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10 Reasons Why Red Bull is Still the Ultimate Media Company

Content Marketing
Content Marketing

What makes a company great when it comes to marketing and digital advertising? Well, it depends on what their goals are and of course, their expectations, based on the strategies developed to attract sales, grow awareness or help the branding process and brand development.

It depends also on how the public perceives the campaigns and the company as well.

For this article, I have chosen one of the best examples of the past decade in marketing and digital media distribution: Red Bull.

The choice was based on their strategies but also on their success and of course, on the fact that this is a rather new company, with less than three decades of history. Why is this fact important?

The more history a company has, the easier is to market the brand and grow awareness on it. However, relatively new brands and companies, have to start everything from scratch and build their brand awareness step by step.

Thus, Red Bull’s example is relevant in today’s context, as they have a little history to base their marketing strategies upon but at the same time, a lot of enthusiasm and some of the greatest ideas this industry has to offer until now. We’ll learn about what makes them a great media company but first, let’s start with some basic facts and learn a few things about the company and the brand.

Who is Red Bull?

Created in 1987, Red Bull is an energy drink sold by an Austrian company with the same name.

It has the highest market share of an energy drink in the world, with more than five billion cans sold every year.

How did it all start?

Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz, inspired by an energy drink created and sold in Thailand, decided to update the recipe to the westerner’s’ tastes and in partnership with the original recipe owner, he decided to build a new brand. What made the company stand out of the crowd, however, was their approach to marketing.

First, they’ve created awareness through their specific slogan “Red Bull gives you wings“, which I am sure all of you are aware of.

Then, they generated awareness through proprietary extreme sports events and traditional sports events by organizing competitions and sponsoring/acquiring sports teams that were popular among the fans of different team sports such as soccer.

Now you can check out their milestone and see everything they’ve done since 1987.

10 reasons why Red Bull is the ultimate media company

Red Bull has taken over the marketing industry and managed to transform the way we think about marketing and create our own campaigns and strategies.

With this article, I will try to pinpoint their most valuable ideas and list all the things that make Red Bull one of the most powerful media companies and of course, the ultimate marketing inspirational brand of today’s online and offline environments:

1. Red Bull Media House

If you want to build a solid and enduring house, you need to start with its foundation and carefully place each piece of brick in its place up to the roof. This is what Red Bull did over the past few years.

What is Red Bull media house? Ten years ago, Red Bull created their own media companies to deal with their marketing strategies and the distribution of premium digital content. It was a huge success as the company is today one of the leading names in the World’s marketing industry.

Who owns Red Bull Media House?

Well, of course, Red Bull. With a mission to inspire and fascinate people through sports, games, magazines, films and television, their main focus is on adventures, entertainment, sports, and music.  These are all things that matter for the younger generations, their main target audience, people who are active and passionate about their hobbies.

In fact, Red Bull TV, part of Media House has won this year’s Google Play Award for Best TV Experience at the 2017 Google I/O Developers Conference in San Francisco.

The Red Bull Media House is divided in Products, Content and Commercial Projects.

A. PRODUCTS

A. 1. Print

  • The Red Bulletin
  • Servus in Stadt & Land
  • Terra Mater
  • Bergwelten

A. 2. TV

  • Red Bull TV
  • Servus TV
  • Terra Mater

A. 3. Online

  • RedBull.com
  • Red Bull TV Online
  • RedBulletin.com
  • Servus am Marktplatz
  • Social Media
  • Speedweek

A. 4. Mobile

  • Red Bull Mobile
  • Apps (Clashem, Red Bull TV, Red Bull Wallpapers, RBMA Radio, Red Bull Illume)

A. 5. Music

  • Red Bull Records
  • Red Bull Music Publishing
  • Red Bull Music Academy Radio

A. 6. Games

  • Red Bull Reality check
  • Gran Turismo 6
  • Red Bull Air Race The Game

A. 7. Cinema

A. 8. Books

 

