SWOT Analysis of Red Bull
The Red Bull Company boasts of an integrated marketing strategy that shifts from traditional advertisements to conventional practical approaches that appeal mostly to generation Y. This segment of the population, comprising 16-29 year-olds, forms the largest share of Red Bull’s market, which has enhanced the brand’s performance in the global market; the company has recorded impressive sales of over 4 billion cans of the popular energy drink.
Another strength that places Red Bull above its competitors is the uniqueness of its energy drink products, which are differentiated by high quality and energy boost capabilities. Indeed, ingredients in the company’s brands are popular with consumers who equate them to ‘liquid cocaine’ due to their ability to tremendously increase energy levels. Moreover, the company has introduced other several new products that have proved popular with the consumers over the years.
The company uses the slogan ”Red Bull with Wings” to target the youth. In fact, this branding tends to be appealing to the egos of the youth, and it is the main reason why the brand has received a positive response from the market (Kotler & Keller 498). Indeed, the founder admits that consumers of the soft beverage have been attracted by the slogan.
Red Bull has embraced creativity as part of its marketing strategy. It engages opinion shapers and the community in different ways, which help it in identifying market gaps, hence employing practical strategies to reach the audience. Moreover, the company has supplied free drinks in major public and private events as well as sponsored different sports. All these efforts have increased the popularity of the soft drink to the extent of acquiring a significant and controlling market share in the soft drink market.
Critics have faulted the soft drink company for failing to cut down on some of its expenses in a bid to remain relevant in the market. The founder has financed most of the Red Bull’s expansion through accrued profits, which can be very risky in the event of slow operations. Diversifying the risks of the business through alternative capital sources would be ideal in shielding the firm, especially during hard economic times.
Another weakness at Red Bull is poor financial management capabilities. For instance, the financing of the Red Bull Soccer Stadium at the exorbitant cost of 220 million sterling pounds was not ideal for the soft drink company. Debate on the rationale of such undertaking at the expense of promoting business expansion was intense since that happened when the company’s profit could not sustain the move.
Red Bull has always employed an anti-marketing strategy that seeks to differentiate it from other players. This may be beneficial in the short-run, but there is a need to keep up with the trends in business marketing. The independent marketing culture is faulted for not integrating the overall communication and marketing strategy.
The seeding initiative targets modern shops, bars and entertainments sports and has been a successful strategy to establish Red Bull’s brand in the market. The idea has been to reach a ready segment market that is prepared to accept the brand, which is popular with the youths. Later they would target gymnastics and food outlets. The target market comprises the biggest number of consumers of soft drink. Indeed, the strategy to identify with their unique needs was timely. Red Bull identifies that this age group forms the bulk of the global youth and embarks on campaigns to target the generation Y group by appealing to their taste (Kotler & Keller 498).
Through the adoption of the counter-marketing strategy, the company is able to successfully connect with the youth who are viewed as outgoing and with changing needs. Subsequently, promoting the product as a cult drink makes it popular with the young population.
The promo campaigns targeting colleges and learning institutions consider them ideal grounds for reaching the right consumers. By concentrating on these places and issuing free products as samples during visits, Red Bull’s drinks have become popular with youths in learning institutions (Rosenberg 47).
Sponsorship of major sports such as the F1 circuit, athletics, football, and aerobics makes Red Bull’s drinks popular (Rosenberg 47). Consumers are able to associate it with agility in sports performance since major contestants sponsored by this popular drink are distinguished sportsmen. The adrenaline rush associated with the drink is said to boost endurance in extreme sporting events, a theory that increases sales revenues from the brand. Nevertheless, the social media offers a new opportunity for business growth, and it can be exploited to target the generation Y audience who identify mostly with the platform (Fromm & Garton 30-32).
Competition from other soft drink companies like Coca-cola, Pepsi, and Monster is one of the major challenges that Red Bull needs to recognize and work upon in order to remain one of the leaders in the soft drink market (Rosenberg 47). Coca-cola has been a dominant player in the beverage market and has continued to launch new products time after time. Therefore, Red Bull has to increase its innovation strategies in marketing in order to keep abreast with the competition.
Concerns over the safety of the soft drinks have been contested. Recently, the Food Drug Administration proposed the possibility of limiting the sale of Red Bull Energy drink to children and young people, an action that tends to threaten its penetration and sustainability in the market.
The engagement need requires offering value to consumers; this is often a daunting task and entails additional input. Since Red Bull specializes in the traditional method of advertisement, it faces challenges in meeting the demands of the ever-changing consumer needs. This fact is complicated by the reality that people would always want to judge what they are introduced to first, which calls for the need to be innovative. Moreover, engagement requires the company to prove the suitability of product upfront.
Red Bulls greatest Strength compared to other companies in the industry
While reporting on the success of Red Bull, Forbes recognizes the effort of the company launching new products in the market, which has slowly achieved much progress (Hamm par 1). Freedom to undertake new strategies has promoted an independent culture, vibrant marketing, and communication strategies, which have been consistent since its inception. Moreover, efforts to retain employees and implement creative strategies applaud its strong corporate culture.
Red Bull encourages innovation, which has seen it attract some of the best brains in its workforce. It offers an opportunity for employees’ creativity and allows own initiative in promoting its brand. For instance, the former pilot-turned CEO is credited for the success of penetrating the soft drink market segment in London by promoting the brand, Sol. He further implemented a creative strategy of supply that immensely boosted sales (Forbes, par 13).
