What is a Brand Program?

Athlete Support - Rich Houseman -

What is a Brand Program?
To Hookit, a Brand Program is a term that encompasses the wide range of support an athlete could earn from brands that manufacture the products they use everyday and fuel their lifestyle. Most refer to this as sponsorship, deals, endorsements, contingency, pro-form, discounts, flow, hook ups, street teams and ambassador programs to name a few.

The average competitive athlete spends anywhere from $2,500 to $100,000+ every year just to chase the dream of becoming a pro or just to get to the next level. Even the hardcore athlete that doesn’t compete, but is out doing their thing every week spends thousands of dollars a year. For most, the financial burden (and injuries in some cases) that builds up after a couple years takes priority and the passion fades.

Our philosophy is that without athletes, there would be no sports.

Hookit partners with brands that share this philosophy and want to help athletes accomplish their goals by offering programs that ultimately bring down the high cost of participation. Long-term, this keeps athletes in sports longer, which ultimately benefits everyone.

With that said, brands still have a business to operate and the level of ‘support’ potentially offered all comes down to athletes’ commitment, performance and reach in their sport. These elements are the foundation behind the Hookit Score, which was created to provide both athletes and brands a simple way to evaluate athletes.

Regardless of whether an athlete is a top pro, amateur competitor or just a hardcore enthusiast, they all fall into a group of\ the some of the most influential and valuable people on the planet for brands. Assuming an athlete fits a brand’s criteria in these areas, the difference between entry-level support and great support comes down to loyalty, personality and attitude, such as: How long an athlete has used a brand’s products? Are they easy to work with? Do people like them? Have they been proactive to drive value? All questions that are asked before determining what an athlete deserves.

There is however a huge difference between the #1 highest paid athlete on the Forbes Top 100 list (Tiger Woods) and the aspiring 13 year-old kid at your local skatepark. Here’s a rundown on how athletes’ support could increase as their value and loyalty to the brands that support them grows:

1. Product Discounts
This is the most common and economical way for brands to support all levels of athletes and open the door to a long-term partnership. This level of support could range anywhere from 10-15% off up to 50-75% off retail pricing on products based on a lot of factors that are covered above. A common misconception about athlete support is that you have to compete. Depending on the sport, most brands look for the complete package, not just competitors. If you can add value for a brand, contact them and show them how.

2. Product Incentives / Bonuses / Contingency  
A concept that has gained momentum with brands is offering athletes performance-based incentives as a way to earn their way to better deals. This could be top finishes at events, promotion of their brand in media or opening doors with local retailers to drive more sales of their products and services. For most athletes, this type of arrangement offers the most value for both the athlete and brand. Athletes who aren’t winning major events will need some creativity and business skills to pull off these deals, but the effort will pay off in the long run. 

3. Free Product
No brand (a business) is in a position to just hand out free products (money) unless they have some type of guarantee to earn that money back. These deals are usually reserved for top, nationally ranked amateur and professional competitors who are constantly in the media. There are times where athletes at lower levels can earn this level of support by proving their loyalty and value in other ways (see above).

4. Money
Athletes who reach this point are in an exclusive group that most only dream of. It’s the point where athletes become businesses. Brands become partners that need to be nurtured, managed and protected. At this level, depending on the amount of money being made, athletes should seek professional representation and/or management to ensure they are being compensated fairly for their value without losing site of providing the same (if not more) value in return for their sponsors.

Hookit is here to support the athletes and offer tools to track their progression, get exposure and earn deals to help them get where they are trying to go. The information above is not a lecture, but merely advice learned from years of experience helping both athletes and brands. Make the most of any door that opens and good luck! 

The Hookit Crew

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