Originally published on June 29, 2017.
Among the countless energy drink brands, Red Bull stands out both nationally and internationally. The company has noticeably focused its efforts on marketing. Their marketing strategies are perfectly aligned with their target customers around the world. Red Bull’s marketing team has utilized modern strategies such as social media and events in order to reach their audience. Based on its messages, we can assume that Red Bull targets males 18-34. They often reach out to their audience during extreme sporting events. As aforementioned, they also focus on digital marketing such as blogs, viral advertisements and social media. They also reach out by organizing or attending events, and through ambush marketing and team ownership. Red Bull has proven to be one step ahead in the marketing world time and time again.
While not an energy drink company, Coca-Cola can still be compared to Red Bull as it is also a beverage. Coca-Cola’s target consumer audience is much more broad and the company tries to appeal to every demographic. What has made them so successful over time has been their focus on their audience, as well as simplicity. Coca-Cola tries to be as family-oriented as possible, by using characters like Santa Claus and polar bears for recognition. Coca-Cola has begun utilizing social media fairly recently with their Share a Coke campaign. With over 250,000 posts in about a month, Share a Coke has been incredibly successful. With slogans such as “Happiness” and “Enjoy,” it is easy to see the company knows exactly what they’re doing.
With Coca-Cola focusing on family fun and simplicity, and Red Bull focusing on younger males through digital marketing, I had to wonder who would be more successful in the long run and also how other companies could utilize these strategies. Red Bull seems to be ahead of the market, while Coca-Cola is a seasoned professional. I asked Dr. Wei-Na Lee, a UT professor whose expertise includes both cross-cultural consumer behavior and multicultural marketing communication, a couple of questions regarding the two companies:
Red Bull has focused most of its marketing efforts on reaching its customers through digital marketing while Coca-Cola has kept things simple and fairly recently begun utilizing digital marketing. Based on their summarized strategies above, which company has a higher chance of success globally?
It is generally difficult to “predict” success/failure based on one strategic set of actions. The reason is because global companies have different target markets across different countries. A strategic decision is usually based on the needs of the company’s target markets and this could vary greatly.
How can companies that are not corporate giants like Red Bull and Coca-Cola successfully market globally?
Comparatively speaking, companies that are smaller in size usually have limited resources. They will need to first decide whether to move to the global market and, if so, which countries. Chances are they would try to move to where there’s strategic advantages. Also, they might need to plan the rollout over a number of years.
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