How Red Bull Built A Legendary Brand Empire

Behind every business is a dream. Countless businesses of every size have strived to take control of their brand. They want to control the message — the brand experience — as it reaches customers. In this arena, the businesses that have had control over their own media have often been those achieving the most success. They control blogs, podcasts, videos, and comprehensive social media.

Red Bull Empire

These are businesses that drive their content 100%, from print to TV, blogs to podcasts, and much more. This content comes together to shape the story of their brand. It’s a complete story, with real people and experiences. It’s people-focused marketing. It’s marketing that energy-drink giant, Red Bull, has down to a science. Red Bull’s marketing proves that the people — your brand’s audience — are everything.

In the Beginning

BrandingIn 1982, Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz was on a business trip in Thailand. While in the country, Mateschitz met with a local businessman and fellow entrepreneur, Chaleo Yoovidhya.

During their meeting, Yoovidhya introduced Mateschitz to a drink called Krating Daeng, which translates from Thai to “red guar” — a guar being a variety of Indian bison, native to South Asia.

Mateschitz loved the drink and knew it had winning potential in Europe. Working closely with Yoovidhya, whose company had developed Krating Daeng, Mateschitz brought the drink to the West. The rest, you could say, is history.

But not so fast. The explosive growth of the company that would become Red Bull isn’t that simple. In creating the Red Bull brand, the company skipped the traditional forms of advertising and decided to do something extreme.

Finding Their Niche

Branding Niche

It wasn’t long after the drink was introduced to Europe that Red Bull went after their target demographic hard — 18- to 34-year-old males. The company established itself in racing circuits, football clubs, and in a number of extreme sports. They sponsored events and bought teams and franchises.

At events, the company handed out free drinks like crazy, along with mountains of merchandise covered in Red Bull logos. They didn’t just advertise — they created the ultimate brand experience.

The company aggressively established its brand image — an image that is as strong today as it ever was. While Red Bull did have ads on TV, on the radio, and in print, they were minor blips on the radar next to the company’s other endeavors. Not only did they quickly and effectively cultivate brand loyalty, but they earned the respect of countless fans and followers around the globe.

The company didn’t just sponsor events and sports teams because they wanted to plaster their logo everywhere (which they did). The company took the sports seriously; it took the people involved with those sports seriously; and they took the fans seriously. Red Bull lived the brand they had created and brought their customers into the brand story.

He Who Controls The Image Controls The Brand

Brand Message

Red Bull has an astonishing level of control over its image. It’s control other brands would love to have. In 2007, the company founded the Red Bull Media House. Through this spin-off company, the parent company produces a dizzying array of content, including TV programs, movies, documentaries, online videos, magazines, and more. Red Bull knows what their fans love, and the company actively makes itself a part of that.

Red Bull is a full brand experience. The company has transcended the blue and silver can to become nothing short of a media empire. And yet, the company hasn’t forgotten where they came from.

The drink remains the core of the company and a profit center. Every year, Red Bull sells billions of cans of the energy drink in over 167 countries. In 2014, the company pulled in nearly $5.7 billion in revenue.

Building this drink and media empire wasn’t easy, but Red Bull knew what they wanted and who they wanted to target. Then they went for it with no hesitation. Right out the door, they embodied the brand they would eventually become. Risky? Absolutely. But it paid off.

It’s Your Turn

BrandingTaking control of your brand is about knowing what you want and who you want. While you may not be in a position to own a “media empire,” you still have access to a diverse array of media — all of which you can utilize to enhance your brand image and experience.

Think blogs (and other online media), print media (newsletters), and social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram). These tools come together to give you the power to control your brand, immerse yourself in the story with your fans (your clients or customers), and deliver an unforgettable brand experience.

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