Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Getting Sponsorship

at the top of Carstensz Pyramid, West Papua.
Showing sponsors logo to say 'Thank you'.
(with Levi N)
 First, it’s not going to be easy! And don’t get disappointed if it didn’t work out. That’s part of the experience, part of your long journey to success.

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.

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