Tuesday, November 21, 2017

So, You Want to be a Brand Ambassador... I've Got 8 Things You Should Consider

Do you run in a particular brand of clothing? Use only one fuel religiously? Wrap your legs in compression? Have you ever considered representing your favorite brand and promoting their products through social media? It's that time of year when all the brands are calling out for runners to apply to their brand ambassador programs.

It's a lot of fun being a brand ambassador! I've been an ambassador for a variety of brands over the years. Currently, I am a brand ambassador for Inknburn, Tailwind, Momentum, and RockNRoll Races. There's more to representing a brand than just wearing their products or receiving freebies. If you are considering a brand ambassadorship, I've listed some things below to keep in mind before accepting.



Do you actually use the product? Ok, this seems like a no-brainer, but when I first started blogging, I was so eager to start repping a product that I probably would have agreed to anything! Compression socks seem to be the gateway drug to ambassadorship--there are a lot of sock companies out there willing to share their goods in exchange for blog posts and Instagram shout outs. I wasn't immune to the flattery--while I didn't become a compression sock brand ambassador, I did product reviews for a company that sells compression socks. As much as I wanted to do right by the company, I wore the socks for the post and that was it. From this experience, I learned that I didn't like compression socks for running. I would use them for recovery and if I was still working as a hospital nurse, I'd wear them on the job. Lesson learned:  I just didn't feel right representing a product that I really don't use.


All decked out in ambassador gear.
What are the perks? Does the company offer ambassadors free products? Or do you get a discount? Some brands are really generous with their ambassadors. Others offer a substantial discount. And other brands, not much of a discount at all. Maybe the brand doesn't give a lot of perks, but there are other benefits, such as substantial social media exposure if you wear their products. What's important to you?

What are the requirements? Does the brand expect ambassadors to wear their products at races and display the products prominently on social media? How would you feel about wearing gear with the brand's name/logo at races? In the past, one sock brand that I represented decided (after I was already on board) to require ambassadors to purchase and wear a kit for all races. Here's my take on that: if you want me to wear gear emblazoned with your brand name on it, then provide it for free (like a certain fueling company does). Oh, and make the gear attractive--something that runners would be proud to wear. While I loved their socks, I objected to having to buy the kit and wear it to races. I resigned from my ambassadorship.


You need a fairly large social media presence. The good news is that you don't have to be a blogger to be a brand ambassador. If you have a good following on Instagram and/or Facebook, brands will take a chance on you. My friend Kristina, aka Live Laugh Love Run/OC Running Mama, is a brand ambassador for Inknburn, Feetures, and Tailwind. She doesn't have a blog but she has a popular Facebook page as well as a large following on Instagram. If you do have a blog, it's a good idea to install Google Analytics or Statcounter to help track your presence on social media. A lot of ambassador programs ask for your numbers.

Make sure your goals and values align with the company's goals and values. Inknburn is made in the USA and while that makes their products a little more pricey than some of the big names, I'm really proud to represent them and wear their gear knowing that the products are made here and not in a sweatshop. Their clothing is uniquely designed and each piece is produced in limited quantities. Tailwind is a true grassroots company and when I considered trying their fuel, I reached out to the company with some questions. I heard back from one of the owners--that meant so much to me that when they opened up their ambassadorship program, I knew I wanted in. Although they are growing, Tailwind still personalizes every bag of fuel they send out. I love the personal touch. Oh, and I love their fuel.

So proud to be wearing my Inknburn!!!
Along those lines, know what you are getting into. A year ago, I was a Venus de Miles race ambassador. I had participated in the event and loved it, so it seemed like a good fit for me to represent. I read the requirements before I applied and it seemed like they were asking a lot for a free entry and a race jersey, but I thought it would be no big deal. Turns out, it was a lot of work and while it was for a great cause, I struggled to meet all the requirements. I felt really bad about that and didn't apply the next year. I realized I wasn't the only one struggling with this commitment when only 1 other ambassador besides me showed up to the event.

Don't spread yourself too thin. Once you have an active social media following, brands are more interested in bringing you on board. Pretty soon, everyone is offering you goods and you're representing multiple brands! It can get pretty overwhelming. If you are affiliated with too many brands, your followers will be confused and so will the brands. Learn to say no. Choose only the brands that you really love and relate to.


Honor your commitment. The brands that choose to work with you are expecting you to promote them in exchange for whatever perks they are offering. Make sure you're sharing your affiliation and love for the brands on social media regularly! Tagging the brands in your posts and using their hashtags are really important. Show your passion for the products you represent! Try to be positive in your presence on social media--it's ok to "keep it real" but don't be Debbie Downer all the time.

I'll tell you, my diagnosis with RA really threw me for a loop this year and it happened after I was chosen to represent Inknburn, Momentum, and RockNRoll Races, as well as my re-appointment with Tailwind. It was a challenge to stay positive at times but the brands stuck with me which kept me on track. I had a lot of fun this year. With the uncertainty of my disease, I won't be renewing some of these ambassadorships for 2018. I am so grateful to these companies for choosing me to represent their brands and I hope I did a good job sharing my love for them this past year!

