5 Ideas for Securing Active Lifestyle Brands as your Race Sponsors

The health and fitness industry is booming, driven by a generation of adults that have both the desire to remain active and the disposable income needed to pay for equipment, apparel, excursions and more.

Around these active adults has grown an industry of active lifestyle brands. The Inc. 5000 list tracks the fastest growing brands in the world, and this year’s list included 43 active lifestyle brands. On this list you’ll find HyperIce, a company selling devices that help athletes recover more quickly from injuries; Lonecone.com, which deals in adventure gear and supplies; and many more.

Looking for another sign of the growth of active lifestyle brands? Look no further than a recent flood of initial public offerings: SoulCycle, GoPro, Amplify Snack Brands and others are now publicly traded companies thanks to popularity among fitness-minded consumers.

And more traditional brands have taken notice, too. H&M, Tory Burch and other mainstream fashion retailers are diving into the active wear pool, inspired in part by the success of Lululemon, Nike and others — success attributed to the ever-growing number of active adults worldwide.

Connecting Active Lifestyle Brands With Race Participants

Here’s the situation as you plan your next race:

You have a growing, moneyed group of active adults who participate in your event. And you have a growing active lifestyle industry with many brands now eager to grow — growth that is both funded and demanded by new shareholders.

Your job is to connect these active adults with the active lifestyle brands who are fighting it out for market share. Where should you begin?

Here are five ideas for securing active lifestyle brands as sponsors for your next race or event:

1 - Identify Emerging Products

Given the rapid growth of the active lifestyle industry, many products experience sudden popularity and a legion of brand evangelists that quickly develops.

LaCroix by National Beverage is just one example. After spending 30 years as a favorite drink among women in the Midwestern United States, LaCroix is enjoying a moment in the spotlight, driven by consumers’ collective focus on fitness. It is sugar-free, calorie-free and flavorful, making it a perfect soda replacement for active, health-conscious consumers.

Drinks like Invigorade are seeing similar boosts in popularity. These performance-focused beverages are innovating in a sports drink industry that has seen little progress since Gatorade first came on the market in the 1960s.

As a race director, you should see these emerging products as ideal targets for active lifestyle brand sponsorships. Often these emerging products are experiencing increasing revenues and growing marketing budgets, and they are desperately searching to connect with active, fitness-minded adults — adults just like those who participate in your events.

2 - Leverage Your Unique Audience

You have a unique group of participants for your event — an audience that active lifestyle brands want to connect with. Make sure you’re connecting your unique audience to the brands that make a good fit.

For example, if you run an event focused on women, seek out active lifestyle brand sponsorships that are looking to connect with women. If you’re running a family race, identify active lifestyle brands that are looking to connect with families.

It’s tempting to cast a wide net and reach out to active lifestyle brands of all kinds. But a targeted approach that considers your unique participants and that pursues brands most uniquely suited to meet their needs will provide the greatest return on investment.

3 - Look Local

Many active lifestyle brands want to invest in their communities. That means they are more likely to sponsor events held in their own backyards.

Look for active lifestyle brands headquartered in your area, or brands that have a large corporate presence in your city. Many of these companies are committed to social responsibility initiatives that include community involvement. They will see sponsoring your event as a way to fulfill that commitment to social responsibility.

4 - Listen to Your Participants

Are you surveying your participants about the brands they love and the types of brands they want to know more about? If not, now is the time to start.

If you can demonstrate to an active lifestyle brand that its products are of interest to a vast majority of your participants, you increase your chances of securing a sponsorship. When surveying, prime your participants by listing out your dream sponsors and asking them to check the ones that they are most interested in knowing more about. This gives you a compelling and quantitative case to make when pitching active lifestyle brands on sponsoring your next event.

5 - Research Your Targets

Before you pick up the phone and call your dream sponsor, take time to research that brand and get to know what their hopes and dreams are for the future.

Remember the active lifestyle brands that recently filed IPOs? Each one of those brands has filed a prospectus that describes to future shareholders what the brand is trying to accomplish, who it sees as its customer, and much more about its plans.

SoulCycle is just one example. Its prospectus describes a “cross-generational audience of men and women” that would be comfortable accessing the brand’s content from the comfort of their own homes. Use this information to your benefit. If you find that SoulCycle’s target audience overlaps with your participants, make that a significant part of your sales pitch.

The Final Step: Delivering Value to Your Sponsors

Once you secure active lifestyle brand sponsorships, how do you keep your sponsors happy enough to invest year after year? The short, easy answer: You must deliver value.

At Pic2Go, we offer a unique channel for connecting active lifestyle brands, not just with race participants, but also with participants’ friends and social media followers. We support Sponsored Experience Sharing – by taking participants’ race-photos and videos, branding them with the sponsor’s logo or marketing message, and letting participants automatically publish them to Social Media.

This is a sponsorship opportunity that goes beyond race-day signage, an advertisement in a race program, or other traditional value creators. Rather, it’s an innovative way to connect active lifestyle brands with their target audiences — and to greatly increase reach and impressions through social media.

Best of all: When you approach the active lifestyle brand you’ve been wanting to sponsor your race, the inclusion of Sponsored Experience Sharing makes the sponsorship exponentially more valuable to them.

Are you ready to secure the active lifestyle brand of your dreams? Take advantage of the ideas above, and learn more about Pic2Go’s Sponsored Experience Sharing — an addition to your race experience that prospective sponsors will love.

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