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Sponsorship Advice for Riders and Brands

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About a year and a half ago I was signing up for media access to go to Overland Expo West and on the application they asked me what my "Klout" score was.  I had to look up what Klout was and found it essentially compiles all your social media accounts and then comes back with a score from 0 to 100 for how influential you are in your networks.  Obama and Kim Kardashian would be about 100.  Turns out I'm a 72!  Klim is about the same but that doesn't mean I'm as influential as Klim; only that I'm as influential in MY network as they are in theirs (they're in a much bigger network).  There's a similar score for websites called "domain authority."

 

Tolga Basol of Ride Must Go On

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So that got me thinking... hey what if every sponsored ADV rider could sign up on Klout and then they and the brands sponsoring them could use that information in making various decisions?  But that wasn't realistic so I thought hey, I'm an analyst by training; I bet I could come up with my own "score" so that's what I set out to do.  In the course of that I began to talk with Michnus Olivier of Piki Piki and then later Iain Harper of Overland Junction.  The three of us collaborated on this article and I will be presenting some of these concepts and more at the upcoming Horizons Unlimited get together in Yosemite in September.

 

That article can be found here: "Sponsorship Advice for Riders and Brands" by Michnus Olivier published at Overland Junction.

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In light of this recent kerfuffel over @Rescue690 I wanted to try and turn it into a positive learning experience for everyone.  FYI, he did reach out and it sounds like he's making a solid effort now to represent his project, talk to sponsors, get some events lined up, etc... which is great to hear.  In hindsight, I should have been following up to make sure those things were all happening as they should instead of assuming.

It made me realize that this type of thing is typically new to most riders who get into this type of commercial arrangement.  And honestly, it can be new to sponsors.  Lots of these sponsors are just small mom and pops and they don't have this whole social media influencer thing figured out either.  For every rider out there not "pulling their weight" I hear plenty of stories of sponsors who aren't either.  They're not sharing the rider's photos, not commenting, not providing feedback, etc...

So it's worth reading this piece in the initial post of this thread again to see what you should be doing.

Some thoughts:

  • Sponsors really just want to leverage the relationship you've built with your followers
  • So that means try and build a following!
  • Start a thread here (or elsewhere).  Have a story to tell.  @Chicka Motorunner does a really good job of that on her Instagram
  • Engage your followers by asking them questions and answering their questions.  Build a relationship.
  • Have a dedicated Facebook page, not your personal account
  • Get yourself a website if you're really serious about a long term trip involving lots of story telling, articles, blog posts, photos
  • Try and talk to your sponsors regularly about what's working/what's not working.  I just had a conference call this morning with SPOT that was very cool.  They're going to continue that.

Any other brilliant ideas?

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For all my sponsorship endeavors, I found that myself, and the sponsor where both happiest when we put it on paper. It helped me clearly meet my obligations when I could check the box. That doesn't mean sign a contract, but even an email outlining expectations can clear up all kinds of potential misunderstandings. 

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Thanks Eric,

Yes, this whole sponsorship thing is new to us and by all means we are doing our best between deployments and required Air Force schools to post and get out on the road and feature the Rescue 690. The KTM 690 is a legendary bike and between that and the ol' WR, we felt it best represented the high speed, grunt, and go-anywhere do-anything attitude of our fellow Service Members! When dealing with sponsors, getting everything in writing is the best way to go and the route we chose with each sponsor. We got advice from many of the big riders on Instagram including our very own XLADV who gave me some tips and bits of advice before the project kicked off and got me in contact with some awesome dudes in the industry who furthered the advice and guided me in the right direction. 

We have many awesome Sponsors that are just so amazing to work with; and they were chosen because they represent the highest of quality in the industry! We do not want to put any parts on the bike just because they were available and we even had to turn down about 3 or 4 potential sponsors who wanted to participate. 

We respect riders who ride to ride, ride because it is something they love to do, ride to clear their heads, or ride in search of pure adventure. 

