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How Red Bull’s Unique Marketing Can Help You Reach a Wider Audience

Red bull’s unique marketing strategies
Photo by Fonsi Fernández on Unsplash

How your brand can stand out from the competition.

When you hear the words energy drink, which specific drink comes to your mind first? I suppose there is a 99% chance that you think of Red Bull. And not only because you’ve read it in the headline of this story.

Some products simply stand out from the others in their category.

Red Bull, a drink produced by an Austrian company since 1987, is one of them. The company, with its popular slogan “Red Bull gives you wings”, has the highest market share of all energy drinks in the world. In 2020, they sold almost eight billion cans.

But this success doesn’t only come from people’s need for quick energy.

Red Bull’s marketing is so powerful that it made the public aware of the brand regardless of people’s interest in energy drinks. They managed to connect everyone globally not with what they make, but with how they think.

And the compelling campaigns they used to achieve astonishing sales are full of valuable lessons for everyone.

Whether you’re running a business, creating content, or offering services in your local town, this unique brand can teach you how to market yourself profitably without spending extra money on marketing.

The Product Itself Is Not a Priority

How do you usually promote your service or product? Well, you tell people about it.

Red Bull, though, uses a different strategy. Instead of slapping people in the face with energy drink cans, they put their audience first. The company creates highly engaging and worthwhile content that you couldn’t see anywhere else. Extreme sports, various competitions, breath-taking videos.

If you visit Red Bull’s website, you might not even feel like you’re visiting a company’s site; it rather looks like a typical media outlet with professional content.

Showing you crowds engaging in extreme sports and social activities works better than convincing you to buy something. If you watch how people do amazing things, you become motivated to follow this path.

But to stay motivated and use your potential to the fullest — you need a lot of energy. Hence, Red Bull. They convinced you to buy their product without saying a word about it.

How to copy it

Imagine that you seek some advice online. If the blog you opened is filled only with annoying offers, promotions, and subscribe buttons, you better look somewhere else.

So first, serve your audience valuable content without trying to push your sales. Create something for the sake of educating or entertaining people — with no commitments.

If your content is useful, without any strings attached, people will come back again. And once they’re hooked on your free content, they won’t hesitate to pay you to get more.

Lesson

Don’t ask people for their money before you prove your qualities. Free and helpful content is a priority. After this, create a non-irritant, natural transition from your content to the product.

Philosophy Over a Product

Red Bull is aware of Simon Sinek’s strategy Start with Why. Their “why” is, in this case, a life full of excitement. They show you what humans are capable of and what the life of a high achiever looks like.

Creating engaging content rather than promoting products feels unobtrusive and friendly. They essentially act like a media company that shows people how to live an exciting life. And meanwhile, they happen to sell a product that supports this lifestyle.

This way, they connect with the customer’s emotions and create a strong sense of belonging to the brand culture. Who wouldn’t like to become a top performer?

How to copy it

By stating what you believe in, you make people emotional and increase the likelihood of selling anything.

If you’re, for instance, selling a writing course, don’t simply start with Hi, this is my course that shows you how to write well, please buy it.

It’s better to start with something like this:

After leaving the job I hated, I built my career as a writer, and now I’m free to do what I love, travel as much as I can, and work from any place I choose.

I believe everyone deserves to have a fulfilling job that doesn’t feel like work. Something that gives you the freedom to express your creativity, reveals your true potential, and helps others.

If you also share this life philosophy and love writing, my course can help you get there.

Don’t tell people only about what you sell. Tell them the story. If what you offer helps the audience improve their living, they will reach out for it spontaneously.

You can notice this strategy with many successful brands such as Apple or Uber.

Lesson

A narrative beyond your brand describing your vision and values is crucial for good sales. First comes the story, then the product.

Brand Equity for Respect

Brand equity is a value that “a company gains from its name recognition when compared to a generic equivalent.”

Having positive brand equity gives your company an enormous advantage over the competition. If customers connect your brand with exclusivity, you win the battle. They’re likely to buy from you even when the competitors offer the same product for a lower price.

Red Bull built their brand equity on high-quality content and sponsorships of the best clubs, athletes, and artists.

They also sponsor extreme sports events like snowboarding, skating, windsurfing, BMX, or NASCAR racing. Besides this, they own a Formula 1 team and multiple football teams.

Based on these achievements, people subconsciously connect the company with an exclusive lifestyle, which adds value to their brand equity and makes them stand out from the competition. They killed two birds with one stone because the events they sponsor are also attended by their target audience.

How to copy it

Notice that prominent writers always mention in their bios famous magazines they’ve been published in. IT companies state on their websites popular brands that are using their software.

It’s a powerful method to appear trustworthy to potential clients. So try to manage collaboration with a familiar brand, celebrity, or event, to gain this credibility.

Lesson

Being associated with exclusive brands or personalities helps you achieve positive brand equity.

No Waiting for the Audience

In the movie “Field of Dreams”, Kevin Costner said a famous quote: “If you build it, he will come.”

Many people think like this — just create something, and the audience will find you.

Red Bull doesn’t fall into this trap. Without waiting to be found, their employees go out to the streets and approach people directly. This strategy is a part of guerrilla marketing — “a low- or no-cost method, involving the widespread use of more personal interactions.”

The key to successful guerrilla marketing is to connect to the customer’s emotions. Thus public spaces such as sports events, festivals, or busy streets are exactly the places where you need to show up.

You surely noticed Red Bull cars with a huge can over the roof driving through the cities, giving people around free drinks. Or typical Red Bull tents at every massive event where visitors are likely to need an extra shot of energy.

How to copy it

Don’t waste time thinking people will eventually find you.

Observe where your target audience hangs out, and show up there before someone else does. Choose the right platform for your niche and let people know you have something meaningful to say.

To stand out, you need to do a lot of deliberate work before you’ll get noticed. Stop copy-pasting product links into forums and comment sections with a desperate need to sell.

Just like Red Bull gives people free drinks in the public spaces, you can throw to the crowd advice or samples without expecting something in return.

Lesson

Appearing at a platform (or public space) where your audience already resides will increase your chance of selling more.

Takeaways

To build a profitable business and brand, keep in mind the following strategies that made Red Bull stand out:

  • Shift focus from your product to your audience. Exclusive and worthwhile content makes people trust your brand.
  • Start with a story to create emotional connections with your customers. People prefer to buy from brands that share the same values as they do. Compelling stories and ideologies sell the products effortlessly.
  • Become a trustworthy brand through collaborations or sponsorships. It gives you a chance to become a leader in your niche and beat the competition.
  • Don’t wait for customers; find a place where your target audience already hangs out.

Although Red Bull became the most popular brand in their industry, it’s important to realize that they didn’t achieve this success overnight; it took the company almost two decades to get significant results.

Using their marketing methods can help you boost sales and improve your company’s authority in the market, but as with everything meaningful, it simply takes a considerable amount of time.

Fortunately, with these low-cost strategies, you have nothing to lose.


This post was originally published in the publication Better Marketing on Medium.