Learning from the Pros – Red Bull Extends the Brand to the Web

Red Bull gives you wiiiiings! - Original sketch by Jessica Forrester Smart branding extends a consistent personality to everything the brand touches.  Benefits to emphasize are carefully chosen and extended to everything from the colors, fonts, and logos used, to the events sponsored, to what the CEO says in an interview. It is absolutely essential that every brand have an Internet presence that fits its brand.

Red Bull, for example, markets to young, risk-taking audiences seeking tons of energy. They emphasize a dangerous image for their highly caffeinated, nuclear-neon drink by well-chosen sponsorships: late-night parties, b-boy competitions, extreme sports events, athletes, and music artists (like a client of mine- Bassnectar), all in cohesion with their daring and energetic brand. Red Bull’s website opens with a video of extreme mountain bikers crashing. 

"I don't know how many bones I've broken," one biker reports. "I think it's about 25."

Red Bull makes the most of sponsorships by documenting events and stamping their logo everywhere. The two bulls are on banners above DJ tents, on the floor at the b-boy competition, on the ramps in BMX competitions, and on athletes’ and artists’ clothing. A search for "redbull" on YouTube returned about 130,000 videos, and Red Bull’s Twitter page boasts over 15,000 followers. Red Bull on Twitter replies to other Twitter users, posts about their athletes, and shows personality.

Other well-branded websites:

  • Dove hit a home run with its Campaign for Real Beauty. This popular video spread virally on the internet. I was surprised to learn that it was never a television ad, as I've seen it many times.
  • Gatorade’s science-oriented microsite suits serious athletes.
  • Murphy-Goode’s recent contest extended friendliness and a sense of humor while creating tons of buzz about its brand, and the winner now provides additional content, personality, and buzz.

Dr. Jane Machin, one of my favorite professors at Virginia Tech, liked to ask us what kind of shoes a brand would wear.  This wisdom invites companies to be sure their brands wear the same shoes in the office, downtown, and online.


Jessica Forrester is a writer, researcher, freelance marketing consultant, and graduate of the Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business.  Jessica's blog is Mini Fad: Innovation, Health, and Style in a Web-Driven World.

Image credit:  Jessica Forrester

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  1. Great post, Jessica.
    I really like Jane’s exercise of identifying brand culture by defining what kind of shoes would it wear!

    Check out Tribes by Seth Godin and Bud Cadell’s presentation on Fan culture.www.slideshare.com/budcadell

    I also like the Murphy- Winery example a lot.

  2. http://www.slideshare.net/bud_caddell/the-fan-economy-becoming-fan-focused

    ^This was great, Mansi! I’m going to forward this on to some of my music clients- the literal use of the word “fan” will sit better with them than my brand-speak does sometimes, but of course that’s still exactly what this is.

  3. Great Info! Enjoyed the stick figure pic!

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