Formula E’s CMO on Building the Most Exciting Challenger Brand in Sports

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Welcome to another enlightening episode of Scratch! In this episode, Eric is joined by the brilliant Henry Chilcott, the Chief Marketing Officer at Formula E. Henry unveils the fascinating realms of electric racing and sustainability, sharing valuable insights on what it means to be a challenger in a category dominated by an incumbent. 

Together, they explore the dynamic interplay between high performance and sustainability, emphasizing its significance in establishing a strong brand identity. Henry sheds light on the strategic approaches and innovative initiatives undertaken by Formula E, highlighting the power of disruption in today's competitive business landscape. Join them as they delve into captivating topics such as audience engagement, content creation, and the broader implications of being an innovator within a sport that has such a foothold in the consumers' minds. Get ready for a thought-provoking discussion filled with valuable takeaways that can help you adapt and scale your marketing strategies. Tune in, we had a lot of fun recording this one!

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(00:00) Intro

(4:10) What challenger brand are you passionate about?

(7:45) Where is Formula E right now?

(11:00) How did you differentiate your brand?

(15:30) What role does 'purpose' play in your marketing strategy?

(29:30) How do you know when to stick with tradition and when to make changes?

(36:30) Media company marketing model

(44:00) Lightning round

Mentioned in the Show:

"Scratch" is a production of Rival, a marketing consultancy and technology company that builds challenger brands, strategies, and capabilities to change categories. 

In every episode Eric interviews the CMO of some of the world's biggest or fastest-growing brands, exploring their innovative marketing strategies that challenge established incumbents. Immerse yourself in the world of challenger brands and learn valuable marketing lessons from industry experts, as you discover their secrets to success. 

Find Rival online at, LinkedIn, Twitter

Find Henry on Linkedin.

Find Eric on LinkedIn and tweet him @efulwiler

Say hi at, we’d love to hear from you.


Eric: Hey everyone, before we get to today's episode, I wanted to share what I think is a pretty exciting announcement, we are opening up our rival amp community. So some of you listening have been part of AMP. From the beginning of the company. It has been our small, very small friends and family community around rival where we post updates asked for feedback, kind of share what's going on in the business. But actually, we think there's a lot more potential as we've grown as our community has grown, as we've met more of you to actually build and scale a proper community within rival amp. So what rival amp is going to be is it's going to be a community for challenger marketers on WhatsApp, we're going to share ideas and observations from the Challenger marketing world that we see and ask everyone to contribute to that share about challenger brands, marketing, news, industry events, job opportunities, ask for feedback, and input use each other as a sounding board, we think it's going to be really great. So if you are interested in joining in or not already a member, please either reach out to me, if you know me, or go on over to our website, we are And you can apply from there, this is free. But we do want to make sure that we're adding people that are really interested and can really add value. That's it onto the episode.

Henry: It's a we'll do a campaign which is like full throttle, dramatic exciting. And you'll see it performing incredibly well and driving perceptions of excitement and drama, but then sustainability, you just see it creeping down. So it's it's changing. And it's our role as ordinary. Going back to what I said at the beginning. If our role is to show that high performance and sustainability can powerfully coexist. Were a lighthouse example of that. So it's our role to close that gap and to make those two things fit together.

Eric: I'm Eric Fulwiler. And this is scratch, bringing you marketing lessons from leading brands and brands rewriting the rulebook from scratch for the world is today.

My guest today Henry Chilcott the Chief Marketing Officer of Formula E a challenger, the highly competitive world of motorsport. Henry was previously group marketing director at McLaren racing a brand he helped to re architect to be fan focused and a business he helped grow through several Technology Partnerships and strategic programmes. And before that Henry spent 20 years in the ad industry in London. So as you will hear, Henry brings a tonne of experience and perspectives to the table. And this is a special one for me. Because to be honest with you, Formula II had been on our wish list. For a while a note about the business actually knew a couple of people over there, Henry and I got introduced. And yeah, again, as you'll hear, it's a fascinating conversation, just hearing about how you build, I mean, there's probably no more quintessential example of a challenger brand, and particularly one in a category where the barrier to entry and competition is so high, as Henry says, and as I alluded to, you know, nobody would have expected nobody would have thought that a challenger could have come in to really challenge Formula One. And we get to hear about the principles and the practices and the perspective from Henry and the team at formula II that have led them to be able to do that. So please enjoy my conversation with Henry Chilcott. All right, my guest today, Henry Chilcott CMO of formula II Henry, how are you doing? And are you actually at home in the UK? Because I feel like every time I talk to you, you're off in some exotic place for scouting or at a race events.

