Source chats to group head of marketing Rebecca Hamilton to find out more on its growth plans.
The Jockey Club is steeped in racing heritage. Group head of marketing, Rebecca Hamilton, explains that starting in a coffee house in Newmarket around the time of King George II, The Jockey Club created the rules for horseracing that are still used today.
Today The Jockey Club is a leading British leisure company, providing top class horseracing and events to millions of visitors each year. The Jockey Club Rooms is the magnificent spiritual home in Newmarket where members meet and where the coffee house was, and is still, situated.
The Jockey Club is known world over for its authenticity and best in class approach. “Simply, we are the original and the best but we believe our work speaks for itself and, to some extent, there is an air of mystery to what we do and who we are – a magic almost,” says Rebecca.
Although The Jockey Club has a feeling of exclusivity, it is accessible to everyone and anyone – people that come racing do so from all walks of life, all with their own story. “A day racing with The Jockey Club, or spending time in any of our spaces, is about escapism, enjoyment and a celebration. We often say if racing is life, we are proudly at the beating heart of it.”
The Jockey Club creates some of the best globally reaching racing festivals in the world: the Grand National Festival at Aintree watched by over 600 million people; The Derby at Epsom and The Festival at Cheltenham. Away from the racing, The Jockey Club Rooms enjoys a unique atmosphere of fine dining and a world class art collection.
“Spending time with The Jockey Club can be surprising for some people: we deliver world class events 364 days a year; stage huge open air concerts across the country; and turn down crisp linen in our accommodation, alongside silver served fine dining in our Royal Boxes. Creating special experiences is what we do – it’s what we are good at,” explains Rebecca.
Rebecca explains that The Jockey Club is a way of life and that this makes for a very attractive licensing proposition. “We have been getting out of bed every morning for more than 250 years for the thrill of our sport and our lifestyle. We will always have horseracing at our heart – but our brand represents a lifestyle which is highly aspirational with a long and strong legacy.”
The Jockey Club has a long history of very successful partnerships over the years. “We work closely with Bentley, including the development of a special edition model that takes inspiration from The Jockey Club events with horse and jockey embroidery found on seat, and a horse graphic is imprinted in on the dashboard.”
In addition, Bentley provides VIP transfers on and to Jockey Club racecourses, rooms and other experiences. “We create top class experiences that are highly aspirational and accessible and believe that is an interesting opportunity for potential licensing partners”.
Rebecca points out that The Jockey Club exists to ensure it has a really healthy sport for hundreds of more years. “Licensing will allow our partners and their customers to be part of the cause and our club, it is a logical next step and the opportunities are exciting and clearly powerful.”
The Jockey Club is not working alone, appointing Metrostar Media to help it meet a simple objective – to build a British consumer lifestyle brand through product and experiential licensing partnerships in the UK and around the world. Rebecca explains: “We have a clear vision for the brand and building a long-term programme which fits naturally with what we are good at is important to us. Metrostar offered some strong retail and international connections, as well an emphasis on product quality and design aesthetic, which are of particular interest to us.”
To help deliver this objective, Rebecca is keen to point out the incredible portfolio of assets in The Jockey Club – architecture, fine art collections, memorabilia, some of the greatest sporting moments in history. “We have taken time to develop a style guide that we are very proud of. It uses our unique art, assets and memorabilia in visually exciting ways which present a range of opportunities and idea sparkers to potential partners.”
The programme was launched at Licensing Expo in Las Vegas last year and Rebecca is taken with the positive feedback so far, from potential partners and international agents.
Looking at the programme more specifically, Rebecca knows that apparel, accessories, luggage and stationery are all important.
“To live The Jockey Club lifestyle, you need appropriate accessories and dress, after all and we take inspiration from the racing life we lead in that respect but creating amazing aspirational experiences is what we do, it’s in our DNA,” explains Rebecca and “experiential licensing partnerships and activations are a high priority.” The Jockey Club already has rooms and a private club, it delivers restaurants, bars, retail and entertainment spaces – so creating a vision and a reality for those types of experiences off racecourse is of interest to it. “We want more people to come into The Jockey Club world, it’s a great place to be.”
Rebecca goes on to explain that clearly, a commercial compatibility with its licensing partners is important, moreso when building a premium international lifestyle property, but it is first looking for a feel and fit culturally, people with heart, soul and vision to join the programme.
“That’s who we are, so that’s who we want to work with. We are open minded, creative and our work ethic is one of passion and purpose,” she says. The Jockey Club’s global ambition and vision is big. Metrostar is having detailed conversations with leading agents in important international markets such as China, India and the US. To support this, The Jockey Club has undertaken a significant and important trademark application programme.
“We’re well-prepared and we’re excited. We have something special that we know has an inherent value. At The Jockey Club, we say, come on in and welcome to our world.”