What is a Racing Brand, Really?

Last week, we talked about one of the best pieces of advice I can give you: don’t wait until you’re winning to build a brand.

Smart companies partner with brands, not just fast race cars, in order to reach their audience. Fans become the audience of their favorite brands.

In short: if you want to win races, fans and partnerships, build a brand.

 If you signed up for the 30 Day Build Your Racing Brand Challenge, you’re on board with the concept. If you haven’t already, you can sign up herefree build your racing brand challenge sponsorship

But it’s important before we dive too deep into the actionable parts of the challenge to build a strong foundation. We need to cover what being a personal brand means, and what it can do for you.

What is a Brand

Let’s not call Merriam or Webster on this one. I will give you my definition, and we’ll move forward on the pretense that I’m not completely incorrect:

A brand is a set of stories, relationships, experiences and expectations that inspire a person’s decision to choose one product over another.

You are the product. So is your competition. The relationship you have with a fan (or marketing partner, or media member) helps them decide whether to buy into your brand or not. Those relationships are built on their experience with your brand. That experience is built on a set of stories.

And this is my word of warning: even if you are not telling your story, an experience is still being formed about your brand for fans. And it is completely out of your control.

If you want to build a brand, that’s a dangerous proposition.

But why would you want to build a brand?

What Being a Brand Can Do for You

I should scratch that title out, because the pretense is a lie. You can’t choose to be a brand. You are already a brand.

It’s really a question of being a strong brand or a weak brand.

What being a strong brand can do for you:

  • create a rabid fan base that will support you when they get the chance (think contests and crowdfunding campaigns),
  • sell merchandise and apparel,
  • attract and retain marketing partners,
  • attract and retain higher profile and value marketing partnerships,
  • expand your level of sponsorship offerings,
  • allow you to connect with media and influencers (think publicity opportunities),
  • put you in front of team owners that may have an open ride,
  • create offers for tow money to travel to races,
  • allow you to bring attention to a cause that’s important to you,
  • and much more.

The Opportunity

There has literally never been a better time in the history of mankind to build a brand for your racing business – the internet gives us access to billions of people across the world.

We’re going to be talking over the next 30 days in the Build Your Racing Brand Challenge about how to reach and connect these billions of people to the brand that you want to have.

Because when you control your brand, I firmly believe that you control your future. You can create your own opportunities. You have a choice.

Don’t buy into the ‘but I need to win races to get fans and sponsors!’ mentality.

That’s for those who aren’t willing to put in the work it takes to build a brand. It’s for those who aren’t willing to risk doing what they want for themselves instead of making excuses.

I know that’s not you. Because you’re here.


P.S. If you’re not already signed up for the FREE 30 Day Build Your Racing Brand Challenge, get on over there. In addition to daily content, you’ll get a deeper dive into the concepts we’re talking about today, practical how-to’s, resources to go along with it all, and my favorite tips and tricks for building a brand you love.

About the author

Kristin Swartzlander Kristin Swartzlander is passionate about applying business sense to racing 'nonsense' in hopes of growing the sport of dirt track racing. She is a business strategist who works with entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them learn how to use public relations, marketing and social media to achieve their goals. Learn more about social media, marketing and racing sponsorship on the DirtyMouth blog.