Henry: Yeah, I can confirm I'm in sunny Hammersmith sun is shining over here which is great. So I'm getting to spend some time with family and good to be in the country for a chunk of time. But we're off to Portland just next week in the

Eric: Nice. Alright, well I really appreciate you making the time I know you have so much going on it's the middle of the season. But let's start with a question that we ask every guest as a bit of an icebreaker what is one challenger brand that you're passionate about right now and why and it can't be Euro.

Henry: Okay, challenger brand that's interesting, because I saw the question and my mind always goes to Chanda brands. And I obviously Miss read it because I thought you know what, I'm not gonna go pick your brain. I'm gonna have a look at the brand that I remember from years ago, everyone everyone talks about that we'll talk less about because it was the thing everyone talks about. And as Apple and reason I kind of just been thinking about them recently is I'm fascinated to hear you know, the whole AI hype train that's on at the moment and how they're resisting as as either literally appointed policy, jumping on it, and focusing on their products, and which course have all the same tech and variations of that that same tech in them but recognising that this is something that most people ask gates have threatened by. But let's just focus on creating amazing products, design incredible products that are enhanced by machine learning as opposed to jumping too much into the whole uncanny valley. So so I like that I like the fact that they've they've almost kind of even though they're a market leader, they are kind of disrupting the market when everyone else meta and Google, etc, jumping very much both feet in in that. And it just alongside that just continuing to design, incredibly desirable items. We've all seen the vision pro now and it just, it just manages once again, just to raise that bar, and create not just that kind of desire from a functional rational point of view. It's an incredible piece of hardware. But but but just the beauty and aesthetic of it again, they've that they've made to deliver it. So So yeah, so it's it's my uncool option just to put out there, but I thought, you know, what, we, we always come out with challenger brands, sometimes it's worthy to put a pat on the back of some of the bigger, bigger, bigger boys and go.

Eric: To be honest, I think they can certainly be a challenger brands, one of the things that we say is obviously challenger has this connotation of being a startup or a quote, unquote, disrupter. But actually, being a challenger is much more about the mindset that you approach your category with, rather than the stage or the size of the scale that you're at. And actually, you know, think about that old Phil Knight quote from Nike, the best way to stay number one is to think and act like a number two, you know, you need to be thinking about how you're going to put yourself out of business, how you're going to challenge yourself, how you're going to innovate within the category, even if you dominate it, or maybe, especially if you dominate it. So I will accept that answer. I think that that is that's a good one.

Henry: Thank you. It's very gracious. But now it's a good year. Right? It's it's a mentality in the Spirit, and harder to achieve when you're at scale.

Eric: Totally. So, Henry, as you know, so I've actually been aware of, and I guess, loosely around, you know, I'm not a directly a fan of motorsports. But I've known about Formula E for a while, and I've always been fascinated by what you all are doing. And, you know, I think there is nobody that could claim to be more of a challenger brand than what you're doing. And actually, I'll go back to what you said, just before we press record to kind of introduce this conversation, you all set it like it could have been the beginning of a movie, you know, 10 years ago, this challenger entered this category that if you were sitting on the outside, you would think nobody had any business or any opportunity to truly Disrupt. And yet, here you are, here is Formula E. And so I think before we get into the questions that we that we prepped for I just love to give you a minute or two, can you tell us the state of where Formula E is right now?

Henry: So yeah, so we are with season nine, which is a blink in the eye of an eye in sports tabs, right? A sports, fandom is built over generations, right? I'm a I'm a in motorsport. I'm a McLaren fan. I'm not meant to say that they're in their in our championship, but you know that it predates my time at formula II when I used to work in the on the one team and, and I'm a South Hampton football club that now my my son's got upset with me because he's upset with his inherited because he's got shirehampton, sadly, have just been relegated from the Premier League. And the car is having a bit of a challenging time on track. But the point I'm making is that it's these bonds with, with sports and with teens are tend to be generational. And we're nine years old. So yeah, that's, that's younger than my eldest son. And so that's a that's a challenge and opportunity. But alongside that, we have an incredibly impatient group of stakeholders, some of the biggest car manufacturers on the planet, big shareholders, including Warner Brothers discovery and liberty global and some kind of iconic brands, who serve as as our supporters as our partners. So there's a real desire to grow and accelerate that growth. But there's a reality check that you can't just create a fan base and scale overnight. We work very hard to accelerate that growth. But you know, there's there's a long way to go but but in in that nine years, which I've only been there, I can say almost a third. Now of of that time, we've done all right, we are we're a FIFA World Championship, so that's something which is granted by the governing body FIFA to do any its biggest, most successful championships. So alongside Formula One World Rally Championship, we have 187 million global fans we racing all around the world. So we have 16 races season a crew was trouble. So cities including places we race, including New York and London and Rome, in Sao Paulo, and Jakarta most recently get Portland next week, as I said, so there's lots of really positive tailwind and not a progress made. And also the fact that we have the tailwind dogs have large ambition of the business that's being set up as a, as a as a state where high performance meets sustainability and, and driving forward that Evie electric vehicle agenda in that in the fight against climate change. And, in fundamentally to be a sport which achieves that has achieved net zero carbon status since inception, and be a motorsport we're proud of, because it shows the world that if we have achievements in motorsport than anyone can.

