The Evening Standard’s ‘most influential person in advertising’ on his journey so far
During Timothy Armoo’s second year of university, he created Fanbytes - a social media and marketing agency that would take the advertising world by storm. Since Fanbytes' formation in 2015, Timothy has been highlighted as one of Forbes 30 under 30 2021, and Linkedin’s Top Voice 2020. Timothy has taken the business world by storm and has previously worked with brands such as Apple, Boohoo and McDonald’s, using innovation to win the hearts of Gen Z. Timothy fills us in on life as a CEO, how he created a fund to support black creators and businesses, and his career highlights so far!
What inspired you to set up Fanbytes?
I set up Fanbytes because after selling my previous business I started to see the power of social media and the fact that was the direction that the world was going in. I then became acutely aware of the fact that brands were missing so much when it came to reaching out to Gen Z. So, it was a combination of being a Gen Z and realising what was missing, then also the power of social media and brands in general.
Can you tell us about the fund you created to support black businesses and creators?
The Fanbytes fund is something I created because as one of the few people of colour in the advertising and technology industry, I wanted to do more than just panels, talks and shows about change, and drive change. So, what I did was raise £1000 to fund black marketing campaigns or black-owned businesses. The impact so far has been very strong, which is really great to see.
Which campaigns are you most proud of?
We’ve worked with Cardi B and Drake and all those people, but the campaigns I am most proud of are with completely different types of brands, like the ACCA or Public Health England. The campaign we did for Public Health England on getting young people vaccinated, was incredibly important to me. I am more interested in those campaigns where it’s about changing brand perception, rather than working with say Deliveroo or McDonalds.
What advice would you give your 16-year-old self, about starting a business?
Everything you are trying to do has been learnt by someone else, and what you have to do is learn how they did it, and then go and do it.
How do you maintain your company culture and values whilst managing a fast-growing team?
I think it obviously starts from the top, and it’s actually about being very deliberate about culture. So, hiring very slowly so that every single person you bring on is aware of the culture. I can’t influence the culture that much, but luckily the people underneath me can influence the culture.
What are your marketing/social trends predictions for 2022?
TikTok will be more and more on the road map and on the road map for every single marketer as it’s getting more and more important, and the more and more important it gets, the better. TikTok and Instagram are still going to rate supreme. Snapchat still has its place and I think it’s one of the best performing marketing channels, so that’s quite key.
How do you maintain your mental health while having a fast-growing company?
I think it’s all about having perspective. Fanbytes is a part of the many things I do, it’s not the thing that identifies with me. Like I am not Fanbytes and Fanbytes is not me, and that’s a really important distinction and I made that distinction about two years ago, and since then my life has been way better!
What advice would you give young people who want to start their own business, but don’t know how to?
Go and read books about how it can be done. The books I always suggest are ‘The Ultimate Sales Machine,’ which is a great book. I would also suggest focusing on marketing and sales, so if you can focus on books by marketing and sales leaders like Dan Kennedy or Jay Abraham, then I think those will really guide you.
What’s been the biggest surprise and the hardest part about running your own business?
To be honest, I don’t think this has been much of a surprise but I think, as I mentioned earlier, how you read books beforehand, they tell you almost what to expect. In terms of the hardest part, I would say as the company scales, the company gets more complex, so you start to realise that you have to start to own up about that the fact that your role is going to fundamentally start to keep changing, and that’s quite hard if you have to realign your existing skills.
Words: Nadiyah Rajabally