Sports Creators and Brands (2/3) : tips for greater collaboration

This is a series of articles focusing on how trust between sports creators and brands can be improved for greater collaboration.

January 17, 2022

This is a series of articles focusing on how trust between sports creators and brands can be improved for greater collaboration. In the previous article, we uncovered why sports creators are great brand ambassadors. In this second article, we dig into some best-practices brands and creators can implement to build a sense of trust for mutually beneficial collaboration.

In any relationship, building trust is a long-term process. But let's start somewhere. Here are 5 easy, actionable things that can lay the groundwork for future collaborations:

  • Creator profile & track-record
  • Review & ratings system
  • Easier and quicker payment process
  • Transparent pricing model
  • Better, easier communication

Creator profile

One of the challenges brands face when working with sports creators is the time and difficulty of evaluating sports creators & doing their due diligence. Here are some of the questions that come up:

  • "What is the number of followers, reach and engagement rate of this creator?"
  • "Does this creator produce original content?" (and not just footage of images he/she doesn't have the rights of)
  • "Is this a real account, with a real audience?"
  • "What is the quality of his/her editing skills?"

One way to build trust here is to systematically, efficiently communicate a creator's previous collaborations as a Creator's resume or track-record. Ideally, it would include both qualitative (previous partners & activations, testimonies) and quantitative (campaigns results, social media metrics) data. Creators can start by documenting all brand deals with both quantitative and qualitative data and asking for testimonies & feedback.

Review system

As many service-based marketplaces (think Uber, Airbnb, Upwork, Malt, Meero, etc.) turned it mainstream, trust often implies a system to evaluate reputation and work ethics by punishing bad behaviour and rewarding great work.

For brands, a great way to de-risk the collaboration is to check that other brands previously validated working with a sports creator, especially as they often decide to associate their brand to an external talent.

For creators, this is great opportunity to stand-out from lower-quality influencers and let the numbers do the talking.

Transparent prices

Both marketing pros and creators suffer from having a clear pricing model to rely on.

On brands' side, brand managers / influencer marketing managers need to communicate internally and justify the budgets they ask for their campaigns. So they need to be able to explain why campaign A with creator Y cost €1,000 and campaign B with creator X cost €4,000.

For sports creators, not being able to consistently price their work, time and community (i) is frustrating (if you work +30h on something, might as well know what it's worth right?) and (ii) leads to financial instability. To address this, sports creators can benchmark prices with other creators, save and document previous collaborations or use a pricing calculator like this one.

Easier and quicker payment process

Probably one of the worst things that could happen when there's a low level of trust between A and B is a messy, long payment process.

As the influencer marketing industry gets more and more structured (and thanks to influencer marketing platforms), brands are willing to pay influencers quicker and (partially) upfront. But for sports creators (especially small ones with <100k communities), they often complain that they get paid very late.

One the other hand, brand manually send invoices to creators to pay them, which makes the process painful when dealing with a large amount of creators.

Better, collaborative communication

Successful collaboration means great communication, especially with external independent profiles. To align expectations, it's essential to agree three documents: a Creative Brief, setting the brand's context & execution details; a Quote, setting the creator compensation, additional costs for the brand and other optional expenses; a Collaboration Contract, defining all obligations & duties for all parties.

To achieve efficient communication before, during and after the collaboration, brands can rely on collaborative tools. We've noticed that most brands and agencies communicate with sports creator through mail, with one employee handling the relationship with creators. While this enables a personalised relationship, it's bad for a few reasons:

  • personal relationships go bad: for tons of different reasons from both end, the one-on-one relationship can turn bad
  • employees leave: when the employee in charge of all the creators leaves, reassigning all the contacts and managing the relationship is harder
  • that's not efficient: forwarded mails getting lost, frustrations, misunderstandings... being not collaborative leads to lack of productivity

Lots of successful collaborative SaaS that thrives within the startup ecosystem (Airtable, Slack, Notion, Trello, Asana, Canva, etc.) can help established brands organise collaboration more efficiently, both internally and with external talents.

One of our mission at Pondeo is helping sports creators get the recognition they deserve. We believe this implies building an environment of trust with brands, sports organisations and other stakeholders. Come talk to us on Twitter if you're curious about how we are doing this !

In the next article, we'll see a few cool examples of sports creator x brands collaboration. Stay tuned !

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