Eric: So let's start with differentiation. And, you know, I think for marketers listening, and really anybody out there, obviously, that is a huge part of what builds a successful brand drives the growth of a successful business. And actually, our methodology, the way that we develop brands and build brands strategies is specifically focused on tying together the needs of the audience you're trying to serve, the competitive set and the category convention that you're in, and the proposition of your own brand, both functionally and emotionally to triangulate, what is that point of difference, but we think and really believe that successful brands, Challenger or otherwise, are built on top of a clear, sharp point of differentiation in the market. So I guess the place I want to start is, you know, of course, any reactions or builds to that. But you coming in three years ago, you weren't starting the brand from scratch, but you've clearly taken it and scaled it, you've taken it and run with it. What were the first steps that you took when you came in? To think about how to solve? Because there's the there's the obvious answer of well, it's electric cars versus gas cars. But I'm sure from a brand and marketing standpoint, there's a lot more that you've done. So where did you start?

Henry: Well, oddly, I started with going undercover in f1 for four years. So I was at McLaren, as I said, which is, which I loved had a fantastic time there. And, yeah, it was a big move to come over into full MURRAY But But what I guess that did show me was a decent amount of time in a 70 year old championship with a six year old team within that championship. So really understanding just how passionate that that fan base f1 fan base is. And, and understanding the the bleeding edge technology that sits within that, that creates the platform for those kind of racing gladiators that perform week in week out. So that really helps, because then I'm gonna move over into Formula II, I had a real respect and understanding for the history of the sport. For the brands, and the teams that sat within the sport, but then understood, we need to find a way to create a positioning for the brand, which would accelerate and unleash greater fandom, deeper fandom and, and broader fandom in a way that could speak to those f1 fans, but not exclusively. And, you know, yes, we're electric. But that's how we're powered. And it's a, it's a little more than that. The weather where we live or die is on our product. And no one chews into us because we're electric, no one chooses into us because we're showing the world that, that you can be more sustainable in in our you drive kind of performance. They tune in because it's an entertainment platform, it's something I give my time to, because it's going to give me pleasure, and I'm going to be entertained alongside any other in competition with any other platform. So so at the core of everything we have to do is make sure that the sport itself, it's it's incredibly powerful and entertaining and dramatic and all the things that I'm sure we'll talk a little bit about that later. But the first kind of step that that that I took was to articulate a purpose to the brand, that the company and the ecosystem so by ecosystem, I mean fans, teams, manufacturers, FIA, local governments, for the race cities to be racing, good all unite behind. That gives a roll also to all of our partners who join us and obviously bring the kind of revenue into it into into our business to allow us to do what we do. And that was a shift from where it was when I arrived, which was we accelerate the adoption. We're here to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in the fight against climate change. to a shift to become to accelerate sustainable human progress through the power of electric racing, because not every one of our partners is involved in electric vehicles, but every single boardroom on the planet, at the moment are asking the question of how can we drive high performance, whether it's washing machines or holidays, or whatever it might be, or the the new technology that we've just seen from Apple, but do so and deliver it in a, in a sustainable way, with a with less negative impact on on the planet with a more positive impact on people. So this formulary should be a platform that is a lighthouse that demonstrates that high performance and sustainability can happily coexist. And that platform allows our partners to tell great stories to that narrative.

Eric: So just just double clicking on that for a second. So the kind of brand purpose that you developed, and actually, I'd be curious to kind of understand how you went about that process, but was around this idea of accelerating sustainable human progress through electric racing. And then what you're saying about why people tune in, that wraps around it, but actually why people tune in will be more for the entertainment, let's call it the product of being at the race, viewing the race, etc. So how do those things fit together? For you? I guess another way of saying it is, what job is the purpose doing in your marketing strategy of attracting retaining viewers building advocacy, etc?

