“What we have observed with our own eyes is that the life of a mid-sized company completely changes when it finally makes the decision to take one more step and use high-impact marketing campaigns.” Fabrizio Ferreira is making the case for First, the newly launched media arm of KBW Investments, and he’s the man heading up the show. And a show it is, as First’s launch project centers around motorsport and what it can do for both SMEs and large-scale enterprises with their eyes on multi-national business development… and potentially IPOs. As the Chief Strategy Officer, Ferreira recently relocated from his native Brazil to execute and implement First for KBW Investments. His professional background includes founding a private equity firm, and a number of restructuring deals- something that he says he is applying to First’s tactical market entry.
“We look for companies that we can actually create value for; the company must have the mindset that we are an active partner and that we work hand-in-hand. We conceptualized First at the end of last year, and we saw that this model had potential to spin-off and have its own life, something that began with the Raimondi Cranes acquisition.” The first of two 2014 European KBW Investments acquisitions, HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal became Chairman of Raimondi Cranes in January of last year, and since then, the heritage company has grown in both scale and multinational presence. “The First objective is to innovate in the way media and corporate performance intertwine, and we do this by merging the experience we have developed as an investment firm to that of the media activity,” explains Ferreira.
Why is a newcomer in a section about the best home grown brands? Because First demonstrates the importance of brave market entry moves, and how a large-scale company can and should dedicate significant resources to launching a new venture. When you’re fresh out of the gate, doing it bigger and better with an unconventional methodolog will get your company noticed by the people who matter: those with an appreciative eye for bold maneuvers and unorthodox business approaches. First isn’t just looking at implementing external branding, corporate communications and public identity for your SME, Ferreira maintains that it’s also about “really helping companies achieve and perform better than they perform today. It’s not just about marketing and advertising, it’s about helping to shape corporate culture and how companies and the executives of those companies behave internally."
"What we see in a mid-sized company is that most of the time, executives and employees are looking just to stay in the company for a while and then transition to a larger company later. We believe that if someone stays in the company and the company grows and does well, he or she will be much better off -if there is the right governance, profit distribution model, and culture in place- fantastic results can be had for all.” How does First plan to do this? They are already practicing what they preach via due diligence and close analysis of a potential partner company’s structure of the sort usually only applied to financial considerations- like M&A deals, and this is very much in line with Ferreira’s professional experience. “Of course we look at the marketing and communications at the start, but we delve deeper. We analyze what’s going wrong and make suggestions to adjust accordingly, and maximize what is going right,” he says, adding that the best in class are in all likelihood going to be considered for potential investment by KBW.
“The tagline for First is ‘brand maker’. Anyone can execute an outdoor campaign, but certain companies are looking for a more exclusive or exotic communication experience and we’re developing these tools. GP3 was very interesting for us; we found the affect of GP3 advertisement for a medium-sized company astonishing. It generates a lot of good results, internally and externally. Internally it changes the life of a mid-sized company, with nine different events across nine countries and executives begin to follow and really plot their marketing plans- depending on which markets you are looking to enter or expand penetration of.”
The benefits of motorsport involvement? The positioning is promotional gold-companies stand to gain a slew of arresting imagery and videography that emerges from every motorsport event. Regardless of whether or not the driver you are endorsing wins, you’ve got branding material that your company can cleverly leverage for a very long period of time. There is also the added benefit of the type of comradery and excitement that sporting events impart, and Ferreira points out that some of your best business development opportunities happen during the all-important social situations. “It’s an opportunity for business to business because the suppliers are there, the investors are there, the clients are there! It’s really a different environment completely from doing business in the boardroom than taking a client or investor for a full weekend of motorsport experiences.”
First starts big with GP3: First’s Kevin Ceccon
“We are proud to launch with Kevin Ceccon as we believe he has the heart which every middle market company must have in order to expand, and to conquer market share in highly competitive niches. More than a driver, Kevin has the ability to inspire executives outside the racetracks and to really make a difference to the companies, both in the strategic and tactical levels.” Ferreira is certain that Ceccon, a GP3 racer, has what it takes to foster the ever-elusive cult of personality wielded by influencers globally to benefit companies of all sizes, both online and offline.
The 21 year-old Italian has demonstrated strong career potential, having won the Italian Auto GP, and subsequently proved himself again in Monte Carlo in 2012 and in 2013 in Monaco. Like many young motorsport stars, the driver was in need of sponsors and patrons to further his already-impressive track foothold and in came First, under the KBW Investment umbrella. KBW Investments became aware of Ceccon after their Italian-based subsidiary Raimondi Cranes brought his marketable image and on-track prowess to their attention.
What makes Ceccon brand-friendly? Marketeers will quickly note his charismatic disposition, confident grin, and attitude that conveys equal parts overachiever and relentless determination- qualities lauded in business and desirable for promotional potential. At the time of writing, Ceccone had just finished the GP3 Barcelona, Spain leg placing at eighth with 10 points. The next segment of GP3, June 19-20, is to take place in Austria, followed by England and Hungary legs both in July. For those wanting to see Ceccon perform on our turf, he’ll be in the UAE for the Abu Dhabi leg of the event November 27-29.