Aston Martin F1’s Personal Branding Masterclass
By Tommy Clark
How the AMF1 team generates an average of 3.6M views per video from Alonso’s TikTok
A few weeks ago, I was mindlessly scrolling my FYP after a long day of scrolling Twitter for work (as any social media manager does) and I came across a genius strategy.
My TikTok algorithm has been feeding me more and more F1 content as the season has been getting underway.
And I came across a video from Fernando Alonso’s account. It popped off.
So I dig some digging.
It turns out — the strategy here is top-tier. And most companies on social media would benefit from understanding the personal branding clinic the Aston Martin F1 team just put us through.
📈 By the numbers
The Aston Martin brand TikTok account has:
- 1.4M followers
- 26.1M likes
Fernando Alonso’s personal TikTok account has:
- 989.2K followers
- 7.1M likes
Without context, it looks like the brand account is beating out the personal one. But let’s look a little deeper.
The crazy part isn’t the absolute number of followers, likes, or views.
It’s the speed at which the personal brand has been able to achieve these numbers relative to the traditional brand account.
Aston Martin F1 posted its first TIkTok to the brand account just under 2 years ago — on July 21, 2021.
They posted the first TikTok to Alonso’s account 2 months ago — on February 10, 2023.
Along the same line of thought, check out the comparison between the number of videos each account has needed to post to reach its current metrics.
Alonso’s personal page took just 14 videos to reach almost 1M followers.
AMF1’s page took 100+ to reach 1.4M followers.
And lastly (but definitely not least) Alonso’s personal account averages about 3.6M views per video.
Need I say more?
Now. Let’s dive a little deeper into the mechanics at work here.
🔍 Why it works
You’ve heard the ‘people engage with people, not brands’ line enough. It’s true. And I’ll probably remind you of it semi-regularly. But I would hope it’s engraved into your brain matter by now.
In this piece, I want to get into some more specific strategies I’ve noticed from the AMF1 social team that you should add to your race plan (social strategy).
The social team launched Alonso’s TikTok account in early February, just about 1 month out from the first F1 race of 2023.
By doing this, the account was able to ride the wave of hype going into the season, and likely got more initial traction than if the team launched it in the middle of the offseason.
Think about timing when it comes to your social strategy.
This one might seem stupid to bring up. But Fernando actually looks like he wants to be involved in the content creation process.
Too many executives see the hype around ‘personal branding’ and want to outsource it completely — with no involvement in the process.
Yes. Your social team (or social agency) should be driving the process forward. But personal branding, or at least good personal branding, doesn’t come to life without input and involvement from the talent.
Also, another note on personal involvement.
The person involved will influence how quickly the account grows.
Alonso is a legendary F1 driver. Of course people are going to be engaged with his content.
If you’re starting from scratch with no previous traction, or major accomplishments, you have to adjust your expectations appropriately.
As a social team, explaining this to your CEO who wants to build his ‘personal brand’ can be a tricky challenge to navigate … lmao.
But yeah. The formula is to do cool shit and then talk about it on social.
Trending audio + relevant content
The AMF1 social team does a great job using trending audios in a relevant (and hilarious) way on Alonso’s account.
Check out this example from before the Saudi Arabia GP.
4.1M views. 603.1K likes. 5259 comments.
The best social media teams have a deep understanding of their target audience’s language — and inside jokes.
The first TikTok posted to Alonso’s account is a stellar example of this.
It’s a play on words related to the meme from the 2021 F1 season around ‘El Plan.’
When asked a question about his plan after qualifying 5th in the Turkish GP that season, he responded, “El Plan… you have to wait a few months to know it. You need to believe in el plan for now.”
And it became a meme. Lmao.
But point is, a firm grasp on this type of ultra-niche humor is one of the characteristics that separate the best social media teams from the rest.
I don’t care what niche you’re in. These jokes exist.
They exist in ecommerce. They exist in gaming. They exist in underwater basket weaving.
Find them. And lean into that in your brand’s content.
Quality and quantity
14 videos. That’s all they needed to get to nearly 1M followers.
The AMF1 team published with PRECISION.
This wasn’t a spray-and-pray approach.
So yes. Get the reps in.
And I will concede that of course featuring a 2x F1 champion gives the videos more likelihood to catch fire in fewer attempts.
But 14 A+ TikToks will beat out 100 C+ TikToks any day of the week.
The same goes for every platform.
Find consistency, but don’t overextend your team to the point where the quality suffers.
Fernando Alonso’s TikTok account is ripping right now — but that doesn’t mean the social team is ignoring the brand account. Anything but.
The AMF1 brand account is also top-tier, pulling in millions of views.
This is important for a few reasons.
The brand page performance is independent of any specific person and can be owned 100% by the social team.
If Alonso were to suddenly not want to be involved as much, or even get signed by a new team, the entire strategy would be kind of screwed.
This is one of the inherent risks of building a personal brand within your company that isn’t the founder. Having a strong brand account protects you from this.
The AMF1 team treats the Alonso page as its own entity.
There’s no need to constantly plug back to the main account.
And vice versa. After the initial announcement of his TIkTok presence, the AMF1 account hasn’t really ‘plugged’ Alonso’s account.
I think that’s fine. And I like that they are treating the 2 as separate entities.
It makes Alonso’s account feel more real. Less corporate. It feels like it’s him pulling the strings.
Whereas if every post ended with “PS – go check out Aston Martin F1 here!” or something like that…
It would come off as in-genuine.
Ok. That’s the deep dive. Now — what should you do after reading this?
El content plan
I believe the best new brands on social media will have a 1-2 punch of:
- Strong brand account
- Strong personal presence for a key team member
You probably already have the brand account mostly on lock.
But what about the personal brand?
I’ll probably put a full guide together at some point. But here’s a quick checklist:
✅ Figure out who the ‘talent’ is going to be. For a pro sports team like AMF1, it was one of their drivers. For your company, it’s probably the founder (or another executive)
✅ Decide what platform to focus on. For DTC brands you could choose between Instagram or TikTok (maybe Twitter, too). For B2B companies, Twitter and LinkedIn are the no-brainers here.
✅ Establish ‘El Plan’ … your core content pillars. What do you want to talk about? This likely should be a combination of personal stories + content related to the brand and product.
✅ Just start posting at a consistent — but sustainable — cadence.
Once you have that going, you can start to layer in some of the more ‘advanced’ strategies I pointed out in Alonso’s TikTok strategy. But early on it’s really just about establishing consistency.
Oh, and stick with it for more than 37 days. It takes time to build meaningful traction on social media.
That’s all I’ve got for you today.