Medalist Athlete Branding Guide

Learn how to build and grow your athlete brand.

Sponsorship Case Study – How Andreanne Pichette partnered with a local company to craft a mutually beneficial sponsorship

Successful sponsorships are not measured by the dollar amount they provide but by the value they create. 

Don’t get me wrong. Getting paid is good and in most cases imperative to our success. However, scouting a sponsor whose brand values align with yours regardless of how much they give you in the short term will offer much more to both your brand value and your bank account over the course of your career.

Take one from Andreanne Pichette’s playbook and read the following breakdown of how her partnership with Prana, a local organic food company, came to be.

Identifying her needs

Andreanne Pichette is a Canadian athlete member of the National Mountain Bike Team and a real foodie. Like most of Olympic hopefuls, she competes amongst the fastest in her sport, attends the same training camps in exotic locations, races in wonderful sceneries all around the world and (here's the kicker) she has to pay for most of it.

Combine the athlete lifestyle with the foodie habits you end up with one hell of a tab. The thing is, it may be a nightmare for your bank account but it totally makes sense given that your job is to fuel your body with the best possible nutrients to achieve the highest level of performances.

In Andréanne’s case, her need is pretty simple: keep eating well without going bankrupt.

Finding the perfect match.  

It’s a random encounter with Prana’s organic shredded unsweetened coconut that initially sparked her interest in the company. ( In case you’re wondering, it’s a big deal to find that exact type of pre-munched coconut since grocery stores usually only carry the obscure non-organic type blended with sugar.)

Glancing at the packaging, in awe, she noticed that not only was Prana’s branding uh-mazing but that it's actually a local company. After giving a shot to more of their products and checking out their website to validate her sentiment towards Prana, she was hooked. It was a perfect match.

Making initial contact.

She wrote Prana a quick email to describe her appreciation of their products and to introduce herself.

In the initial email, she mentioned her interest to represent their brand should they be looking for a presence in the athlete community.

Upon getting a positive feedback from Prana, she took the initiative to pay them a visit at their head offices in Montreal effectively triggering the beginning of a mutually beneficial partnership between the two.

So, what is the deal?

“The deal itself is very unofficial.” She responded. “In fact, I only have to represent the products in a way that suits my personal brand and theirs. Of course, social media is a good place to showcase their products. In exchange, I get awesome products that I love when I need. I also have a space reserved on my blog where I put healthy recipes mostly made out of Prana products.”

What’s in it for Andréanne?

“It allows me to associate myself with a brand that I actually believe in as opposed to a corporation who gives me money and that’s it.” ( which increases her brand value)

“I love cooking and Prana gives quality products to use.” ( which brings convenience and a better lifestyle)

“It allows me to save a lot of money on organic food, which is generally more expensive.” ( which calls for a much deserved financial break.)

“It gives me the credibility to share my passion of fueling your body right, which I think it is very important, not just for athlete.” ( which also gives her the credibility to establish her brand around being an ambassador of the healthy lifestyle)

What’s in it for Prana?

“It allows them to get exposure for a different type of customers.” ( which brings them low cost visibility)

“It’s now a trend to be athletic and pursuing a healthy lifestyle. Supporting an athlete is reinforcing this mantra.” ( which is a great activation channel for them) 

“I am the point of entry to the athlete world by promoting and introducing Prana and its products to the athletes in my network and to my social media followers who are for the most part, active people themselves.” ( which gives them high quality access to a new market)


Takeaways

Local companies may not have the big budgets that major corporations have. However, they have the luxury to be much more flexible which means that they are much more likely to actually listen to you.

Take for granted that one will undeniably outgrow the other. If the company takes off and grows tenfold during the length of your partnership, you’re likely to benefit from it and your will have paid off. If, on the other hand, you take off and become a widely known and successful athlete, you’ll be able to take this partnership as the blueprint of your next one.

There is no loser.


Caveat

No matter how many companies support you with freebies, it will not pay your bills… let alone earn you a decent income. Remember that you have a limit to the number of sponsor you can get. Choose wisely when comes to time to concede a part of your offering.

Written by Antoine Meunier
Athlete & Co-founder of Medalist
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