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What If Red Bull Were Your Marketing Engine

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By Steve Moran

I have my first real book in the final stages of editing and hope to have it out in the next couple or three months. It is very senior living specific. In the process of working on that book, it has become clear to me that I have a general market leadership book in me just waiting to get out.  

As part of my preparation, I am going through 50 or 60 books I have read in the last 3 or 4 years extracting passages that will either be quoted or inspire things I need to talk about. During this process, I came across the following quote that -- while not relevant to the book I am writing -- is profoundly relevant to senior living.

Red Bull is a great example of a company that provides experiences. It doesn’t differentiate on price (it’s the most expensive energy drink on the market), product, place, or promotion, in fact, it has relatively standard distribution methods, advertising, and promotion budgets).

Where they spend their money and focus most of their effort is in creating differentiating, content-driven experiences that sear their brand and their approach into the minds of their customers. Whether it’s extreme sports events, guys jumping out of space ships, a television network, or simply a magazine devoted to all things sports (which people pay to get), Red Bull creates valuable entertainment experiences that bond them to their audiences.

Rose, Robert. Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing

So What Would It Be Like?

It is, of course, mostly speculation; however, here are some of my thoughts about what it might look like. I have this vision of creating videos that feature older people doing high-energy, amazing things -- maybe athletic, maybe making movies.

They would create powerful videos that would awe and amaze with great visuals, high-energy music, and a strong storyline. They would mix in older people and younger people, and they would make people say: ”I wish I could do that.” -- or, in other cases -- “I would never do that.”

More than anything else, they would entertain.

What is particularly curious about the Red Bull strategy is that most of their amazing videos have absolutely nothing to do with drinking Red Bull. Compare that to Pepsi and Coke ads, where they always associate whatever activity or storyline with drinking their product.

The subtle underlying message is that drinking Red Bull is cool because when I drink Red Bull somehow I am just a little bit a part of Red Bull and Red Bull is a part of me. And even if I would never ever in a million years do any of that stuff, I am intrigued by it and can hardly wait to drink up the next one.

What We Could Do with This

Can you imagine people seeing getting old as cool? Something to actually look forward to? I can!

It would be terrifying to actually run a “Red Bull-style” ad, but I promise there are lessons here.

More reading: 10 Lessons Red Bull Can Teach You About Marketing

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