Securing a sponsorship deal in any sport is not easy, and in the case of running many athletes find it immensely difficult to find somebody that is prepared to help them with their careers. Having said this, in part one of our blog we demonstrated that the fit has to be right between the runner and the sponsor for the relationship to gel.
Therefore, before signing any sponsorship deal you must do your homework about the brand that you are about to enter into an agreement with. Investigate how the brand fits in with the running community and try to find out what its objectives are.
Doing Your Homework!
By saying you should do your homework, what we mean is that you should fully research a company to see firstly what they are representing and how they do it. For instance if they are a T-shirt manufacturer where do they make the clothes? If it is in some sweatshop in some far flung place in the world it will not reflect particularly well on you. By the same token, if you decide to form a relationship with a little known charity but they engage in much needed humanitarian work, then by your representation it may lift their profile and help elevate their good cause to a wider public.
The Relationship Should Have Mutual Benefits
Entering into a sponsorship relationship with a business should be a two-way street, there should be a mutual respect from both parties. Attributes that will help this are the two C’s:
You must have an open relationship with your sponsor company, with plenty of communication flowing both ways. And there will be occasions that you will have to compromise, attending certain functions and the like that you would prefer not to do. As an athlete you have to bear in mind that a sponsorship deal is not an entitlement, but it is actually a partnership. And as the Transvulcania Ultramarathon champion, Dakota Jones commented; Being sponsored is not a free ride, it is a mutually agreeable partnership for the benefit of both parties.
He continued to liken being sponsored as a sort of marriage, and that if a business has put their trust in you to the extent of providing money and resources, then you must understand this and return that respect in your actions. It is a relationship of give and take for both sides and that is key to its survival and success.
Don’t Give Up Trying
Getting sponsorship is hard, getting the right sponsor is even harder. Nobody said this was going to be easy, and finding the right business partner to back you will take considerable effort. Engage heavily in social media, not only to sing about your victories, but to let the world know your hard work and application. Tell your side of the story, don’t forget to post photos and videos of you running and in action. And above all think local, business that hail from your own backyard will be far more sympathetic to your overtures, and you will be happy to represent your community in return.