Ambassadors. We’ve all heard of them.
They’re everywhere – living that dream life of riding the best destinations with impossibly clean bikes and the coolest kit. Love them or loathe them, they serve a purpose. Or at least they should.
What is an ambassador?
For those of you who are blissfully unaware of this growing phenomenon let’s clarify what this role is – as we see it.
We have the dictionary definition:
“A representative or promoter of a specified activity.”
Let’s be absolutely clear here – we’re NOT talking about sponsored athletes. Those that are at the top of their respective games in the sport. We’re talking about the people who brands work with for something other than their sporting prowess; maybe it’s their attitude, their skills, or just that they can work a camera like a pro.
So what makes someone a good – or bad – ambassador?
At SPENGLE we get around 5-10 contacts every single day, all wanting some form of free stuff, these simple pointers will assist you in your writing, and maybe increase your chances, or maybe they’ll stop you writing in the first place….
Stand for something and make your case
Sending a private message telling someone how much you love our brand and asking for products is not a legitimate pitch. It takes us ten seconds to click on your profile and see that you’re not following us, and you’ve never mentioned our products previously, or engaged with us in any way. So be smart about your pitch. Include what you’re passionate about – is it getting more people into the sport, is it getting people into racing, is it about getting the nation more active or trail conservation? Something is driving you – find it and keep hold of it – it’ll serve you well. We are human too, talk to us!
- Give a great deal of thought to the brands you’d like to work with. Ask yourself why you want to work with us, what do you stand for? (If the answer is to get free stuff – go to the last point) What can you offer – aside from your social media following? Brands know you can buy followers, folks, they’ve heard it all before…. Followers don’t equal engagement.
- Why should we select you above the other enquiries we receive on a daily basis? What can you bring that is different?
- What are you prepared to do in terms of your commitment? Being an ambassador has responsibilities, like any other job.
- Companies are looking to you to sell their brand – so how will you do it – and will you be able to demonstrate that you’ve had an impact?
All these things are crucial elements of a really solid pitch to a business and if you can make it short and snappy – all the better. We don’t need your life story yet. This includes being able to talk about yourself face to face.
Have three things prepared for your ‘elevator pitch’ so if you happen to meet us at a show or an event – you’ve got it ready, and no one will die of boredom. Win-win.
Being something you are not online is simple – just take a look at Instagram. Chock full of people projecting images of unrealistic lives. We all do it – taking 75 shots just to get one that puts us in the best possible light.
Being something you’re not in real life is exhausting. The trouble is, in planet MTB – you will invariably get caught out. (If I made out I was the most gnarly rider in the word – one five minute burst of me on a group ride and I’d be blown wide open – and rightly so).
So, be unique and original. Don’t feel you have to fit a type, find a brand you fit with. Don’t just ‘copy’ someone else’s style. Again – you’ll just get found out. Social media is full of clones – there’s already a ‘me’, that place is taken, move along – you just be you. No one does you quite as well as you do – so do you and don’t worry about the crowd – at SPENGLE we don’t look to be standard, if we followed the crowd then you’d just be looking at another me-too spoked-wheel, instead we seek our own path, we do us, let the others weep in our dust.
Be gracious, be nice
In the words of Rudyard Kipling:
“If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters the same…”
In other words, if you win be graceful – if you lose – be graceful. No one likes a sore loser – and if you’re an ambassador your brand will like you significantly less. And… well, everyone will just think you’re a dick. And if you don’t race – and do not think that all ambassadors have to be competitive, there’s plenty of wonderful examples who just ride for fun – dignity and grace go a long way too.
Being a bully – whether that’s online or in real life – being demeaning about others and making others feel somehow lesser than you?
Bringing yourself and the brand into disrepute – there’ll be some serious brown stuff and fan interfacing going on right there. Our world is small, reputations are important. We could have just summed that up in one sentence:
Don’t be a dick.
Don’t be an askhole
Finally, but probably most importantly, contrary to popular belief, being an ambassador is not about ‘getting free stuff’. If that’s what you’re after then you’re on a hiding to nothing, because most people will see through you. In addition, brand fidelity goes a long way – hawking yourself round hundreds of companies, with a dodgy pitch that shows you have nothing to offer other than an over-inflated sense of your own entitlement – gets you a reputation as an askhole. Most brands have an excellent askhole radar. The people running the brands talk to each all the time – don’t be the laughing stock of the MTB world.