Anything to add? Do you represent any brands? What have you learned as a brand ambassador? 

I'm linking up with Tuesdays on the Run aka Marcia, Erika, and Patti as well as Coaches' Corner aka Debbie, Rachel, and Lora.




58 comments :

  1. The biggest thing for me is to remember to only rep the brands I really love. There are brands I like and use regularly, but if I don't LOVE something, I forget to rep them on the regular. Or I resent the requirements. If you are thinking in terms of "how much am I "making" for the hours I'm putting in", you might not want to partner with that brand. Partner with the ones where you think "I'd be doing this for free and now I get swag".

    -MCM Mama

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    1. Exactly!!! And I should have added that if you don't get accepted the first time you apply, try again next year. But in the meantime, show the brand how much you love them. Wear their gear, use their products, and post it all over SM.

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  2. Im not currently am ambassador for any brands because I haven't wanted to make any commitments. Ive done it a few times in the past and its a great opportunity if you're representing something you are passionate about. Right now I just want to focus on blogging and posting when I want without any pressure. But maybe one day I'll try it again- but it definitely has to be for the right brand!

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    1. It took a long time for me to commit to a clothing brand--I do like to do my own thing. But I found myself wearing more and more INB and friends started encouraging me to apply. It's been fun!

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  3. Erika makes a great point. It's easy to spread one's self too thin for sure. And some of the programs are downright confusing.

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    1. It's kind of interesting--it seems like when it rains it pours, once you start accepting offers, they keep rolling in. It's important to pick and choose what products are the most meaningful!

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  4. Lesson learned...I was an ambassador for a popular electrolyte-replacement drink company last year. Although I (somewhat) liked the product, I definitely did not love it. And the meager 10% discount was (in my opinion) a joke. SO, that gig ended LOL

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    1. Didn't it feel like everyone was a brand ambassador for them? That was a big turn off for me!

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  5. Great tips! I wonder if Venus de Miles realized how much work they were asking for? I think some brand expectations arise from innocent ignorance -- if you're not active in social media/blogging yourself, you have no clue how much work it takes to create and promote good content.

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    1. Totally agree, if expectations look too high, it doesn't hurt to ask!

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    2. I learned a lot from that experience. I felt really bad for them--I don't think they realized how much they were asking.

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  6. I agree that you have to really love the company and the product before applying to be a brand ambassador. Whenever I apply to be an ambassador, I have to have a real connection the the product and the company.

    I think loyalty is a big factor also. This year I decided not to apply to be an ambassador for Nuun and Honey Stinger because I wanted to try new racing fuel and I knew I couldn't be loyal to those brands.

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    1. Agreed. It's hard to promote a product that you don't love!

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  7. Thank you for the information on Ambassadorships. I have considered applying for ambassadorships, but talk myself out of it quickly, mostly because the benefits didn't seem worth the work.... like this one brand was offering a 10% off, but I can buy their product for less elsewhere, and I'm all about what makes sense for my own wallet.

    I also appreciate when bloggers/ social medial personalities limit themselves to 3-4 brands instead of 20! I have unfollowed many when most of their posts are product reviews.

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    1. It's a fine balance for sure, between sharing your love for a brand and only doing product reviews. I know what I like to read and so I try really hard to make any product reviews relevant and interesting.

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  8. Great advice. Like you, I jumped in too fast when I started blogging 5 years ago, and now I'm much more picky.

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    1. It's nice to be at a place where you can pick and choose! I feel so lucky.

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  9. I'm still figuring out this whole brand ambassador thing. I've got a couple and maybe one that I need to drop. I agree that you don't want to spread yourself thin and you should really love the company.

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    1. I'm on the fence about reapplying for 2 of them. I just don't know if I can do them justice any more. It's a tough one.

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  10. Unfortunately if you don't have a big following, you don't get picked. I get tired of applying because of this.

    Love Skirt Sports though so at least I have t hat one.

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    1. I think Skirt Sports is a big one! Quality over quantity.

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  11. I think going with a brand you love is key. I accepted a couple of small ambassadorships early and while I liked the products, I didn't love them. I fulfilled my commitment and then was done. Right now my SM presence is relatively small, so I am grateful for the companies who are willing to take a chance and grow together.

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    1. I agree--that's how I got started. I had a surprise ambassadorship too-- a virtual race company kept sending me free entries and called me an ambassador, even though I never applied for anything. It was a fun summer fling...

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  12. I haven't been an ambassador for any brand, but I'm also really picky about brands. I am part of the Oiselle volee, and I'll talk about that, but I don't get anything extra.

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    1. I'm glad to hear that you like that program!

