Caroline Béliard Interview

The EU snow scene has seen big growth for the past few years, from riders and media to events and brands. There are however fundamental differences in the way brands utilize their team riders. In this interview, we wanted to see how brands in the EU work with their riders vs. in the US. Do they efficiently use the image of their team riders? Do they push their riders towards more media coverage? How do they capitalize on their investment in their team?

To answer some of these questions, we picked one of the best European female snowboarder, Caroline Béliard and we asked her a few questions.

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Can you introduce yourself (name, age, citizenship, specialty) and tell us who you ride for?
My name is Caroline Béliard, I’m 25 years old, I live in Annecy, France. I do snowboard HP and slope style. My sponsors are O’Neill, Apo Snowboards, Vans, Pull-In and Smith Optics.

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What are your sponsorship obligations? i.e what’s in your contract (Contest, Media coverage , Video parts, etc.)
For this season, I have to do 5 TTR events, the FIS World Cup to be qualified for the Olympics and film with EroOne Productions.

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How does a brand use you to connect with its consumers? – Do you have autograph signings? Tours? Video Premieres? Do they use it in the foreign markets (US, Japan, other Euro countries) as well?
They used the podcast and film especially in Europe. We have some autographs signings at big snowboard events. They do some advertising in all European mags. They don’t not use us beyond Europe.

Do your sponsors ask you advice and feedback on their equipment, events and marketing? If so, do they use your opinion?
Sometimes……. But not really.

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What do your sponsors do to promote you as a pro rider? Do they hook you up with movie production companies? Do they sponsor these movies? Do they hook you up with photoshoots?
They pay for me to have a part in some European videos. And they sometime organize photo shoots for their own purpose. But in general it’s the rider who organizes its season to have the best media coverage.

Do your sponsors push you to market the brand internationally? If so, how?
Not really. I am the one that decides to come to the US, but typically it is just for filming for our Euro video and for training. So no, we don’t have anything organized.

As a female rider, are there any differences between men and women in the way your sponsors market you and their brand?
It’s more difficult for a girl to have advertising and to have a part in a film. Very few brands pay for a video part for a girl.
I think brands don’t capitalize enough on their riders. They pay them but don’t use them as much as they should. And if they do, sometimes, it makes no sense. For instance, the last ad I did with one of my sponsors, they even didn’t put my name on the ad.
Also, as far as girl marketing goes, instead of having a more authentic catalog with their riders showcasing their products, they use models, which takes them away from what’s core in our sports.

What would you suggest brands to start doing with their riders? …and their female riders?
They should start managing their careers better and push them to receive more media attention. They should allow them to ride pro without competing necessarily.
It’d be great if they did more photo shoots and communicate more with the riders on their products.

-CG

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