The necessity of building and maintaining a strong network is a familiar construct among numerous industries, and is certainly one that is not lost in the gaming community.
However, among the multitude of strategies and expert tutorials on how best to achieve such a goal, is the question of: how much do you know about your network? With this in mind, CasinoBeats is aiming to take a look under the hood, if you will, and has tasked the 100 Club to help out.
The latest to take the CB100 Pathways hotseat was Robin Hutchison, Director at Square in the Air, who detailed how he quite literally “dodged a bullet” from his childhood ambitions to be in the Royal Marines while explaining that gambling businesses should be “a bit bolder, louder and prouder”.
To kick off the conversation, host Craig Davies, Senior Media Manager at SBC, wondered what aspirations Hutchison had at school, to which he told of his ambitions to join the Royal Marines which were quickly reversed once he went to University.
Hutchison said: “My burning ambition as a child was to be in the army, specifically in the Royal Marines. I did history at University in Liverpool and went along to a Recruitment Sergeant for the Royal Marines in Liverpool, and he put me off to be honest.
“I wasn’t 100 per cent certain that I wanted to be committed to it, and as it happened I went into journalism instead. I long thought it had been a missed opportunity, but the likelihood is I’d have gone to Iraq and Afghanistan, so my slightly mythologised view of the army might’ve been quite quickly knocked aside. I think I dodged a bullet quite literally.”
Explaining how his job within red-top tabloid journalism led him to the world of gambling, Hutchison reminisced about his first job in the industry, finding a place in Ladbrokes PR team.
Hutchison remarked: “Because of the type of audience we had, the readers we had, betting stories were ten-a-penny, and I used to do lots of really good stories with William Hill, Ladbrokes and Coral and all those guys, on the whackier end of betting stories, big bets and big wins.
“Ladbrokes then asked me to go and work for their PR team, which was back in the regional media which is where I started. This was when novelty betting really took off, with Big Brother, I’m a Celebrity: Get me Out of Here and stuff like that. I did football and tennis and all the other sports as well, it was a great entry into it coming from the news side to the PR side.”
Moving onto his current role at Square in the Air, Hutchison was asked how the company aims to make a big impact across the industry.
Hutchison responded: “It’s something we’re trying to evolve at the moment. When I joined SITA 11 years ago now, we were all about written media, press releases, thought leadership and press interviews, and we still are.
“We’re trying to make sure that people can still use the industry media, and still have a great route to market via them, but also do their own stuff as well. Whether that’s by social media, their own websites or their own production of content.
“The US is a big part of what we do now, we’ve got a five-strong team there. Ultimately, we’re moving as the industry is moving and trying new geographies. We’re really excited about SBC Summit Rio next March and seeing what we can do down there in Latin America.
“As we evolve, or as the industry evolves, we need to evolve with it. I think we need to make sure that the clients we have and the prospective clients that we want to talk to will be provided with PR and marketing services that suit them, their readers and viewers. The trick is to stay ahead of the game and make sure that you’re moving with the times.”
Before rounding off, Davies took the typical Pathways approach by asking Hutchison if there’s one particular industry topic that he would like to touch on or address.
Instilling a sense of pride for the industry he works in, Hutchison responded: “What I don’t think we do well as an industry is champion ourselves. We don’t celebrate what we do, we’re not proud of what we do.
“There are people out there in all walks of life that hate gambling, the abolitionists I’ll call them, and we don’t stand up for what we do enough. We’ve got an awful lot of stuff to be proud of.
“We’re fantastic contributors, whether it’s tax or employment, we’re an adult industry but we’re responsible whether that’s on the supplier side or the operator side. We should be proud of what we do and I think we should stand up to the people who want to ban gambling and want us to be forced underground.
“We need to speak as a unified voice as an industry, and as someone that’s passionate about PR and marketing I’d like us to be a bit bolder, a bit prouder and a bit louder about what we do.”