B. CONTENT

B.1. Moving Images

  • Feature Films (The Fourth hase, Chasing  Niagara, Streif – One Hell of a Ride, On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter, Cerro Torre – A Snowball’s Chance in Hell, McConkey, Roraima – Climbers of the Lost World, The Art of Flight, Boucing Cats, Harodim, Among Wolves)
  • Action Features (Days Of My Youth, Where the Trail Ends, We – A Collection of Individuals, Bending Colours)
  • TV Documentaries (Across the Ice – The Greenland Victory Match, The Cave Connection, Flying High – The Quest For Everest)
  • Magazines
  • Reality (Creators of Tomorrow, Free My Way, Breaki’n Reality, Esport Unfold)
  • Documentary Series (Bullit – The Documentary, Explorers – Adventures of the Century Season 3, Ultimate Rush – Season 1+2 +3, Momentun – What Drives You?)
  • Short Formats (Jason Paul Arcade Run, Dark Woods, Red Bull “Kick It”, MacAskill’s Imaginate)
  • Live Broadcasts (Red Bull Air Race World Championship, Red Bull Crashed Ice, Red Bull X-Fighters, Red Bull Hare Scramble)

B.2. Still Images

B.3. Red Bull Content

B.4. Music

B.5. News

 

2. How Red Bull uses social media

Every company who wants to create successful marketing campaign needs a social media presence and Red Bull knows that. Red Bull Media House is a great company but you also need social media content, communication, and a social media strategy.

Their strategy is ingenious but at the same time simple:

  • First, they trigger consumer engagement through inspirational videos and activities.
  • These activities lead to videos and images that sometimes become viral. However, the brand is always prominent.
  • The next step is to create brand recognition through logo saturation and of course, clever product placements during sports events.
  • The result is a widespread brand recognition and loyalty among a specific demographic group followed by new campaigns that aim to other groups as well.

Through their media companies, they produce content.

What about their presence on social media? What types of content do they share with their fans and customers?

red bull facebook

Facebook: More than 48 million people liked Red Bull’s Facebook page. This is an impressive number even for a big corporation but nothing is at random when it comes to this company. Their shared content is focused on video but it is a mix of entertaining and informative content.

Their slogan is reflected in everything they share with their fans, including the amazing pictures posted on their Facebook wall.

If you follow their page you can easily notice that everything is true: Red Bull really give you wings.

Actionable tips you can learn to optimize your Facebook page:

  • They are very responsive withing their message – that means that Red Bull social media team is responding at almost every private message in the fastest way they could
  • They are also use .gif’s to comment and create a human based Facebook profile
  • Interact with their community – The Red Bull Facebook page is not a distribution page, it’s a community page where people engage with each other

 

twitter red bull

Twitter: There are significantly fewer followers on Twitter than on Facebook but it is understandable, considering that this social platform is not as popular as it was a few years ago. Here, the content is based on a mix of videos and images based on speed, sports, and motion.

Their captions are short but at the same time, captivating.

redbull instagram

Instagram: Similarly to their Twitter presence, Red Bull’s Instagram posts are a mix of videos and images. However, behind every image, there is a story to be told and we can always expect something really cool and exciting from Red Bull when it comes to digital content. Also Red Bull is playing the UGC game on their Instagram, giving the audience a much larger perspective about the sport and athletes.

Instagram is not only for posting videos and images, they also ask their community to vote the next photo to publish on their feed using Instagram Stories.

Red Bull asked its followers to vote with a “like” emoji for the next photo. Audience members sent the emoji in direct messages through Instagram Chat for the one that they wanted published. (Too bad I didn’t have the inspiration to screenshot the resulting stories.) source

There are always new places to show, new people and new events.

redbull youtube

YouTube: This is the social media channel where Red Bull has something really special to share with their fans. There are more than 6 million subscribers who are enjoying daily video uploads.

The content is diverse so that it will appeal to different audiences.

The important fact is that through their YouTube channel we get to know Red Bull, their core values, what do they stand for and what motivates them but we can also get to know sports personalities and daring people who adhere to the company’s values and messages.

 

3. The slogan

Red Bull gives you wings.

This is a simple message that tells us everything about Red Bull brand. It’s their core message, older than social media and Red Bull Media House. What is important here and what makes it a perfect message is that it is not only in line with everything the company does on and offline but at the same time, it triggers different emotions in people, according to their dreams and aspirations.

Thus, it becomes a universal message that can be adjusted to different demographic groups based on their core values. We all need wings at some point, we all need inspiration, we need to dare and to focus on fulfilling our dreams whether we are into sports, into music, into content creation and so on.

The chosen metaphor can inspire us to imagine whatever we want but at the same time, it gives a straightforward message.

 

4. Content marketing

As a major content provider, it is our goal to communicate and distribute the ‘World of Red Bull’ in all major media segments, from TV to print to new media to our music record label,” says Dietrich Mateschitz, the Austrian owner of Red Bull.