Henry: Yeah, it's an interesting point. So. So the success for us depends on as I said, the product fundamentally, but the product depends on attracting and retaining the world's great manufacturers and teams, and is dependent on us attracting great sponsorship, and partners and revenue. So the doorway that most of our fans will come through to us through will be I've heard about their sport, it sounds entertaining, I'm gonna give it give it a try. What makes them feel like they have a kind of deeper level of love. So the brand is their understanding that the positive impact it has on people and, and planet, because it aligns with their values system. So you have a, a entertainment, it's quite a quite shallow desire and expectation, right? It's a, it's a Saturday or a Sunday, I want to be entertained. And but there's a deeper connection we have with brands, which is where they more aligned with your values. And if you can achieve both, which is I'm entertaining you but I'm also delivering positive impact. It's a really powerful, potent combination to have, that a lot of brands try and get to what's interesting about Formula E is its right to exist was predicated on the positive impact it has on the world. So the world didn't need another most sports series. The world wasn't screaming out for another climate activist group. But the two together, working in a real kind of balance with each other created. Something which was visionary at the time, and now is as we grow the fan base, not only a fan base full of motorsport fans in the traditional sense, some number of people also, of course, watch the likes of that one, but a different fan base. And it makes up around about 20% of our fan base, which we talk about the the electric generation, which is a younger, more gender balanced, progressive group, who, who loved the sport, but also were really drawn to the to the purpose. And what's important about that is there are there are partners and teams who sit with us who also sit in f1. So McLaren has an exam approach and f1. And their formulary, if we didn't have this additional audience, we didn't have these additional brand attributes, there would be no need for them to be in formerly alongside f1 Because they get plenty of help from everyone. And it's and it's a very mature and scale platform. So driving that difference in terms of our audience profile is essential in order for us to to attract brands from other who also kind of sit another motorsports

Eric: hit it's so picking up on a couple things you said because I had a lot of thoughts running through my mind. It's super interesting, just from like an academic, you know, marketing case study perspective. So one, which I know we're going to talk about a little bit later on your process and what was needed in building brand purpose and everything you do is not just for the consumer customer, the viewers and the fans. It's also for these other stakeholders, the partners and the sponsors, so you had to find a way to kind of triangulate a brand purpose within all those which is probably more prevalent and important for your business. Given how it works, but really is something that every business should be thinking about, there's not just the customer, there's employees, there's investors, there's, you know, partners. And so I think what I would call this more holistic approach to purpose is really interesting. And definitely takeaway from me. And also, and again, it's me kind of condensing what you said, but it sounds like I think a lot of people think of brand purpose as something that you put on the front end. So whether it's just, you know, might not just be about awareness, but it's more something that you build, and then you bring people in and give them the experience. But what you're saying is, your brand purpose, actually sometimes might not be the reason that they come in, but it's a big part of maybe why they stay or why they become advocates, or, or anything like that. So I thought that was really interesting. And so with what you do and what you're putting out into the world, there's a real opportunity to kind of own that stat section of the category a little bit more.

Henry: Yeah, that's exactly right. And it's, I can say, with absolute certainty, this is the most complex stakeholder group that I've ever had to engage with. And that can really be the challenge of that, at the beginning, when I first started this process. And obviously, as you can imagine, it was a lot of meetings and a lot of conversations with with all the different stakeholder groups and understanding what they wanted from the championship, what they needed, but also helping educate them and help them understand the kind of value chain right, which is, you know, yes, this might be a really valuable for you as a b2b platform. But unless we focus our products in a way, which is kind of to inspire and excite our fan, then there is going to be no scale to that platform. So there was a real process to go through to understand all the stakeholders requirements, which is a pretty standard process as you're trying to position your brand. But then create a platform that has relevance that will those those stakeholders, but allows you to show up and express that platform in different ways to different audiences. So so we have, we have season campaigns that launch the season, which are bold, dramatic, exciting. And and highly disruptive. Now some some parts of our ecosystem might go as not quite for me and the point Jose team, if it's not for you, it's there to drive and cut through against first and very noisy neighbours, and give ourselves a chance of getting onto the into the minds of of new fans and to bring them in and so that we can start bringing them down that funnel. However, we do have a platform called Jade accelerated Live, which is all about showing how we're harnessing our platform to accelerate positive change in the world and through technology through more sustainable practices, etc. So there's a 360 degrees within our platform, with different elements in the marketing mix design for different parts of parts of the ecosystem, but with a with a vision that kind of unites it all. But there's there are some fascinating things we've learned I'll just shine a light on in terms of we talked about racing and reason. So there's two sides of the Formula E coin, that the rating, the dramatic entertainment that the bit that gets the eyeballs. And then there's the reason that the positive impact we have in the world, mostly through accelerating Evie adoption. So those two things go together, racing and reason, kind of high performance and sustainability. But what's interesting is you can literally see, when we do campaigns that really lead into dramatic, disruptive, exciting racing, that the graphic equaliser on sustainability drops. And equally when we when we talk about sustainability and our progressive, whether it be EB technologies or all the other stuff that we do within sustainability, then the the perception of excitement and drama of the racing drops. So there's a real tension between the two. Because at the moment, I think the we've been conditioned, and this is changing to think that sustainable versions of things aren't quite as exciting as as nonsustained, like, Come and die Coke, coke, whatever it is, it's and the history of electric vehicles is the cold milk loads, people didn't think they were ever going to be capable of achieving what what their combustion kind of cousins can achieve. Now, of course, that's been proven to be wrong, as happens with every disruption in every field that even we've witnessed over over our careers, but it's something that we need to be really mindful of that that it's there, that that whether when you've got two sides of the coin, you've got to recognise that that that it's a very potent powerful mix the two but you've got to get that balance right with different people at different times. Otherwise, you can pull yourself in the wrong direction quite quickly.

