3 Marketing Lessons from the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix

You might not think a Formula One auto race in the world’s richest country some 5,000 miles from America would have any practical lessons for marketing your business. But some interesting parallels can be drawn between cars barreling once a year through a timeless principality, and the race you are running to market your business or non-profit.

For starters, Monaco is generally regarded as Formula One’s most challenging circuit. It’s a little over two miles of hairpin curves with rising and falling elevations. Drivers of the world’s most magnificent racing machines have to rely on utter skill to navigate through narrow streets where it’s almost impossible to pass another driver.

There are all kinds of storylines coming out of 28-year-old Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo’s dramatic first-ever win at the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday. For me, at least three offer perspectives on long-term marketing success.

  1. To finish first, you must first finish. This was the advice given to winner Daniel Ricciardo before the race. His team was saying in effect “don’t focus too much on any single phase of the race. Focus instead on finishing. Keep that in the front of your mind.”

In marketing, there’s every temptation to make you divert your attention to enticing new tactics that really don’t pay off in the end. You can’t win if you don’t finish. Make your marketing investment, stick to your strategy and don’t panic when things go wrong. What will keep you going is the next lesson, which is to:

  1. Find your motivation. Ricciardo is a young driver but he’s not the youngest. He has had several major disappointments, and his win at Monaco in his own words felt like “redemption” from past failures at the Monaco GP. For instance, in 2016 a suboptimal pit stop cost him a Monaco win. A technicality robbed him of a pole position last year. He responded this year with a passion that blinded him to self-doubt, he used the failure as fuel, and it made him burn with determination to outlast everybody else.

If you don’t believe in your marketing, how do you expect anyone else to? If you aren’t happy with your marketing efforts, it’s often up to you alone to have the internal drive to push through and succeed. Find what it is that will make you burn inside with the will to win.

  1. You can win with what you have. Ricciardo had finished all three previous days of Monaco practice rounds as the fastest car on the track. But on lap 28 of the 78-lap race, the unthinkable happened. Formula One cars have 8 gears, but suddenly on that lap Ricciardo lost gears seven and eight, and never got them back. The three previous practice days meant nothing now. He finished well over half the race by gritty maneuvering through the narrow streets of Monaco with only six gears. He also depended on the advice of his expert team to radio him on the best times to shift the gears he had left.

Many times, you’re going to feel that you’ve lost power relative to your competitors. The race to tell your brand’s story is ever-challenging because you are competing with others for share of voice, mind and heart. That storytelling takes resources and it takes commitment. But it helps more than you know to have a trusted team around you who can see the bends and curves. You need to focus on finishing while they help to be your eyes, ears and hands.

You may not have the biggest advertising budget. But with a motivated focus on your vision, using past failures as fuel, and access to a great agency team to counsel and help you, you can be happy and win like Daniel Ricciardo did.

5 Powerful Productivity Tips

Ever feel overwhelmed at work? For me, it’s more of a surprise when I get through a workday without feeling totally stressed out. As an account executive, it’s my job to not only make sure my clients feel taken care of, but also to make sure my co-workers in the creative department feel like they have what they need to succeed. When your days are spent trying to keep both sides of the equation moving – and relatively happy – it can be easy to let stress overtake your productivity. When it really becomes crunch time, use these five tips to help you stay focused:

  1. Use a pen.
    I get it. When all anyone talks about is how “we’re living in the digital age now,” it might seem silly to rely on a pen and paper to help you maximize your production, but hear me out. It’s not productive to spend time searching through your email inbox for a due date/project number/detail/you name it. Things like attaching sticky notes to your computer monitor, writing down deadlines on a physical calendar or keeping a whiteboard with project numbers to reference all help you keep important details where they need to be – right in front of you.
  2. Make a to-do list.
    Every morning, no matter how busy or slow I am, I make a to-do list. As a non-coffee drinker, this is my version of a “morning routine.” I take my time and write down everything that I want to do that day. Big projects, briefings, lunch dates and even small tasks like “submit your timesheet” all go on the list. If I can get what I need to do in writing, then I don’t have to think as hard about what needs to be done throughout the day. Don’t worry about going in order, or knocking out tasks based on how hard they are. Just start with one and then tackle another. By the end of the day, you’ll likely have accomplished more than you thought you could. Bonus: being able to physically cross something off a to-do list is one of the greatest feelings ever.
  3. Don’t let email dictate your day.
    It can be easy to get sucked into the rhythm of responding to emails, but don’t let your desire to have a clean inbox derail your plans for the day. Get through the important emails, and then get to work.
  4. Limit how much time you spend on something.
    I once spent two hours trying to perfect an internal spreadsheet. Yes, it was a task that had been given to me by a superior, but my choosing to obsess over making it perfect wasn’t the best use of my time. My advice: Try to track and limit how much time you’re spending on any particular task. If you find that it’s taking you more than an hour to do a task, then take a break and start on something else. You can always come back later with fresh eyes.
  5. Take a break.
    Even on the busiest of days, everyone deserves at least some downtime. Don’t feel guilty for heading into the kitchen to make yourself a snack, or for spending 15 minutes scrolling through Instagram. Taking time to give your brain a break is essential to helping you make it through a long workday.

Spontaneous Marketing Takes Planning

Monday night was a good night for Kevin Durant. Not only did his team, the Golden State Warriors, win the 2017 NBA Championship, but Kevin also took home the NBA Finals MVP. Last night was also a good night for o2ideas’ client, BBVA Compass, since Kevin is a BBVA Compass brand ambassador.

As Golden State started marching toward the Finals, we started discussing with BBVA Compass the opportunity to leverage the bank’s partnership should Kevin and his team win it all.

Three weeks before the Finals, we began developing video concepts congratulating KD on his (potential) achievements. At first, our discussions focused on social media promotions only. However, as Golden State sailed through the playoffs, with Kevin leading the way, we realized the stage for promoting BBVA Compass’ partnership with Kevin and the NBA could be much larger.

To realize this potential, we worked hand in hand with BBVA Compass’ media and sports marketing companies, as well as ESPN, to develop assets for TV and online. Knowing that the Warriors could win the series in four games, we had to finalize all of the assets in a condensed timeline. Complicating the situation was the fact that the Warriors could win without Kevin being named MVP. To make sure we had this contingency covered, we developed and sent two sets of creative to ESPN with slightly different messaging.

On Monday night, everything came together as planned: Golden State took the title; KD won NBA Finals MVP and our BBVA Compass commercial congratulating Kevin on his achievements aired after the game on ESPN.

While the congratulatory messaging communicated in our broadcast, social and online media felt spontaneous, it was the result of detailed pre-planning and unselfish teamwork – a recipe that worked well for Golden State and us.

Check out the tweet from one fan who seemed impressed with our (and Nike’s) “real-time” advertising.


In today’s crowded, always-on media landscape, riding the coattails of cultural events – as they happen – is one tactic to make your brand relevant and distinct. To discuss ways o2ideas can help make your brand relevant and distinct, contact Bill Todd, bill@o2ideas.com.

Long-Form Video – The New Way to Boost Your Brand

The video world is, in short, about to get long.

For years, the challenge has been to make videos as short as possible. Think Vine, Snapchat, Instagram Stories, and so on.

But there’s a change underway that could help your company’s brand, as long-form video emerges as a new tool in marketers’ playbooks.

It’s reported that Facebook is about to launch a long-form video platform that will go head to head with both Netflix and YouTube. This follows several months of growing investment by other online publishers in episode-length video formats that tie back to brands.

Mind you, short-form video formats aren’t going away; they will continue to be pillars of online content.

But it’s clear that larger audiences are preferring creative stories in longer formats. Major players are now banking on it.

What are the takeaways for marketers?

  • Stop automatically chasing ever-shorter videos, thinking that’s the only way. Consumers’ embrace of long-form video means they are looking for more meaningful and thoughtful stories than the sound-bite streams they see in their social feeds. Don’t forsake short-form video, but know long-form is getting huge momentum.
  • Consider creating ideas for long-form videos that can carry an audience over time and support your brand’s mission. If you build it right, the audience will come.
  • Get a good creative agency that sees the big picture and can help guide you into this new blue ocean. Here at o2, we can help you decide the best video formats for your brand, whether they include short-form, long-form, or a mixture of both.

Adding long-form to your video toolbox could be key to boosting your brand — and sales — in an ever-changing consumer landscape.

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