I made a whirlwind trip to NYC to pay a visit to my first ever sponsor: Timex!
First of all - talk about an embarrassing photo. This was me in my very first Timex uniform in 2006. I was fired up! FIRED UP! My first ever sponsor and I was getting ready to be living a dream! It doesn’t get much better than that. I guess you have to be able to laugh at yourself, right?
2011 is the 10-year anniversary of the Timex Team and we had a team reunion Friday night. It was a great way to get to meet the new members of the team and also catch up with familiar faces.
On that note - I wanted to present you with the top-5 lessons I learned from my first sponsor: TIMEX.
1. It takes a licking and keeps on ticking. Yup, thats the motto for Timex, and it is true in sport as well. Team Timex taught me that it isn’t always about the result. The sponsor doesn’t care if you win or loose (taking the licking) - they care about the sponsored athlete being a good ambassador, a role-model, a trust-worthy athlete, and overall just being a nice person.
2. Its not about free. Sure, the 50+ member Timex Team gets showered with free gear and endless amounts of schwag. But the first statement from an athlete should be: What can I do for you? As an athlete, the company wants to know what you are going to provide in return for being a sponsored athlete. The sponsorship goes well beyond the cool new gear (which is amazing!! Not going to lie!).
3. Belief in the brand. Every sponsor I work with, and have ever worked with is a company that I believe in. 2002: I bought my first pair of Saucony’s. 2005 I bought my first set of Zipp Wheels. Full price. I’ve been eating CLIF bars since 1990. Timex watches? Wore them in the 80’s. Its not hard to promote a brand you believe in. Money can’t buy happiness - and I certainly don’t think money can make you believe in a brand.
4. Communicate. Keith Meyer, manager of event marketing & sponsorship for Timex, taught me that a sponsors biggest pet peeve is when they sign an athlete on, give out the cool-free-snazzy gear (see #2) and then they never hear from the athlete ever again. Keep everyone in the loop - there is a wide choice of mediums: email, text, phone, webpage, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, newsletters, smoke signal, SOS… you get the idea.
5. Have fun! Seriously. Just have fun! We are an extremely fortunate group of individuals - treat each day like a gift and enjoy all that you do.
I wanted to wish the best of luck to the 2011 Timex Multisport Team. Keep up the great work & enjoy the ride. See you at the races!