What do Renault’s marketing team and Formula One motor sports team have in common? Well, not much right now. But the French car brand is hoping its return to Formula One two years ago will put some petrol in the tank of its marketers and shift them up a gear.
Speaking at the Ad:tech London conference, Renault’s vice president of brand, Bastien Schupp, said Renault is using motor sports as a “test bed” for more agile ways of working and “passion-led” marketing, as well as a means to test tech for future car models.
“The general marketing side is much more about data, interpretation and technologies,” Schupp said. “But what that side can learn from the motor sports side is the opposite: a bit more passion, trust your instincts much more.”
Renault is also looking to bring some of the “glamour” of Formula One into the main brand image, which the car maker admits has lots its way since the 1990s and early 2000s.
“Formula One is a big investment and we need to capitalise on that investment to benefit the overall image of Renault and our road cars,” Schupp explained. “People still see Formula One as high tech and fast cars, so we use a lot of this storytelling to try to get some of the Formula One glamour and tech image on to the rest of the company.”
Other Formula One constructors are looking at ways to bring a more human element to the sport. Key to that is the drivers, who are becoming an increasingly important part of the brand extension for constructors like Renault.
John Allert, chief marketing officer of McLaren, explained: “The sponsorship model in its traditional forms is well past its expiry date. Partnerships we have are typically founded in some kind of collaboration with a technology or a consumer platform. The drivers then help us with the human style of telling that story.
“We are a strange mix of a technology business and marketing machine operating in an entertainment platform and we have to dance through all of those different things which means we’re sometimes under pressure to do different things for different people.”