Red Bull’s Ridiculously Amazing Creative Marketing Strategy

Red Bull’s Marketing Strategy is highly coveted and highly secretive.  Why?  Because it resonates!   

Why?  Their strategy is not about the product… at all!  

Look on their social pages and you won’t see one product promotion post. Now look at their website… sports news, stories and events.  No obvious reference to the product.  And yet, did you question for one minute “What the heck is Red Bull?”  Didn’t think so.    Red Bull’s marketing is all about people.

In this post, we will explore the Red Bull strategy and how you can implement the same principles into your own business.

Identify your Target Market

Red Bull zeroed in on their target markets.  Understanding people was the first step.  The two major categories Red Bull initially tapped into were athletes and college students.  

We’ll explore how exactly Red Bull targeted their market but it’s important to understand that Red Bull has never been about the product.  It has always been about people.  Not in a salesy way – but in a highly personal, ‘dreams-of-the-heart’ way.  The brand identified their target market with laser focus and zeroed in on people’s drive to succeed and be the best.  Their tagline emulates this – “Gives you wings” – it’s motivating and inspirational.  The prevailing message is, Live your best life.  Be exceptional.


First step for your business:  Identify your target market.  

Not in a spreadsheety, age/income distant way, but in a highly personal way.  Who are they?  What are their passions?  Where do they spend time?  

Identify your value:

How do you compliment their lifestyles/passions/interests or fill their needs?  If you’ve been in business a while, think of real people – who are your best customers?  How do they use your product?  When do they get in touch?  Where are they spending time when they use your product?  What problem prompted them to turn to you?


Be where the people are – location marketing

Once Red Bull identified who their target market was, they made sure to be where they were!  They drove to college campuses, beaches, offices, gyms and construction sites in cars with a giant Red Bull can strapped to the top and handed out free Red Bull.  They identified the ‘alpha-bees’ on campuses and hired them to hand out free Red Bull.  


Where do your people spend time?  

How could you surprise them, make them smile or offer value to them where they spend time?  Think both online and offline – what sites do they visit online?  Where do they physically spend time?  How could your brand meet them there in a way that is relevant?


Create Experiences – Event Marketing

Red Bull understood the two core demographics they were targeting were athletes and college students, and then planned unforgettable events aimed at both groups.

Red Bull is now famous for hosting extreme sporting events.  The first took place in Austria in 1988, and from that first event this has become a hallmark of their strategy.  They created an unforgettable experience – for athletes and sports fans alike.  These events were always filmed – by Red Bull and by the Media – with the Red Bull logo strategically positioned, and of course, plenty of athletes and copious amounts of Red Bull!

Red Bull and college students have one thing in common – they like to party!  Red Bull hosted the best parties, with influencers and beautiful women, strategically placed Red Bull signs and of course, free-flowing Red Bull.  

These events were always filmed, expanding the reach beyond the attendees at the event, and showcasing sports stars, influencers and beautiful people having a good time, drinking Red Bull at an ultra-cool event hosted by none other than Red Bull.  


What events would add value to your target market?  

What event could you create that would fuel the passions of your target group of people?


Influential people impact others – Influencer Marketing

In every effort, Red Bull zeroed in on the influencers.  They discovered and sponsored extreme athletes – creating once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for these athletes while expanding reach and resonating with the hard-core fans.  In colleges, they zeroed in on the alpha-bees.  In recent years, Red Bull has expanded their efforts to the arts, sponsoring musicians and artists, introducing new music and genres while resonating with those passionate about cool music.   Their online Red Bull Music Academy offers thousands of lectures by musicians (including their sponsored musicians) targeted at other passionate musicians.

Who are the influencers in your industry?   

It’s worth noting that Red Bull didn’t just ask the influencers to sell their product, in contrast, they created value and provided opportunity for the influencers – resonating with their hearts while simultaneously resonating with their followers.  


What established businesses compliment what you do?

Red Bull also created strategic ‘partnerships’ with bars in cities they were targeting.  They provided free coolers of Red Bull to cool bars and before long, Red Bull mixed with vodka became one of the hottest drinks in America for the college crowd.  

What businesses target the same people you do?

Look for businesses that target the same demographic as you do, particularly those that compliment your message and offering.  Is there a way you can partner?  Is there an offer you can provide that they can give to their customers?


Business is never about business.   Business is always about people.   

There’s a quote I love “Everybody loves to buy but nobody likes to be sold to”.  Red Bull harnessed this in the very best way by identifying their target market clearly and then tapping into their passions.  They adopted a creative marketing strategy that essentially exploded the box.   If you are interested in adopting a creative, out-of-the-box strategy for your business, get in touch!

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