Eric: I'd be curious, I want to make sure that I understand that. So when you say the graphic equaliser between racing and reason between kind of talking about the excitement of race day, and what's actually happening on track versus the purpose and sustainable human agenda and all that, do you mean, it it, it balances or shifts in the perception of the fans? Like they can only think about one versus the other. Hmm. That's interesting. But at the end of the day, it all ladders up to the same thing.

Henry: It does, it does. And so yes, I should have made that clear. From the fan from the fat fan research, we can see when we do activity, it's more on the sustainability side versus the racing side, that they aren't in people's minds. They aren't. They aren't very good bedfellows. Because they, there's there's a perception that high performance isn't necessarily sustainable.

Eric: That must be changing, though, right? With tests changing and like all the electric cars, cars coming out. Yeah, but

Henry: it but it's fascinating. When you literally see it in the data, we'll do a campaign, which is like full throttle, dramatic, exciting. And you'll see it performing incredibly well in driving perceptions of excitement and drama, but then sustainability, you just see it creeping down. So it's changing. And it's our role as vulnerary. Going back to what I said at the beginning, if our role is to show that high performance and sustainability can powerfully coexist. We're a lighthouse example of that. So it's our role to close that gap. And to make those two things fit together. Happily, but we've got lots of very powerful people out in the world doing that as well for us.

Eric: But you have to find the right balance of it, because I would imagine, but tell me if I'm wrong, you're kind of to what you were saying before. It's more of the racing that brings people in, and I would imagine a lot of the commercial metrics that you're responsible for driving have to do with new people coming in people watching, you know, fans, all that. So do you have to kind of is it you have to prioritise that and then get in the reason when you can when you feel like you have enough enough opportunity to balance the scale a little bit? Or how do you prioritise between those two, if my assumption is correct, that it's more the racing that drives the commercial results, short term,

Henry: Your assumptions correct in terms of the racing and the drama and excitement is most likely to bring in new fans. And as we said, but but when they then understand the purpose and the values of the organisation, that they're more likely to stay in that and feel a deep affinity for it, especially that younger, younger audiences. So that is true. So you'll see a lot of the content that you see us push out is more in that kind of area, you need to you know, sometimes it's like, let's call it 8020. And sometimes it flips the other way. But but from our partners point of view, which is our major revenue source, we haven't yet got to a scale where maybe your revenue is significant enough versus like, your premier league, or, or indeed, f1. Partner every year is so important to us. And when you haven't got the scale of some of our competitors. Obviously, the narrative the story is the is the powerful thing, right. And the story is hydrocarbons and sustainability. So if we just make it all about the racing, then then of course, we're closing down that narrative, which is incredibly valuable to our partners, because they want to come to us, and either have power in the adjacency to our our kind of purpose driven sport, sustainability, deras, etc. That's, that's certain partners, are the partners to become better in the field of sustainability through the adjacencies that how can we work together, and others to further amplify great work that they're doing in that sustainability, performance, kind of area. So those are the value that this platform delivers to a lot of our partners. So we have to make sure we nurture that aspect. And it is going back to what I said at the beginning. It's what gives us a right to exist, like at the outset. That's That's why another motorsport effectively was born. Because it could it could not only entertain, but it could also play a very strong role in in showing the world just that what these electric vehicles were capable of.

