Tis the season in the cycling and triathlon world for applications for being a brand ambassador.
I admit I was confused by the concept of brand ambassadors when I first started blogging and sharing my triathlon dreams and stories with the world.
I remember a real world friend of mine was selected for team Chocolate Milk. I was super envious. She actually got a free race entry to an Ironman. It was amazing. But she did have to wear that ugly brown and orange tri kit. Lol.
I have another friend who was selected as a Specialized Women’s Ambassador and she got a trip to California and a new bike. That’s the coolest program I have ever heard of, I’ll be honest.
I probably filled out a dozen applications that year and was chosen for none (including Coeur Sports). Which is not the greatest ego boost in the world but a fact of life. Not everyone gets picked.
How did you, Amy get picked to be a brand ambassador for Coeur Sports?
I have no idea. I had applied at least once maybe twice before I was selected and I have been very fortunate to be an ambassador for Coeur Sports for 2 years. It’s been a phenomenal thing. I am not on the ambassador team for 2018 and that’s great too.
I found Coeur Sports in my hunt for shorts that didn’t have a seam that hurt the top of my legs. I had learned that the seam around the chamois in tri shorts caused me a lot of discomfort on long rides. I ordered them based on their concept of a seamless chamois and they work amazingly for me. In fact, I’m fairly sure that without discovering Coeur Sports I may not have tried Ironman.
Being a part of the Coeur Sports team for 2 years has been wonderful. They really have done something special in creating a team of women who interact almost all online but come together as a team.
Here’s what I know about being a brand ambassador.
I’m not sure I really know very much. Hate to dash any expectations but I have to be honest.
Brand Ambassadors are a way that companies can generate brand awareness. It’s a part of their marketing or sales process. I think that the idea is that a recommendation from somebody that you know or trust carries more weight than a display ad.
Being an ambassador is not the same as being sponsored. It can look the same from the outside but I think it’s a different concept.
Being an ambassador is also not the same as being a sales affiliate. I don’t think most ambassadors get paid. Affiliates can and do get paid.
There are two primary ways I know of that ambassador teams can be established.
The most common way that I see is that the company selects ambassadors and then you buy into the team. So you purchase a kit and perhaps a small bit of product and then you get discounts and team activities during the year. You usually commit to a certain amount of activities in person and online for that company during the year.
The other way is that once you are selected as an ambassador the company gives you some of their product for free, you get a discount and you commit to use that product exclusively and a certain amount of in person and online activity during the year.
There is a third kind of team which is the elite age grouper team (for example Timex, Zoot and Everyman Jack – this is different than ambassadors). I’m not an elite athlete so I know less about these teams.
The important thing that both types of ambassador teams work is that you will be expected to do some work for the brand. Nothing in life is free. My friend who got the Chocolate Milk spot she posted about chocolate milk all the time. My friend who got the Specialized post. She created real-life women’s rides in Miami once a month. They worked hard for those companies.
What are companies looking for in Brand Ambassadors?
The truth here is that I don’t actually know since I’ve never build a team. So these are my guesses.
Some brand ambassadorships are looking for people with big social media reach. I’m just being honest. At the end of the day if you hold a lot of clout online within the world of triathlon you may hold more appeal to a brand when you apply. It is very standard for a company to ask for your social media stats when you apply. This is especially true of new companies looking to launch products they look for the biggest reach they can get.
Some companies are looking for organic exposure at races. They are looking for age groupers who win at local races. This makes total sense if you are a company selling to prospects at races. Coeur Sports actually breaks their team into two parts they sponsor a few elite women which is a great thing for them to do. Then they have their ambassador team which includes some amazing age group women on their team and some regular folks like me. You might be asked to tell your race results and which races you are going to do when you apply for an ambassador role.
Some companies are looking for hands on the ground sales people. Gatorade does or did ask it’s ambassadors to staff events. Base Performance asks it’s ambassadors to pitch in at events. The Base team is legendarily awesome. In big part to the fact that Matt Miller is a super energetic force. I’ve never been a part of that team but they seem to have an AMAZING experience.
Is there a down side to being a brand ambassador?
I love being an ambassador for Coeur Sports. I personally wear their clothes and I’m happy to tell you why. If you asked me 4 years ago what shorts I wore I would say Coeur – if you ask me today you’ll get the same answer.
I made some great friends through Coeur Sports . I think this team is unique because they have a social message of support and bringing “heart” to the sport. I have loved being a part of this team. Being involved with these women has motivated me to be a better person and I am thankful for that.
But I did have some strange things happen. Last year when I was selected for my second year I actually had a lady call me out online in the Women for Tri page because she thought I personally wasn’t worthy. That was really weird and unpleasant.
Also, when I took the job of being president of my local tri club I created a conflict because I had two people hoping my body would be their billboard. That has been weird. I prefer to have nobody care what I wear to be honest.
Sadly, I have also seen ambassador deals tear friendships apart. My advice is – don’t let your ego take over for a discount on some product.
One last thing, some “ambassador” programs are really just sales pitches. Try to stay away from those if you can.
Coeur Sports is special to me. I will always be #HardCoeur
I didn’t know what to expect with the Coeur Team and my expectations have been exceeded over and over. The Coeur Team – the team is something special. I really don’t know how they do it but they do manage to find amazing women who are involved in this community who will go out of their way for others. In Boulder my catcher at Ironman Boulder was a Coeur Teammate. Erin. She’s still seriously the best Iron Sherpa I’ve seen in action. I didn’t meet all of the women but those I did are super inspirational. It’s a great team. I am beyond thankful that I got the chance to do this.
For 2018 I am not a Coeur Sports ambassador and I can say with an open heart I am happy with that. I am thrilled for everybody on the 2018 team. Seriously, congratulations to all of you!
I was in no way the best evangelist for Coeur Sports this year. There are a lot of women out there that will be better evangelists for this brand and they deserve spots on the team. In this world brands need evangelists to succeed. Coeur Sports makes fantastic clothing and I want them to succeed.
How can you be a brand ambassador?
The idea for this article came because I’ve had about 50 questions about how somebody can become a brand ambassador for Coeur Sports. The truth is I don’t know the answer.
Be yourself. Someday the ambassador relationship will end and you will have to move forward.
Be a legitimate lover of the product. You will be expected to sell it so if you don’t actually like it that will be no fun at all.
Be ready for people to associate you with the product.
Be ready to do honest work for that company in exchange for either payment or goods. Know in advance that will be expected of you.
Support others who do get picked and just be nice.
Don’t take it personally if you don’t get picked. Life goes on.
Good luck to each of you who applies for ambassadorships this year.