Organization Name : Red Bull
Industry : Energy Drink / Beverage Industry
Web References: RedBull.com, smbp.uwaterloo.ca, nytimes.com, shiftcomm.com , brickmarketing.com , redbullstratos.com, redbullmediahouse.com
The Company Behind the Can
The above tag is how the Red Bull site welcomes consumers to their company history page. The first can of Red Bull Energy Drink was sold in 1987 in their home market of Austria. The company was founded by Dietrich Mateschitz who took inspiration from functional drinks from the Far East. From there, Mateschitz created a beverage, a can and go to market strategy that defined a new product category. Red Bull created the category and remain the premium brand within this space. There are now many players in the Energy Drink market. Most of the brands attack with a bigger can and lower price offer. Being the highest priced brand in a competitive promotion driven category and still maintaining market share leadership speaks to the consumer loyalty Red Bull has created here.
Energy Drink Market Share 2014
Market Share Data – www.caffeineinformer.com
Red Bull Fun Facts
- Sold in 167 countries
- Around 50 billion cans have been consumed since launch
- 10,500 employees
- 2014 Revenues : 5.1 Billion Euros
Red Bull and Social Media
Your first pass at RedBull.com will tell you just about everything you need to know about how Red Bull connects with their consumer. You will find links to a diverse and eclectic list of Red Bull events ranging from music to action sports. Every event Red Bull engages with is high energy and pushes traditional boundaries. Red Bull created events that push human limits and feature some of the most celebrated artists and extreme athletes in the world provide the brand with incredible content to share with diverse consumer group. In many cases, you really can’t make this stuff up so makes for epic story telling. What you wont see is overt Red Bull product shots. The brand promotes and creates a lifestyle of sport, fun and daring adventure..
The events and artists or athletes that Red Bull aligns with insure the brand has the right eye balls on the brand. Their brand is not for everyone but those who get it, really get it. Then Red Bull amplifies the creativity and marketing spend to inspire their core audience who in turn become brand ambassadors and turn more consumers on to the brand.
The product is part of the journey but never the focus and never a hard sell. The brand love that Red Bull has created through innovative content creation and event marketing that generates big consumer engagement is impressive.
Quantitative numbers that show Red Bull dominance on key social media platforms is the proof of concept here.
Red Bull business model is based on minimal SKU count that rarely changes. Their current product assortment is : the original Energy Drink flavor, Sugar Free, Total Zero ( no calories ) and Red Bull Editions ( 5 fruit flavors ). The millions of brand ” fans ” noted above are not following Red Bull to check out new energy drink product. If they were, then they would be disappointed. This is not a Red Bull focus. Innovation is critical to a company’s success and Red Bull certainly lives innovation. For Red Bull, the innovation investment is heavily weighted on new ways to engage their consumer and less on new product launches. This relentless focus on creativity ( break dancing to Bach is a personal favorite ) is really their new product. This approach has proven to drive consumer engagement with Red Bull brand and creates huge viral network within this consumer base.
Red Bull Measure of Social Media Event Investment
So when your brand is built around consumer engagement and much of this is driven through social media, there must be a set template to measure return on investment (ROI ) on your social media spend. My research would say there is a lack of hard cast in stone ROI measurement tools or principles across the social media marketing space. Consumer impressions appear to be the standard of most common term of measurement. It is easier to find research papers supporting the position that there is no real way to determine accurate consumer impressions reads from a marketing campaign than those saying that this particular measurement tool will provide accurate consumer impression analysis.
So while Red Bull monitors impressions, their social media priority objectives are based on reach and engagement. Reach can be defined as simply as who saw it and how long did they view it. Engagement is quantified by “ like, comment, share and click” rates.
Event marketing is huge focus of Red Bull consumer engagement strategy. Some events are global in scale, others are more localized executions. The approach may vary by scale but the standard event objectives are Drive Awareness, Drive Registration, and Drive Attendance. Another key component of Red Bull event management is tracking consumer sentiment. The brand is committed to listening and responding in real time to what consumers are saying. These may be comments about the brand or general statements.
To gain perspective on how Red Bull measures social media investment ROI on event marketing, it is easier to break down events by scale. Global events provide more clear quantitative measurement stats against the big investment bets, local executions are more challenging to pin point.
Red Bull Stratos is great example of a global event that captured the world’s imagination and aligned with Red Bull ideals of giving wings to ideas and people.
Red Bull Stratos consists of a team of scientific experts and top of line engineering, all converging to prove man can survive the speed of sound in free fall.
The Red Bull Stratos mission was a record breaking event that saw Felix Baumgartner free-fall jump from more than 23 miles above the earth, while also becoming the biggest digital live event on record. The event was huge investment for Red Bull and social media was the broadcast platform. With results noted below, the event and the related social media share delivered crazy strong reach and engagement levels for the brand.
Red Bull Strato Social Media Measurements : You Tube – 8MM views on concurrent live streams & 32MM watched on video, Twitter – 3.2MM Tweets, Instagram – 22K Photo Posts, Facebook – 1MM Likes on Stratos Photo
On smaller localized execution we can reference the Red Bull Race the Place bike race in Toronto. Event is held on site of the Ontario Place theme park. This park is located on the shores of Lake Ontario in downtown Toronto and is prime real estate. It was shuttered in 2012 by the province of Ontario. Red Bull worked with local authorities to gain approval to have race through the theme park. For those familiar with Ontario Place setting, you will understand how cool this venue is for a no holds barred bike race.
Because 2014 was launch year for this race in Toronto, Red Bull priority was building awareness for the actual event and to showcase the unique race location and format. Facebook marketing teased the event and also featured posts hyping Alley Cats documentary targeted at bike messengers and the crit racing scene.
Fixed Gear Bikes
In a conversation with Red Bull Canada, their office would not share exact social media measurements for Race the Park event but did say that combined Facebook shares, comments, likes and clicks to RedBull.ca, Facebook Instagram likes, Twitter mentions and number of unique visits generated to RedBull.ca. made the race a commercial success. Based on these metrics, the event was held again at Ontario Place in 2015.
To gain an insider’s perspective on Red Bull social media event marketing, I met with JD Wheeler, Business Unit Director at Red Bull Canada. Mr. Wheeler has been with Red Bull brand since it launched in Canada in 2004 and leads their event activation team. He is very well versed on Red Bull social media strategy and related event executions. Thanks to Mr. Wheeler for sharing his insights on Red Bull social media.
Lessons Learned :
- When building social media plan, insure the plan aligns with your overall corporate objectives- when you have this alignment, you will know what to focus your social media measurements against – for Red Bull this is reach & engagement
- Many companies cite lack of accurate measurement against investment as key reason holding back social media investment – even companies as sophisticated in this space as Red Bull, don’t have all the answers around social media performance metrics – there is no exact science but you can find measurements to guide investment
- Listen and be prepared to respond to what your consumers are telling you – this may not fall under metric measurement but may be the most important finding you gain from social media
Any study around social media success stories should involve Red Bull. This brand has been built on creating incredible consumer engagement driven through social media channels. From an outsider perspective, it appears brand focuses on doing the right things to excite consumers while not monetizing every social media investment back to increased can sales. Managing investment metrics are critical to long term success but Red Bull good example of trusting in power of social media when all the metric analysis may not be available yet.
Post submitted by John Condon
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