Part 1: Critique the Strategic and Tactical Approach Taken by Red Bull in Attempting to Create a Culture for its Brand
“Brands occupy an increasingly prominent place in […] the cultural landscape” (Schroeder et al, 2006:1). This is why brands need more than just their products to create a costumer base, to establish a superior position in their specific market and keep this position long-term. Red Bull does that in various ways. The brand is connected to a range of different events, sports and music. These serve as advertising and communication channels for Red Bull as well as expands the idea of their products from just drinks to part of a cultural habit. “Red Bull gives you wings” (Red Bull, 2016) is what has been used as the slogan since its energy drinks have been introduced to the market in 1987 (see Red Bull, 2016). The aspect of reaching one’s highest potential is the core motivation for making connections with the previous mentioned areas.
2 The Red Bull Culture
In comparison to other companies and brands Red Bull focuses remarkably little on its products on their website. Articles about topics such as the Dakar Rally, iconic musicians and mountain biking occupy the most of the homepage. What is connected to Red Bull is part of a culture they create by widening the brand identity. “Brand identity is a unique set of brand associations that the brand strategist aspires to create or maintain. These associations represent what the brand stands for and imply a promise to costumers from the organization members” (Aaker, 1996). That Red Bull’s core values are based on action and strength makes connections to various sports a necessity to present the customers a certain brand culture.
“Consumers are seen to construct and perform identities and self-concepts, trying out new roles and creating their identity within, and in collaboration with, brand culture” (Schroeder, 2006:1). By creating a brand culture the customer can identify himself better with Red Bull. The brand becomes part of their identity after it became part of a certain culture. Without being established within a cultural environment a brand cannot be part of the consumers’ identities, only “if brands exist as cultural, ideological, and political objects” (ibid.) this process of being adopted into an individual’s or a certain group’s identity is possible. “In conjunction with brand identity and brand image, brand culture provides the necessary cultural, historical and political grounding to understand brands in context” (ibid.). The process of becoming part of a cultural environment is based on the brand’s identity and image. “We live in a branded world: brands infuse culture with meaning” (ibid.) and established brands are not only part of cultures but define them.
2.1 Associations with Sports and Music
Besides its association with cycling Red Bull is highly connected motorsports. With its own Australian Formula One team (see Infitniti Red Bull Racing, 2016) the brand is seen all over the world as being part of professional sports. The image that this is supposed to be presented is as follows: “Red Bull Energy Drink is appreciated worldwide by top athletes, students, and in highly demanding professions as well as during long drives” (Red Bull, 2016). Red Bull is putting a lot of effort in proving that its brand promise is true, which is also aimed at gaining and keeping the customer’s trust.
Red Bull promotes its associations with sports and music on social media, expanding its “culture” further. With videos on YouTube regarding cycling, motorsports, and its events as well as nine Instagram accounts for each aspect of the brand they created a connected but diverse culture.
2.2 TV and The Red Bulletin
Red Bull covers four sections in its magazine: sports, culture, lifestyle and boulevard (see The Red Bulletin, 2016). These reflect what the brand is supposed to be associated with. The articles deal with celebrities, movies, electronical devices and, of course, racing. Red Bull uses its magazine as a platform to further integrate the products into the cultural scene.
Red Bull TV is where the brand covers similar topics as in its magazine but also promotes the two main events: Red Bull Frozen Rush and Red Bull Crashed Ice (see Red Bull TV, 2016), a truck race in snowy areas and an event concerned with winter sports, whereby racers skate downhill in an urban area. The music section, however, even covers international bands playing blues, which is is a huge contrast to the extreme sports. Red Bull thereby tries to present a diverse range of culture. It also promotes the Austin City Limits Music Festival.
Red Bull creates its brand culture by associating the brand with a very diverse range of sports, music and other cultural activities, whereby it changes focus, depending on the season, i.e. they promote winter sports during the winter. The brand identity was expanded into various areas and thereby Red Bull is trying to relate to the brand’s core values and the brand promise. It aims at brand loyalty and tries to build a relationship with its customers that goes beyond the product. Red Bull succeeds in seeing the function of the products as “consumer satisfaction or benefits” (McCarthy, 1960:209) and therefore creates a culture for its brand to deliver the image of action and success, whether in sport or music.
By having associations with various facets of lifestyles rather than solely sports it provides customers with less connections to sports a chance to relate to the product anyway. And that is what the culture leads to: a stronger relationship of customer and brand as well as the possibility of being adopted into one’s identity and habits. Red Bull successfully uses the activities and associations as a way to upvalue its brand as well as to connect with consumers and communicate the brand identity and message, even though they may be present in many mismatched areas, trying to combine blues music, video games and winter sports.
- Quote paper
- Lioba Frings (Author), 2015, Creating a Brand Culture and Brand Campaigning, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/511820