Eric: I'd be  curious, and that was I was thinking about asking this question before but based on what you said about kind of the audience research and figuring out where that balance is, I definitely want to ask it, you know, I think your business, probably more so than others. But I think this is important for everybody. You come in, you build the brand purpose, you build the marketing strategy, you get it to where you want it to be. But things are changing so quickly. Things are changing with the product. And with all the technological evolutions and, you know, everything that's on the roadmap of how, how Formula E is evolving, things are changing in the category things are changing with the consumer entertainment more broadly because again, like you kind of alluded to at the beginning, you You know, you're not just competing with a Formula One or even other motorsports, I would imagine you're competing with how people choose to spend their time when they want to be entertained. How do you stay on top of all of it? And by that, I mean, how do you know, I guess, it's more than what's working and what's not working, you know, particularly around points of differentiation and brand purpose. We believe that there needs to be a certain plasticity in modern brands. So the idea that, you know, the traditional brand book where everything is the same all the time, and needs to be the same thing to everybody, for hundreds of years, that's no longer how successful challenger brands are built. They're built by having core tenants that don't change, but having the ability and the culture and the technology and the setup, to be able to understand how everything around them and within them is changing, and then adapt to those changes. So when it comes to understanding and conveying your points of difference, and conveying your brand purpose, how do you know when to change things? And how much do you think about keeping them the same? Or trying to adapt? If that? I know, it's a broad question, but we'd love to just hear you talk about that.

Henry: It's a good question. Yeah, I think having the, what I call the operating system of the brand, so what's our purpose?

Eric: What are our values our values our way? Do you call it the operating system, as we call it, too?

Henry: Oh, there we go. Okay, yeah, maybe I stole it from me. So, so the values that underpin that and the values are really important to me, right? So values, I don't call them prime values, I call the values, what are values they are the things that the organisation value and if you value them, they need to demonstrate why you value them through how you act and behave. So values become something that inform how we behave inside the organisation and how we express also sells out to the world beyond the organisation of our four values. Vamos which speaks to our Spanish origins and is all about the spirit and optimism and can do attitude of of this this brand in this sport is bravery which is reminding ourselves that we always need to be bold and disruptive and not to conform as humanity, which is whilst we are a very technical technologically driven sport, technology exists to serve humanity and we want to create a meeting experience for our for our people and for our bad. And then finally, impact this is a sport designed to make impact for people planet fans etc. So we have to we have a sense of who we are directly going the values that are important to us. And then beyond that, we have a kind of an inbuilt benefit that is not unique to us as a as a sport, but fairly unique to us in the world of brands, which is we are a global sport. So whilst there is of course, the brand, Formula E and the ABB FIA Formula EA World Championship, which is the the championship that travels all around the world, how we show up beyond our social channels and content, and it's through the races that we take to these amazing cities around the world. And that allows us to show up in in slightly different ways, in different places, so consistently, but it allows us to explore, to kind of innovate, try new stuff, fast failing, all that kind of stuff in a way which allows us to keep the brand really fresh. So we believe that when we arrive in a city, we shouldn't arrive like a spaceship that kind of lands in a city and everything just goes you know, our colour and that's it, we want to make a kind of a kind of try a kind of an energy transfer between the city that we race in and the racing series itself, we bring that to life graphically through our identity, we bring that to life through the the music performances that the gigs that we we set up so we always have local local artists. And of course, then you have very different tracks and with very different outcomes at the races and then we have our podium ceremonies we kind of try to bring the local culture in so Sao Paulo this year we did the podium which transformed into a into a carnival floats. So the the we were the week after the carnival in in in Sao Paulo. So we lent into the local kind of area. So So I think the one of the benefits the inbuilt kind of benefits of being a global sport is it allows us to know who we are, but also to flex that brand in different ways in different places, which keeps it which keeps it really nice and fresh. And as an experienced brand that's that that's a real that's something that I've really enjoyed since then since coming here. to this to this to this world.

Eric: So my, my takeaway from that, if I'm getting it right is you kind of need to figure out where you want to play, but not be too rigid with what you do to give you the flexibility with whatever you're doing wherever the brand and business takes you to kind of show up in the most relevant way.

Henry: Yeah, exactly that. And it's, and it's, that we, I spent 18 years in, in advertising and design agencies. And so I'm very familiar with the, the brand books and the design, the design manuals, all these kind of things. And they're always become very quickly something which feels like a constraint. Whereas what they really, really a brand should be, it's something that liberates. And as long as one knows where the edges are, when I joined formulary, it was a blue brand made sense, blue is a kind of colour connected to electricity. It's what all the manufacturers were using. But it made us the law of the unintended consequences, we felt quite cold and limited. And we we've unleashed like a whole spectrum of colour in form right now. Now our kind of home state remains blue. But we've expressed ourselves in a far fuller canvas of colour, which allows us to then flex that into the local cultures that we race, in, adapt, adopt their colours, etc. So it's still clear who we are, but it's far less rigid and far more celebratory, because ultimately, when people come to our races, we want it to feel like, yes, a sporting event, but a mixture of a sporting event and a festival. And where everyone's having a lot of fun. There's great music is great, great act, and there's a great Racing Championship Central.

