In the latest piece for our #ThisIsSurreyFootball campaign, we speak to Jamie Barlow, Managing Director of Hyped Marketing.
Our wide-ranging interview charts his personal journey in football through to his very personal reasons for wanting to support girls’ football in Surrey. He also reflected on Hyped’s partnership with Surrey FA, and how he believes working with charities like ours can benefit a brand.
How long have you been involved in football? What was your first football memory?
“I don’t think I’ve ever not been involved in football. Ever since I can remember living with parents when I was 3 or 4 years-old I was always kicking a football around the garden. I think one of my favourite memories was playing with my school friends, every day. Straight after school we’d run to the local green and be playing headers and volleys until the sun went down and we had to come in for dinner!”
What made you keen to work with Surrey FA – and to want to support girls’ football in particular?
“Being in Surrey, it made Surrey FA the obvious choice. We’d tested the water sponsoring some of the local clubs and had good feedback with that in and around the Farnham area so we thought it would be good to take that to the next level. Girls’ football seemed an obvious choice for me. I’ve got two young daughters who were kind of forced into watching football on TV as I’d have it on most [weekends] and girls’ football was really taking off around the time we engaged with Surrey FA. It seemed to make perfect sense that the girls’ side of football was where we could get involved.”
Since working with Surrey FA, your daughter has joined a Wildcats group, how important do you think it is for girls to have opportunities to play football at such a young age?
“There’s so much for kids to do in the house now. With the internet the way it is, there’s so many apps on the iPad for them to engage with and so much on TV, getting them out and about and getting them in the local parks is brilliant.
The other thing which I think was great when my daughter joined the Wildcats scheme was that she was meeting people outside her normal circle of friends. It’s very easy for kids to [spend time with] the same kids over and over – this was really a kickstart in meeting kids from other schools, with other ideas and [for me] meeting engaging with other parents outside of our own circle and coming up with other ideas. [It allows us to] build that community for our kids in the local area much quicker.”
As Managing Director for an award-winning digital marketing agency, you must recognise the value to clubs in improving their visibility online. What key advice or top tips would you offer to them?
“It’s really important to have an online environment, whatever you do. Whether you’re a charity, a small business or a large business. Having that online environment is going to be a great portal and an invitation for people to come and engage with your brand. I think that football clubs need to really embrace that possibility, post out as much as you can on social media – put content out there [like] tips and tricks in the blog section on the website. Make it easy for parents to engage with the clubs and for them to get in contact.
There’s lots of websites you go to and it’s very basic. It hasn’t been updated, no one [can] really be sure how to get involved with the club and it doesn’t feel very inviting. The more you open it out [the better]. Put pictures on your site of the matches taking place and let people try to have a bit of an experience [of] what their kid is going to be involved in. Lots of fresh content, lots of photos and obviously lots of social media because that’s where you’re going to [be seen by] people you wouldn’t usually engage with.”
How has your experience been of working with Surrey FA this season? How do you think it has benefitted your brand?
“Working with Surrey FA has really taken us by surprise. We’ve worked with lots of small clubs in the local area and quite often it can be a bit unprofessional. Working with the Surrey FA has taken our relationship with partners to a new level. The support that we get from Surrey FA in what we’re doing has been brilliant, and vice-versa. Surrey FA have been to our office; we’ve had players here – it’s just really been a slick relationship.
From an internal comms point of view, [our team] have enjoyed seeing us engage with Surrey FA and seeing that we’re helping communities. From a branding point of view for us, it was fantastic for us to be able to get our logo along the likes of the logos alongside the likes of Nike, McDonald’s and Specsavers – global brands like that.”
From a brand perspective, how valuable can it be to work with charitable organisations like Surrey FA?
“I think it’s essential that any company that can support charities do so as much as they can. It’s very easy to stay in your own circle of business contacts, and there is a world outside of that. It’s an easy way to launch your brand into other areas. Obviously, a lot of what we do is sales focused and business development. We go to a lot of networking events and they’re all very similar; you have a coffee; you hand your business card out and you have a chat.
Working with charitable organisations means that you can engage with people that do work in businesses and do have their own network but meet in a more friendly manner and have an open conversation rather than feel that you are forcing your sales onto them. I would encourage any business to work with a charity and with organisations [like] Surrey FA.”
Hyped Marketing is a no fuss agency that’s all about making marketing easy for businesses. The dedicated Account Managers allocated to each client truly reflect our agency’s ethos and they always #GetHyped about delivering marketing that drives results. Based in Farnham, Surrey, the Hyped collective is led by three experienced co-founders who are responsible for design, campaign roll-out and delivery. Find out more about Hyped Marketing’s services here.
Our #ThisIsSurreyFootball campaign is a series of interviews with people from different roles in the Surrey football community to give them a platform to share their stories in football and act as a role model for others aspiring to get involved in football. Click here to find out more.