Just do it! How to become a Nike brand ambassador

Nike Brand Ambassador

Wondering how to become a Nike brand ambassador? You’re in the right place. Becoming an ambassador for your favorite brand can be pretty lucrative. According to Glassdoor, the estimated total pay for a brand ambassador each year is about $46,606.

That’s a lot of cash to rave about a brand you already know and love. But there’s a big difference between becoming an official “ambassador” for Nike, and just promoting the business as an affiliate or influencer. 

The good news is that Nike is a pretty inclusive company. It knows it needs more than just celebrities and athletes to promote its products to modern customers – it also needs real people. That means you don’t necessarily need to be the next Kobe Bryant or Lebron James to get involved. 

Here’s everything you need to know to become a Nike brand ambassador, or start earning money by promoting the growing Nike portfolio. 

Nike Brand Ambassador

What is a Nike ambassador?

Before we tell you how to become a Nike brand ambassador, let’s quickly define what the title really means. A brand ambassador is an advocate formally recognized and appointed by a company to act on their behalf, creating marketing campaigns and so on. 

Anyone can wear the Nike logo and yell about how awesome the products are on social media – but Nike won’t necessarily pay you for the privilege. 

Ambassadors are carefully chosen by Nike for “sponsorship”. This means they pay you to represent their brand on various channels. It’s worth noting that becoming a brand ambassador, or being sponsored by Nike is a little different to becoming an influencer or affiliate for the brand.

Nike’s affiliate program selects specific websites and individuals to earn commissions when they promote Nike products. You can earn up to 11% commissions on all sales, and you get special promotional material. 

You can apply to do that here – but be warned, as one of the world’s most popular athletic brands, Nike won’t just accept anyone into their affiliate program. You need to have a specific type of established website, and pass a pretty stringent screening test.  

On the other hand, a Nike influencer is a thought leader or individual with a strong social media presence. You can’t “apply” to become an influencer for Nike, but they might reach out to you if you have a strong enough presence online. 

Nike Brand Ambassador

What do Nike ambassadors do?

Nike brand ambassadors are basically the expert athletes and thought leaders responsible for highlighting the company’s products on various platforms. Unlike affiliates, who drive sales with links and promotional codes, ambassadors actively wear and use specific products. 

Brand ambassadors like Michael Jordan, Kevin Durant, and Maria Sharapova all wear Nike products when appearing at competitions and industry events. They might also appear in television adverts or promotional campaigns created by the Nike team. 

Some will create content for a brand’s online and offline marketing efforts, such as social media posts, videos, and radio adverts. 

However, the exact work you do as a Nike brand ambassador will usually vary depending on what the company wants to achieve at the time. Nike sponsorship agreements are usually carefully negotiated to ensure they benefit both parties. 

If you receive sponsorship, Nike will outline all the terms with you in advance, explaining what you’ll need to do as an ambassador, as well as what kind of compensation you’ll get. Keep in mind, most brand ambassadors are required to work exclusively for one brand in a specific niche at a time.

That means if you already have deals with other smaller brands in the athletic industry, Nike might rethink your partnership, or ask you to part ways with another company. 

Nike Brand Ambassador

Why join the Nike ambassador program?

Learning how to become a Nike ambassador isn’t simple. There’s no online form you can fill in to automatically get endorsement. It’s not like joining an affiliate program. You’re applying for a significant role within Nike’s team, and starting a new career (at least temporarily)

So, why bother with all the hard work? The most obvious answer is becoming a Nike ambassador is a win/win situation for both Nike, and its sponsored specialists. 

Nike gets extra promotion from you, so the company can improve its already stellar reputation and earn more customers. That means a better bottom line for the business. 

At the same time, you get to improve your personal brand by aligning yourself with all the premier athletes Nike has sponsored over the years. Becoming a Nike athlete is a big deal – it pretty much identifies you as the best of the best. 

Plus, as a Nike ambassador or “Nike athlete” as they’re sometimes called, you’ll earn a pretty substantial income, and get access to a bunch of opportunities. You’ll be exposed to different cultures and communities, meeting interesting people, and attend industry events.

You might even get access to free Nike shoes and apparel, or have an opportunity to create a new product line with Nike. Just look at the Jordan brand for instance. 

Nike Brand Ambassador

Who can be a Nike brand ambassador?

Most of Nike’s most well-known brand ambassadors are major names in the sporting landscape. Nike sponsorship campaigns have included collaborations with everyone from Michael Jordan to Serena Williams, Phil Knight, Bill Bowerman, and Tiger Woods. 

If you’re an established athlete, you definitely have a better chance of being chosen as an ambassador. However, there’s always a chance you might still be able to become an ambassador if you’re a thought leader, industry expert, or just someone Nike thinks can represent their brand well. 

Nike ambassadors need to show a deep knowledge and passion for Nike’s products. Plus, they should have a strong personal brand image, and excellent communication skills. 

Unlike influencers and affiliates, Nike brand ambassadors don’t necessarily need exceptional marketing skills. People like Cristiano Ronaldo and Usain Bolt don’t usually run their own marketing campaigns. They rarely even manage their own social media platforms. 