This bike is not a "personal use" bike even though personal money was used to purchase the bike for full KBB/NADA price + title and reg :ride: I'm in the process of purchasing a separate bike for commuting and personal needs + the 690 will be used as said, and so far we have done exactly that :)

We have such an awesome band of supporters and fellow riders that love the cause and we are grateful that we can wake up everyday and do what we do. We would love to join any group rides for those riders that are interested in getting to know us or just want to ride because the heck of it. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] or just follow us @Rescue690 to get some great insight & ask anything you'd like. Since we are in different USAF schools now, we will be able to reply usually after 6pm.  

Thanks again for the support and please let us know if you'd like to learn more!

-Rescue690 

[email protected]

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Edited by Rescue690
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Personally imho getting back to what went wrong I so often see it was about missing expectations and different ideas. Although people talk and think they understand each other they don't. 

It is on both parties to discuss and ask more questions on excact points. How much, how many, when, where, the specifics of the deal, the nitty gritty stuff. We get quickly drawn into the excitement of it all and easily let slip the most important parts are the details. And as @556baller said get it on paper, well email or at least a basic agreement. 

Some people create some great content on one or two platforms only which is great but personally I would like to see sponsored people use a bigger variety of platforms. it is time consuming but in the end it will create a better quality long term relationship with sponsors. Also if one platform dies out due to new technologies you were invested in one or two only platforms and with that all the work and sponsors are gone. Plus it is a great way to cross post and is a far more credible way to attract sponsors and keep them happy. Also for the sponsored persons own "brand" they are building.

The perception of getting something for nothing and easy seems quick with social media but in fact it is not. It takes time and persistence to build a good following and a long term plan. Go slow go long.

When I started with my own company I started with Pinterest, Tumblr, Facebook, webpage and threads on Advrider and our local South African forums. Subscriptions to our website grew well and Insta is the latest one we used. Over all of them they cover a great area which now start to pay off well. Although I still don't use it for sponsorship but market research mostly. 

@Eric Hall I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment and what stands out is talking to each other. I think most relationships fail due to not enough communication. And brands not sharing and being involved with their sponsored people. Still now you hear people complaining they tag and mention brands in social media post and the brands never respond or acknowledge the feedback. 
 

Edited by michnus
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Interesting read. I hope my comment is relevant since I’m a newbie in the forum and new to the ADV scene.

I have been following many of you on Instagram and on the different forums looking for source of information on equipment, maintenance, riding routes and nice motorcycle pics. As I navigate the conversations and Instagram I keep on seeing riders that post a lot about their favorite jackets and helmets, or new exhaust. Which all is new for me and I enjoy it, but I don’t see in most of the posts a disclaimer where they indicate they're sponsored by that particular exhaust brand or helmet company. It seems to me a little odd to write a helmet review from Brand A and have a sponsorship or “partnership” contract with that brand and not mentioning it. It must be awesome to be sponsored by any company, should be a matter of pride to disclose it on your bio on Instagram. 

What’s your opinion about this?

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18 hours ago, DerVicman said:

Interesting read. I hope my comment is relevant since I’m a newbie in the forum and new to the ADV scene.

I have been following many of you on Instagram and on the different forums looking for source of information on equipment, maintenance, riding routes and nice motorcycle pics. As I navigate the conversations and Instagram I keep on seeing riders that post a lot about their favorite jackets and helmets, or new exhaust. Which all is new for me and I enjoy it, but I don’t see in most of the posts a disclaimer where they indicate they're sponsored by that particular exhaust brand or helmet company. It seems to me a little odd to write a helmet review from Brand A and have a sponsorship or “partnership” contract with that brand and not mentioning it. It must be awesome to be sponsored by any company, should be a matter of pride to disclose it on your bio on Instagram. 

What’s your opinion about this?

For me personally I find it underhanded for the lack of a better word when people does not disclose their sponsorship deals. Either you come across as a respected reviewer that will say it as it is and still disclose your interest or you are not and know people will give you an evil eye as you can't say anything shit about it. I don't think there is anything wrong with disclosing your interest, if I read the review and it seems the guy or girl at least tried to be unbiased then it is cool. 

Many do show it on their bio and Insta as pride but when it comes to reviews they don't add a disclaimer.  

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We aren't sponsored by any.....don't have a big enough following to matter and I'm good with both points :ride:

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