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  13. This is #goals. I hope to become a brand ambassador one day, and this one was really enlightening for me because I had a lot of questions that you definitely answered here. I've always thought they provided money, but I suppose some brands can't really afford that much. Nonetheless, congrats on all you sponsorships.

    The Fitness Bro

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    1. Thanks--you can do this once you get growing. There are a lot of small companies looking to get some movement on their products (the compression socks) and that's a good place to start.

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  14. Great tips Wendy! I'm currently ambassador for one company and while I really do think their product is great, it just doesn't fit my running needs.

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  15. Fabulous break down friend!!! After 10 years of blogging about running I think i've worked with nearly everyone, but I'm really careful about saying I'm ambassador. I like to think that's a bigger commitment on both parties to support each other from a place or mutual respect and NEVER for a product I don't LOVE.

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    1. You could have written this post and then some! This year was the best year for me, blogging and ambassador-wise. It's been great to represent brands that I love.

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  16. We have been some ambassadors of some great brands and others that just wants us to advertise for them with nothing in return. I wish it would always go borth ways, but that is not always the case.

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    1. We learn from that, though! How they treat their ambassadors says a lot about a company.

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  17. Such great advice! Thanks for sharing your brand ambassador tips!

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  18. Yes to all of this - such great advice! It is so easy to get enamored with the idea of being an ambassador, but it also requires a lot of effort. Only worth it if you really love the brand - and even then, some brands just want too much!

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  19. Navigating the blogging world can be quite confusing, especially in the beginning when you are hoping to get your name out there. This is great background for bloggers trying to figure things out (or just need a little reminder)!

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  20. As you said, at first it can be over whelming when so many companies offer you free products and it's very flattering. After taking a few I did not enjoy, I am so thankful to be sticking with the one I truly love, Skirt Sports. Love their message and they are just so generous to their ambassadors. As a few have said, it's so easy to spread yourself too thin and then feel pressured.

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    1. I'm so happy that I have been able to be affiliated with the brands that I love.

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  21. This is excellent information for anyone who is considering becoming a brand ambassador. I love all of the companies I'm currently representing, but it can become work. Some companies invite ambassadors, give them a few discounts, and reap in the reward of their social media presence. It's a good idea to be on the lookout for those. I'm with Deborah above (and by the way, about that Debbie Downer thing....) and love representing Skirt Sports. I love their message and their inclusivity for real women of all shapes and sizes.

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    1. I agree with you about SS--Inknburn is doing the same thing and it's nice to see so many different ambassadors! INB limits their ambassadors to one year, which another way they can include as many people as possible.

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  22. OMG this is SO true!! I regularly turn down ambassadorships because I know I cannot honor the commitment (I don't want to HAVE to blog about something!) and some of them ask a lot in exchange for a bib or a jersey!!! This is a perfect PDA for bloggers and runners everywhere :-) Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

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    1. Haha--I actually like having a topic to blog about! But it's nice to have a balance between blogging about something and blogging about nonsense. Plus I think people don't want to only read product reviews.

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  23. Yessss to all of this! I have definitely reconsidered some of the partnerships that I've had over the years for these exact reasons. Mama ain't got no time unless I truly truly love it and it's worth it.

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  24. This is such a great, comprehensive post. Being a brand ambassador can be a lot of work, and you should really look for brands that you already use and enjoy. Race ambassadorships can also be pretty fun, but a couple of years ago I was an amabassador for several races and it was overwhelming. I'm still deciding what I want to do in 2018...

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    1. You and me both! It's hard for me to let go of anything I'm involved in right now because I love all of my ambassadorships. I just don't know if I can hold up my end of the bargain.

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  25. I love several small brands that have ambassadorship programs, but I only represent one (compression socks). I've considered applying to other programs, but unless I use the brand exclusively, it just didn't feel right. I still give the companies shout outs but I would rather stick to what I know and love.

    Love the post by the way!

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    1. Even if I don't reapply to some of my ambassadorships, I'll be supporting the companies!

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  26. These are all really great tips. I've started becoming much more selective with brand ambassadorships and typically only work in those where a) I'm getting paid, or b) the requirements are a bit lower in exchange for product only. I don't do any where I have to buy anything - the blog/social channels are my biz after all! :)

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    1. I don't mind buying the clothing if it's something I would have bought anyways!

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  27. So much truth. I did the same thing when I started by applying for alllll the ambassadorships! Now I seek out the products I use.

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    1. It's so exciting when you first start ambassadoring (is that a word)? But it's important to be smart about it.

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  28. These are all great tips! I am a member of Team Smashfest Queen, which I LOVE!!

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  29. This is really helpful. Thanks, Wendy! I've been a brand ambassador in the past and had a hard time sticking with it because of lack of support of the companies. I feel like it's a two-way street, and a good company will not only provide perks but also guidance and support.

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  30. I've been contacted a few times to become an ambassador but the products were really weird and unrelated to my blog "brand", like workout videos when I have a pretty clear preference for outdoor exercise. Thanks for a look into what has and hasn't worked with your partnerships.

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