Building your brand is an important part of your career in motorsport. It doesn’t matter if you’re a racing driver, business owner, or someone looking for another career in the industry. Your brand helps people to identify with you and tells the world where you fit in.
If you don’t have a strong personal brand, it’s not going to be obvious to sponsors/clients/employers how you’ll be able to work with them.
But if you do have a strong personal brand that positions you perfectly for the people you’re targetting, sponsors/clients/employers are going to be knocking at your door.
When I started my marketing agency almost seven years ago, I didn’t have a niche but I was growing my personal brand within fashion. Even though things have changed now, I built that brand so well that I still get loads of fashion writing work without ever promoting that part of my life (save for a neglected fashion blog).
I think my personal brand is pretty obvious to most people now. I’m a colourful motorsport expert who likes to road trip. Your brand can be that simple or it can be much more complex.
Because so much of my upcoming book is about branding, I thought now would be a good time to write a blog post on the subject. This is a really important topic for racing drivers but anyone working in the industry should understand what their brand is, even if it’s just an extension of their personality.
Here are some tips for creating a winning brand within motorsport.
Who are you?
First and foremost, consider who you are, what you love and what you’re an expert in. You might be an expert at racing in the wet. You might love to nerd out over aerodynamics. You might obsess over electric powertrains. You might be a business owner who is following their motorsport dream. You might be the kid next door who has found they have exceptional talent.
Your brand is just an extension of who you are. It’s the story you tell on social media that lets people know who you are.
How does that look?
If you’re an expert at racing in wet, you might be posting pictures of damp race tracks, or videos of you making an epic save in tricky conditions, or you might simply mention how excited you are when the heavens open.
If you’re a business owner who is moving into motorsport you might post pictures of the premises you just bought, complete with race cars, or you might be interviewed by a business publication talking about your love for motorsport and how it started.
If you’re an engineer writing about electric motorsport, you might be giving walkarounds of electric race cars explaining how they work, or you might give a talk at a Professional Motorsport World about battery life in Formula E.
The majority of what you do to promote yourself should help you to further establish your brand.
Your brand applies in person too. If you’re going for the luxury angle posting images of your high-end race car, beautiful watches and white-sand beaches, there’s no point in rocking up to a race in a crappy Ford Focus ST 150 that’s on its last legs. Get yourself something shiny that lends itself to the luxury lifestyle you’re portraying. You don’t need to spend tens of thousands on the latest sports car but consider a car lease that will allow you to drive around in something new that looks great on Instagram.
One of my clients, MINI Challenge driver Will Fairclough, is a great example of strong branding when it comes to what he drives. His daily driver is a MINI kitted out in the same livery as his race car.
Post things that strengthen your brand image. Occasionally take a step back from your website and social media and ask yourself: What does this say about me?
In the press
Again, when you speak to the press, consider how your answers strengthen your brand. (If you’re a racer, this PR course will help you find more press opportunities.)
Make sure to talk about your expert topic, what you’re passionate about and how people can find out more about you.
Do you have a strong, defined brand? I’d love to hear about it, Tweet me @RacingMentor.