For the company and its marketing strategy, content is sometimes even more important than the energy drink they produce, sell and market.

What makes them better at it and sometimes even better than other media companies?

  1. Diversity: Red Bull produces content but their targeted audiences are diverse and therefore, they produce diverse content as well.
  2. Value: In everything they create and share Red Bull adds value to their audience. Moreover, while they are constantly building brand awareness, they are not intrusive in their content strategy. They promote sports and outdoor activities, they sponsor all kinds of events but at the same time, they inspire people to also create content and share their videos on their digital media distribution platforms.
  3. Global presence: Red Bull is now a global media empire that delivers content to all demographic groups that are of interest to them. Moreover, they continue to expand their audience by providing content that covers all media segments: mobile, print, online.
  4. Consistency: For a brand, it is important that the shared content supports the core values and concepts of the company. In this case, their videos and images literally give you wings. They are consistent with the main slogan of the company.
  5. The core: Content is the core of Red Bull’s marketing strategy. The company functions as a media group and marketing becomes the responsibility of the entire brand and every employee. It is not based on a single department and this is one of the reasons they are so successful.

Let’s not forget that Red Bull spent over $2 million on a movie called The Art of Flight, a huge investment in content from a company but still, another proof of their commitment to sharing their stories with the world.

 

5. Red Bulletin

The Red Bulletin LogoWhen was the last time you bought a printed newspaper or a magazine? I know that there are people who still like the feeling of a printed issue in their hands (I myself love to collect and sometimes read printed magazines) but there are less and fewer people who actually buy printed books and magazines due to the accessibility of online media. Some say that print is dead or about to die in the following years. But guess what, print is only reinvented itself and will become an important factor in content marketing in the next few years – I would say:

Print will be the premium content in a content marketing strategy.

Well, the print is not dead. In fact, for Red Bull, it is alive, more than ever, in 2017. Red Bull’s printed magazine, Red Bulletin has a distribution of more than 5 million copies. „The Red Bulletin features breathtaking stories from the World of Red Bull and its playgrounds” and makes the perfect example of a content delivery platform that lately, seems to be rather ignored by marketers: the print issue of a magazine.

Red Bulleting Magazine Cover

What makes Red Bulletin stand out from the crowd is not only the quality and value of the published content but also the fact that it follows the same stories and ideas that are the core of Red Bull’s marketing strategy.

As a magazine, however, it reaches to an audience that in many ways differs from the audience that consumes social media and video content.

This is the demographic group that values a good reading material.

6. They market freedom and give people exactly what they want

Red Bull BC One Camp photos

Everybody values freedom and Red Bull markets exactly this concept through sports and activities. People of today are more mobile than ever but at the same time, younger generations are more inclined to adhere to a healthy lifestyle. Movement and sports are important for a healthy body and mind and Red Bull markets their product by associating it with the values of modern society.

They don’t just sponsor events.

They create and market their own brand building events that are innovative and at the same time, great sources of unique, original content.

Here are some of the best and relevant examples of how Red Bull creates events for people and actually manages to give them what they want:

  •  A breakdancing championship. Who would have imagined until recently that such competition can really exist? Well, it seems that the guys at Red Bull did. They saw that there is a market share for breakdancing fans and enthusiasts and took over this niche as well.
  • Red Bull Air Race. This is a competition that combines skills with speed and addresses flight enthusiasts. As the name implies, the race is between planes that navigate low-level courses at high speeds.
  • Red Bull Crashed Ice. This another original and unique event that features a sport created as a combination of boardercross, skiing, and hockey. There is no other way to describe the event. Basically, you are on skates, going downhill side by side with your opponents while you have to deal with obstacles, make jumps and sharp turns.
  • The Soapbox Race. If the above events are not attractive to you, check out the Soapbox Race, an event created for everybody. All you have to do is to build a race care, make it look whatever you like and fly downhill in a funny and thrilling competition.

7. They inspire people to pursue their dreams

Red Bull is all about making dreams come true. Whatever these dreams may be. And, when it comes to sports, nothing seems to be impossible for them or even unimaginable.

Why is this thing important?

A brand that manages to inspire people is a brand that will always be associated with freedom, motivation, and action. It’s a brand that creates awareness of itself by through emotions and adventure

What started as a simple slogan for the active people, „Red Bull gives you wings”, has become through the years a straightforward call to action, a reality.

