The technical partnership between Ferrari F1 and Kaspersky has been fundamental in establishing Kaspersky Lab as one of the most progressive though leaders in the field of cyber security in the automotive industry. I sat down with Chief Sales Officer and Gentleman Driver, Alexander Moiseev to understand more about their partnership with the Scuderia.
Kaspersky Lab is a provider of cyber security solutions to consumers and corporations of all sizes, from SMBs to large enterprises and governments. The company was formed in 1997 by Eugene Kaspersky and today it employs over 3000 experts across the globe. From a motorsport perspective in recent years they have become synonymous with Scuderia Ferrari, but not only as a sponsor.
Kaspersky formally entered Formula 1 with Ferrari in 2010, but the groundwork for the partnership started almost a year before the agreement was announced, right?
Yes, in 2009 Eugene Kaspersky saw some opportunities to bring the brand into motorsport. After extensive analysis we felt sponsorship within Formula 1 would be the most effective solution for the company. This was due in part to the level of visibility but also in terms of the the sport’s audience being the target demographic for Kaspersky.
For a business new to the world of partnerships in Formula 1 and new to motorsport, working with Scuderia Ferrari from the outset was a confident strategic move. What led the business to this decision?
— Jon Wilde | JWGP (@jonnywilde) September 26, 2016
Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motorsport, and Ferrari epitomises the sport. You can’t imagine Formula 1 without Ferrari, no one would even contemplate it. For us, once we decided to enter the sport this made joining with Ferrari the clear choice. Plus, at the end of the day we are fans of the sport and fans of Ferrari, so for us it is the perfect combination.
Ferrari was always the team we wanted to work with. When you see team XY won the race, then great for them, they get media coverage, but at the same time Ferrari will get media coverage for not winning. They are the only team you’re going to consistently hear about whether they are winning or not, and that tells you something. On the one hand it is painful to always hear about your team when they are not winning, but practically speaking from a marketing perspective this team creates a fantastic and continual promotional platform.
Did Ferrari support Kaspersky Lab in finding solutions to maximise the partnership?
Absolutely. To see the best results, motorsport requires a different approach and a different style of activation of the sponsorship. We need to engage customers through our partnership and entice our partners to events, we need to think about different ways to create events to reach our audience, for example the “Ferrari On Ice” event in Livigno earlier this year.
How would you describe the relationship?
Practically speaking, we feel that we share common values, we share a passion. When you think about our founder Eugene, he put his surname on his product to guarantee the ultimate quality. We are the only brand in our sector to put our name on the box and this shows that we have faith in our product. This was of course the same with Enzo Ferrari, he put his surname on the car as a seal of commitment to create the perfect car. This and other shared dedications make our partnership truly great, it’s kind of the perfect match.
Through our close technical partnership with Scuderia Ferrari, we have also been able to gain unique insights about the cyber security threats that are targeting the automotive industry and Formula 1, and, to provide cyber security solutions against them.
How do you measure return on investment or the performance of the agreement?
One on hand it’s easy to work with agencies to give data on media value, this allows us to easily estimate the level of investment compared to the level of visibility, which I have to say when you compare motorsport to other sectors, the ratio is outstanding.
Then we can measure success internally. We bring our customers and prospects to events, we create a number of employee incentives internally, giving a development path with rewards around being able to come to a race and experience it from the paddock. These programmes can be more challenging to measure in isolation, but you feel that it acts as an incentive with employees in the business.
At the end of the day we are fans of the sport and fans of Ferrari, so for us it is the perfect combination.
So part of your measurement of success for the partnership with Ferrari is around generating employee and partner engagement?
With our relationship with Ferrari, when we bring partners or employees to an event, they have the opportunity to feel like they are part of the Ferrari family. This gives them a sense of pride and a desire to achieve greater success. We show our partners how Ferrari works and how our brands work together. We use Ferrari to showcase to our partners and team what can be achieved through partnership, and we have found this form of incentive to be hugely motivating within our business.
Kaspersky Lab supports Ferrari Young Driver Academy member Antonio Fuoco, and the company has a growing presence in GT racing, something within which you have an active role yourself. Are there any other activities and, if yes, how are they evolving?
Correct, we are working with Antonio Fuoco, and we’re hopeful to take him all the way to Formula 1; he’s very talented. We don’t get involved on the technical side of his racing life, but what we do is support him in matter of visibility and we’re training him how to work with media and partners. It all comes down to passion again and our desire to be part of the motorsport world in a positive way.
I started endurance racing in 2010, and now we’re racing in the Blancpain GT series. We’ve had some bad luck this year, but even our competitors believe that our current car is outstanding.
How do you combine racing with your day-to-day job?
Racing actually helps my day-to-day job, because if you can manage to focus after days of testing, free practice and achieving that single hot lap to give you a fantastic qualifying result, you can apply that same thinking to putting together a document or completing a piece of work.
Everybody is in a rush today, everything is fast-paced, you need to be able to take decisions quickly. A decision needs to be strategic, it must be the right move for the future as well as the present. On top of that you need to bring yourself to the level of concentration to do this immediately, and motorsport, in fact any sport, is good for that.
Away from Formula 1, what is next for Kaspersky Lab in motorsport?
In GT racing Kaspersky Motorsport was launched this year racing under the licence of AF Corse. Taking care of our own team with professional drivers is our ambition, at some point we would really like to do it.
Finally, from your experience, what advice would you offer to other brands looking for becoming involved in motorsport?
Fundamental to anyone looking at Formula 1, sponsorship here is something that only makes sense with a long-term view. If you are a newcomer, it will probably take a year, maybe a couple of years to learn how it works and adjust your partnership accordingly. Only then will you see results; results in visibility, results in activating the sponsorship. We had support from an agency we are working with and a huge amount of support from Scuderia Ferrari. Sponsorship in motorsport does not work for everybody, I’m afraid – you have to be prepared for a long run.
Our partnership with Ferrari will extend to a minimum of 10 years from the first agreement back in 2010. With this kind of commitment the partnership becomes truly embedded and the results only continue to grow. You gain more visibility, more activation, you become a greater part of the team. To me this is fundamental.