As riders we all dream and aspire to be able to secure a sponsor as great and huge as Land Rover. Horse & Hound caught up with Scott Dicken, Jaguar Land Rover UK’s Marketing Director, to find out how they operate their sponsorship deals, plus they reveal dos and don’ts for those looking to secure a contract.
H&H: What are you looking for from your sponsored equestrians?
Scott: “Our sponsored riders are known as brand ambassadors. They don’t necessarily need to be the most famous riders in the world, but they need to be able to create a degree of awareness among the equestrian community. Their message needs to resonate with equestrian enthusiasts and work alongside the Land Rover brand.”
H&H: What sort of relationship do you have with your brand ambassadors?
Scott: “It’s a very natural working relationship — we really are one big family and it’s not superficial at all. Zara Tindall (pictured top), for example, is happy to talk to our hospitality guests at events and shares compelling information because she wants to, not because we’ve asked her to. Harry Meade, who joined the Land Rover ambassador team in 2015, also gave a very insightful cross-country course walk at this year’s Burghley Horse Trials to our guests (pictured below) — that was a money can’t buy experience.”
H&H: How do you prefer prospective brand ambassadors to get in touch initially?
Scott: “If you send generic emails to a large range of companies saying ‘Please will you sponsor me?’ the answer will more often than not be no. You need to tailor your pitch to appeal to potential sponsors. We like to approach those we think could work well alongside our brand. For example, our latest brand ambassador signing is Nick Skelton (pictured below), whose spirit fits perfectly with our slogan of ‘above and beyond’.
H&H: What makes a good pitch?
Scott: “There has to be a genuine two-way passion between the two parties. Ambassadors must show that they are experts in their field and we need to consider how they can be best utilised to promote Land Rover. It is also useful if they have a direct connection with our brand to give the partnership relevance and a sense of authenticity.”
H&H: What is an absolute no-no when it comes to sponsorship?
Scott: “Poor behaviour. But thankfully that’s not something we have issues with!”
H&H: What do you look for in return for sponsorship?
Scott: “Our brand ambassadors need substance and to be genuine. We ask that they make personal appearances at various events and that they engage with our guests and wider audience, both in person and via social media — this can hugely broaden the reach to current and prospective Land Rover customers and give super insight. The message both we and riders need to convey must be clear and consistent, again it all goes back to our slogan of going above and beyond.”
H&H: What sort of packages do you offer your brand ambassadors?
Scott: “It varies hugely. Each partnership is negotiated on the specifics of that particular relationship. To be honest however, many of our relationships are born out of a genuine passion from the ambassador for our brands and not necessarily motivated by money.
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H&H: Do you only sponsor the biggest names in their respective fields?
Scott: “Absolutely not we have to ensure that we have substance in the relationship. Deals based on pure reach and exposure alone are very superficial and as a result lack the authenticity we seek— it’s all about brand fit. For example, we have recently partnered with the Pony Club to support regional competitions and away from equestrianism we are also now sponsoring local rugby clubs via our retail franchises.”
For more information on Land Rover and it’s long term commitment to equestrian sport, visit: www.landrover.co.uk/equestrian