a man with a Red Bull short standing on a mountain with mountains in the background

The beginning

Dietrich Mateschitz (Austrian) was a marketing director at a toothpaste manufacturer until he came across a certain energy drink on a business trip to Bangkok. When he suffered from jetlag, the drink ‘Krating Deang’ was recommended by the locals. A Thai drink which claims to improve performance and concentration.

Now, caffeinated drinks were already quite popular in East Asia, but we hadn’t seen much of them in the Western world. Sensing a golden opportunity, Mateschitz quit his job in 1984 to work with the manufacturer of Krating Daeng (Thai for red bull) to launch an energy drink for the European public.

Enter Red Bull

Mateschitz thus launched not only a new product, but also a unique marketing concept. Like many start-up companies, there was no big budget for mega advertisements. So it had to be done in a different way. They came up with the idea of creating their own event to match the identity and style of the brand ‘The Red Bull Flugtag’. A competition in which you had to jump with a self-built flying machine from a starting point, some three stories high, into the water. Given the absurdity of the event, large crowds gathered to witness the spectacle and the news spread quickly. You could call it the birth of the Red Bull brand.

A very smart move, but it doesn’t make you iconic. They became iconic by sticking to their niche and the clarity and consistency of their story.

Total focus

Red Bull’s only offering is an energy drink. A few different flavours, but that’s all. Real total focus and specialisation. No smoothies, teas or juices. For years they have stuck to what they do best. Energy drinks. You can argue about whether it tastes good and if it is healthy for you. But one thing is certain: they have created a fantastic story that evokes emotions from consumers.

Red Bull gives you wings

A brand image synonymous with adventure, excitement and adrenaline. And that branding took them about three years. Founded in 1984, the drink didn’t hit the market until 1987. During that time, Mateschitz worked to get the branding just right. So take your time to get the foundation of your brand right. This will help you build a strong brand for the long term, rather than a plastic brand that has to change course every other year.