I love Red Bull, which is weird: I've never actually tasted a Red Bull drink. But I'm a fan of the brand. And as a digital marketer, especially one attending this week's Breakthrough summit to get new ideas, I think the company is a stirring example of brand integrity. I'll touch more on Breakthrough in a moment, but first let's talk about Red Bull and today's headline-making, record-breaking skydive.
The ultimate goal for most digital marketers is to develop brand loyalists who evangelize about your product. But in my case, and I'm sure I'm not alone, Red Bull has managed to hook me when I've never even experienced their core product line. I love the world they create. I won't be a rock musician or motocross driver in real life, but I can feel like part of the club when I read the "Red Bulletin," wear a t-shirt with a Red Bull logo, or watch a daredevil plummet to the earth at 725 miles per hour emblazoned in Red Bull insignias.
How do non-product-purchasing fans contribute to the bottom line? How do we include them in the "success" column in our final campaign report? Sometimes you can't. But it doesn't mean the value isn't there. It just means we need to be OK with successes that are outside of our attribution model. We can start by counting tweets, comments, likes, and video views. But the real number might turn out to be how many people are buying logo-related products or participating in the ecosystem that surrounds the brand. (Whether it's an online discussion board or a live YouTube concert.)
It's probably not appropriate for every brand to buy a stadium, sponsor a racecar, or co-produce a risky crowd-pleasing stunt. But if you don't think outside the box, you'll never know. Who would have thought a fairly-small beverage brand could become a world-leading media and event partner? Ask yourself: what could you do to make consumers feel cool wearing a t-shirt that displays your logo?
Which brings us to the photos. This morning Red Bull sponsored a record-breaking skydive, and live-streamed it to millions of viewers. Felix Baumgartner jumped from 128,000 feet -- more than 24 miles -- above the earth, and became the first person to break the sound barrier without the safety of a vehicle.
NASA and the Red Bull Stratos team helped the 43-year old Austrian plan and execute the free-fall, where he reached a top speed of 729 mph. "You have to remember all the procedures," Baumgartner explained in an interview while prepping for the jump. "You know you're in a really hostile environment. And you cannot think about anything else. You have to be focused. Otherwise, you're going to die."
If you think something like this is too big for your brand, you might need to ask yourself why. Millions of people followed this story. What's your story?
If you didn't see the live video stream this morning, here are some highlights (including Felix leaving the pod, and hitting approaching 725 mph):
A Breakthrough Limerick
Speaking of valuable innovations... it's Breakthrough time. The Summit where we find out the new ideas companies are trying, the new technologies that are available, and the new habits consumers are developing in the digital space. Watch imediaconnection.com this week for highlights and feedback from the event. In the meantime, here's my traditional and always-questionable summit limerick. (Stop encouraging me, these are getting to be a habit.)
A Breakthrough Limerick
Mobile dollars are on the quick rise,
Toward 18 billion by two zero one five (2015).
Should your mobile strategy
It's just one question we'll ask of the wise.
Find out more as we post updates from Breakthrough. Click here for more pics from the Summit.