My Barn Child is just finishing up our 3rd year of business. And we have had brand ambassadors for 2 1/2 of those years.
We'd had 3 crops of new girls and, throughout each process of adding new faces to the brand, there is one thing we have noticed about the vast majority of riders looking for brands to rep:
They don't have a full understanding of what a brand ambassador is ... Or does.
It varies greatly, from company to company, and even from industry to industry.
Ambassadorships are typically not the same as "sponsorships", but companies choose their own language so sometimes it can get a little confusing. When you see "Featured Rider" or "partnered with" in someone's social media bio, it usually means they are a brand ambassador.
In short, a brand ambassador represents a brand.
Ambassadorships are the most common form of relationship between an athlete and a brand. A brand ambassador provides social media marketing support to the brand they represent: Info in your bio, links in your bio & posts specifically mentioning the brand or highlighting products, sales or giveaways.
What a company offers an athlete - and what they expect in exchange - is different for every company.
Where, when and how you represent a brand also varies a lot. Some brand ambassadors rep a brand on social media only. Others have stall banners and logo apparel that they wear at horseshows. Most riders with an ambassadorship do a combination of both.
Usually, a sponsorship is reserved for high profile professional riders competing at an elite level. A sponsorship is a formal marketing agreement that a company enters into with an athlete. It usually involves free product and often a cash payment. Very few riders will actually have a true "sponsorship" in their lifetime.
We have seen riders on Instagram ask brands if they (the rider) can sponsor the brand. It sounds funny, but our guess is that this use of the word "sponsor" came from Hunger Games. The rider is offering to "sponsor" (help) the brand. But it's not the same as when a brand sponsors a rider.
Ambassadorships often involve free product and/or discounted product and can affect your amateur status. Please refer to our other blog post about brand ambassadorships & ammy status, for a little more elaboration on that subject.
The best advice we can give you, regarding ambassadorships is this:
If you are interested in repping a brand, ask them what their specific expectations are. Check out the brand ambassadors they already have. Chat with them too!
A good company will want you to succeed. And they will remember that potential brand ambassadors are also customers.