Digital Inbound Marketing Blog

Branded Content: What Can Your Business Learn from Red Bull?

Posted by Terry Hayes

Apr 18, 2014 9:11:00 AM

Red Bull Production Office View 2 from Reception

Six-year-old Red Bull Media House has over 135 full-time publishing house employees. They’ve produced 105 videos with at least 1 million views on YouTube. Their 2011 film, The Art of Flight, topped the iTunes charts. And those are just a few marketing milestones.

Walking through their Santa Monica facility at a breakfast meeting recently, I was visually reminded of Red Bull’s shrewd choice to market their brand using “pull marketing” techniques. Contently cites the opportunity for other companies to learn from Red Bull’s strategies:

Just as Red Bull capitalized on the lack of media attention to extreme sports there are other opportunities for brands to fill gaps in the content universe.

There are myriad topics with hungry audiences but nobody creating a consistent amount of high-quality content. It’s on brands to locate those opportunities. In doing so, brands would be smart to remember their advantages as publishers:

  • They have no need to sell advertising, besides their own branding, which allows them to offer their audience a cleaner and superior experience

  • They can run at a loss while still delivering a net profit

  • They can leverage the large, built-in social followings that many top CPC brands enjoy

Red Bull Production Office View 1


Taking a Leading Role in Branded Media Content Marketing

Red Bull Media House - No media company on earth owns the extreme sports space like Red Bull, and more than any other company, they represent the full potential of brand publishing, capitalizing on nearly every multimedia channel available.

Contently outlines Red Bull’s successful, content oriented approach in the PDF “How Storytelling is Transforming CPC” (Consumer Packaged Content):

On the surface, Red Bull’s approach isn’t particularly ground breaking. It identified its core consumer and asked: What do they want? What do they like? Well, they like extreme sports and action.

Lots of brands get to this point. The difference between Red Bull and most brands, though, is that it got to this point and decided to create the vehicle through which its core customers consume the things they love.

Red Bull Media House lives up to its name; there’s a whole family of media sub-brands driving Red Bull’s content marketing operation. The company’s magazine, The Red Bulletin, is available online, via an iPad app, and through a print magazine that boasts around 5 million paid subscribers. Red Bull even has a film studio and a record label.

The marketing strategy that has worked best for us is not to publish our strategies,” said a Red Bull representative. But it’s not difficult to decode and see how the blueprint can be applied by other CPC brands. It can be summarized in a sentence: Determine what your audience wants, and give it to them better than anyone else.

Feature Film Trailer: The Art of Flight

Red Bull Feature Film   The Art of Flight Trailer

Print: The Red Bulletin

The Red Bulletin   Print Magazine

 Mobile Gaming: Red Bull X-Fighters

Red Bull X Fighters Mobile Game

 Sporting Events - Captured on Media:
Formula One, plane racing, snowboarding, cycling, and more…

Red Bull Sporting Events

 Music: Music school and month long event - Music Academy

Red Bull Music Academy

Content Marketing - Defining a Publishing Model Strategy

The need to produce original marketing content creates similar challenges for new businesses and established brands. Jeff Bullas writes about the difficulties companies face when adopting a branded content marketing model:

      Its pull rather than push marketing
      Entertain and educate first and sell second
      You don’t talk about your product 
      You must think and act like a publisher not an advertiser
      You operate in real time
      Need different resources
      Needs a different culture

Publishing branded content and embracing this new marketing approach means:

      Re-allocation of company resources
      Re-educating the team
      Changing the culture
      Adapting to a mobile content world
      Understanding re-purposing of content
      Developing an integrated mindset 
      Creating “conversations around the brand” not about the brand

Red Bull Racer   Santa Monica Office Facility


What Can Your Business Learn from Red Bull?

Here are a few strategies to consider and apply:

Learn to entertain first
Build an audience for your content and the sales will come

Create conversations around your brand
No one wants to talk about a drink but they will talk about music, share amazing photos and embed videos that are epic!

Learn to monetize your content
Red Bull licenses some of their images, sells movies and charges to read their magazine

Create a focused and powerful content strategy
Red Bull set up a separate media company to publishing their awesome content

Understand the importance of mobile
Red Bull has developed apps, games and platforms that work on a variety of devices

Quality is very important, but you need quality and quantity too
Red Bull is “everywhere”! Look around.

Mashable said: “Red Bull is a publishing empire that just happens to sell a beverage." 


Nikolaus Kimla   CEO PipelinerSales CRM System at Red Bull 2014

Power Breakfast # 72 at Red Bull - Guest Speaker Company Links:
Learn about the Pipliner CRM system - CEO Nikolaus Kimla
Activision/Blizzard - COO Thomas Tippl

Red Bull is the most popular energy drink in the world with 5.387 billion cans sold in 2013. Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz was inspired by an energy drink invented in Thailand. He took the idea, modified the ingredients and in partnership with Chaleo Yoovidhya, founded Red Bull GmbH in 1987.

Learn more about the origins and history of Red Bull GMBH.
Read Jeff Bullas on Red Bull.

Sun Tzu says that competitive knowledge is our best combat material

Topics: inbound marketing los angeles, content marketing