THE STORY

Meet Dietrich Mateschitz, a Marketing Director from Austria. While traveling the globe selling toothpaste, he found a drink in a Thai pharmacy that claimed to re-energize. It cured his jet lag instantly.

Thai colleague, Chaleo Yoovidhya, also owned a tonic drink company. Why not introduce it in Europe? Yoovidhya loved the idea. So in 1984, they quit their jobs and invested $500,000 each. Just like that.

Mateschitz began tweaking the formula for western palates, adding some fizz. Its Thai name, Krating Daeng (red water buffalo), became Red Bull. That sounded buzzier. Except, once out to market, no one was buzzing about it. People found it disgusting and bars refused to buy it.

Determined, Mateschitz pulled out his guerilla marketing plan. He thought that clubbers might enjoy dancing all night without resorting to illegal drugs. So, he began paying Austrian students to throw wild parties. All nighters and Jägerbombs were an instant hit! By 1994, cans were flying off German shelves as they struggled to deliver 1 million a day.

Next came the slogan—“Red Bull gives you wings”—and the Brits were all over it. Red Bull cars handed out freebies, BMXs spun in the air. Hell, they even had a guy skydive from the edge of space. Add to that a record label, a Formula 1 team…

Red Bull still doesn’t taste great. And it costs twice as much as a can of coke. But who cares? Every year, consumers chug over 6 billion* cans.

Now that’s a brand.

Dietrich Mateschitz.

 

BUILDING A POWERFUL BRAND?

As marketing becomes bloated with tools, buzzwords, and noise, very few people get the essence right. Is your brand built around a relatable human story, or around a faceless logo? When was the last time you teased your audience? When was the last time they got so excited for your next message? In a crowded space, building a powerful brand has become a hell of a challenge, but you can’t go wrong by asking yourself these questions, for starters…

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© Story by Tarek Issa.

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