What It's Like Being a Brand Ambassador
Fall means a lot of exciting things in the triathlon and multisport world. Not only is the weather cooling down to make for awesome training sessions, but the Ironman World Championships have lots of people itching to chase their goals in the sport. This is also the time of the year when brands open up applications to become an ambassador for the following season.
I’ve had the privilege of being involved with a few different brands over the years, and most recently as an ambassador for Tri Sirena.Although every program was slightly different, most brands create their team with a lot of common factors that I’ll tell you about here. This post will include details on what’s it’s like to rep a brand, as well as a few expert tips from yours truly to help you submit a killer application that will make you stand out from the crowd.
Perks of Being a Brand AmbassadorNot all teams are created equal, but there are a few incentives that are pretty common among triathlon and multisport brands.
If you land a coveted place as a brand ambassador on a team, then you’ll want to rep with pride. Most groups create a custom team kit that is only available to members, and they make it available at a sweet discount to their ambassadors.
Not only is it an amazing way to look great at events, but it also makes it easy to identify other teammates who are racing with you, or cheering on the sidelines.
Private Facebook Groups
Being a brand ambassador likely also means that you’ll become part of an incredible community of like-minded athletes. In private groups on social media, you’ll have a chance to meet others who also rep the brand, and coordinate training events, race schedules, and meetups.
For some, one of the best incentives to land a spot on a team is to save some money on all the triathlon gear you buy. Typically, ambassadors get a discount code for personal use that will save you anywhere from 20-40% off all of your purchases. In addition, many brands also offer a “Friends and Family” type code to their ambassadors which allows you to spread the love and give your connections savings.
What Brand Ambassadors Do
Of the team’s I’ve repped through the years, they all had vastly different requirements of us as ambassadors. Before you apply, be sure to get familiar with the expectations and what you’ll need to do to fulfill your commitment.
These are a few of the common things that you may be asked to contribute.
Buy and Race in Their Gear
If you apply to rep a brand you love, be aware that if you get chosen, then you’ll need to dress the part at any races and community events in which you participate.
As I mentioned above, many teams will have a customized kit for members, and you’ll sign a contract where you agree to wear it during your events.
Although every experience as an ambassador that I’ve had has been a bit different with their requirements, overall it’s been frowned upon to race in anything other than team kits. So, for example, if you’re part of both a local cycling club and a brand ambassador for a company, you can train in your club kit but will need to do any formal racing in your ambassador gear.
Promote the Brand Online
Because there are a lot of perks to being selected as a brand ambassador, the company will ask you to do a bit of work in return. Universally, you’ll be expected to help them promote their brand online with your social media posts.
The way your team does this will vary. Some may give you pre-created images and content to share, others will require that you do X posts per week or month wearing their gear or using their products.
You don’t necessarily need a huge social media following to get a spot on a team, but you do need to be active in the space and comfortable sharing sponsored content.
Attend/Volunteer at Events
One final aspect that has been pretty consistent in all of my ambassador experiences is the opportunity to connect, in person, with teammates at events.
If you’re local to races where the brand has a booth or a number of athletes racing, you’ll want to plan to come as part of a cheer squad or volunteer to work the booth.
In my opinion, meeting teammates in the flesh is one of the best parts about the experience and it’s amazing how fast friendships can form when you have lots in common right off the bat.
How to Nail Your Brand Ambassador Application
Small brands get several hundred applications annually, and larger ones see numbers in the thousands. Most teams have capacities at between 20 and 100 athletes, which means you need to really shine to make the cut.
Although these tips aren’t foolproof, they are a few different ways that you can help position yourself as a valuable potential team member.
- Do your research. Before applying, dig into everything you can find about the brand and company. If they have a Facebook page or Instagram account, check out the types of posts they feature and the voice they use when they put up content. If they talk about their ambassadors, take a look at the types of things they say. The accomplishments they highlight and tone they use will tell you a lot about what they value in an ambassador. For example, some teams are looking for competitive athletes who podium regularly while others are searching for people who advocate for an aspect of the sport. Tri Sirena has a mission of promoting skin health and melanoma awareness among athletes and often shares advocacy and survival stories to help spread that message. Search for a brand that resonates with you and what you want to achieve personally in the sport to ensure it’s a good match.
- Get involved online. If there’s a brand you love, start singing their praises NOW before you apply to be part of the team. Having posts on social media that date back weeks or months prior to your application where you rave about their products will show that you are passionate and a natural fit. Comment on their social media, and work to get involved in any of their groups or events to help bring some name recognition for when the time comes to sift through applications.
- Talk about what matters to the team and how you will contribute. If you’ve done your research, then you know what the team is looking for in a member. As you fill out the application, you’ll want to tie these characteristics directly to what you bring to the table. For example, as part of being a Siren Luminary, we’re asked to write a blog post for the website quarterly. I discovered that while checking out their social media, so when I applied I was sure to point out that I’m both a writer by trade and also maintain a personal blog. Although that’s (hopefully!) not the only reason I made the cut for both this season and 2019, I’m certain that it was a perk that helped my application float to the “keepers” side of the stack.
- Use your unique voice. In addition to highlighting what you bring to the table as a teammate, you’ll also want to show off your personality. Our sport draws people from diverse backgrounds, and we all have a story to tell. Give them a taste of who you are both as an athlete, and as a person to make your application really shine. They can do a quick google search of your name to see your race results. If that was all that mattered (and it is to some brands), then they won’t ask you additional questions. But, if there’s a place to tell a story or talk about why you want to be a brand ambassador, then do it in a way that’s uniquely you.
- Do something unexpected. Piggybacking on the tip above – any time you can do something that falls within what the brand requests, but it’s presented in an unexpected way – you should do it. There’s not always an opportunity to get this right, but try to constantly think of ways that you could submit something that no one else will. For example, one year I applied for a brand that asked the question “why would your friends and family say you should be selected as an ambassador?” Rather than answer it in paragraph form, instead I did quick video interviews with several friends from my local tri and cycling clubs and put together a mash-up of quotes to submit with my application. Although it was more time-consuming than just listing off XYZ reasons, I feel like it was an unexpected surprise that may have been what landed me a coveted spot on that team that year.
Did you apply for a team in 2019? Which one? When do you find out if you made it? Be sure to let me know in the comments!
Written by Nicole Kurz, Siren Luminary
If you like this post, check out Nicole's blog, Becoming Bombshell!
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