|at the top of Carstensz Pyramid, West Papua. |
Showing sponsors logo to say 'Thank you'.
(with Levi N)
This sponsorship challenge is very true in countries like Philippines where brands are economy-ruled and highly demand market exposure from partners. Basketball or boxing or other spectator and televised sports may be more promising to invest on – who would want to spend on a crazy dude/dudette braving the arctic storm trying to test his/her mortality in a sub-freezing, man-eating polar bear-inhabited and back-wrecking traverse through the North Pole?
But there’s always hope, it may not be a sure-shot, but worth investing on a few things to hopefully get that much-needed attention and funding. Some thoughts:
1. Sponsorship is a win-win deal. It’s not a 1-way charity. As climbers / adventurers/ travellers – we have to dig deeper/ research / be creative on what we can offer especially in terms of brand exposure. A print magazine story? Televised documentary? Web posts with your sponsors’ logo? An event where brand can merchandize their goods? Value will depend on how much / how well one can help promote a brand. Most adventurers don’t like managing this ‘stuff’. Get help from friends!
2. Building your equity. Ask yourself, how can a brand or company believe/trust/ like your proposal? As adventurers/climbers/etc.. we sort of ‘sell ourselves and our adventures’. I think what helped me get an Everest climb sponsorship was my little successes on Aconcagua and Cho Oyu – both of which were ‘highest Filipino climb altitude at that time”. It’s sort of sending a message that ‘you can trust this guy to deliver a promise’. So start investing on your equity – be creative in your ‘record-setting’ not to brag or sugar-coat anything, but to send a strong ‘can-do’/’trust me’ / ‘worth your dime’ message to your would-be sponsors.
3. We all have to invest time, money, sweat and blood to build our equity! No short-cuts, unfortunately. If you want a sponsored 8000m climb – for example, advertise (and do) it as a new/unique ‘product’ like non-O2 supported climb. But before that, climb some self-funded 6 and 7000m peaks first. Expensive, but necessary. Manny Pacman would not have been able to attract sponsors if he didn’t risk getting hit and knocked down first – his initial fights were hard/ body-aching investment. Sometimes, a plan is needed to build one’s equity. Adventurers are explorers and are very ‘variable’ in so many ways - building equity means giving a bit of focus on one’s chosen field (i.e. if you want to be a ‘sponsored climber’, do more climbs, set more ‘records’, and less on other stuff (paddling, surfing, etc.).
4. Product or adventure-output wise, offer something unique, like the non-O2 8000m climb mentioned above. Many others in adventure world- sailing across oceans? Polar expeditions? Crossing channels using plastic-bottle-made boat? First Pinoy couple in Everest? Youngest or oldest to do this and that?
5. Don’t limit target sponsors to brands/companies. Ask your own club’s officers, your family, network of friends, even strangers for support. If they truly believe in your plan – they might just give a little support. While I chose not to do this, I’ve seen others got a bit of success in this approach, may be limited – but hey, help is help.
6. Do what you love doing without ‘future sponsorship’ in mind. Sponsors are helpful bonuses. The lack or absence of which should not be a limitation to following one’s dream or pursuing one’s passion. Sometimes, it’s a matter of making life choices, of choosing what to sacrifice and what to focus on.