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What Small Businesses Could Learn From Red Bull

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Red Bull didn’t just inherit the crown, they took it. Where content is the king, Red Bull, in dominant fashion, showed us that they are in fact, the kings, queens and samurai warriors of branded content marketing. The Red Bull Stratos jump wasn’t just a defining moment for human limits, Felix Baumgartner or action sports. This was a pivotal moment for those who produce content or those who were on the fence about content marketing, because what’s sticking in the back of every marketer’s mind is this: 8 MILLION CONCURRENT VIEWERS.

It takes a high quality brand to gain this many live viewers and to do it on YouTube is phenomenal in it’s own right. But to do this, you also have to be able to connect outside of your traditional audience. I heard old men talking about this on the sidewalks of my local downtown, saying, “He broke the speed of sound.” Moms, kids, coworkers and more talked about this marvel days after the event. It resonated with everyone. Your business can do the same… take a page from the Red Bull book.

Red Bull is everywhere in terms of content. Besides being a preferred partner to most social media platforms, they are consistently testing new platforms. I know this because I am what most would consider an “early-adopter,” but by the time I have arrived I always find that Red Bull has left their tracks already. Some times it’s purely based on testing the new tool out, sometimes it sticks and they carry on with it. In terms of small businesses, you are in fact, every bit as capable as Red Bull to test these same platforms out.

Red Bull was one of the first companies I saw on Instagram. Yet, here in Bozeman, aside from my clients, I saw no other businesses on Instagram for months, in fact, it was right about the time that that little Facebook acquisition went down that I saw more local small businesses communicating via images.

Currently, I know that Red Bull (or at least their employees) use(s) Cinemagram. A new image platform that creates moveable images (or gifs) to be shared throughout the web and in a feed on Cinemagram, that can be summed up easiest by saying it’s similar to your Instagram feed and adds a remix flair to it. However, I don’t see local businesses using these tools. Small businesses aren’t held back from using this tool, they just aren’t thinking as fast as the tools change. However, to use a platform must make sense for your strategy – don’t use things for the sake of using, use for the sake of delivering purpose to the consumer. Red Bull is located where they need to be located.

Red Bull Cinemagram Created by a Fan, Featured by Red Bull

 

When Facebook changed over to the Timeline feature, Red Bull sprang into action with a scavenger hunt that had clues built into their Facebook page. This wasn’t even expensive to create. It just takes a bit of time. They incentivized the interaction and created engagement, increasing the “People Talking About” measurement. Of course, Red Bull knew what was coming because of being a preferred partner, but in fairness, it wasn’t a secret that the Timeline feature was coming and I truly believe that if Red Bull got the official information at the same time as everyone else, they would have still killed it with an interactive idea. Because they are constantly thinking about how to increase engagement.

Over a week after the Red Bull Stratos event the Facebook page has received an astonishing 1.3 million people talking about the jump and it’s different variables. This is near double their actual likes. This is also where small and medium businesses can also take inspiration. You don’t have to achieve 1.3 million people talking about you, you only have to achieve double the amount of likes and that comes from compelling content.

 

Branded Content and the Business it Supports

Red Bull creates content by the truckload. They have content for everything, but it’s all focused. They keep to their global strategy, and they produce various pieces of content around it. However, from my perspective they don’t seem to focus on making things “go viral.” They keep a perspective based on quality… and in turn, it  leads to virality.

I have been asked why would I create content around asthma and to that I say, “Why not?” You aren’t creating content for fun, you need to serve purpose for the consumer, you must solve a problem for the consumer. Red Bull does just this, they inspire to go further, they encourage, they challenge, but they also teach – do the best you can and have fun while you’re at it!

Small and medium sized businesses, in cost friendly ways, can most certainly deliver content that creates conversation. I believe it comes down to fear, fear to embrace the new. If people in charge of marketing embraced content and tried testing it out, such as what Red Bull does (there’s videos with under 2000 views alongside videos with over 1million views, Red Bull notes all that down), they’d see greater responses and engagement. After all, if you aren’t producing it, how is the consumer supposed to react to it?

Don’t be a Half Resident in the Digital Communities You Lead

Your digital communities are an extension of your brand, Red Bull facilitates this. So why do businesses consistently live in their own communities only half of the time? Then subsequently turn around and expect consumers to give 100%… With Red Bull, regardless of the digital community, you know it’s Red Bull’s house. It’s all Red Bull, all day. But, with small and medium businesses, profiles lack proper optimization. I mean, 75% of the time (my data, so it’s probably wrong) I don’t even see the company’s logo.

You don’t need a multimillion dollar budget to create a clean background that speaks about who you are. The apps you use on Facebook can and should have their images molded to fit your style. This is how Red Bull made their bed and I promise you, they lay in it. A large global marketing budget isn’t necessary, but a delegation of importance is. As long as you view digital and web communications as a back-burner concept, you will continue to rake in back-burner consumers. But in the meantime, Red Bull (and other companies like it, big, medium and small) are going to go all in treat it like PR, outbound sales, management and every other important business tool – because that is exactly what the web has become. ESSENTIAL.

Danny Schotthoefer is the digital strategist/community manager at an advertising agency in Bozeman, Montana. He is also a TEDx event organizer and an avid Oregon Ducks and Portland Trailblazers fan. You can also find him running via Nike+ and cycling via Strava – he is highly social. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn. Forewarning: He Talks A LOT!

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