Endorsement Deals 101
When I first started working in the industry, the world of endorsements was a much different process than it is today. Most artists were able to get great product in return for using gear live, or wearing a certain brand on stage at most levels of their careers. That luxury is now only available for the highest levels of acts in the industry (the Katy Perry’s, Rihanna’s and Justin Bieber’s of the world).
Here is what artists may be able to expect today and how to go about getting any sort of product or endorsement deal:
Clothing, Accessories and Beverage Companies
These company types are often looking to partner up for marketing of their brand, that is small to mid tier brands. Again unless you are Rihanna no one is going to give you free Adidas shoes. You can however search your local area for companies that are just starting out or looking to expand. Start small and work your way up from there, building relationships and learning the ins and outs as you go. Do not expect anything for free, if it is, it is a bonus, but often times you will be offered a great discounted rate so be prepared to still pay some money out of pocket.
Bands can often reach out to music gear companies for a discounted “artist rate” to order drum sticks, drum heads, guitar pedals, in-ears, amps etc. The larger the company, the harder they will be able to obtain for smaller artists, there are however a lot of competitive up and coming companies on the market that you may have a good chance of getting in with. Again these companies will likely not offer you any gear for free, but they will provide a discounted artist rate to assist in some savings on your end.
What is expected from you
A good “brand ambassador” wears and respects the company well, in exchange for free or discounted product, you are encouraged to post photos on your socials(and use the correct tags and hashtags of the brand), wear/use the product in photo shoots, video shoots and on stage in front of your fans. Companies may also have other expectations for you so it is best to outline your responsibilities with each endorsement in advance so that you are both aware of the terms/ conditions of the deal.
How to approach these companies
Do your research and compile a list of companies you want to reach out to, find their contact information from their websites or social media. Use my older blog of The Perfect Pitch (http://bonsonwedding.com/mbac/the-perfect-pitch-to-mgmt-labels-booking-agents-etc) as a reference to create an email to these companies to reach out to them one at a time. Make sure you are not sending a mass email all at once!! This is very impersonal and doesn’t make a great first impression. If you do not hear back after about one week time, feel free to email them again with a polite reminder/ follow up. If you do not hear back after that it’s generally a polite way of saying no, so focus on other companies or brands.
Here are some examples of artists with endorsements paying their thank you’s and responsibilities as a brand ambassador: