Engaging consumers through word of mouth marketing
A Red Bull case study

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Page 4: Word of mouth (WOM)

'Pull or Push' marketing

redbull-3Word of mouth (WOM) promotion is based on the principle of pull marketing. It relies on the transmission of a positive marketing message from person to person through conversation or a personal communication such as email or text message. Pull marketing gets consumers to bring other consumers to the product. In contrast, push marketing uses above-the-line promotional techniques to put products in front of consumers in order to generate sales.

Red Bull extensively uses pull marketing. This approach involves getting consumers excited about the product and conveying this excitement to their family and friends. It is also about trying to get coverage of Red Bull events in the press. This coverage can encourage consumers to find out more about the product. It helps to generate momentum, through creating interesting stories for people to talk about, which in turn help to create brand awareness and grow sales.

The founder of Red Bull used pull marketing to promote his original product in the 1980s. He hired a Red Bull Wings Team to go out and talk to people one-to-one about the product. This helps to create consumer interest in the product. As people experience the drink and appreciate its qualities, they become advocates for the brand. They share their opinions with other consumers when they talk with friends. The promotion therefore creates a ripple effect.

Innovations in promotion

Red Bull continues to use this process to reach consumers in innovative ways. Initiatives include:

  • Red Bull Wings Team – The team of students go out on the road in their Red Bull mini to help launch the product in new markets. The branded mini has a Red Bull can on the back of it. The team offer a cold can of Red Bull to people in need of energy to demonstrate the product’s qualities. Through engaging consumers in a fun, non-threatening way they create a personal and positive product experience. For example, the Wings Team attended the 2010 London to Brighton mini run. The team were there for the early start to offer competitors a cold can of Red Bull.
  • Student Brand Manager Programme – Individual students help activate a variety of events on campus. They organise activities around the UK to get people talking about the product and get students actively involved on their own university campus.
  • Red Bull Bedroom Jam – This is a competition to help teenage musicians get out of their bedrooms and onto the big stage, giving them an experience they may never have been able to have. Red Bull records bands playing live from their bedrooms for the world to see via the internet. The bands that create the most attention online then compete for long-term career support and the opportunity to play at UK festivals and be tour support for established musical acts. This helps create interesting media coverage that gets people talking about the brand.
  • Red Bull Reporter – This project provides opportunities for aspiring writers, film-makers and presenters to report on world-class Red Bull events, giving them the chance to have their work published in a variety of credible publications.

These creative and original projects help Red Bull to capture the attention of its increasingly knowledgeable audience. They aim to build brand loyalty by creating relationships with consumers.

Use of digital and social media for promotion

Digital and social media are core elements for all of Red Bull’s campaigns. These tools provide direct and relevant lines of communication with Red Bull’s core youth audience. Facebook, Twitter and online blogs make it easy for people to exchange information quickly between themselves. These channels of communication make word-of-mouth and other pull marketing strategies more effective.

To remain competitive and interact with consumers Red Bull is constantly creating new ways of reaching its audiences online. Red Bull also uses a variety of smart phone applications to promote its campaigns. These methods create connections with consumers which minimise the risk of ‘noise’ affecting the promotional message. Unlike advertising campaigns which have to be planned months in advance, the great advantage of some of the techniques that Red Bull uses is that they are easy to adapt and refine. Red Bull constantly creates new methods and techniques to engage with consumers. This is vital in such a competitive market.

Red Bull | Engaging consumers through word of mouth marketing