Eric: Okay, so I think I've gotten through one of the questions, fret, sorry, I have to figure out how to make the most of the last few minutes that we have. But this is this is fascinating. I think that's a good sign. I think where I want to go, I know that we talked a good amount about differentiation and brand purpose. We didn't get to all the questions that we had prepped, but I want to make sure that we touch on this media company model. And for people listening, they've obviously heard me talk about this a lot. But I really believe that modern marketing is about thinking and acting more like a media company than a traditional marketer. So I think with your category, you know, and it's one of the examples I always give, with Formula One and drive to survive. And just such a pure example in my mind of and I don't actually be curious, I don't know if you know how that actually came about whether it was them pushing it or Netflix push yet. But the idea of putting out content that's entertaining, that adds value to the audience you're trying to reach, which then over the long term drives the growth of the business and I think, you know, courses a lot that's going into evolving f1 right now. So I guess what I want to ask is, you know, my riff on media company one, is that how you think about it, too, I know you put out a tonne of content I checked out a lot that was on the YouTube and Instagram and there's always the dynamic of you've got your tentpole events but then it is for a lot of people are what you're trying to do is build more of an always on experience. And I guess three how often do you get the ask of where's our drive to survive from your CEO?

Henry: Yeah, it's, uh, we'll start with the last question so yeah, so like anything of great success there's there's the ways your drive survive. I remember when I was in the ad industry, I think it was Sony balls. That was a beautiful campaign or, or Cadbury's gorilla that was an amazing campaign with a gorilla playing the drums for Cabarrus so whenever there's so many successful people be one little bit of it right and you know, speaking as someone who was in series one of Dr. Survived very small pop leak and you miss it drives to the Vive is is yeah, it turns its origins. I I don't know. Where it originated from my hunch is it was brought brought to Formula One has been fantastically successful. And, and it's ultimately I think there's a there's a couple of reasons for that. Firstly, there's history. So 70 years old Formula One. Yeah, a little younger than that when flow slide came came to prominence. It had been a probably the world's most exclusive sport. Now we'll get close to it. Kurt was closed. It was elitist. And you had all these mythical figures that that existed within it over the years, but no one really ever got close to him. And that was a factor of the fact that that we didn't have social there wasn't social media and all those kinds of aspects but it was also just a it was the Bernie Eccleston era of it unless they're paying me something they can't get close I think I think famously once said, I'm not too interested in transit and by road rail accident or something like that. So so those that fascinating year and this is a long time ago now the the current management of f1 have just changed all of that and done a great job in achieving that. But what what drives survived it is it after 70 years of curtain being closed, it pulled the cut back and when you've got that much pent up desire and, and loves for a brand that's been built over so many decades, but no one's been able to get close. And suddenly you go, well actually, we're going to pull the curtains back, people are going to lean in. So that is just a factor of of history and unique to sport, they've been around for a long time. And and then of course, you know, you have a big stage, big global stage, and then you have some great characters on that stage. No one knew how they would come up, how that how they would they would work on screen, no one knew that going to Steiner would be a big character from a teacher's point of view, but the they had the stage and the stories came out. And guess what sport is full of a lot of drama, knowledge, a lot of human interest stories. And, and you know, the whole industry is come about the back of the iceberg. And there are other things there before it. So really successful. And yeah, if I could wave a magic wand and have my drive survive, yes, of course, I'd wave my magic wand and have died survive. But you have to create the conditions. And this is the I guess the point I want to make, you have to create the conditions for that to happen. Some of those are, are impossible to do. So I can't make up 70 years of history and an enclosed curtain at bits, but most of them are around having creating great sport, with big characters with huge amounts to win and lose huge amounts of pressure where you're going to see the frailties of the human human condition kind of exposed for everyone to see. And you get those things right, and you get the alchemy of those things right then that occasionally you get hit in your head. I think the reason so many younger new audiences have tuned into it is because the sport, frankly, is the stage that there's not, you know, I'd love to be able to dig deeper into it. And you don't get to dig deeper into the Netflix data but and how that then crosses over into Formula One. But my insight will be that a huge number of the people who tuned in to drive the vibe and enjoy the psychodrama that plays out in Drive survived across docile seasons are watching it because they're interested in humans will their frailties and the job as they kind of play out that doesn't necessarily translate into I love racing. And and and that's not a bad thing. But it's it's not a it's not as simple as that worked. And therefore our audience numbers of people today in car races kind of worked. So that's something to be aware of. Within the whole mix, you need to make sure you you serve everyone. And I think what that's done for for one is opened up a whole new audience that they simply didn't have before because it's a motorsport traditionally has been a pretty one elitist in certain areas, certainly in Formula One, but also pretty impenetrable. It's a very hard to understand sport, for a casual fan. So this has allowed people to come into it through a much more kind of out for an NGO nursery slow, but it'd be interesting to see how that then plays out over time, whether it continues to be successful. And then how many of those casual fans actually convert into actual fans who are kind of shooting in more than once to see.

