Growing popularity of brand ambassadors in triathlon

I’ve been lucky enough to be a brand ambassador for the past two years.  Lately, I’ve been asked about being a brand ambassador and I wanted to share my thoughts.  I believe you must first be passionate about your sport and for me that was triathlon.  I’ve been training and racing in events for the past twelve years.  It was this passion that led me to apply for both of my brand ambassadorships.  Secondly, you have to be an active participant at races and very socially active both online and off.  The future of social networking is trust and you need to build that over time.  Brands are looking to get their message out with trustworthy people on the ground.

I started my journey two years ago when I applied to be on the Wheeltags race team.  I loved their wheeltags and thought it would be fun to help them gain some visibility here in California.  I felt it was a win-win for both of us.  I wore their tri and cycling kit to many races and talked up my Wheeltags when people asked.  I really enjoyed being a brand ambassador for them.  Even today, I get lots of questions about my sweet Trakker Wheeltags!

My semi-custom Trakker Wheeltags

Then last year, I applied to be on Team Trakkers/REV3.  They sponsor 30 or so AG’ers as well as a very successful group of pro’s led by Michael Lovato.  I was excited to be part of a larger Tri team and liked the idea of teammates all across the country.  I was also drawn to the team based on their suite of world class sponsors including Kestrel, Avia, First Endurance and TYR.  I would highly recommend anyone joining one of these larger teams if you have the opportunity.  The camaraderie is second to none and makes racing a blast, especially when other teammates are also racing.  I had that experience up at Portland REV3 this year and it was awesome to have 12 of us racing in our Trakkers kits!

Sweet Betty Designs Trakkers Kit!

Enough about me!  As I see it, there are four types of sponsorship/Brand Ambassador opportunities for us AG’ers.  The first is to apply to be on one of the larger nationwide teams.  There are many benefits including a large group of teammates and a suite of sponsors.  I view these type of sponsorship’s as the hardest to achieve.  You also need to research these teams before applying.   Some teams are mainly focused only on consistent podium finishers, while others have a mandate that you have to race at least one IM to be eligible for their team.  Below is a list of those that I’m aware of.  If anyone knows of  others, I will add them to my list:

National Sponsored Teams for AG’ers & Pro’s

Team Trakkers/REV3 – http://trakkersgps.com/athletes/

Team Timex – http://teamtimex.timexblogs.com/

Erin Bakers Triathlon Team – http://www.bbcookies.com/shop/pages.php?pageid=29

PowerBar Elite Team – http://www.powerbar.com/teamelite/extranet/default.aspx

Kswiss/Trek Triathon Team – http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/team/trekkswiss/

ZOOT ULTRA Triathlon Team – http://zootsports.com/blog/

Snapple Tri Team – http://snappletriteam.com/

The second most common sponsorship opportunity is with your local Tri club.  Many clubs have an “Elite” team within to help them garner additional publicity.  Those athletes usually are sponsored by a suite of companies.  To research this, you need to check out your local clubs.  USAT would be a good resource to check out if looking for clubs: http://www.usatriathlon.org/resources/for-clubs/find-a-club.  Here’s a link to my local elite team here in Northern Cali for your perusal: http://fmrceliteteam.blogspot.com/

The third type of sponsorship opportunity is the fastest growing.  This is where an individual company looks for athletes who are active in their communities to train/race using their products.  These range from nutritional companies to clothing companies and everything in between. This is a great opportunity for these companies to get their brand out there at races.  In doing so, you usually get to be part of a team, receive team gear and also discounts on products.  I’ve listed a few below for you to check out that I’m aware of.  If you have a brand that you love, keep an eye on their twitter or fb pages for brand ambassador opportunities.  You can always reach out directly to them and even suggest it!  Be sure to mention if any of their competitors have similar programs!

Individual Company Brand Ambassador Programs

First Endurance – http://www.firstendurance.com/

TriSports – http://sponsorship.trisports.com/athletes.html

Base Performance – http://www.baseperformance.com/ambassadors/

2XU – http://www.2xu.com/team2xu

SLS3 Tri Compression Gear – http://www.slstri.com/athletes.html

Team Wheeltags – http://www.wheeltags.com/store/team-wheeltags.aspx

Team SOAS – http://www.soasracing.com/community/team/

Team Skirt Sports – http://skirtsports.reachlocal.net/community/athletes.cfm

Team Luna Chix – http://www.teamlunachix.com/

Tribiketransport Tri Team – http://www.tribiketransport.com/2012_ambassador.html

Polar – http://www.polarusa.com/us-en/polar_community/sponsorships/form

SUGOi – http://www.sugoi.com/brandchampions

Strava – http://app.strava.com/ambassador

 

The last opportunity lies under the Active.com umbrella.  They initiated an ambassador program a few years back to link up brands with active athletes.  It’s seemingly taken off like wildfire and they have a large and ever growing list of brands they work as the intermediary for.  You just need to fill out a lengthy profile page and then screen the opportunities for those brands you would be comfortable representing.  Some companies are just looking for visibility and others are looking for ambassadors to hand out free samples at events.  This may be the quickest way to start to build up your sponsorship resume!

Active Ambassadors

A Few Past and current Active Ambassador Programs located at www.activeambassadors.com:

  • Team MARATHON Bar – http://www.marathonmoments.com/
  • Team Sony Walkman
  • Team Polar
  • Team Odwalla
  • Team Aquaphor
  • Team Wheaties Fuel
  • Team G Series Pro
  • Team VW
I’m not an expert here, but I’ve learned enough to hopefully help others in their search!  It is worth noting that whatever path you’re successful in gaining a sponsorship through, there are demands.  These are mainly to promote the brand in a consistent and positive light.  Gaining a sponsorship track record will be the fastest way to gain larger opportunities.  As mentioned earlier, the future of social networking is trust and you need to build that over time.   If your interested in sponsorship, you need to be active online and also in your triathlon community.  I love being a brand ambassador and hopefully many of you will also join a team that fits your needs!
Cheers, Michael
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3 responses to “Growing popularity of brand ambassadors in triathlon

  • Jamie

    SHHHHH! Don’t give away too much! I’m trying to steal away all the good sponsorship slots before they get taken.

    😉

  • Patrick Mahoney

    Hi. Linked to you through Jeff Irvin. I’m glad your ambassadorships are working for you. I’ve not had the same experience, unfortunately; I found the active.com programs underwhelming. I’d like to give it another shot again someday, though. The idea of being part of a strong team/community is definitely on my bucket list.

    Good luck at Big Kahuna, I am here as well.

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