Working with Protein Supplies Australia it is immediately clear how passionate Mathew Stillone and his team arre not only about their product (they manufacture natural protein powders) but about their customers. They truly care about them and everything they do is for them and their nutritional needs.
The challenges Mathew and his team were having were that even though all their current athletes were ‘true believers’ (they truly loved the products and were engaged after they were customers not because of their profiles), they didn’t have any clarity on how to manage their team of ambassadors or how to get measurable return on their investment.
The need for a complete change in the athletes currently engaged by Protein Supplies Australia wasn’t necessary but we identified a couple of additions, a couple of terminations, and a focus on providing clear guidelines and expectations for ALL the athletes they were to be engaging on an ongoing basis. They just weren’t getting much value out of their ambassadors at that point, and they wanted to take responsibility for that.
In a 1 day workshop we identified the following business objectives and how their sponsored athletes could be involved in achieving the objectives through their further activation and enhancement of marketing activities.
FROM MATHEW STILLONE, BUSINESS DIRECTOR, PROTEIN SUPPLIES AUSTRALIA
We now sponsor 10 athletes, and they range from male bodybuilders to female nutritionists and general fitness enthusiasts. We were guided by Vickie and feel this represents our various target markets really well. Some people are more influenced by an aspirational figure whereas some of our other target markets want hard facts and will listen to the opinion of a professionally qualified person over their peers, or even someone who is elite in their sport.
Before engaging the Sponsorship Consultants, we had a lot of interest in sponsorship and affiliation with the brand, we never had any real time experience with setting up a program that would actually suit our target markets while meeting the company’s expectations of a relationship with our ambassadors. We knew we wanted it and it would benefit us, but we just had no idea where to start or what systems and actions to put in place.
It was really interesting going through the process with Vickie, and although I felt as though a lot of it was common-sense, there’s a lot more than logic behind the scenes of a functioning sponsorship/ambassador programme.
The process we went through identified a lot of key elements which we hadn’t considered in the past like understanding the personalities of our ambassadors and how they would suit different ‘packages’ and offerings. We also learnt a lot about our brand and the messages we send out in the world.
The best part was when we successfully rolled out our ambassador programme knowing exactly how to get the most out of the relationships, and knowing that the athletes we have chosen are right for us, and we are right for them.
There were multiple light bulb moments for me throughout the course, namely when we discovered the type of people we actually wanted to attract to our brand and the audience that we speak to as a whole. It also reinforced some ideas internally about where we aren’t and where we should be. The process of creating a sponsorship plan forces us to take a good look at our business and it helps us get clarity on so many things beyond just athlete sponsorship.
As much as this is a commercial exercise for us, the rewards that come from having honest and positive relationships with people is incredibly fulfilling, and I think everyone in the company benefits from this. We are helping people achieve goals in their lives by supporting them along their course and the benefits to us are great too, seeing noticeable benefits from the relationship such as athletes speaking to new audiences about our brand or having them display our brand is a natural byproduct of sponsorship.
Since working with the Sponsorship Consultants, we’ve changed ideas and mindsets as to where the brand should be in the market place. This has changed the course of the program as we’re opening doors up to a whole new set of markets and targets such as bodybuilding
If I could share something really important with other sponsors, it would be to not always be in it for the immediate financial ROI but
if you get it right it will happen naturally. As a Director, it’s easy to get your mind set on ‘money’ but sometimes it’s bigger then that.
It’s about creating positive relationships, and getting your brand messages out to the public behind a trusted ambassador who speaks to your audience. You might not see immediate dollars coming back, but what you’ll create is Brand Loyalty which is worth its weight in gold, especially in our industry.
We’ve had a bunch of amazing stories from our Ambassadors. I think the most rewarding relationships that occur are the ones thatcome from an organic nature, whereas existing customers have approached us about their desire to be involved in what we do, especially when they believe so heavily in our vision. There’s nothing that will beat having people like that on your side when it comes to this game.