Red Bull Stratos MissionExample: Felix Baumgartner’s successful attempt to jump from the edge of space, after getting up to 102,800 feet in a balloon. The event was sponsored by Red Bull through their Red Bull stratos project and inspired millions of people into thinking that there are really no limitations to what a human being can achieve, that dreams can become reality.

But Red Bull Stratos project had some interesting marketing stats you need to know about

  • Red Bull began building audience for this event for 7 months (uploading video teasers on a weekly basis)
  • After 6 months, sales rose 7% to 1.6 Billion in the U.S. market
  • Red Bull Stratos on Youtube live had 8 Million concurrent views
  • 2 Million unique consumer actions
  • 1 Million distinct Stratos participants
  • 2 Million new subscribers aquired
  • 820,000 pieces of extremely positive content

This project reaffirm and positioned Red Bull not only as a brand who is sponsoring events but also as a event creator.

 

8. User-Generated Content

Content is important for a brand or business who is trying to build or maintain reputation and awareness online and offline. We’ve seen that Red Bull have now their own media company and they are constantly investing in events that market their products and brand. However, they are also champions in inspiring people in creating content for their channels and providing it for free.

User-generated content is essential in social media and Red Bull are well aware of this fact. This type of content builds trust among the consumers due to the fact that it is authentic, non-paid and not influenced by marketers, influencers or brands.

How did they manage to attract UGC?

The answer lays in everything we’ve discussed so far. Red Bull created their brand around sports and outdoor activities, around an exciting lifestyle. People always share their adventures on social media channels. Why not do it with and for Red Bull? Besides, Red Bull create their own content, constantly expanding their audience and thus, making it more easy to their fans to select their platforms for content publishing.

A larger audience is attractive not only for the brand but also for those who are sharing their adventures and skills on the brand’s online streaming and social media channels.

 

9. They know how to leverage influencer marketing as well

User-generated content builds trust with your customers but at the same time, influencer marketing can also help you, especially if you know how to choose your brand ambassadors.

Red Bull has done an incredible job in leveraging this particular marketing strategy by relying on content published by influencer athletes such as free runners, bikers, racers, and divers.

These athletes are sponsored by Red Bull or participating at events sponsored by the company.

Thus, they made sure that when sportsmen share their videos and images from those competitions, the Red Bull brand will be present one way or another.

 

10. Red Bull + Event/Content Projects

Red Bull proved to us several times that they are a leading marketing company, not just the producer and distributor of energy drinks. They know how to adapt to changes and how to embrace technology and turn it to their advantage. One thing, however, stands out as the center focus of everything they do: the brand. They build it from scratch and continue to build it with every new campaign.

They started by investing in sports, extreme sports and adventures but the ultimate goal was to build brand awareness that would finally lead to brand loyalty among their fans and customers. Everything they do is brand related through carefully placed products and slogans. You will say that everybody does it. Yes, it is true. However, Red Bull didn’t stop at extreme sports and outdoor activities.

It’s great to convince your target audience to follow your brand but why stop there? Why not aiming for another niche and expand to this new audience as well? We are not all active people and some of us don’t care about sports.

There are also artists who sometimes need more energy and thus, the Red Bull Music Academy was imagined.

Red Bull TV logoOr as you can see, Red Bull is creating projects and ways to engage with people on the way their audience wants. For example, they launched Red Bull TV that is a digital video service that features the world of the brand in live global events. This product is available as a window for broadcasters, as a TV App (Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chrome Cast, Kindle Fire, Xbox 360 and other Smart TV’s) and also online on their website.

Red Bull Content Pool

RedBullContentPool is also an awesome way to engage with Red Bull’s content. This website is where the brand is providing high quality photos and videos for editorial use, by content creators as publishers, news agencies, TV stations, bloggers and others. The interesting fact is that you won’t see a watermark on the photos, but you will see a native used logo somewhere in the content.

Their are other cool projects that is making Red Bull the ultimate media company, you just have to check their media room page.

 

Conclusion

Red Bull is one of the leading media companies in today’s context and one of the most reputable brands.

Although they don’t have a big history, they did it all by the book and when there wasn’t a book available, they created new strategies that can inspire marketers from all around the world.

Everything Red Bull does is based on their brand and content marketing.

What do you think about their strategies? Is there something you might want to add to this list? Have you tried some of these strategies?

Your turn to comment:

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Robert Katai

Visual Marketer and Content Strategist

"Content isn’t king. Usefulness is. Robert does this in the online marketing and social media space with ease."

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