“Seven of the 10 guys aren’t even on social media” – McLaren F1 boss Zak Brown has suggested the setting up of advisory groups for non-technical areas such as social media.
Zak Brown is a veteran of racing sport management. He has done an able job of lifting McLaren Racing to where they are now, after more than a decade of abject failure – both racing and commercially. An entrepreneur himself, he is also a vibrant presence on social media.
Solid day. On to Monaco. https://t.co/44d2DXW4Ws
— Zak Brown (@ZBrownCEO) May 9, 2021
When it comes to Formula 1, most of the decisions beyond the race track are also taken by the team principals. This is something Brown is not convinced about, considering most TPs are from technical backgrounds. He has instead advised the setting up of advisory groups for non-technical areas such as commerce and media.
“I am very comfortable with Formula 1 itself as a commercial entity, but the teams sometimes have the biggest say. If I look at the 10 people around the table, there is certainly not anywhere near the commercial expertise.
“We’ll sit in a meeting and will talk about social media, I’m just using this as an example, and you probably have seven of the 10 guys sitting around the table that aren’t even on social media.
“But that is who is driving our social media conversations, so I think the sport could do with having a marketing council, an advisory group, whatever you want to call it, of people that have subject matter expertise.”
“A lot of what Formula 1 has done, which I think is the right thing to do as a consumer-focused company, they go out to fans and they have asked fans. They have asked both avid fans and what you call trend fans, which is more like your Netflix audience, people that are just getting tuned into Formula 1. A lot of the ideas that they have are coming from the fanbase.
“I think [that] is the right way to make decisions. It is not 10 people sitting in a room deciding what hundreds of millions of people want.
“If you are Unilever, the CEO doesn’t go and try the deodorant and decide ‘perfect’. You go out and do consumer research. Formula 1 under Chase’s tenure started to really use consumer research and fan research to drive some thinking.
“I think the output of a social media strategy, I’d have a lot more confidence in coming from a group that is actually savvy and engaged in social media than seven of 10 guys that aren’t even on social media.”