How Social Media #GivesYouWings

Author: Jack Martin

It isn’t much of a surprise anymore when you tell someone that Red Bull is doing all of the right things in their industry.Being the top selling energy drink in the world, you would expect that of them.The difference is that Red Bull has used an epic combination of every social media platform available to bring to life extreme sports that weren’t popular fifteen, ten, or even five years ago.

Nine out of every ten people would be shocked to hear that Red Bull was developed in an area of the world where technology isn’t at everyone’s fingertips (Thailand). And they would be further shocked to know that YouTube, Facebook, iPhones, Microsoft Excel, or even Words With Friends didn’t exist yet. (Well, that is a lie because Scrabble was invented in 1948). You get the point.

Red Bull now runs an in-house media group, Red Bull Media House. This team is responsible for all of their video clips, photos, and anything else that soars out the doors (pun intended). The Red Bulletin is the magazine owned and published by Red Bull. You get the picture, they are literally everywhere they possibly could be.

The interesting part here is how Red Bull invests all of their time and energy into promoting athletes, extreme sports, and simply empowering people, yet not once do they tell you to “Go Buy Our Product”. This is where the lesson is learned. (Cue lazy college senior perking up to finally take notes). They don’t need to push their energy drink product onto consumers because after seeing your passions brought to life each and every time you log on to Twitter, your brain starts to associate Red Bull with those very things that get you super stoked on life.

My road trip stop for something to keep me awake at a convenience store isn’t some mediocre cappuccino machine.Instead I open a cooler, see a Red Bull, and I can’t help but remember how sick it was to watch Danny MacAskill back flipping his mountain bike off of a piece of driftwood in Scotland.Before you know it, I am wide awake and daydreaming about the next time I will be able to rip through some trails on my bike.All thanks to the Red Bull I purchased, and I am a customer for life. To think that a 20 second point of purchase window at a convenience store for Red Bull has really been an ongoing cycle of being present on my Facebook and Twitter feeds for the past few years. You can’t get any better marketing than that.

Even the major beverage distributors such as Coca-Cola or Pepsi can’t pull this off. They have individuals that are brand ambassadors, sure. But they aren’t getting deep down into the hearts of their consumers like Red Bull. One could use the theory that Coke and Pepsi have broad, diversified consumer bases, making it hard to have such a niche and passionate group of loyal consumers. Even if that is the case, it doesn’t give them an excuse. Red Bull has its sponsorships all over the place. Everywhere from an unknown free mountain skier, to the Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo. So if Red Bull has such a large consumer base with diversified interests as well, then what are they doing differently than massbeverage distributors?

Red Bull identified an opportunity with a niche group of people who have crazy ideas, ridiculous aspirations, and die hard passions for sending their adrenaline meters through the roof. Then Red Bull used YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and every other social media platform possible to spark those passions on a daily basis. All in hopes that those same feelings will be brought to life at 3:00 am in a truck stop when a sleepy individual opens up a cooler full of energy drink brands.

Examples? There are tons. Personally, I have a history in the BMX Racing world and have transitioned into an avid downhill mountain bike fan over the past few years. Take Gee Atherton, one of the top downhill riders the sport has ever seen. Red Bull has an iPhone app called Red Bull TV with several shows on there. As you would have guessed, The Atherton Project is a series of ten minute episodes produced and distributed by Red Bull via this iPhone and Web Based platform following the lives of Gee and his siblings along the intense UCI Downhill MTB season. Not enough? It is obvious that there would be a Twitter and Facebook account for Red Bull, but each city has a Field Marketing Team who runs the Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or whatever platform to meet the needs of that individual city. Red Bull knows that Chicago is big for music and urban life, so the passions of the consumer base there is going to be ignited by something completely different than the mountain climbing, cliff diving, whitewater rafting individuals living in the backcountry areas of Oregon. If you follow several individual city accounts on Twitter for a number of months you will understand just how clever it is for them to segment their marketing goals this way. Think of it as an organizational chart for a company, except the hierarchy is in terms of social media accounts, instead of humans.

Red Bull uses the phrase “Gives You Wings” in almost everything they do. Social media has given them all the wings they could ever dream of. The real question is what dreams do you have for your business? And can social media give you the wings you need to fulfill those dreams.Keystone Click can help you #getyourwings.