enero 04, 2014


In a recent podcast interview with Tessa Barrera, former Director of Social Media Strategy for Red Bull, she mentions that, in Social Media, it is far more important for Brands to focus on who you are instead of what you do. I cannot think of a better Social Media advise.

Companies focus too much on what they do, the products/services they sell. They push their content to the public the way they've done it for ages. They do not seem to understand the social shift markets have developed: the two ways scenario new platforms bring to the marketplace. One way communication is not dead yet, but it is decadent and anoying.

The traditional approach would've promoted an energy drink showing the product and its benefits. RedBull took another path. They understood what energy drinkers' lifestyle is about, what they enjoy. An Energy Drinker is an Adrenaline Junkie, a seeker of excitement that goes beyond replenishing electrolytes. Red Bull provides them with tailored content like no other: competition, extreme challenges, excitement. They don't ask you to buy their product. You don't see a sales pitch anywhere in their content. They associate the brand with all the activities that catch their potential consumer's attention: outstanding people doing amazing stuff. RedBull sponsors events that keep you in the edge. They give you emotions beyond ordinary: drama, adventure, passion, motivation, courage, thrill... And they use Social Media wisely. Monitoring what is being said about the brand, interacting with people, engaging in conversations. They truly understand how to be native socially.

What can we learn from RedBull's Social Media Strategy?

Don't Marginalize Social, Make it your Business

To give marginal importance to your Social Media Strategy is a clasical mistake that goes beyond my comprehension. In fact, if building custommer relationships means anything to your business, Social Media (community empowerment) should be the foundation of your business strategy. Period.

Red Bull does not see itself as a company that sales energy drinks. Nowadays, it's a powerful content provider for people who seek for extreme excitement and emotions, that happens to manufacture and sell an energy drink. Once they understood who they are, their strategy evolved around the concept.

Don't Ask, give

Red Bull seldomly asks to buy their product. They hardly ever show it. Instead, they give their audience exclusive content, using the language of Social Media: visual content. Videos and Pictures more than articles or typed posts. And they facilitate sharing.

Don't Manage, Empower Your Community

Besides amazing content, Red Bull gives their audience tools. Tools like Red Bull #TheShow initiative. An application that turns people's instagram pictures into a show to share.  They give them power, value, the hability to turn ordinary content into a visual experience.

Don't Target the Wallet, Target the Heart

Don't take me wrong, I'm pretty sure Red Bull's executives want to sell energy drinks and expect Return On their Investment. They simply take the Social Path to it. Red Bull does not focus on what they sell, they focus on who they are: a company that brings excitement to its advocates. Isn't that what an energy drink does? Why not focus on it? Don't sell the product, give an experience. Customers will associate the experience with the brand. The value of an emotional impact is worth much more than a sale. 

Take for instance, the Red Bull Stratos stunt. An austrian with an unpronounceable last name, was going to do something no one had ever done before. They created an event, carefully promoted on Social Networks to broadcast it live for a worldwide audience, making everyone witness history on the making.

Go Mobile

Red Bull uses Apps for smartphones. You can install the Red Bull TV App in your iphone, consume and share their content with your Social Networks. Free Smartphone games... you name it. They know the importance of mobile, and make the effort to be in your smartphone's screen.

Monitor your Brand Wisely, use Social Language Skills 

Content distribution is an important factor to put your brand on Social Networks, but it is not the only one. It's also a splendid tool to listen and monitor. People talk about your brand, and not always well. Reputation is an asset that has to be nurtured and cherished. Red Bulls pays attention to what people say about them, and acts with wonderfull finesse.

If an anonymous guy with 200 followers ironizes on twitter about "diying of cranberry red bull overdose", they don't ignore it, but they don't over react either. They respond using Social Media Tools: humour, irony and hard core facts.  Traditional companies would had either ignore or threaten the guy. Red Bull protects its reputation skillfully, improving it at the same time. Brilliant.

There is much to learn about Red Bull's Social media Strategies, but, as Tessa Barrera said, the key is to understand the importance of focusing on who you are, not on what you do. Keeping that in mind on each of the steps you take in Social, everything else will follow.

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