1. What product(s) is Red bull attempting to sell via social media?
Red Bull is a unique business in that it does not sell its energy drink products and related merchandise via social media in the traditional dollars and cents way. Rather it sells a “way of life” that associates red bull products with its target audience. It sells cool, edgy and fun by way of extreme sports and stunning imagery posts. Even though Red bull generates multiple updates per day across its various social media properties, it is a rare sight to discover a post that is dedicated to its products. Rather, Red Bull’s corporate strategy is to focus on promoting the athletes and events that they sponsor. This reinforces the notion of Red Bull being a lifestyle choice rather than just an energy drink.
2. How does red bull position itself across its various social media properties? Is there a difference between them?
Red bull does use various social media platforms to promote its brand. In a holistic sense they are all similar approaches, however there are some differences depending on the platforms I researched. A brief summary below will highlight the differences and similarities.
With over 36 million “likes” on their Facebook fan page, Red Bull is one of the Top 10 most liked corporations on Facebook. Red Bulls strategy across its social media platforms is to comment as little as possible in order for the users to drive the comments and generate the buzz. It adds some mystery to the brand which raises its profile among its core audience. The main Facebook page generally posts one or two updates per day. The wall posts focus on images and videos of extreme sports and athletes sponsored by Red Bull. It fits with the brands overall strategy of promoting itself as a lifestyle choice rather than a simple, caffeinated drink. In addition to the main page Red bull activates accounts and pages related to its various events and creates links between them all to increase volume of audience.
Reb Bull’s Twitter account has just over 900,000 followers and it generally just tweets out links to images and videos of its sponsored athletes, though there are occasional questions and comments on current events.(https://econsultancy.com/blog/62178-how-red-bull-uses-facebook-twitter-pinterest-and-google#i.55zdk7fcqee1us). Similar to Facebook Red bull keeps the tweet responses to a minimum, relying on the users to comment on the images it posts of athletes and events. Red bull also maintains a large number of Twitter account for events and geographical regions.
Red bull uses pinterest, but only maintains a few accounts with them. Unlike the other social media properties, most of the images are linked back to red bull websites and pages. The result of this tactic is that very little actual social activity is occurring on Pinterest itself.
Though Red Bull has several Google+ accounts for its various enterprises, it does not use it with the same regularity as Twitter or Facebook. The updates are minimal and tend to be reused from Facebook accounts and duplicated in many cases. Nevertheless Google+ still maintains a huge user group.
A hugely important platform from which Red Bull can broadcast live events and link out to all the other various social media properties thus creating a wide blanket of connected tissue to generate brand “buzz”. The Red Bull Stratos event was one such broadcast. Unlike other social media properties YouTube can be the premiere event platform from which all the others connect to.
The similarities between all the social media properties tend to stop when it comes to frequency of use and reliance on by Red Bull. Some are clearly used more than others. They are all however dedicated to increasing brand awareness through promotion of lifestyle and word of mouth. Minimal posting and commenting by the Red bull group and heavily pushing of stunning imagery and event sponsorship are the hallmarks of the Red Bull Social Media strategy.
3. What promotions does it run across its various channels?
Publicity stunts/promotions like the Red Bull Stratos event in 2012 garner huge amounts of viral attention. Red Bull uses extreme sports and stunts to promote an edgier feel to the product and to attract its core demographic. The Stratos stunt, wherein extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner made the highest jump ever recorded from the stratosphere was one such promotion. It was hugely successful. Red Bull used multiple social media platforms simultaneously to show the stunt and increase brand awareness by volume of shared comments and posts, shares, likes and retweets. Rather than focus on the product lines they are focused on promoting brand awareness as an adjunct to lifestyle choices. 7.3 million live viewers on YouTube including Live tweeting of the event on Twitter. Half the worldwide trending topics on Twitter that day had something to do with the jump. Facebook updates created a huge amount of word of mouth for the event and by extension for the sponsor. Red Bull not only has company accounts for FB and Twitter it also creates pages and accounts for events just like the Stratos jump event. “After a successful landing, Red Bull posted the landing picture of Baumgartner on Facebook, which totalled nearly 216,000 likes, 10,000 comments and more than 29,000 shares in less than 40 minutes (CBS News). Just two days later, the same post has over 522,000 likes and over 15,000 comments.” http://therealtimereport.com/2012/10/16/how-social-was-the-red-bull-stratos-livejump-publicity-stunt/ . “Red Bull posted twice more about the jump since Sunday – to over 32.5 million fans on the brand’s Facebook page – with impressive levels of engagement. In addition to the live video on YouTube, the brand established dedicated Twitter (over 250,000 followers) and Facebook (over 715,000 likes) accounts for the Red Bull Stratos project, and an Instagram feed” In addition to the social media presence, other mainstream media sources report on the event thereby creating even more buzz through incidental channels.
Red bull also uses sports in an innovative fashion. In addition to being sponsors of the events themselves, they also develop, participate and run events. Red Bull owns a formula one racing team and a soccer team. They sponsor unique sporting venues like extreme mountain biking and wingsuit jumping. This has the effect of attracting more brand recognition by those that are interested in these types of sports. These people are more likely to consume red bull beverages and use word of mouth through social media creating a sort of cycle of shared information.
4. Who is the consumer/customer red bull is attempting to market to?
Red Bull’s prime consumers are in their 20s. More specifically men in the early half of their twenties. . (Euromonitor, 2013) The athlete, the worker and the party goer all fall under the demographic as sub categories of consumer. This group is most likely to respond the various events and campaigns brought forth by Red Bull.