22 November 2017

The branding of F1

The F1 logo is clever. It always has been, and it has been under-exposed because the company under Bernie Ecclestone didn’t really care about branding.

Bernie often said his customers were not the public, but rather the TV companies, race promoters and sponsors who funded his games. They were the ones who dealt with the public. Bernie’s business model was all about exclusivity and cash, not about selling F1-branded key chains and coffee cups. Liberty Media has a different vision and so wants a different look. Changing the logo means a long brand-building process, although if the logo speaks for itself it is an easier process. If it says ‘F1’ people will understand. There is an argument that a lot of folk never saw the 1 in the old logo and simply saw a flying F. The new logos proposed don’t seem awfully dynamic, one might even call them dull, but they do the job. Will they sell more merchandise than the flying F? That’s doubtful. Anyway, it’s done and I hear the new logo will be used from Abu Dhabi onwards, I actually forgot to mention it in the green notebook this week!

Who knows whether it will be successful or not? Most companies when changing logos tend to modify the old, rather than throwing the baby out with the bath water, but in this case one can see – across the board – that the owners want a completely different image for the sport and want everything Ecclestone to be gone. Bernie was a buccaneer, they are energised corporate types and so a new image makes a lot of sense.

However there might be a better way to do it. Perhaps over the winter it would be wise, having now alerted fans to a change, to have a competition to find a new logo for 2018 and beyond, by asking the fans to send in designs. Fans love that sort of thing and the result might be better.

Just a thought… a big brand launch in February with all the car cars would be a good way to bring the new logo to the attention of the world.

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