A personal perspective

By John Coxon ( independent Photography, Journalism & Media support services )

(Ask not what the game can do for you , but what rather what you can do for it)

RATIONALE: Professional companies  ,  especially, but not exclusively those with global brands : those businesses and leading organisations whose market (and target audience ) is associated directly or indirectly with the game of field hockey , through for example, retailing equipment and clothing , are familiar with  making wide and effective  use of commissioned professional photography services, understand the intrinsic long term value of quality imagery  and never need convincing of the virtue of industry standard specific images and their benefits. If you are selling your own brand of stick, for example professional catalogue pictures are the standard for any credibility in the market place  (and if you can also have a well known player carefully shot, stick in hand, using the brand for all to see ,even better.  Business and sport share the need for promoting a positive image, they are not mutually exclusive. People need to foresee benefits before they invest their time and money in you and what you do. Field Hockey at all levels is a dynamic, exciting to watch sport and makes a  fantastic sport to photograph and be involved in or with.

MANAGING YOUR MESSAGE :The medium, is the message and poor quality , evidently amateur  images, give out all the wrong messages and such corner cutting damages the brand and perceptions of it.  The power of the image can be harnessed for a number of purposes both for profit and not for financial profit in terms of long term value and not for profit bodies should work to the same basic  principles as  industry. The national game is already showing the way and grass roots hockey  needs to embrace good PR and marketing in my view ( both as a media professional but also fan of the game and I believe in its benefits to the wider society at  local and indeed global level.) Field hockey deserves and should have a higher public profile and together we can make that happen.


CLUB WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA : Even if you lack the funds to make regular use of a seasoned professional like myself, I am aware of the hunger in the game to get it more widely recognised and further promoted. With the range of affordable imaging devices now widely available, most people involved in the sport can contribute to the promotion of the sport  and not forgetting a number of fine amateur enthusiasts who can help you in that regard on a voluntary basis.  To promote the message that a sport is vibrant, some form or extent of internet presence is helpful . An active website, use of social media like Facebook and, more and more Twitter are brilliant low cost ways of marketing and promoting the interests of a club, a team or other not for profit  organisation. Website which are all text are not easy on the eye create less impact than those with the text relieved by thoughtfully chosen images and if possible galleries showing players in action. If the site is updated  regularly, then visitors are more likely to return.


Here is a not exhaustive  list of some of my ideas about how photographs can be used to help promote the game,  this even though this list was specifically for clients making non commercial use of general images of international players, some ideas apply where taken by ,  for example, a dedicated photography fan , in  house.   Great quality hockey images can have a number of benefits for clubs however large or small:- they can be used to celebrate, report, record , inspire, motivate and help fund raise. Here are some ideas you may or may not have thought of.

  • To print off as posters or as framed photos  for club  wall to celebrate national achievement and inspire youngsters
  • To provide pictures in key locations, changing rooms for example , as  great role models for youngsters and motivate kids to do their best like their idols
  • To be used to increase broader public awareness of the names of players in the national team
  • To be used as part of the club’s an image bank for press releases and website announcements when for example national players visit any club in the area.
  • To provide a source of Images for young players and their families to share with their friends on social media sites to discuss their idols and thus help promote the game
  • To provide for Images of the stars printed off as postcards sold at games and in the club house to raise funds
  • To print as postcard “fan cards” to collect and useful for autographs if they meet players!
  • To print off  as Rewards for young players who work hard or play well
  • To provide Illustrations for coaching and other presentations as  slideshow and teaching aids  ( seeIMAGES FOR TRAINING / UMPIRING EXAMPLE
  • To provide Illustrating  for news and reports about the national team on club websites and in newsletters.
  • To provide material to help  promote the national team and awareness of the sport and its benefits.
  • To report back to and encourage , help retain sponsors, patrons and friends of the club through for example newsletters, programmes  and website and social media updates  demonstrating understanding of a shared interest and  a willingness to give something back to supporters
  • To provide sponsors etc with your activities in a more tangible way and provide a series of  references to contexts and persons which may fuel marketing ideas for them to follow up in hiring professional services which  directly and indirectly increases the profile of your club or team.
  • To support brands who sponsor the game in general by making positive comments on social media. Success in the market in any sport is to recognise the mutuality of interests between those that play and those that pay so to speak. The more popular the sport becomes, the more marketable associated products become, the more people who see potential and profit   the more it will attract attention and associated additional funding and sponsorship.

Text and images ©John Coxon December 28th 2012 (not for re-distribution without my written consent )


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