching a company about a sponsorship, do your research! Know their mission, values and products. Be able to refer to their website or social media sites to answer questions. Know the type of people the sponsor and talk to some of them before you ask for a sponsorship, so you know more about the company from an insider’s point of view.
Social Media: In today’s world, social media is a critical component. Many companies will look at your social media profiles (or your parents’) before signing you. They’ll look at the type of content you post, articles you share, pictures/videos that are related to their company. The more often you link your posts to the company by sharing, hash tagging, using the @ sign and mentioning them, the more they’ll recognize you and want you to be an endorsee. Share, share, SHARE their name on everything that’s relatable.
Make sure your profile is clean and something you would show your teacher or grandmother. If you don’t think you should post something or comment on something, DON’T! Resist the temptation to get in on arguments. If you post a picture wearing a company competitor’s logo on your shirt or doing something out of line or negative, you are not only representing yourself poorly, but also misrepresenting and disrespecting the company you are sponsored by. Even if you are an adult, act responsibly and be considerate of yourself and those you represent.
Remember, companies are INVESTING in you to represent them. They believe in you, your abilities and your character. They are spending time, money (product, patches, stickers, apparel, entry fees, funds, etc.) and most importantly putting their reputation on YOU. They need to trust that you are using the product, educated, able to promote their products, a good sport and a good person!
For ideas on what you can do when a company sponsors you, check out the RodeoKids.com Sponsorship Chart – Sheet1.
If you have any questions please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (641) 799-5042. Good luck!