7 Tips to Leverage Athletes as Your Brand Ambassadors

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Brand Ambassador Programs
Modern Marketing
Social Influencer Marketing


Aug.4.14

In June, we blogged about ten questions every marketer must answer when launching a brand ambassador program. Hopefully, her guide has aided you in identifying and reaching out to potential brand ambassadors.

But the challenges of brand ambassador programs do not end once the relationship between company and ambassador is formed. For companies that partner with athlete brand ambassadors, additional hurdles further complicate the ambassador/brand relationship. How can you best leverage athletes without interfering other commitments to their teams and sports organizations? How do you ensure that, even as they are traveling around to competitions, they are creating the excellent content?

7 Tips to Maximize Your Athlete Brand Ambassador Relationships

Tip #1 – Have your brand ambassadors take photos where they are.

Promotional shoots in exotic locations can be an effective marketing strategy, but you don’t need to incur thousands in travel fees to create persuasive ambassador-generated content. Encouraging your athletes to take promotional shots with your product and promote it on social media wherever they are has multiple advantages.

First, it makes their content seem more authentic. Instead of gushing about a product because the parent company is footing the bill for a trip to Fiji, your ambassadors are using the product as part of their daily routine. That increases the credibility of the endorsement. It tells their fans that their endorsement is based on genuine enthusiasm and not solely financial incentives.

Second, it involves you peripherally in the current events going on in your athletes’ lives. They are frequently traveling, and if they post photos with your product in interesting locations, or at important events, your product gains a slight association with the event, increasing your currency.

Third, “day in the life” photos are among the most popular content athletes post. Their fans appreciate the opportunity to see into their idols’ behind-the-scenes lives.

Tip #2 – Encourage brand ambassadors to express their favorite aspects of your brand creatively.

This returns to the idea of authenticity. When you grant your ambassadors a degree of freedom in how they choose to promote your product, they have more leeway to devise novel approaches to promoting your product.

Tip #3 – Even while you grant some creative license to your ambassadors, monitor their success and compare them against one another.

The most challenging part of athlete marketing is measuring the results. However, it is critical to keep track of which athlete ambassadors are driving sales, and which aren’t. ReadyPulse provides top brands with influencer marketing software that provides analytics dashboards and ranking of each person by their social performance.

For more information on how to best leverage your athlete ambassadors, check out our guide, The Savvy Brand’s Guide for Sponsored Athlete Marketing.

Tip #4 – Focus on photos and videos.

Social UGC from AthletesWritten statements of enthusiasm for a product is good, but photos and videos offer the strongest endorsement of your product. Fans can see your product being used, and are thus inspired to check it out themselves. Encourage athlete ambassadors to take action shots in the product; photos in a casual environment (more relaxed than fans would ordinarily see at a competition) are also valuable for their behind-the-scenes feel.

Tip #5 – Encourage your ambassadors to take promotional product pictures solo, without others in the background.

You want everyone in your promotional materials to have provided their explicit permission for use of the material, so it is simpler for ambassadors to appear in photographs without others in the background. That way, you know you have permission to post the photos. If you do choose to use images including non-ambassadors, be sure that you have received permission to use the photo from each party featured.

Tip #6 – Consider adding a clause in your athlete sponsorship contract that allows you to use the athlete content in your marketing.

This simplifies the process of obtaining image permissions. If you find content you like, instead of waiting for authorization from your ambassador, you have the authority to post it quickly.

Tip #7 – Offer fans opportunities to engage and connect.

Social media has increased the access of everyday people to celebrities. Why not embrace that increased access by sponsoring a Q&A session with your ambassador where people can submit questions online, or holding a competition where winners receive an autographed version of your product or get the opportunity to meet the athlete.

Written By

Lauren Gould, Product Marketing Manager with ReadyPulse.