How should Red Bull market its brand in the future? I think, although Red Bull has been extremely successful in the past, times have changed and the company and products should change with it, otherwise we probably lose market share to the tremendous increased number of competitors in no time.At the height of early mornings and late nights, Red Bull energy drink became the fuel of choice for people from all walks of life. So how is Red Bull marketing its brand to meet the changing needs and budgets of its customers? How will the privately owned Austrian company expand its product line beyond the silver-bullet beverage that “gives you wings”? My conclusion is that we should focus on direct marketing and use this to bring in a more diverse population of users.
In 1982, Dietrich Mateschitz became aware of products called “tonic drinks”, which is very popular in Asia. While in Asia he got the idea of marketing those functional drinks outside Asia. In 1984, Mateschitz founded the company Red Bull GmbH. After tuning the drink up, Dietrich Mateschitz, introduced his “tonic drinks” to the Austrian market in 1987. “Red Bull got off the ground in no time flat, giving people wings right from the start.” In 1992, Red Bull touched down in its first foreign market, in Hungary. Today, Red Bull is energizing over 100 countries around the globe. More than a billion cans of Red Bull are consumed each year.
Responsibility for the unparalleled success of the world’s No. 1 energy drink is shared by the company’s employees. It wasn’t until ten years later; Red Bull charged into the United States, launching a new category of non-soda energy drinks aimed at burned out high school kids, college students, and overworked individuals. Namely, the brand power that this product has created is truly amazing. Many people in the industry may hate Red Bull, but without Red Bull there wouldn’t even be a market for the other 150+ products currently crowding the shelves.
Direct Marketing Using Prints
Among the many ways of connecting with consumers, direct marketing is unique and personal. While the challenges of the emerging marketplace are disruptive for the energy drink market, direct marketing could be what keeps Red Bull on top. Why? Because the need to reach consumers in a direct and measurable way is growing stronger as a result of new technologies, new consumer expectations, new competitive pressures and new demands for demonstrable marketing return on investment. Since its inception, Red Bull has shunned print advertising in its marketing strategy.
Red Bull has also chosen to eliminate billboards, banner ads, taxicab holograms, blimps, and Super Bowl spots as a form of advertising. This could be very beneficial to the company. With advertising in local papers or with large events such as Super Bowl could bring in detailed numbers. Super Bowl advertising has proved to be very beneficial, with more viewers than any TV program. However, Red Bull chooses to use advertising that cost little or nothing. It is found that those affected with direct marketing are more likely to spread the word of mouth about the product.
Web-marketing Campaigns and Coupons
Red Bull has not also created one web-marketing campaign, nor has it nipped or expanded its product line. This could be another area to expand. Promoting the drink with web-marketing campaigns could add to the many satisfied consumers. To successfully market your Web site you need to run an on-going campaign, just as you would for a product or service. Red Bull’s website is highly technological. The site uses Windows Media player and is extremely advanced in areas, however the website, http://www.redbullusa.com/start.html, does not include an in-depth analysis on ingredients contained in the drink, nor does it expand on any of the history or events which it features. If consumers wanted to learn what was contained in the drink and how they benefit from the product, the information should not only be available, but in abundance.
The website is very pleasing to the eye, however lacks the correct information needed by consumers and the correct marketing strategy to properly get the website in the eyes of consumers. Another addition using the Internet could be banner ads. This would bring consumers to the site. Promote a free sample to not only bring consumers to the site but to also satisfy the consumer by introducing them to the product. Many just do not want to waste their money to try something new. By sending a sample, consumers can get a feel for the Red Bull. Red Bull should also promote with coupons, paper or web-based. With an 8 oz. can of Red Bull pulling $ 2.07, the company should use this to lure new and previous drinkers to the product.
Red Bull does take advantage of some forms of direct marketing. However, Red Bull prides itself on the forms of advertising with little cost, or no cost. For example, Red Bull sets its grassroots ethic into motion with a simple, yet masterful marketing force: student brand managers. In Europe, collegiate buzz junkies have been successfully addicting friends and classmates for years thanks to a foolproof branding plan; Red Bull provides the student representatives with free cases of its energy drink and then encourages the kids to throw a party. Red Bull could also use this technique with older individuals in high stress occupations. This will not only spread the word quickly and cheaply, but to more individuals of different ages. This would allow Red Bull to expand its target through direct marketing.
But with the current scare of mixing Red Bull with alcohol this could come to a halt very shortly. According to the website: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/1435409.stm, “The SNFA advised people to stop mixing Red Bull with alcohol and to stop drinking it after working out at the gym, until an investigation into the drink had been carried out. The warning might have come from Sweden, but it sent ripples around the world.” When there is a scare, many people avoid the product all together. This could mean bad business for Red Bull unless there is an appropriate back up plan ready. Red Bull should focus on more ways to effectively promote their products without the use of teenagers and alcohol.
With the little advertising Red Bull uses, an extra push in one of these areas could prove very beneficial for the company. Red Bull’s focus on low cost advertising may be what will put the company under. The company must first focus on the consumers and how they should be reached then use the most cost effective forms, instead of putting the cost before the consumer. With technology increasing, forms of direct marketing are becoming highly popular with not only businesses but also consumers. A spokesman for Red Bull said, “We were the original and there are a lot of people who are trying to copy us, but nobody has successfully achieved that. We still have the market share lead at 86%.” But if Red Bull can not pick up the pace with others in this highly competitive market it could be the end for this company who has been known for its marketing strategy. By adding print advertising, making minor changes to the detail contained within the site, couponing, and including a web-marketing campaign, Red Bull could stay on top for yet another 17 years!
1. Red Bull Energy Drink Review
[Accessed 24 May 2004]
Provides reviews on several drinks, including Red Bull. Reviews include taste, look and user votes.
2. Red Bull GmbH Company Profile
http://biz.yahoo.com ic/101/101316.html /
[Accessed 24 May 2004]
Contains contact information, financial highlights, key people, industry information and top competitors for the Red Bull Company. The site does not
charge compared to others.
3. Red Bull Homepage
[Accessed 25 May 2004]
Red Bull homepage has a brief company history, contains information regarding the ingredients of the product and has information regarding sports and culture.
4. Dark Dog Energy Drink Homepage
[Accessed 25 May 2004]
This site contains latest news and information regarding products, the company, distributors, and partners of the company Dark Dog, one of Red Bulls competitors.
5. Red Bull in suspected link to Death
[Accessed 27 May 2004]
This site contains information regarding the Swedish National Food Administration issuing a public warning and investigating Red Bull in the deaths of three.