It’s an absolute pleasure to meet Niclas Johansson, Serial entrepreneur & Founder of RaceMedia.net and chat to him about the changing modern representation of racing drivers.
How is the world of representing motorsport drivers changing?
The part that’s changing most is the fact that the drivers today have to involve agencies of different kinds to reach out to their partners more often than ever. Previously it was the driver himself who was the “brand”, and if he or she was reasonably well-connected with local businesses, a racer could land a sponsorship deal relatively easy. Nowadays, the driver might end up worrying about chasing sponsors, coming up with pitches, making presentations and attending endless meetings, this way missing the overall goal – becoming a better racer. We see this happen over and over again and with our set of tools at Race Media, we like to ease up this process for everyone.
What part does social media play in your work with racing drivers?
We see a significant shift from traditional marketing to digital-based marketing in almost every area. One of our primary goals is to serve the motorsport industry with new and innovative tools for sponsor acquisitions and a way for both the team and the sponsors to measure what’s working or not. We, along with the modern business world, like to create influencers – the modern digital version of the mass media celebrity. Most of the Formula 1 drivers are such influencers and they use their fan base on social media to communicate all sorts of messages. The connected sponsors get a smooth ride – their brands are in good hands from start to finish.
The driver might end up worrying about chasing sponsors, coming up with pitches, making presentations and attending endless meetings, this way missing the overall goal – becoming a better racer.
Before the social web, the only way to measure influence was fluffy television data, newspaper column inches and box office revenue. Today the use of robots collating the data and telling us what and who is making ripples. These platforms state what content works as it is created, and shared, and online conversations are tracked.
Is Formula 1 still the highest aim for a young talent or is the situation changing and drivers find it better to pursue other series?
The massive cost development in all motorsport has made it even harder for any young talent to move on in his/her racing career. To compete in Formula 1, you obviously need so much more than just the money. The necessary steps up the racing ladder are getting bigger by the day. This is in terms of the money involved as well as in terms of the complexity in marketing, logistics and the right connections. One refreshing exception from this development is the TCR concept. A series which we will specialise in and offer as a “launch pad” for promising drivers with or without a solid budget. Launched in 2015, the TCR International Series (www.tcr-series.com) proved to be an innovative competition that provides close and exciting racing while keeping the running costs under control. It’s a customer-oriented series that aims to offer realistic yet significant business opportunities to teams and manufacturers.
What’s most important in your work with RaceMedia at the moment?
Apart from getting our drivers out on the track racing for the best suitable team, we aim to form a dream team of influential digital marketers, global sales executives and hand-picked international business partners. Together we will then deliver the most innovative sponsor, management and marketing platform for the racing business. RaceMedia.net is getting ready for the future in racing team marketing.