How to make a spon­sor­ship part­ner­ship work

Horse & Hound - - Contents - By RACHAEL TURNER

RIDERS and com­pa­nies have been re­minded that spon­sor­ship is busi­ness and should be treated as a work­ing re­la­tion­ship.

Canadian para dres­sage rider Bert Sh­effied spoke at the BETA Con­fer­ence on 30 Oc­to­ber.

“With­out my spon­sors I could not do my job,” she said. “I take spon­sor­ship re­ally se­ri­ously, it is ab­so­lutely busi­ness.”

Bert said there are many dif­fer­ent lev­els of spon­sor­ship, the most com­mon is prod­uct-based.

For her this comes from small to medium-sized busi­nesses, rather than “mas­sive guns”.

“They’re not as in­ter­ested in smaller riders; I’m not at that top flight of pub­lic­ity, the Carls and Char­lottes of the world,” she said.

Bert said con­tracts are es­sen­tial, and that spon­sor­ship is “in many ways em­ploy­ment”.

“You are em­ploy­ing a rider to rep­re­sent you,” she said. “If you wouldn’t em­ploy them in the of­fice, don’t spon­sor them.

“Hon­our your con­tract, live by it and don’t let it lose for­mal­ity.”

A strong aim is vi­tal, Bert said, such as whether the deal is a “PR and brand-build­ing ex­er­cise” or the rider is mar­ket­ing the prod­uct, and spon­sor­ship can ben­e­fit busi­nesses, as riders can help with re­search and de­vel­op­ment.

Bert added riders should be matched with ap­pro­pri­ate brands.

“There’s no point grass­roots riders rep­re­sent­ing a pre­mium brand,” said Bert. “En­try-level brands may be bet­ter for riders who cus­tomers iden­tify with.

“Am­a­teur riders are great if you want your name on a sad­dle­cloth and the com­mu­nity to see you.

“[Big names] will be big press if they win, and your brand will be helped by those wins.”

So­cial me­dia is im­por­tant to spon­sor­ship re­la­tion­ships,

Bert said, some­thing with which am­a­teur event rider Chloë Am­monds-Nut agrees.

“Spon­sors can see the ev­ery­day im­pact their help has,” she told H&H. “As a spon­sored rider it’s also a great way to en­gage with like-minded eques­tri­ans, so it’s win-win for spon­sors as their prod­ucts are be­ing pro­moted to the au­di­ence they would like to con­vert to cus­tomers.

“Rid­ing has high stakes and can be se­ri­ous and sober so so­cial me­dia is great for light­hearted con­tent. Funny things get shared; the domino ef­fect is what spon­sors are look­ing for.”

Bert Sh­effield urged all par­ties to see spon­sor­ship as busi­ness

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