You’ve likely had a vodka-Red Bull cocktail in your lifetime, which was followed by a hangover for you—but helped drink co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz amass a $20b fortune. Mateschitz, who passed away last week at the age of 78, discovered the drink in the 1980s in Thailand and built it into a global brand. He promoted Red Bull, whose name is a translation of the drink’s Thai name "Krating Daeng,” via a variety of clever marketing initiatives. In the early 2000s, I remember Mini Coopers with giant Red Bull cans mounted on the cars’ rooftops parked around New York with young adults handing out free samples. Mateschitz sponsored odd events like an annual contest in which hand-made flying machines raced down a ramp and launched themselves over a lake. He eventually graduated to Formula 1 races where his teams won six titles and even bested Ferrari. Nothing says energy like beating a Ferrari.
Of course, I see some parallels between Red Bull’s early years and Bridge. We're small like they were and we’re pioneering new products. We don’t advertise regularly online or offline. The only traditional advertising we do is when we pay a brand 15% of its cost when it includes our logo in its print magazine ad. The good news: this gives us a blank slate. Some companies spend 20% of their revenue on marketing and advertising, and this suggests we need to up our ad budget. I believe we have to spend money to raise awareness and expand our customer pipeline.
Looking at Mateschitz’s marketing playbook, I believe he sponsored racing because it was in line with his product's promise to make the consumer go faster and have the energy to endure. Our software promises to bring businesses together, make running a store easier, and save people time. What things or events have these attributes that we can associate ourselves with? For example, I can imagine us teaming up with Tim Ferris, author of “The Four Hour Work Week,” and sending out copies of his book. What events or services are known for attracting business owners to make their jobs easier? Podcasts come to mind. Square Space famously used podcasts to boost users and growth. Since we help people more quickly add products to websites, maybe we should sponsor racing and events that elicit ideas of speed. Imagine a Formula 1 car with the shoplocal.org logo on its fin and the tagline “Sell Faster."
We’ve created a beautiful service for our members. We’ll help our members sell millions of dollars in fine china this year. Now, let’s be a Red Bull in a china shop and find creative solutions to market our services.
Imagine you are in charge of your company's advertising. Please think of two ways you’d promote your product or service to your customers. Think of an event you’d sponsor--or make up one. What would you do? How do you propose you spend the company's time and money? Where would you 'park a Mini Cooper'?
Make a list of the top marketing brands for businesses. How could you collaborate with them?