Yep – that’s right, if golf legend Tiger Woods responds to a comment you leave on Instagram, it’s probably just his PR team posing as him. 

Still, you will have to adhere to the guidelines Nike sets with you when starting your partnership. Usually, companies like Nike meet with their ambassadors throughout endorsement deals to give them ideas on how to promote their brand image. 

Typically, your work will usually involve things like participating in community events, showcasing products on social media, or even wearing Nike apparel when participating in a specific sport.

Here’s a quick insight into what you need to become a Nike brand ambassador:

  • An excellent personal brand and online presence.
  • A strong connection with other sports fans.
  • A love of sport, and a knowledge of Nike.
  • Good communication and collaboration skills.
  • A professional demeanor and good ethics.

You’ll also usually need to be at least 18 years old – but Nike may also endorse professional athletes in the junior landscape too. 

Nike Brand Ambassador

How to become a Nike brand ambassador

Ok, so here’s the bad news. Learning how to become a Nike brand ambassador isn’t as simple as applying for other standard jobs. You can’t just reach out to the team and request sponsorship. Nike is one of the most powerful athletic brands in the world. 

As a result, it’s pretty careful about who it chooses to represent its company. According to Nike’s website, though the business does proactively look for athletes and experts to wear the “Nike Swoosh”, they don’t accept unsolicited sponsorship requests.

They also don’t generally advertise “ambassador” roles on their career page, so there’s no point refreshing the site every day looking for an opportunity. 

This means there are only two (real) ways to become a Nike brand ambassador. First, if you happen to have an incredible network, which includes some of the biggest athletes in the world (nice work, if so), you can ask them to refer you to Nike’s marketing team. 

There’s no guarantee this will lead to any sponsorship deals, but a recommendation from a major innovator in the sports field can go a long way. 

Another option is to develop such an amazing personal brand that Nike actively reaches out to you. The more you connect with the right audience both online and offline, the more likely you are to attract brand ambassador jobs. 

Technically, there is one more option – but we don’t really count this one. Nike often refers to all of its team members as “ambassadors” – including the sales reps in their stores. So, technically, you could class yourself as a “brand ambassador” if you’re working in a Nike shop. 

However, that’s not really the same as being an official brand ambassador. 

Nike Brand Ambassador

How to get sponsored by Nike: Tips for success

Nike’s sponsorships are tough to get. There’s no “application process” for becoming an ambassador, and you can’t just reach out to the brand and expect a result. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t improve your chances of grabbing Nike’s attention. 

Here are some of the different ways you might be able to boost your chances of earning that lucrative ambassador role:

Be a social media superstar 

The rise of social media means virtually anyone can become a major influencer or thought leader today. The more active you are on your social media accounts, and the more you connect with your audience, the more likely Nike will be to pay attention to you, and offer you an ambassador role. 

It’s worth regularly @mentioning Nike on your social posts, using their hashtags, and wearing their products to show how passionate you are about the company too. 

Build an incredible personal brand

Your personal brand is crucial to getting the green light for sponsorship from Nike’s marketing team. Think about how you present yourself to others. We’re not just talking about social media here. 

Maybe you have your own website or portfolio where you can share success stories about previous collaborations with other brands. Or you could draw attention to your story, and align it with Nike’s vision and values to show them how much you resonate with their company. 

Think about how you brand yourself in the “offline” world too. Do you attend sporting events and conferences? Have you appeared on television before? 

Get involved with other Nike programs

Taking part in other Nike programs, like the Nike product testing program, or Nike’s affiliate program, could help you to form deeper connections with the company’s marketing team. Once again, this doesn’t mean you’re definitely going to get sponsorship. 

However, if Nike’s team sees you as a valuable asset, they might consider reaching out to you to suggest new collaboration deals. If you see opportunities to join a Nike influencer program, it’s worth getting involved there too. Influencers can often evolve into brand ambassadors. 

Ready to become a Nike brand ambassador?

Ultimately, learning how to become a Nike brand ambassador isn’t as simple as it seems. 

There’s no easy way to earn a Nike sponsorship. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have any chance of joining the team. In today’s evolving marketing world, companies like Nike are branching out with new promotional methods. 

They’re appealing to the next generation of customers, working with micro influencers and smaller athletes to demonstrate inclusivity, and resonate with their audience. If you can prove to Nike that you’ll have a positive impact on their brand image, you could encourage them to sponsor you.

Just don’t expect to be able to reach out to Nike directly, or respond to a job description and immediately get an ambassador job. 

If you’re looking for an easier way to start promoting Nike, we recommend joining the affiliate program instead – at least while you work on building up your personal brand. 

Fabrik: A branding agency for our times.

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Alyssa Omandac
Content manager
Alyssa Omandac
Content manager
Alyssa is a regular contributor to Brand Fabrik, covering topics from the role of social media in marketing and branding to the importance of search engine optimisation, self-promotion, and building one's own personal brand.

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