Have you ever wondered how to go about getting an endorsement? Warren van Wyk gives insight and a few tips about the important things that companies look for in an artist. Warren is endorsed by Yamaha Drums, Meinl Cymbals, Evans Drumheads, Promark Drumsticks, Mackie In-Ears, and AKG microphones.
How to get an endorsement is something that I get asked very often. I have realized that a lot of drummers don’t understand what it takes to get one and, most importantly, how to keep them. Many drummers feel that because they play for a prominent artist, they immediately qualify to get an endorsement, but that is not the case. Yes, it is essential to have a profile and to be able to give the brand recognition, but there is a crucial element to getting an endorsement. That is your presence on social media and how you market and network the brands that you use. The companies provide you with gear, and in return, you need to pay them back by selling and marketing their product in the most effective ways possible.
I am currently endorsed by Yamaha Drums, Anatolian Cymbals, Evans drumheads, Promark Drumsticks, Mackie In-Ears, and AKG microphones. I have discussed a lot with these companies about what they like to see from their artists, and the big topic that always comes up is social media. The one company explained it perfectly when I put forward a drummer friend for an endorsement. The first thing that the A&R person asked for was his Facebook handle, and when I gave him the drummer’s name, he immediately went onto his PC and searched for him. I then mentioned that this drummer plays for a prominent artist and plays many big shows, and this was when the social media requirement got explained to me in detail. He went on to say that he doesn’t only worry about who the drummer plays for because when someone is watching him on that big stage, do they see what brands he is playing? The logo on a drumstick and drum head, for example, is so tiny and would never be seen from a distance away. Naturally, if this drummer is seen playing for a prominent artist and makes an impression, the person watching would want to find out more and find out what gear he plays. The easiest way he will find that out is by searching him on social media. If the drummer has posted about the brands, then immediately the person searching will see it, and that is when we get the exposure we need for our brands. That made complete sense to me. I will tell you about a story where social media benefitted me in terms of getting endorsements. To give you a good idea about how important this is, Yamaha Music South Africa requires a monthly social media report from you every month. Yip, you heard right.
I posted a lot about my Yamaha kit when I joined the team. Every gig I played, I would post my set and make sure it was exposed. I felt this was a big part of my job, and it didn’t only pay off with Yamaha, but it helped to get my other endorsements as well. I was playing with a band one evening, and I had posted my set up for the show like I usually do. After the show, a person came and sat by me and starting chatting. He asked what sticks I played and asked what I thought about Promark drumsticks. I told him that I have played Promark for many years and that I love them. He informed me that he was the A&R person for Promark in South Africa and asked if I could meet him the following week to discuss becoming an artist. That was so amazing, and I thought it was such fantastic luck. It turns out it was a combination of luck and all the posts I had posted and the way I represented the current brands I endorse on social media. Yes, I am sure that because I played for profiled artists helped, but it was the combination of the two that gave me the upper hand.
I went for the meeting, and I mentioned the prominent artist I play for and the big shows I play. I thought that must be the reason that he was showing me interest. He replied, saying that that who I played for was not the only reason I was sitting there. He explained that he had been following me on social media for months and loved the way I was representing Yamaha Drums. He loved how prominent I made the brands on my profiles. He said that he wanted the same exposure for his brands. The crazy thing is that he didn’t come specifically to watch me that evening. When he and his friends arrived for purely a night out, the first thing he noticed was my kit, and he knew immediately that I was playing that night because he had been following me for months and by then knew what equipment I played. He was about to leave before he saw the kit and decided to stay and watch and chat with me afterward. If I didn’t post my kit so much on social media, he wouldn’t have followed me all that time, and he wouldn’t have stayed to watch that night. I wouldn’t have received a full stick endorsement, which I still have to this day. It was the way I represented my current brands that made him want that for his brands.
That goes to show how social media is a huge part for these companies and you as a drummer. If you get a big gig, this doesn’t immediately qualify you for an endorsement. They want to see how you are going to make their brand prominent. I know this for a fact because all the brands have told me this personally, and the drummers I have put forward for an endorsement (who play for big bands or artists that don’t use social media) get looked past by these companies.
I am not saying that you can be a bedroom drummer who never gigs, post a lot on social media, and be entitled to an endorsement. Playing for a profiled artist is essential, but that alone usually isn’t enough. Playing for a profiled artist and having a strong social media presence is what these brands are after. I am not just guessing this but have been told this from every brand that I endorse. If I stop being active on social media for a while, they will question it. I have been complimented so much by the companies I endorse because of how much I post for them and how I make their brand so visible in everything that I do. They LOVE social media. I also hear all the complaints about how other drummers they endorse don’t do much for them, even though they play massive shows. It is because they don’t highlight the brands and make them visible in everything that they do. These companies invest a lot of money into you, and in return, they want to be paid back in marketing. That’s a fair deal. By using social media, unlimited amounts of people can view you using the products, so what better way is there to use the full potential of marketing?
The companies will consider your teaching credentials, records sales, touring schedule, etc. but getting your social media game up will tick a massive box off the list, which will give you a significant upper hand.– Warren van Wyk
So, if you are looking to get an endorsement, start working on your social media skills and build your name and profile. It is such a powerful tool, and it can let these brands know why they should endorse you in the first place. Post about where you are playing and what you are up to. Post about the brands you play even though you are not endorsed. This way, they can see that you love the brand even though you are not receiving the gear for free. They want their artists to believe in the brand because how would you sell a product if you don’t believe in it or even enjoy playing it? Social media is powerful, and like my Promark story, without knowing it, someone could be watching you and keeping a lookout for you. When the universe aligns, they will be at one of your shows one day and approach you.
The companies will consider your teaching credentials, records sales, touring schedule, etc. but getting your social media game up will tick a massive box off the list, which will give you a significant upper hand.
Being only a good drummer most definitely does not entitle you to an endorsement. Show them and prove to them how you can further their sales and exposure for their brand and use every tool possible to make this happen.