One of the most common questions I get sent to me via my Website, Facebook and Twitter is "How do I get an Endorsement?". Its a very common question, but unfortunately 95% of the time the real basis behind what an endorsement is, is misunderstood. Some of the messages I’ve received have included:
+ I need some free cymbals, who do I need to speak to
+ I break sticks for fun and they are way too expensive, Who can I speak to, to get them free or get them cheaper?
You get the idea? This attitude and approach wont win you any friends especially if this is your initial approach when first contacting any potential companies.
So what do I need to understand? Why would I endorse a product?
Simple! Because they love playing that manufacturers brand of equipment. Players play brands that they love, If a musician played brand A, why would you sent an endorsement request to brand B? If the reason you did the above is because brand A declined an endorsement, that is the completely the wrong way to go about it. The music industry is a tight knit community and if word gets around about musicians hounding the life out of companies, it makes things a lot harder for the future!! and your name will get seen in a BAD light!
What are companies looking for in an Endorsee?
Musical equipment manufacturers are running a business, therefore the company are out to make money and a profit.
+ What can you offer the company to help them grow their business, (How much of the product will they sell of the back of you using their equipment?)
+ How Marketable are you and what are your activity's within the industry?
+ Do you Educate?
The List could go on and on, but you must think of the situation from a business point of view. What is it that makes you valuable to them?
Contacting the Companies:
So, the most important factor to consider is how your endorsement proposal will benefit the musical equipment manufacturer/their customers/their employees. Let's get back into the business mind set and think about your communication through the company's eyes. Most equipment company's get bombarded with endorsement requests and upon speaking to various artist relations teams most peoples requests are below average /average at best.
+ What can you offer that is different from other endorsement proposals being sent to them?
Be clear and concise about your activity's within the industry, include a professional EPK (Electronic Press Kit), Albums you have played on, any tours you have undertaken, Do you teach/Educate? Etc. Explain to the company how you could benefit THEM! And what your approach and outlook would be to a long lasting working relationship together.
1st and foremost, BE PATIENT! Artist relations people are very busy... Busy looking after their current artist roster. Companies will rarely get back to you right away, I dealt with a company in early 2012 and it took approximately 6 months from initial contact to getting a deal ironed out! If you are successful in getting a deal, don't forget your duties as an endorsee, stay in touch with the Artist relation teams, keep them up to date with all your activity's, Promote the companies where at all possible.
Remember, they have helped you, Now continue helping them!
One more thing....
Always keep your options open and never dismiss anyone. I was approached by a relatively new company in Mid 2011 that I had not come across before. I checked out what they were about and what they had to offer, and the product was off the scale!! In turn other doors opened off the back of this! Remember, don’t get hung up about getting endorsed, Its about making music and being successful at that, If you are making waves on that front, It will all come good in the end!!
Many thanks to: Gatton Drum Co, Meinl Cymbals, Ahead Armor Cases, Tama, Evans Drumheads, Pro Mark Sticks, Kickport International, Drumtuna, and Puresound Snare Wires. For their continued support!