Why Red Bull is a king of content (and you’re probably a pauper)

I’ve never really ‘tracked’ energy drink companies or the energy drink ‘category’ for that matter.  But I had a recent student who worked in promotions for an energy drink company here in the southeast and was always interested in hearing how his company promoted their products and then quite by accident not long ago, I happened to pick up a copy of The Red Bulletin that someone had left behind in a classroom.  The Red Bulletin is the monthly magazine by Red Bull. Flipping through it starting me thinking about the whole area of content creation and brand publishing.

Content creation is a hot topic in any marketing category. Brands have, for many years, experimented with brand magazines or website content. Of course, these days social media has made it easy for more brands to start acting like publishers.

So, why is Red Bull a king of content creation, while you are most likely a pauper?

1. Exciting Content

The high energy, adrenalin filled world of Red Bull is very rich in content. You can easily see the plethora of topics that would fill a magazine; surfing to motor cross  to soccer.  However, think about other businesses or brands and you might struggle to come up with enough content to fill one monthly magazine, much less 12 a year.


2. Brand Linkage

The normal response of social media gurus to the issue “this brand lacks relevant content” is to suggest “laddering” up to take more of a broader category view. For example, if we were looking at windshield glass repair and replacement, the idea would be to create content all about safety, safe driving practices, road/off-road advice, etc. The problem with this is that most of this content would have no link back to the brand.

In contrast, Red Bull has a mind-boggling portfolio of activation properties, created over decades; the Red Bull F1 team, the X-Fighters and The Red Bull Air Race just name a few. This means they can create content where they are embedded, such as the article below about lunatics jumping off mountains in Red Bull “wingsuits”.
3. Serious Investment

Red Bull is extremely unique in the huge investment they put into creating, running and amplifying their properties. First, there are the teams of people running properties like the F1 racing team and Red Bull Air Race. Then there is the massive amount of in-house marketing talent who help activate these properties. This investment demonstrates an almost crazy commitment to content creation. Indeed, you could almost see Red Bull as a ‘sports entertainment company’ who happens to make an energy drink!

In contrast, most brands lack anything close to this amount of firepower or investment to develop and amplify branded content. They will often delegate what work is done to an external agency, and be easily persuaded to reduce or cut the investment when times get tough, seeing it as a “nice to have” not an essential component of their overall marketing strategy.

The question for you is, “Can your brand pass the “Red Bull Test?” using the three points above? How serious is your commitment to content creation?  Should you be spending those efforts elsewhere where you really can make a different for your business?

When is the last time you’ve engaged in a lively debate about your business, product, or service?  It requires audacity and an openness to new ideas and thoughts.

Big ideas don’t come out of thin air. They come from top-notch research, valuable customer insight, and talented people working with you to exceed your expectations.

It begins with a call, a conversation to discuss your business—where it’s headed and where you want it to go. I leave you with one thought: whatever problems your business faces now, others have faced the same problems before—and overcome them.

Let’s talk about your business, your concerns, your goals and ambition, and together we will build a roadmap of effective marketing to get you there.

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