McLaren Racing speeds up marketing operations with Smartsheet and Brandfolder
To bring a richer race experience to its partners and fans, McLaren Racing teamed up with Smartsheet to streamline workflows —all in record time.
faster distribution of race day footage and assets, with proper tags for searchability
of footage migrated and made discoverable through centralised asset storage
brand assets tracked in real-time for major marketing campaign and car launch
“Moving over to Smartsheet, we could see the impact immediately. Whether you're in the communications department or working in the events team, everyone has one central document, bringing high visibility across the team increasing efficiency in our processes.”
Technical Analyst at McLaren Racing
In the fast-paced world of Formula 1 racing, every millisecond counts. With a busy calendar of 22 races and eight keystone events in 2022, McLaren Racing is constantly looking for ways to rev up efficiency, both on the track and off it.
Speeding up with automation
To increase workflow efficiency, McLaren teamed up with Smartsheet. The first step was to create a strategy map of the key marketing activities that McLaren wanted to focus on. With millions of fans across the globe, the team at McLaren needed effective coordination and communication.
“To drive success, process is vital,” begins Stuart Robinson, Senior Brand Specialist at McLaren Racing. “It gives a standard baseline for how we work across other teams. Working closely with the racing organisation, in particular service and brands, we need to make sure that we have a rigorous process in place to make sure that nothing is missed.” Having tools like Smartsheet helps keep those vital processes in place.
Case in point–coordination of show car bookings. “Show cars are key to showcasing the McLaren brand which get sent around the world, whether it's for a partner activation or an MTC event. They are constantly in demand.” explains Jessica Tomkins, Technical Analyst at McLaren Racing. “So streamlining the process is very important to us.”
Before using Smartsheet, the booking process for show cars was very manual. The logistics of preparing and moving show cars is complex, from branding, staffing, security and shipping as just some of the considerations, it was important to look at how this could be streamlined to ensure all required information was provided up front to reduce processing time and move forward with confirmed bookings. Today, McLaren relies on Smartsheet forms. Partners fill out a show car booking request with all the necessary information, and the marketing team gets notified immediately. The team also gets automated alerts when an event is coming up, meaning employees and external stakeholders can now stay updated on the status of each item.
“Moving our show car process over to Smartsheet has been immensely transformational for the team,” shares Tomkins. “Previously, it was a labour-intensive process. Smartsheet has enabled us to streamline the process, so everyone has visibility. This is important for us as a lean team because we need to work fast.”
Capturing the race day high
McLaren fans, partners and the media rely on the McLaren digital content team to receive images of the drivers, team personnel, garage set-up and on track action as close to real time as possible to be able to leverage the moments that happen over a race weekend. Due to this the McLaren team over the course of a race weekend are constantly uploading, cataloguing, and distributing footage. Even though the assets are digital, they used to be managed manually. McLaren’s brand team would review images before uploading them into asset folders while sorting images for different stakeholders along the way. Photos sometimes took multiple daysto get to McLaren’s partners—by which time, the race day high was all but gone.
This multifaceted process was streamlined when McLaren adopted Brandfolder by Smartsheet. Using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, uploaded images are now automatically tagged based on logo recognition. Assets get sorted and catalogued as soon as they are put into storage, which makes race images available within minutes instead of days. The marketing team, partners and media can then easily find and publish high-quality race day photos on their digital channels, enabling them to quickly engage with McLaren’s nine million Instagram followers.
“The integration of Brandfolder has significantly transformed our asset management capabilities,” shares Jessica Tomkins, Technical Analyst at McLaren Racing. “We can economise our team’s time to focus on quality over quantity, ultimately improving our fan experience.”
The digital asset management software provides easier access to partner-specific content capture requests. Each partner gets a dedicated collection, which includes an automatically curated library of footage relevant to their marketing campaigns. This saves the McLaren team from creating multiple folders and using various transfer platforms to get content across to partners. McLaren also is now able to see which are the most popular photos in the library which then helps the content team know where to focus their efforts during photo shoots or race weekends, saving time and marketing spend. “Smartsheet has enabled us to streamline our workflow processes around content and distribution, enabling us to deliver to our Partners enhanced useability resulting in timesaving for across our ecosystem.” explains Tomkins.
With Brandfolder, McLaren has also improved the management of its archival footage. The team migrated more than 90 TB of old images from physical hard drives into Brandfolder, such as images of Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen and the factory previous to the McLaren Technology Centre, which has made files easily searchable and discoverable. The move has ultimately given these assets a second life.
Fast track into the future
McLaren’s agile working methodology is well-suited to maximise all that Smartsheet has to offer, enabling the company to optimise the use of tools and become more efficient.
Moving over to Smartsheet, we could see the impact immediately. Whether you're in the communications department or working in the events team, everyone has one central document, bringing high visibility across the team increasing efficiency in our processes” notes Tomkins.”
Having a unified tool has also enabled the team to run smoother events and marketing campaigns. Team launch is an example of this. For the 2022 season, McLaren for the first time launched four new cars across each of its racing series, McLaren’s Formula 1, IndyCar, Extreme E and the McLaren Shadow eSports team simultaneously. “Car launches involve every area of the team requiring multiple workstreams and strong coordination” admits Tomkins. “Building out our car launch solution in Smartsheet brought visibility to each of these workstreams through a live sheet, it also enabled us to, for the first time, track and centrally manage the 800 asset requests. It streamlined a lot of our processes.”
Moving forward, the company will work on optimising Smartsheet further in marketing. “We plan to expand the Smartsheet workspace to encompass all areas of campaign management across our major marketing initiatives in 2023,” says Matt Tanner, Head of Marketing Campaigns at McLaren Racing.
“When we succeed, we all succeed together,” Robinson affirms. “Everyone in McLaren has a part to play when delivering success at the track, whether it's in the studio delivering the best loved livery on the grid or its partnerships delivering great partner activities.”
To keep its momentum, McLaren is keen to bring more of its processes into the Smartsheet ecosystem and to make extensive use of forms and workflow automation. Some areas the company will focus on will be events management and hospitality, as well as asset management and logistics. Equipped with the right tools, McLaren is set for future partner requests and resource requirements.