Eric: Yeah. Fascinating, fascinating to get your perspective on it. All right. I know that we are up on time. Can we do a quick lightning round before I let you go? Starting with what's the biggest win? You've had recently?

Henry: Biggest win? Wow, that's something jumped into my mind. But I shouldn't say there's just a board meeting that we're not allowed to announce yet. I mean, that the winds, probably one of the great things of the last season is one of the things that really drives engagement with our sport is, is the places we race it and we had real success in Cape Town, fantastic race. Optically, there wouldn't be a sport on the planet that wouldn't give you the right arm to have something that looks as incredible as that the race was fantastic. The drum was there. It kind of had everything. So it was just one of those moments where if you'd get it right, with our sport racing right at the centre of a city iconic city, with great with great sport to boot. And the sun shines. Everyone just had a fantastic time and you could just see how much joy on the on the fans faces. So that was a great, great moment this season.

Eric: What is the best marketing resource you've come across recently?

Henry: I hadn't read these questions. So I mean, brilliant people. So I've got a fantastic team and having young team members who come in who just know so much more than I do and challenging me to explore new things and bring new tools to the table. It's been is always the the single most important thing for me. I will give a shout out to we've got a new app partnership with, with gorillas stoep. And they have been really, really good at helping driving for deeper insight into, into our targeting our digital targeting. So that's really delivering some success on our on as we drive kind of grandstand building our grandstands, and making sure that they're looking great on TV

Eric: Cool, off to check them out. What is the biggest lesson you've learned in your career or a significant lesson that you can share?

Henry: I think given the complexity of the ecosystem, and these are, these are off the cuff, I hadn't heard these, but given the complexity of the ecosystem in in formulary, which, and I'd been informed one before and this is way more complex, I think the lessons I've learned is the importance of, of understanding everyone's needs. And spending time to do that, making sure you're you're you're getting the under the data to understand your audience or where the opportunities lie, setting apart and then sticking to it. I think that's the the lesson that that I've, that I would kind of pass on, which is, it's very easy when you've got many, many stakeholders, all of whom are speaking in the interests of the championship and growth, but ultimately, all of whom have individual requirements and needs and agendas as of course, every business brand does. It's important to listen to everyone but ultimately set set a course and stick to it doesn't mean you can't you don't listen and you don't if you don't adapt, you can always have the freedom to adapt if need be. But I think the worst thing is to is to be moved continually by the by the winds of opinion. And ultimately, you'll be judged on your successes right in the in the in the medium to long term. But but hold your course back yourself and hold your course.

Eric: I like that last question. What is one thing people should do differently after listening to this episode?

Henry: Well, given given a lot of what we've been talking about, I think, recognise the power of disruption. There's there's immense opportunity from finding ways to connect with audiences in different ways and to position your brand in a way which which delivered something emotionally rationally for your, for your fans that they that they hadn't received before. And being disruptive and bold, cuts through. And we've seen that in our results. And it reminds me of, of the John Kerry quote. And it's very simple one that I liked, it said the cat sat on the mat isn't a story. But the cat sound a dog's mat is the beginning of an interesting story. And at the heart of that is something I really liked, which is disruption is about creating tension and tension creates heat and heat gets noticed. So the more we can find ways to do that, not just in small, younger disruptive brands, but in the bigger ones. As well as you as you said at the beginning of this conversation, I think more of that is a good thing. There's there's too much content and marketing out there, which simply just it just feels too polite, and it's too competitive out there. You've got to make a noise. And you're gonna make some enemies along the journey, that most issue.

Eric: Fantastic place to leave it. Henry, thank you so much for your time really enjoyed this conversation.

Henry: My pleasure. Thanks so much.

Eric: Scratch is a production of rival. We are a marketing innovation consultancy that helps businesses develop strategies and capabilities to grow faster. If you want to learn more about us check out If you want to connect with me, email me at or find me on LinkedIn. If you enjoyed today's show, please subscribe, share with anyone you think might enjoy it. And please do leave us a review. Thanks for listening and see you next week.

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