Job title Marketing and Partnerships Officer
Employer Somerset FA
Qualifications BA (Hons) Business and Management, Marketing | MA Business and Management, Marketing | PGDip International Sport Management
Conor Ogilvie-Davidson has been working as the Marketing and Partnerships Officer at The Somerset FA for the past four years. During his time in Somerset, he has been involved in a number of projects including: THINK! ‘Ultimate Away Day’ Campaign, FA Rainbow Laces National Campaign 2019, and much more! Conor holds both an undergraduate and postgraduate degree in Business and Management, Marketing – as well as a PGDip in International Sport Management. Read the full article below.
Article by William Ledbury (WilliamLedbury)
“My career in football started out in somewhat of a strange way.”
Starting at the beginning, how did your career start out for you?
My career in football started out in somewhat of a strange way. I was completing my Master’s in Marketing, and I applied for a Summer internship at Somerset Football Association – despite the person spec saying that being a football fan was an advantage! The deciding factor for giving me the internship over the other candidates, despite me being a Rugby fan, was my experience and previous internships.
“I’m very lucky to have somewhat fallen into my role, and fit in so well they asked me back!”
What is your current role, Conor? And how did it come about?
My current role is Marketing and Partnerships Officer for Somerset FA. The role is very varied and covers everything from: building and maintaining the website, social media, email communications, graphic design, photography, media relations, PR, project management, signing commercial partnerships and even IT support!
Following my internship, Somerset FA’s Board of Directors offered me a position to keep the work I had done over the summer going – and to develop the brand, image and commercial portfolio of Somerset FA. I’m very lucky to have somewhat fallen into my role, and fit in so well they asked me back!
“Sport is such a great vehicle for positive change.”
You have a range of experience in marketing across different sectors, how have you found working in a sporting environment? And how is it different from any other forms of marketing?
I think the main difference between working in a sporting environment and almost any other industry, is the sheer passion of everyone involved. Sport is such a great vehicle for positive change, and everyone I have met in the industry thoroughly enjoys their role, whether they be a volunteer or lucky enough to have a paid position in the industry – which many more people want than there are vacancies for! I consider myself very lucky, and previously somewhat of an imposter to working in football. However, during my four years in the role I have seen the light!
If you are looking for different opportunities to gain experience in sports marketing as Conor did in his training, there are always opportunities for voluntary and paid work in our jobs section.
“We were quite worried that there would be a significant dip in participation post-lockdown.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all in many ways, has your role changed at all since the pandemic?
Marketing in football is always fast-paced, but since the shutdown of all football activity in March, strategic communications to our clubs, leagues, referees and players have been even more important. Creating and providing the content for them to stay updated and engaged with the sport has been more important than ever. We were quite worried that there would be a significant dip in participation post-lockdown, however levels have remained the same if not slightly grown! I think a lot of people did not realise what they had until it was taken away, and have come back to football after lockdown with renewed gusto – mostly for good, but not always.
“It was the first year that all 50 County FA’s actively supported the campaign, so it truly had a national impact.”
What would you say has been a personal highlight for yourself in your career so far?
I would have to say that my involvement with the FA’s 2019 Rainbow Laces activation was a personal highlight. I am part of Somerset FAs Inclusion Advisory Group and I was lucky to be given the freedom to manage my workload, to work closely with The FA in organising their activities for the 2019 campaign.
I ended up co-chairing a group of County FA and FA staff who all worked together to distribute 21,500 pairs of Rainbow Laces and 1,200 custom Captain’s armbands (which I’m proud to say I designed) nationally.
We also worked closely with a social media asset platform which is used by Premier League and European clubs to allow access to all 91,500 clubs, affiliated leagues and other participants to create customised campaign social media assets to support the campaign.
If this wasn’t enough, we created and distributed educational resources for youth teams across the country to help clubs and coaches talk to their players about LGBT+ inclusion in Football.
It was the first year that all 50 County FAs actively supported the campaign, so it truly had a national impact. The results of the campaign and seeing it take over Social media for three weeks at the end of last year was amazing.
I’m proud to be an ambassador for Kick It Out and to spread awareness of this campaign, empowering everyone to report incidents of discrimination in football ?? https://t.co/MXz9DHoG2d
— Conor Ogilvie-Davidson (@C0N0R0D) October 13, 2020
“Without the additional experience I had over the other candidate for my internship that led to my job, I would not have this job which I now love so much.”
And finally, what piece of advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a career in sports marketing?
My advice to anyone wanting to get into sports marketing is simple, get as much relevant experience as you can! Without the additional experience I had over the other candidate for my internship that led to my job, I would not have this job which I now love so much.
It’s very competitive. With marketing jobs in sport receiving many, many applications; you need something on your CV to stand out. Get as much knowledge (academic and practical) and real experience as you can. Be fussy enough that the experience is in an area you are interested in, but don’t be so fussy as to turn down good opportunities. I applied for the internship at Somerset FA not because it was in football or even sport, but because it was an exciting opportunity with lots of freedom which would help me in the long-run. It just happened to end up being the start of my career!
I’m working with my local University to offer a group of around 30 film and post-production students experience creating video content for not only their course, but their CVs too. They aren’t particularly sports fans, but this real-world client work will set that group out against other students when they graduate and they’ll have a reference to draw on in applications.
Reach out to your local clubs, your County FA, your local press and see if they have any opportunities to offer you experience and don’t be disheartened if they say no this time. Generally, these organisations are very keen to have some knowledgeable assistance with marketing as it’s becoming so much more important at all levels of sport and across every industry.