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How to help sponsors during lockdown (and how you can make them unhappy too)

There’s no doubt that everything feels a bit surreal at the moment, for everyone with the coronavirus pandemic. For riders, the season had just started, and for businesses and brands, a packed show schedule was before them. And now it’s not.

During this time of lockdown, the businesses, brands, and individuals who have supported you, as a rider, on your journey, need you more than ever. You might think that you can only really fly the flag for them when you’re out competing, but that isn’t the case at all. At the moment, many businesses are seriously struggling and now is the time that you can help. Whether you’re a brand ambassador or you have sponsorship from a company, you can make a real difference to the brand — not just in terms of their exposure to your audience, but in terms of their sales too.

Before we get into a list, if you’re a raving fan of a brand, now is also a great time to show them just how much you care. Not only could it help them make new connections and sales, your moral support will make a big difference too.

Communicate

Yes — simple, isn’t it? Drop the brands you work with a message and see how they are and if there’s anything you can do to help them. Maybe you work with a feed company and they’re having a push on how to feed horses on minimal or no work? Maybe you’re sponsored by a brand that makes training aids and they’re seeing a real increase in demand as less and less people are riding? Maybe you’re a brand ambassador for a clothing brand and they have a new collection that’s coming out? Email/DM/text/Whatsapp/call the brands that support you and ask if there’s anything that you can do to help.

Go above and beyond

Maybe there’s the opportunity here to really show your support. Perhaps you could do a joint Instagram live with the brand to talk about something they do that you love? Maybe you could film a video at home of grooming products you use all the time? Maybe you could demo the fitting of some kit? Usually, at this time of year, riders are insanely busy going from show to show to show, so spin it around and get creative now. They can also use the content that you create now when everything goes back to normal, but now is a very good time to get getting out there!

Engage

Engaging with a brand’s social media — well, with anyone’s social media — helps whatever platform the post is on ‘see’ the content as valuable. Leaving a genuine response on a post they have put up can help get a post more reach in an organic way. And if you share with your audience, it’ll go even further. You don’t necessarily have to share every post they produce, but doing it in a way that you know your audience will appreciate and respond to will get more eyeballs on what the company is producing.

Use

If there’s ever been a time to really think about what you wear and use (and what you show the world you’re wearing and using) — THIS IS IT! Think about what you’re wearing (even if you’re working from home), and draw attention to the products from your sponsors. Show how much you adore your breeches and why, why you love this particular stain remover, etc. Show close ups, before and afters, tours of stables/grooming kits/lorries where the products are. Tag the brands too, so they can see and share if they like. Of course, don’t forget to declare your connection to the brand too — it’s still important we make these connections clear (whether the product is gifted or you’re sponsored), even during challenging times.

Think outside the box

What could do you that would help the brand get in front of more people? Could you run a competition with them and throw in a lesson/yard tour from you and both promote it? Could you do a series of tutorials with their products that your audience would love and the brand would too? Could you do a lockdown takeover on a social media channel where you share your day with the brand’s followers? You could even integrate empty packaging into children’s craft sessions and share the masterpiece, use heavy containers for make-do gym equipment, use empty supplement tubs as part of a ball game.

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Plan

This situation will get better and things will go back to ‘normal’ at some point. Can you plan anything with them for then? Obviously everything is in flux at the moment but would you be available to do meet and greets at events they’re due to have stands at? Could they come to your yard and have a stand on a future open day? Can you plan a photo or video shoot for the future? It’s really positive to look ahead.

Cheerlead

If there’s ever been a time to get your pom-poms out, this is it!

There’s no doubt that Coronavirus and the subsequent restrictions have made trading really difficult for many brands, but you, yes you, can really help them get themselves out there and improve their sales.

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