Paddock magazine December 2014 / January 2015 Issue 70 - Page 42

FEATURES Toto Wolff with Lena Siep The discussions show that it’s time to rethink the core values of the sport. What is its mission? What are the common rituals nowadays that fans are sitting in front of their Iphones rather than around a barbecue on a track campside? For the innovative Formula E the solution lies in bringing the action to the fans. „Nowadays not everybody can afford to take three days off to travel to a race track in the countryside“, says Stegelmann. In his series, everything happens within a day: practice, qualifying and race. „That way we can reach target groups who are less financially sound because they can afford to take a day trip to the city. Plus, the access to the race track is partly free – you don’t even need a ticket.“ His success formula is to create entertaining events rather than a race series designed for motorsport enthusiasts only. The so-called eprix offer off-track entertainment with music acts, racing simulators, e-bike displays and cultural villages with activites for families and children. All under the umbrella of sustainability and clean mobility. A n approach which is supported by the brand expert: „It’s not about what people buy, it is what people buy into“, Dopheide quotes the President of Procter and Gamble, a company that spends more than 3 Billion Dollars per year on advertising. Today’s brands promise the consumer more than just the purchased item, they offer an entire lifestyle that comes with it for free. A good example is Nespresso. When viewed dispassionately, it is just another coffee brand. And yet people are willing to pay 23 EUR per pound instead of 3 EUR for an alternative brand even though blind tastings have shown that consumers find absolutely no difference between a cup of Nespresso and the cheap no-name brew. The reason is simple: Ne- 42 spresso promises „la dolce vita“ and buying coffee in one of their elegant shops is an experience, not an inconvenient necessity. That principle doesn’t work for products only - it could work for an entire industry. In order to achieve this, the players need to learn how to exploit the power of the communities. Give them exciting stories and personalities to identify with, good content to share and a platform to extend the communicational efforts of the brands. Mercedes AMG Petronas have done a good job off track as well. With 10 Million followers on twitter the team’s account alone has made up over 30 percent of social media activity of all F1 teams this year. Toto Wolff is thus confident: „In the future we will develop new formats with the existing partners, and this is what’s happening. But the technology has to set the agenda. And you have to take it one step at the time. Formula 1, as a product, is too big for experiments and I am convinced that eventually, it’s all gonna fall into place“. Formula E and its partners are already working on such solutions. In the near future, they will introduce a 360 degree camera on each car which the fans can select and control via the Formula E app. A real-time lap with your favorite race driver – more involvement is hardly possible. „You need to open your eyes and analyse what others do better“, admits Wolff. „There are new concepts, new ideas and new approaches that we don’t see with our mindcuffs, and Formula E is something that we watch very closely. We’ll have to see which way it goes, whether or not we need a FanBoost or not is anyone’s guess.“ „But Formula 1 is in the media, and it is also in the media because it is controversial. Sometimes any news is good news and that’s always been part of Formula 1.“ Lena Siep Lena Siep has over ten years of experience in working as a PR Manager for international automotive companies and racing teams. Having been involved with Formula 1 and many other motorsport series, she now runs her own business as a Communications Consultant and presenter. Check