By Jessika “rotorgrrl” Farrar
Have you ever wondered “How in the world does an FPV pilot go about getting sponsored by their favorite brand?” It seems like so many people have sponsorships, but nobody just hands them out on the street, right? Surely there is some secret society all of these sponsored pilots belong to. Or is there? With pilot sponsorship opportunities becoming harder and harder to get as the hobby of FPV grows, let’s open the window on this topic!
FlexRC has recently begun rolling out our brand new pilot sponsorship program for the first time. It just so happens, yours truly is the sponsorship/team/event manager. I am here to help you understand what it takes to be eligible for sponsorship with FlexRC. And what works with us, may work similarly with many other FPV companies. I can also help you understand what you can reasonably expect from FlexRC as a sponsor… and maybe help you understand what a pilot sponsor does NOT do for its pilots. As you read on you will learn about some of what we look for in pilots… some of what we don’t like… and finally what you can actually expect from a FlexRC sponsorship!
FlexRC is in the business of selling products to the FPV community, and so we primarily look for candidates to sponsor who we think would best help us achieve a higher number, and/or a higher volume of sales. I like short term gratification as much as the next person, however what we really want is something that we both benefit from in the long-term. We look for pilots that can perform well today, tomorrow, next month, and next year. A pilot that is less interesting to us for sponsorship is someone who we cannot foresee a good RoI (Return on Investment) with.
Good people skills. We love a pilot who loves to talk and engage with other people about FlexRC and who goes out of their way to do so. If you are always keeping to yourself, not chatting much on social media groups, maybe you go to a few races but you are just another face there, then you probably aren’t who we would be MOST interested in. If you love to get involved in conversations about FlexRC, about FPV, and radiate that positive energy then we will love you!
Good knowledge about the FlexRC products. Are you a FlexRC know-it-all? Pilots who go the extra mile to really know their FlexRC stuff are some of our favorites. After all what best helps sell products is knowledgeable people who love to use them and are loud about it. A good candidate loves helping people new to the hobby, brand, or both find their way. With SO many options available It is often difficult to know the right stuff for a good build when you are new. This uncertainty about what to buy often leads to many pilots to put off their purchase, or not buy at all! Your help, helps keep that from happening and is very valuable to us. If you don’t know what an Ascent is, you probably are not the best fit for a sponsored pilot.
A pillar of the community. Someone who is well known online, at events, and is a source of positivity, inspiration, envy, and knowledge. Not everyone can be Mr. Steele, but you don’t have to be famous to be a pillar of the community. Even lesser known pilots can inspire others to greatness. If no one has ever heard of your name before, it is harder for you to get our attention, and thus harder to get into talks about sponsorship opportunities for you.
Excellent pilot skills. Pro racing pilot, expert freestyler, legend on the sims? We love a pilot performing at the top of their game. When people can see a FlexRC product being flown to its limits is what really inspires people to say “I want that!”. Most FlexRC products fall into the Micro category of drones and it is harder to find top pilots in this class, mostly because the micro class drones tend to be a little bit harder to fly at their limits. You are very valuable to us when you show people what these little things can really do! It is less enticing to us if your flying skills does not really separate you from everyone else.
FlexRC is constantly evolving its product line, and way of doing business to stay competitive. We like our sponsored pilots to be able to stay up to date with our products that are for sale and in development. We like to receive constructive criticism to improve things… everything from the sponsorship agreement itself, to the products we sell, to the color of the logo is always available to be made better and improved upon.
The terms of a sponsorship agreement with FlexRC can tend to vary so I won’t disclose a full contract here, but I can shed some light on it. We like to think we have one of the best sponsorship packages in the industry. Typically we extend a flat rate product discount, which is subject to increase (and decrease in the case of low performance). The more you buy from FlexRC, the more you engage with people about FlexRC, the more events you go to and display FlexRC, the more you make FlexRC look like the best brand out there, the more we will do for you in return. It’s pretty simple when you think about it. Unfortunately it can require a quite a bit of time out of your day to be a top performing pilot for FlexRC, but the end result is usually worth it for those who seek it. We track pilot performance by way of the pilot submitting a weekly or bi-weekly report of what they have done, up to their sponsorship manager (mee!) and I review them each month to find out who deserves more benefits.
There are really no limit to the number of ways that a pilot can contribute to FlexRC under a sponsorship agreement. Hopefully this has given you some valuable insight into some of the basic ideas behind sponsorship. It is not always clear what a company wants, especially when there is usually a language and culture barrier between the pilots and the company sponsoring them. You may always feel free to reach out to me if you have questions not answered or to discuss anything else. I am usually always around. Unless I’m not 😉
Good luck out there and happy flying!