Pirelli: Importance of a Brand Assessment

It started off as a long shot; friend of a friend had some pull with Pirelli, which is the only reason I was initially given the time of the day. After a little back and forth on the phone and via email, Pirelli said we would set up a call with their digital agency in New York and a few people from Pirelli North America. I got the impression this was mostly a courtesy. 

Not one to back down from a challenge, I set to work. The project we were bidding on was to produce content for Pirelli and Ducati at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Covering early morning practices heading up the mountain at 1:30am, then covering race day, heading up the mountain at midnight the night before. All of that was the easy part - I knew how to manage that and produce some great content for the brands. The real challenge was to make them see that we were the right ones for the job. 

Pirelli is based in Italy, and produces a wide variety of content across the world. Including a motorcycle shot on an aircraft carrier. The first thing I did was to dive into the brand. I looked at their website, social media, North American ads, Global ads, teams they worked with, and much more. I did my homework, and then some. Through my brand assessment, I put together what I saw that their brand represented, what sort of campaigns they used to present their brand, and the type of content that worked well for them. From there, I put together the plan for Pikes Peak, and how the content we would produce would fit with this brand story, be part of their current campaigns, and ultimately help them grow. 

It came time for the call to present the plans. On the call were several people from Pirelli North America and a team of people from their big digital agency in New York (that was undoubtedly getting paid a small fortune each month). After some pleasantries were exchanged, I presented our brand assessment and correlating plan for Pikes Peak. I reviewed what we would provide for photo, video, and social media content each day, how we would deliver it, times we would deliver it, etc. This took about 20 minutes to cover. After I finished, it was so quiet on the call that you could hear a pin drop. So quiet I thought the call had dropped sometime during my dissertation. I said "Hello?" to see if anyone was still there. Finally, our primary contact at Pirelli said "Wow. You f&@king nailed it! That is EXACTLY what we want. New York, do you guys have any questions or thoughts?" "Nope, that sounds perfect to us!" We were in. 

The week of Pikes Peak, Pirelli arrived in town on Monday. We went to have dinner/beers with them and review the plan for the week. The next morning, we were on the mountain shooting at 2am. The following day, I get a call from Pirelli asking if I could come to dinner again. At dinner, there is another guest in attendance from Kawasaki. Turns out Pirelli is supporting their team as well, and they would like us to work with them as well. 

By the end of the weekend, we delivered photo and video content for Pirelli, Ducati, Kawasaki, and for a UK-based TV show filming with Guy Martin. Pirelli was ecstatic with our work, and was stoked to share it with their European counterparts. All of that work putting together a comprehensive brand assessment and plan for our project was delivered, just as we said it would be.