One of the biggest content marketing questions I get on a regular basis is “who are the leading content marketing brands?”
After American Express OPEN Forum, which claims to be the single largest source of leads in the form of new card members for their small business group, I typically point to Red Bull who has taken the “brand as publisher” model to a whole new level.
What makes Red Bull different?
Red Bull has created a totally separate division of the company focused on making amazing content, Red Bull Media House, with the goal of becoming a profitable enterprise on its own.
The bold move gained a lot of attention. For example, last year Fast Company named Red Bull one of the “Most Innovative Companies” because of their efforts. And the brand is frequently cited by content marketers as the shining example of what it means to think and act like a media company.
Maybe nothing personifies this more than the quote “Red Bull is a media company that happens to sell energy drinks” attributed to Red Bull’s Austrian founder Dietrich Mateschitz.
Some quick facts about Red Bull Media House:
- Red Bull launched RedBull Media House in 2007.
- They launched the online and print magazine The Red Bulletin, which now has a distribution of more than 5 million.
- They spent $2 million making a movie called The Art of Flight.
- They sponsored Felix Baumgartner’s famous free fall from space.
Red Bull expects the Media House to start making a direct profit but already claims that the business value in the form of awareness and media dollars saved, far outweighs the expense.
7 Content Marketing Lessons From Red Bull Media House
- Marketing is more than a department. It’s a responsibility of the entire brand and every employee.
- Content is a “core mandate” of the business. So make sure your content is inspired and effective.
- Businesses need to take the concept of the brand as a media company literally.
- Content needs to support the core essence of why the brand exists. For Red Bull it is literally “to give you wings.”
- Become a global media empire covering all media segments including video, mobile, online and print.
- The media house may become profitable, but the focus should be on creating brand value that offsets investments in paid advertising.
- Make content that audiences can consume any way they like.
Are you ready to help your business take this leap?
I have predicted that more companies would start to follow Red Bull’s lead. There are now famous examples from Netflix (House of Cards) and Amazon (Alpha House) as well. But few brands have taken the bold steps that Red Bull has.
What is getting in their way? I think it starts with a crisis of courage from marketing leaders. Some are still thinking (and marketing) like it’s 1999. But many know what they need to do.
I think for most it comes down to taking the leap. Put someone in charge. Give them the resources to get it done. And who knows, maybe your brand’s free fall can turn into a safe landing.