Red Bull’s Current Identity: Lifestyle drink for the extreme crowd
Red Bull positions itself as a lifestyle drink for the extreme crowd. Being part of this crowd makes one a cool and happening risk-taker. Red Bull gives wings to people in all parts of their lifestyle, be it in arts, sports, work, study or any other aspect, and it also pushes people to be the extreme crowd in every arena. For every occasion, there will always be time for Red Bull. The Red Bull logo also embodies the energy and power that the drink provides.
Red Bull’s Current Image: Sports drink for the energetic and sporty crowd
Consumers perceive Red Bull as a sports drink for sporting activities only, and many consumers associates Red Bull with “sportiness” and “energy”, as found out from our survey.
Tactical Gap 1: User imagery
- Consumers perceive RB as a drink for the sporty and energetic vs. RB sees itself as a drink for the fun, cool and risk-taking crowd
The survey that was conducted previously reflects the gap between Red Bull’s current identity and its current image - the disparity between what the consumers perceive of the user imagery of Red Bull and what Red Bull wants to portray to its consumers. Consumers tend to associate Red Bull only for the sporty crowd. It is apparent that this perception is different from how Red Bull sees themselves as a brand, as Red Bull wants to portray itself as a drink for the fun, cool and risk-taking crowd, not just a drink for sports enthusiasts.
Tactical Gap 2: Usage imagery
- Consumers perceive RB only for sporting purposes vs. RB sees itself as being part of all aspects of consumers lifestyles (work, study and play)
Consumers associate Red Bull strongly as a drink that is consumed during sports, that gives sports enthusiasts a boost of adrenaline rush. This is certainly true but not entirely accurate to the brand identity Red Bull wishes to portray; that of being the lifestyle drink suitable for all aspects in a consumer’s life.
- Strengthen associations of RB for the fun, cool and risk-taking crowd
- Broaden the breadth of RB
From the Tactical Gap 1 identified above, it can be seen that the current associations consumers have towards Red Bull are different from what Red Bull has intended for themselves. The weak associations are largely due to the fact that Red Bull started off as a brand with its marketing campaigns emphasizing on extreme sports. The success of sponsoring extreme sports such as F1 Racing and Motor GP has been deeply entrenched in consumer’s mind, thus strengthening the associations of energetic and sporty to Red Bull. In addition, even though Red Bull has sponsored many events in different areas, such as music and dance, these events are not well-known, unlike the sporting events that received wide media coverage. The international media coverage that F1 racing received strengthens the associations towards sports and consumers tend to be less aware of Red Bull’s involvement in other events unless they are avid lovers of those events. Therefore, Red Bull’s current challenge is to increase the exposure of their sponsorship in other areas to strengthen the associations of Red Bull as a drink for the fun, cool and risk-taking people, and not just for sports enthusiasts.
From Tactical Gap 2, it can be seen that the breadth of Red Bull is mainly limited to sports. Thus, many consumers do not see other occasions where they can drink Red Bull. In addition, most of Red Bull’s marketing campaigns are related to certain hobbies such as sports, gaming and dancing. There is little emphasis on daily activities such as studying and working. Although there are some televisions commercials portraying the comic character as a working-class person who drinks Red Bull on the go or at the beach, the message in the commercials are not explicit enough and the coverage is not as extensive. Therefore, Red Bull’s challenge in resolving Gap 2 is to strengthen the associations of Red Bull as a lifestyle drink and broadening the breadth of Red Bull in consumer’s mind, while achieving the top of mind drink for various lifestyle occasions, not just for sports.
Strategic Gap: Future Consumer Trend
- Healthy Living
Based on research studies conducted by Euromonitor International, consumers in Singapore are increasingly placing more emphasis on healthy living. As a result, awareness and interest in health-eating have been growing in Singapore. As energy drinks contain high amount of sugar, caffeine and herbal stimulants which can cause potential negative effects on consumers’ health in the long term, there is a high possibility that consumers would reduce their intake of these drinks. Instead, consumers are likely switch to healthier products with natural energy-boosting ingredients such as Brand’s Essence of Chicken which poses a threat to mainstream energy drinks such as Red Bull.
In addition, Euromonitor has also reported that Singaporeans are expected to become more active in their lifestyles due to the efforts of the media and government in promoting healthy living. This would result in the increase in the uptake of sports and exercise activities which would boost sales of healthy energy drinks.
Future Identity: Position Red Bull as a Healthy Lifestyle Energy Drink
In recent years, Red Bull has been banned in a few countries due to suspected health-related issues with its products. Coupled with the ingredients used in its products such as caffeine and sugar, Red Bull is perceived by many to be an unhealthy drink. It’s market share in the future is expected to reduce as consumers switch to healthier alternatives.
Hence, it is recommended that Red Bull build on its current brand positioning by reconciling with the trend of healthy-living. It should not only be positioned as a lifestyle energy drink but also positioned as a healthier choice of energy drink. Also, with the expected increase in sports and exercise activities due to the emphasis on healthy living, Red Bull should be perceived by consumers as a means to achieve a healthy lifestyle instead of merely being associated with sports or energy. By repositioning itself as a healthy lifestyle energy drink, Red Bull would be better adept at maintaining or even increase its market share in the long run.
Challenge: Build strong associations with “Healthy Lifestyle” while remaining relevant to target consumers
Currently, Red Bull’s drink is about “living life to the max” and is appreciated by its target consumer group who are keen to differentiate themselves from the older generations. Health is not the top priority for these consumers. On the contrary, the more controversial a product is, the more attractive it becomes for these consumers. Hence, the future challenge for Red Bull is to build strong brand associations with “Healthy Lifestyle” while ensuring that the brand remains relevant to its target consumers.