Should Every Company Try To Be A Red Bull?

“Our CMOs have really latched on the idea that not every company should be (or should even try to be!) a Red Bull, and instead they should focus on producing only strategically aligned content as efficiently as possible.”

This was an email we recently received from the folks at the CEB Marketing Leadership Council, who were kind enough to share their most recent study on the future of marketing. Their advice on content? “Most brands should become lean content producers, not publishing houses.”

It’s easy to see why CMOs are latching onto the idea that they shouldn’t even try to be a Red Bull. Being a Red Bull is hard! And it’s expensive — Red Bull’s publishing house employs 135 people full-time. And, most crucially, it’s a long-term play. Red Bull is building a loyal following that will pay dividends for the next 30 years, but it’s not necessarily the most efficient way to generate an eye-popping ROI through the end of 2014. You can’t blame CMOs for thinking in the short-term when their average tenure is just 45 months.

For brands, however, that kind of short-term thinking is a mistake. Content marketing budgets are increasing rapidly, and the new era of mobile advertising — where native, content-rich campaigns are the only thing that truly works — is going to leave brands scrambling to scale their content operations.

For most brands, being a “lean publisher” that features a single editor and a handful of freelancers, as MLC recommends, isn’t going to cut it in five years. They’re going to find themselves racing to catch up with brand publishing houses like Red Bull, whose content production is built to last, and already starting to pay for itself. Red Bull’s content is so desirable that consumers pay them to see their films — “The Art of Flight” topped the iTunes charts — and read their magazine, The Red Bulletin. Red Bull, in other words, is not focused on 2013; it’s focused on the next 30 years.

As Gary Vaynerchuk said at the Contently Brand Publishing Summit this past Thursday, “[E]very brand is a media company.” As 2014 approaches, that’s the idea that brands should be latching onto.

What’s the deal with the Content Strategist? At Contently, storytelling is the only marketing we do, and it works wonders. It could for you, too. Learn more.

Image by Shevel Artur /

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