Updated: Oct 23
In today's world, standing out is more important than ever. Creating your brand is crucial to your racing program and is key to developing your story as a rider. There are three key points we believe separates you from the crowd when it comes to marketing yourself for sponsors: uniqueness, dedication, and consistency.
UNIQUENESS - although it might sound like a given when it comes to "standing out", it's not always the first thing a rider prioritizes. Take time to process what makes you unique, whether it's as simple as being the only one of your kind (think Ken Roczen; being the most successful rider from Germany), or as complex as your riding style (think Justin Barcia, known as "Bam Bam"). Every rider has a unique feature about them that needs to be developed and put to the forefront of their story to help attract support.
Once you identify what makes you unique, home in on your punch line. For example, my unique punch line is: "my twin sister and I are the first and only twin girls to race Motocross professionally". It's a short yet powerful statement that describes you and your brand as a rider. Additionally, your punch line helps give a sponsor a clear reason why your uniqueness will drive traffic to their company (think Ryan Dungey and Target: both brands represent 'positive, clean- cut' values).
Put your perspective in the eyes of the sponsor you want: think about who you'd want representing your company. With social media at the center of attention, it's become increasingly more difficult to stand out - which is why your uniqueness needs to be loud. Whether you align with the clean-cut-Ryan Dungey-type or the edgy-punk-Brian Deegan-vibe, you'll need to start developing what you look like to prospective sponsors - and more importantly, know what type of person each sponsor is looking for.
Every rider has a unique feature about them that needs to be developed and put to the forefront of their story to help attract support.
A few tips when developing your uniqueness:
Write down 5 stand out features that define you as a person (i.e. personality traits, personal achievements, etc.)
Then, write down 5 features that define you as a rider (i.e. championship titles, riding style, etc.)
Brainstorm 3 professional riders that most closely resembles your own identity
Lastly, analyze the similarities between that rider and yourself, creating a unique brand
DEDICATION - a common term used for training and riding, but not so much for your off the bike identity! Being dedicated to your brand is, in my opinion, equally as important as seat time. When it comes to being on social media, you're probably already pretty dedicated- but not in a way that that's productive. Learn to dedicate time to building your brand and marketing yourself to sponsors.
Here are some examples that describe marketing productivity on social media:
Posting about your daily achievements: gym workouts, what track you rode today, and or what your supplement routine is
Engaging with like-minded riders and athletes
Actively following sponsors and companies you want to attract
Dedication to building your brand and marketing what you bring to the table will give you a higher chance at catching the eye of the right person - and could mean the difference between getting the support you need or nothing at all. I firmly believe you get what you put into it, and your social media is an easy tangible way to make you stand out.
A big part of marketing yourself in today's current climate is learning social media's algorithm and dedicating time to mastering it. Your Instagram isn't going to change overnight, but dedicating time towards building your content will scientifically put your profile in front of prospective sponsors. In addition to mastering your social media, you'll need to master your in-person skills. It might not be your favorite thing, but going up to that Oakley rep at the track and simply introducing yourself will make you automatically stand out - and the next time they're at their desk recruiting riders, they'll remember that one time you approached them.
I firmly believe you get what you put into it, and your social media is an easy tangible way to make you stand out.
CONSISTANCY - going hand and hand with dedication, consistency means maintaining your brand. Now that you've locked in what you represent, you have to remain consistent with that narrative. This means always taking time to back up your punch line. If a sponsor likes the way you represent yourself on social media, but see's you act differently at the track, you've failed to be consistent to your brand. Riders like Adam Cianciarulo and Andrew Short are known for their kind-heartedness, and their brand is maintained by their generosity at the autograph line. Although it's expected to be consistent with how you market yourself on and offline, it's not always the case.
Do your research: learn who's current and who's trending in the industry to be prepared to show off your brand when the time comes. Be consistent on and off the track to show potential sponsors you treat your brand as a business.
Now that you've locked in what you represent, you have to remain consistent with that narrative. This means always taking time to back up your punch line.
*PHOTO BY NATALIE SIMMONS
THE MAIN EVENT:
Bringing these three key points together will help develop an attractive brand to sponsors and get you the support you need to be competitive at the races. Take the time to home in on your uniqueness, dedicate time to crafting it, and maintain your consistency on and off the track - you'll be a gate drop above the rest of your competition. Good luck!