Angler Identity in the Sponsorship game
One of the hardest parts of fishing professionally has to be the business side of the job. Not only do you have to fish against the best in the business but also have to work hand in hand with a bunch of different companies in order to remain on tour. I feel this is where most people fail horribly.
There are a few principles that i have started figuring out over the past three years.
1.) Never, Never, Never sign with a sponsor that violates your ethics or principles. If their products or marketing plan in some way goes against your beliefs, you will always carry that burden in the back of your mind. Too many anglers are willing to promote despite what it does to their moral compass. You can also become categorized by the company you keep. Always remember no dollar amount is worth aquiring a label of something you are not. Not to be overly preachy in this blog, but one of my favorite verses is ...
2.) Be honest...... if you have a hard time using a product, how are you supposed to promote it? There are two people you owe it to be honest with. First, Your sponsor. If you have a problem with a product or its function, don't be afraid to tell the sponsor. That's one of your purposes for being a part of that company. Time after time I see anglers say this product, or that product are the best product they have ever used because they feel it in some way will butter up a sponsor to keep them happy. The funny part is, they aren't really using the product or have used it so little that they have yet to see it fail. Yes, sponsors want to hear how great their product is, but they also want the truth and how to make their products superior over their competitors. Secondly, be honest with the consumer. I understand we all have our little tricks of the trade or secrets that we keep to ourselves to someway give us the edge over competition. My biggest pet peeve is when a pro tells you the complete opposite of what they were doing. I recently watched a major event and one of the pros told someone he was throwing a swimbait and it clearly showed he was throwing something else...that ruins credibility. You don't have to give the exacts, but don't lie.
3.)Don't be afraid to say no.... no matter how much you're going to lose. A good friend of mine Wes Lowry of Lowry Creative, recently helped me figure out my niche in the world of marketing. The truth is we all have one. Each one of us has areas of influence and specific traits or lets say quirks that may or may not compliment a specific sponsor. Example..... If you enjoy cooking a grill company or seasoning company may be perfect for you. Maybe you could show your daily routines in the process of preparing you meals. That is a perfect fit situation, but let's say you find yourself on the other side of the spectrum. You don't enjoy cooking, you eat take out every night and you don't know the difference between a Boston butt and a tube of hamburger meat. If you find yourself in this category any sponsor in the realm of cooking would be a horrible fit.
We all need money to compete, I understand that, but there are too many companies throwing away money on people that don't understand why they are marketing to begin with. Make sure that you are a good fit for each company you represent and that they are a good fit for you. There are so many good fits for each person, you just have to put forth the effort to realize who they are.
Enough Blog/ranting for today - good luck in 2018