Why Red Bull’s a king of content (and you’re probably a pauper)

Sitting in Heathrow airport I came across Red Bulletin, the monthly magazine by Red Bull. Flicking through it got me thinking about the whole area of content creation and brand publishing. 

Content creation is a hot topic for many brands. Brands have for many years experimented with brand magazines or website content. Of course, these days social media has made it dangerously easy for more brands to start acting like publishers.

So, why is Red Bull a king of content creation, whilst your brand is probably a pauper?

1. Exciting content

The high energy, adrenalin fuelled world of Red Bull is highly rich in content. You can easily see how there would be plenty of topics to fill a magazine, from surfing to motor bike stunt riding to soccer. However, think about most brands and you would struggle to come up with enough content to fill one monthly magazine, never mind 12 a year.

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2. Brand linkage

The normal response of social media gurus to the issue "This brand lacks relevant content" is to suggest "laddering" up to take more of a broader category view. For example, if we were looking at Domestos toilet bleach, the idea would be to create content all about having a safe and clean home. The problem with this is that a lot of this content would have no link back to the brand.

In contrast, Red Bull has a mind-boggling portfolio of activation properties, created over decades, such as the Red Bull F1 team, the X-Fighters and The Red Bull Air Race. This means the brand can create content where the brand is embedded, such as the article below about lunatics jumping off mountains in Red Bull "wingsuits".

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3. Serious investment

Red Bull is pretty unique in the huge investment they into creating, running and amplifying their properties. First, there are the teams of people running properties like the F1 racing team and Red Bull Air Race. Then, there is the massive amount of in-house marketing talent who help activate these properties. This investment demonstrates an almost crazy commitment to content creation. Indeed, you could almost see Red Bull as an sports entertainment company who happens to make a soft drink!

In contrast, most brands lack anything close to this amount of creative firepower and investment to develop and amplify branded content. They will often delegate what work is done to an external agency, and be easily persuaded to reduce of cut the investment when times get tough, seeing it as a "nice to have" not an essential.

In conclusion, before investing time and money in brand publishing, do the Red Bull test using the look at the three points above to see how serious you really are about this.