Imagine a company; but not just any company, a very special company. This company created an entire industry around its product. The creator was so confident in his product that he was willing to charge 4-6 times the price of the closest comparable product. He claims that his product/company can help you achieve your dreams; most would consider this a lofty claim for a simple product. Have you figured out what company I am talking about? Before I give you the answer, let’s look at what they have done, and how successful it has been.
The creator and genius behind the brand is a quiet and eccentric Austrian man named Dietrich Mateschitz. Mateschitz believed that by becoming part of his customer base, by knowing intimately what type of people they are, what they aspire to achieve, who their role models are, that he could achieve unrivaled success. Instead of spending money on traditional advertising, he choose to invest in the things his target demographic 18-34-year-old males were interested in; extreme sports. The magic of this successful branding was the combination of the right product, the right marketing, and proving ultimately that the priority for this company was not a bottom line, but rather a common goal, to give wings to your dreams.
Yes if you haven’t figured it out yet, I am talking about Red Bull. The company that last year sold over 4.5 billion cans in 164 countries, earning 4.253 billion Euros. While these numbers are impressive, they are just numbers. So what makes this company so unique?
Red Bull Gives You Wings: Red Bull + Sports
Why does Red Bull sponsor athletes and extreme sports? They do this because it puts their product and more importantly their brand at every extreme sporting event around the world. With over 500 sponsored athletes, TV shows, numerous global events, a record company, and some sponsorships that defy description, its no wonder everyone knows and loves Red Bull. Dietrich Mateschitz has always held that Red Bull is not just about the product, it is about an idea that a brand can embody a concept as intangible as an adventure. Because Red Bull is not about pushing their product, they want to be branded as a player, as part of the team. They always want to be on the front line, as one of the people, not a bunch of product pushing salesmen. This is why they are supporting athletes who are pushing the boundaries. They are helping to achieve the dreams that everyone else can only watch and applaud.
Red Bull Stratos
The most recent and notable stunt was Felix Baumgartner’s jump from the edge of the stratosphere at 120,000 feet. More than 8 million people viewed the live stream of this event. Although official figures as to the cost of this venture have not been released, one can guess as to what a space adventure costs. Perhaps the more important question is, what is an event like this worth?
“The sponsorship transcended sports and entertainment into Pop Culture, hitting new consumers that Red Bull does not usually capture, and on a global scale,” said Ben Sturner, President and CEO of Leverage Agency, a full-service sports, entertainment and media marketing company. “The value for Red Bull is in the tens of millions of dollars of global exposure, and Red Bull Stratos will continue to be talked about and passed along socially for a very long time.” (D. Heitner, Forbes Oct, 15, 2012)
The Benefit of This Strategy
Their strategy is pretty simple, but it is also hard to replicate. Here are the lessons and principles that Red Bull has mastered over the last 28 years in business:
- Have a great core product that you can stand behind 100%. Mateschitz will never change the original recipe because he knows its value is not just in its flavor.
- Focus on the consumer, not the product, or the sales. I know this idea sounds counterintuitive, but trust us and them; your customers will become your friends.
- Become interested in what interests your customer and become an advocate for them. Take this “friendship” concept one step further by becoming an active role model for your customers. Engage them in purposes outside your company.
- Put your money where your mouth is, and be a do-er! Red Bull spends an estimated 1 billion on all their sponsorships, events, and marketing per year. Red Bull does such a successful job of this, it can be easy to forget that they make a few energy drinks.
What Will You Do?
Obviously, this strategy has worked tremendously for Red Bull, but will this strategy work for your company? There are no guarantees in the business world; there are only good principles and a tough marketplace. A good final thought to leave you with: If Red Bull gives you wings, what can your company give?
Branding & Design No To The Quo