Race to successful branding: Formula 1 Brand Analysis

As we’re in the midst of the F1 2021 season, we’re doing a quick brand analysis on Formula One! If you didn’t know already, F1 is a series of international auto racing for single seater racing cars. Today the Monaco Grand Prix race takes place, may the best one win!

Fast facts 

  • Name: Formula One (also known as Formula 1 or F1)
  • Type: Subsidiary
  • Parent company: Liberty Media
  • First season: Silverstone, UK in 1950
  • Headquarters: London, UK
  • Key people: Stefano Domenicali (President & CEO), Ross Brawn (Managing Director of Motorsports) and Chase Carey (Non-executive Chairman)
  • Key stakeholders: Drivers, engine manufacturers, suppliers
  • Revenue: $1.145 billion in 2020
  • Brand design company: Wieden + Kennedy
  • Countries: Global

Rebrand and strategies

The word “Formula” refers to the strict set of rules that must be followed when it comes to the participants’ cars. Back in the day, racing often became unfair due to differences in car size and power.

A few years ago, F1 Managing Director of Motorsports Ross Brawn revealed F1’s proposals of key strategic initiatives for the upcoming years. “What we are proposing, the purpose is to improve the sport. The purpose is to make the business more sustainable, bring the cars closer together but at a level that is still incredibly exciting.” New initiatives were in regards to power units, costs, revenues, rules & regulations, and governance.

In the second half of 2017, F1 rebranded and repositioned themselves. Some of the major changes included a new logo and typography, and positioning the sport as a global media and entertainment brand. In addition, F1 had its first ever multi-platform marketing campaign, appearing in key Grand Prix destinations.

According to Wieden + Kennedy, the new logo reveal resulted in a generation of over 35,000 Tweets, and it was covered by over 1,500 media outlets within five days. F1’s rebranding was able to attract a lot of attention at the end of the year.

Today, F1 is one of the fastest motorsports in the world, just like NASCAR, an American auto racing company. Both seem to show exciting races with each their own differences, and it often comes down to personal preference. One component F1 could gain some competitive advantage from is that races are held worldwide. They hold plenty of them in Asia as well, which NASCAR does not.

Lastly, one of F1’s car manufacturers, Ferrari, was the most powerful brand in the world in 2014. However, shortly after their brand power took a big hit when an F1 team didn’t do well. And although not affecting F1’s brand too much, it shows that their races can have a negative impact on other brands and their image.

Brand opportunities and threats

Firstly, F1 mainly has opportunities in improving its brand by accomplishing their vision. Next, they should constantly explore new territories, as that could nicely set them apart from competitors. But just like in actual racing, once you have a competitive advantage, there’s no slowing down. You’ll still be far from success, as it will take continuously maintaining and strengthening that competitive advantage.

As for threats, F1 should look out for fast-growing competitors like MotoGP. Furthermore, there’ll always be the existing threat of drivers and teams leaving F1. Lastly, electric cars would be the only option to become greener than ever. However, electric vehicle technology hasn’t come far enough yet that it can create similar thrilling races. That is why the International Automobile Federation can only promise electric car races after at least 2039.

Conclusion

So far, the Formula 1 brand has been pretty successful, despite having a bad year in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Not too long ago, they also started using completely sustainable fuel and set a few more goals for this year and 2030 regarding sustainability. It can be said that F1 can continue to strengthen their brand as long as it shows they’re taking action to improve and grow.

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