Concerns over Red Bull Traditional Marketing
Fromm & Garton explain that people in generation Y recognize the fact that marketers usually target them; thus, there is need to tailor-make advertisement messages to suit their needs (30). These messages should be appealing and taking into consideration their education level, values and different stages of their life. The youth audience usually has independent choices, and usually makes choices that appeal to its needs separate from other groups. Perhaps, this could be the reason why Red Bull has adopted an anti-marketing strategy to appeal to the unique needs of this group.
Red Bull should balance between traditional marketing and conventional marketing by embracing other forms of marketing. For instance, it would be ideal for testing internet marketing that appeals more to the young population. Most young people have embraced the social media platform; through the internet, the community can be used to reach a wider segment of the youth population (Kotler & Keller 498).
It is important to keep pace with business trends. The Coca-Cola Company, which is a rival company in the beverage market, spends millions in media advertisement. As a result, the company has managed to penetrate in almost every part of the global market, thus acquiring a huge market share in soft drink market. Probably, a shift of practice to embrace media, billboard, and other forms of advertisement would popularize the Red Bull brand.
Non-traditional marketing, which focuses on engagement, has an advantage of offering what consumers want as opposed to advertisement that suits the needs of the business. It is credited for cultivating contact with the consumers, since it engages the audience and in return promotes goodwill, autonomy, and trust. Nevertheless, there is need to depart from advertisement to engaging consumers in a more emotional connection.
Traditional advertisement has been criticized for influencing the choices of consumers just as practiced by Red Bull, who specializes in grass root marketing. The landscape in marketing has changed with the emergence of internet, which gives consumers an edge to exercise autonomy in their own hands. Critics claim that, traditional marketing is blatant and manipulates buyers, giving them little control of choice.
It is viewed as one leaning on one side and only delivers message to the recipient without any emotional connection. Organizations are challenged to use varied ways to expose themselves to potential clients in order to ensure they attract more business. However, the drawbacks of extending the scope of marketing include the exorbitant cost charged and the fact that people would always want to filter what appeals to them.
Traditional marketing is faulted for concentrating on implementing strategies at the expenses of research. It is important to furnish the gap in meeting customer needs to appeal more to their taste. Therefore, internet marketing is a solution to this problem, since it offers more engagement with the audience, hence capturing things that the consumers value most when making purchase decisions.
Effectiveness of Red Bull Marketing
The CEO, Dietrich Mateschiz, points to the period 2012 sport stunt event that was pulled by a professional aerobic player who became the winner of a Red Bull extreme sport sponsorship event. The company has since associated itself with promotion of such sports. This has been one of the biggest secrets behind the success of the energy drink (Rosenberg 47). Sports are usually associated with aggressiveness and when a product uses the banner of successful sports person in its promotion, consumers are led to believe that the product boosts performance. During product launch of the drink, the founder shared benefits of the drink by adding that it has a positive effect to the body and mind, thereby passing as a health product.
One important aspect to note is that Red Bull has a market distribution in more than 65 countries. The success involves an elaborate plan that spans years and seeks to boost brand image by targeting lower segment market base. The brand has since become a lifestyle product and is notable in the global market. Its success is credited with elaborate communication efforts and a vibrant corporate culture.
It can be argued that the strategy to throw a big budget through sponsorship deals tends to be viable in the long run. The wide market requires aggressive marketing strategies that have seen the company eventually becoming a notable player in the beverage industry as shared by the founder when he addressed the Economist in 2002. He admitted that the plan to target the audience lifestyle by making the brand available to them sells (Rosenberg 47).
Red Bulls marketing can be argued as a positive venture in the light of a successful marketing strategy. Every company seeks to spend more in advertisement with a view of attracting more business and establishing itself in the market despite intense competition from companies producing substitute brands. The soft drink market is one of the most competitive markets, and to remain relevant, companies need to employ an efficient marketing strategy.
This should be guided by the company’s portfolio. Coca-cola, a leading player in the soft drink and non-alcoholic beverages, is justified in spending more in marketing, since it is well established in the market and it makes huge profits when compared to its closest rivals.
Red Bull has been in the market for 25 years and has come up very strongly to share a sizeable fraction of the lucrative soft drink market. The success is impressive; however, some of its marketing and sponsorship deals have been questioned. A case in point is the 220 million pounds Red Bull stadium sponsorship deals that took a huge chunk of its budget. This might be argued as a noble venture; however, for business growth, it may not be a healthy move as such funds could have been used in other viable investments that could contribute directly to profits in the company. The sponsorship deals on sports, especially athletics, can be considered important to promote the brand; however, they take a sizeable share of the company’s budget that in turn may affect business operations.
Therefore, there is need to limit sponsorship in sporting events to allow for lean operations (Forbes par 6). Nevertheless, success in the market would be realized by effective and efficient marketing strategies that would put the company in a favorable position when compared to rival companies. Having the interests of customers in mind would enable the company to differentiate its products to an extent that it would be costly and difficult for competitors to imitate; such a move would not only attract more customers, but also maintain a large number of loyal customers.
Fromm, Jeff & Christie Garton. Marketing to Millennials: Reach the Largest and Most Influential Generation of Consumers Ever. NY: AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn, 2013. Print.
Hamm, Harold. The wind Behind Red Bulls Wing Forbes. 2012. Web.
Rosenberg, Marjorie. Business Advantage Intermediate Personal Study Book. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Print.
Kotler, Philip & Kevin Keller. Marketing Management. NJ: Prentice Hall, 2011. Print.