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Red Bull Takes Content to the Next Stratosphere

Red Bull Takes Content to the Next Stratosphere

If you think about content as blog posts or white papers, then Red Bull might not come to mind as a clever case study in content marketing. But if you think about content in a broader sense — any form of media created to inform, entertain or engage — then the energy drink company is clearly kicking butt and taking names.

Here are the five things Red Bull has gotten very, very right when it comes to content — and lessons you can apply to your own brand…


1. Think Beyond the Screen

It’s easy for content marketers to get stuck in a familiar rut. Often, our jobs revolve around blogging and other forms of written content consumed via a screen. Write, promote, repeat. But while blogs can have a huge positive impact on a brand, it’s a noisy space, so it’s increasingly vital to think outside the screen. Red Bull gets this and does experiential marketing better than almost anyone.

Arguably the most successful marketing/PR event of the last several years, Red Bull’s sponsorship of Felix Baumgartner’s jump from the edge of space is a perfect example of content done right. The stunt moved the needle forward for the brand by giving people something truly worth watching: a death-defying, record breaking leap, buoyed by the cultural resonance of the moonwalk. No surprise it captured American hearts and minds.

felix-bBut such a feat did not come cheap for Red Bull. It is estimated that the jump cost them $30 million to pull off. Was all that cash worth the payoff?

Well, with over 8 million live viewers and now over 36 million views on the YouTube clip of the jump there is little doubt that the event accomplished the mission of widespread exposure for the Red Bull brand. While its hard to quantify precisely, experts say that the impact of the attention garnered has a value in the tens of millions of dollars that continues to grow even more than a year after the jump.


2. Give Your Content Wings

Perhaps more important than the jump itself is all the content that Red Bull was able to create around the jump. By sponsoring Baumgartner’s leap of faith, Red Bull gained access to a treasure trove of content possibilities and an audience hungry to sift through it all. On the Red Bull Stratos microsite, visitors can check out Felix’s background, watch dozens of interviews, explore the science behind the jump and dive into the details of Felix’s equipment — not to mention viewing actual footage of the mission. They can read up on the blog, buy merchandise and play with an interactive guide to the stunt.

On social media, the channels created specifically for the jump have lived on long after Felix touched down. The Facebook page has over 900k supporters and there are more than 185k people following their Twitter page. Red Bull continues to keep these pages active and leverage the audience that they built more than a year ago.

They’ve developed enough content to keep fans entertained for hours, and it all came out of one event. The takeaway for your brand? Continue to derive value from your investment in unique content. Creating videos, encouraging discussion on social media and repurposing the story you are telling for different channels are all great ways to maximize ROI.


3. Get Aligned

Companies have used brand spokespeople for centuries, but Red Bull has a unique ability to find people and niches that are perfectly aligned with its no-holds-barred approach to life. Outside Felix’s record setting jump, Red Bull has made a name for itself in the world of extreme sports and adventurous living.

From the X-Games to BMX biking to motocross and beyond, they are a sponsor and creator of action-oriented content. This strategy has allowed them to stand out from other brands and establish themselves as much more than a beverage maker, but a high-octane lifestyle company here to turn your boring world into an adventure. Other brands should take a page from the Red Bull book and find spokespeople, sponsorships and other alignment opportunities that can get them in front of the right people and paint just the right portrait of your brand’s unique personality.


4. Take the Show on the Road

In addition to sponsoring real-life events and building dynamic online content, Red Bull wins by getting out into the real world and making face-to-face connections with its target audience. One way they do this is through reps who drive Red Bull-branded cars, wear can-shaped backpacks and hand out free sodas on campuses, at concerts and in cities around the world. It’s a great way to bring your brand to life and create personal connections that are impossible to achieve through a computer screen. Another way Red Bull has accomplished this is by taking the Stratos campaign on the road via a traveling museum exhibit where fans can see the equipment used in the jump up-close and learn more about the mission in a tactile and engaging manner that few brands are able to replicate. To take a page out of the Red Bull playbook, look for ways to bring your most interesting features or content to life through a road show, live event or network of spokespeople who can give your brand a human face.


5. Sky’s the Limit (No, Really)

This one’s a little abstract, to be sure, but one of the most amazing things Red Bull has done as a content creator is to think big – really big – like, space jump big. Of course, not every brand can afford to sponsor a stratospheric descent, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look for opportunities to make a splash and become a source of inspiration for your customers and prospects. Dove’s Real Beauty campaign is another great example of this tactic, and SXSW has become a hotbed in recent years for creative experiential marketing campaigns, some executed with very little budget. Street teams, open-air exhibits and flashmobs are all ways you can creatively put a human face on your brand and make a big impact — without, you know, buying a spaceship.

What has your brand done lately to stand out from the crowd?