We’re not all racing fans at Flux– but Alex has convinced us why the sport is worth talking about. Not only are the cars themselves an example of design and engineering, the Formula 1 brand is a fascinating case study of rebranding strategy. In honor of Alex’s amazing experience, we’re diving into why the F1 rebrand has proven so successful– and what you can learn from it.
After polls showed a steep decline in viewership and new ownership took over the company in 2017, Formula 1 began a rebrand process that has been nothing short of stunning. What had once been a highly technical niche sport for elites has now become one of the most watched sports by young people with a die-hard fan base around the world. They’ve gone from a sports company to a global media entertainment brand. It’s not just about showing races on TV. It’s all about connecting with fans.
Liberty Media, F1’s new owner, approached the business like a media company rather than a sports team. Chase Carey was appointed to lead the organization, signaling a major shift in leadership priorities. Carey had been COO of Fox, Inc., CEO of DirectTV, president and COO of News Corporation, and, most recently, former vice-chairman of 21st Century Fox. Before Carey’s appointment, Formula 1 had no formal marketing, promotion, sponsorship, or digital departments. They had a chance to really rebuild the brand from the ground up– and it’s an opportunity they didn’t waste.
Since unveiling a modern and slick new logo in 2017, the company has steadily built a wildly successful digital strategy that has been hugely effective in converting more and more people into fans. From Youtube videos to a Netflix show to allowing their drivers to post on social media and interact directly with fans, F1 created a content strategy that propelled them from the outskirts to the center of the sports universe.
Formula 1 figured out what they were missing– emotional connection. So they looked inward, and figured out what makes the sport so special. With clarity on what they stand for and what they want to mean to their audiences, they built an ironclad strategy for bringing that message to the world across platforms. Their new look, feel, brand voice, and branded content are all reflections of a strong initial strategy, and a commitment to following it at every level of brand experience.
Are you an F1 fan? Let us know what you think about their recent rebrand.