Meet the Speakers: Miles Lowry, Formula 1

Ahead of YMS21 LDN, we’re chatting to some of the youth marketing experts who’ll be taking to the stage  to talk about their passions, experiences and what they’re looking forward to at the event in September.

We spoke to Miles, Senior Manager, Strategy & Business Development at Formula 1, about how Formula 1 managed the cancellation of sporting events during the pandemic, the importance of social media in marketing and their commitment to sustainability. 

Just before we dive in – what does your job involve and what do you enjoy most about it? 

As part of the Strategy & Business Development team, I’m responsible for setting the short- and long-term strategic direction of the sport. I work across all areas of the business, including both Commercial and Motorsport.

The part that I enjoy the most about my job is seeing the impact and response from the fans to projects that I’ve helped to deliver, from announcing the Miami Grand Prix to hosting the first F1 Sprint event at Silverstone.

The pandemic meant that sporting events across the world were cancelled – how did F1 adapt its strategy during this time? 

Given the nature of F1 being a truly global sporting series, we had to adapt quickly and become extremely flexible. Immediately, we had to find an alternative whilst in-person racing and travelling was not possible. Our Virtual Grand Prix series was the perfect solution.

F1 was the first international sporting series to return to action and we introduced best-in-class COVID protocols to limit risk across the ecosystem. We also launched Virtual Paddock Club that enabled us to continue to provide unique experiences to fans across the globe. Despite ever-changing travel restrictions, we still managed to host a 17-race World Championship during 2020.

In 2021, we have continued to remain flexible but have managed to welcome fans back to a limited number of events. The plan is to host a 22-race Championship during 2021 before hopefully returning to ‘normal’ in 2022.

Were there any opportunities that presented themselves to you over the last year and a half that could be potentially carried into the future? 

The two opportunities that we plan to carry into the future from the pandemic are the Virtual Grand Prix Series and the Virtual Paddock Club.

The Virtual Grand Prix Series provided the perfect platform to engage a new audience with F1 Esports. It enabled us to collaborate with celebrities & influencers that some people did not realise were fans of Formula 1. Also, the involvement of the F1 drivers allowed the fans to get closer to the drivers and see who they really are. We plan to host more Virtual GPs as we continue to expand our Esports offering.

The Virtual Paddock Club allowed us to continue to provide unique experiences to guests whilst our races were operating behind closed doors. In collaboration with our partners, we were able to deliver race weekend hospitality to attendees from around the world. We plan to continue Virtual Paddock Club that will expand our hospitality options and enable more fans to experience what F1 has to offer.             

F1 recently announced its Sustainability Strategy, which includes the commitment to having a net-zero carbon footprint by 2030. What impact do you think that this will have on younger fans?

We know that the Gen Z audience are more purpose-driven than previous generations, with a brand’s impact on society a key factor in their decision to follow and purchase.

However, our Sustainability Strategy was not announced to attract more younger fans but to illustrate our public commitment (and accountability) to achieve our ambitious goals.

Formula 1 continues to be at the forefront of innovation and we intend for our sport to be leaders at tackling climate change.

F1 has a following of millions around the world, with 14.5 million followers on Instagram, 6.1 million on Twitter and over 11 million on Facebook. How have these platforms allowed you to attract newer, diverse audiences?

Since 2017, F1 has been one of the fastest-growing sports on social media. We know that it is vital to have a presence on the major platforms but the key to our success has been acknowledging that different platforms are more popular with certain age demographics – and we have reflected this in our content.

Social media has also become a key platform to engage diverse audiences and widen our reach – particularly during the pandemic. For example, hosting the 2022 Car Launch on our social channels allowed us to tap into a new audience that might not engage with F1’s traditional channels (i.e. F1.com).

And the questions we ask everyone: 

What’s your favourite app at the moment?

TimeTree; it’s a calendar management app that’s incredibly simple, intuitive and easy to share. It’s been really useful as things have started going back to (relative) normal – I’ve been recommending it to everybody.

What are you looking forward to at YMS21 LDN?

Besides my session (What’s Next – Should Marketing In 2022 Go Back To Normal?), I’m looking forward to attending my first in-person industry event since the pandemic. There are some great sessions on the agenda; I’m particularly looking forward Chinese Gen Z Unwrapped – a territory that Formula 1 has seen great success over recent years.

What should we have asked you that we didn’t?

At Formula 1, what are you looking forward to for the rest of 2021 and into 2022?

For 2021, I’m looking forward to seeing the climax of the Max vs. Lewis battle this season – it’s been a fantastic Championship so far and I’m hoping it goes down to the wire. For 2022, the return of Drive To Survive (who isn’t?) and our first race in Miami.

Catch Miles on the panel ‘What’s Next – Should Marketing in 2022 Go Back to Normal?’, where our speakers will be discussing how, or if, learnings from the pandemic can drive a better relationship between brands and Gen Z consumers. 

You can hear more from Miles, alongside speakers from LADbible Group, CoppaFeel! and more. Click here for more details and to secure your passes to this unmissable industry event.

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