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What Successful Brands Have In Common (it might not be what you think)

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What Successful Brands Have In Common (it might not be what you think)

Last week I was attending the Cult Gathering at the stunning Fairmount Banff Springs in the Rocky Mountains that I’m so very proud to call my backyard.  Cult brought together some of North America’s top brands to talk about what has made them so successful.  From an energy drink that broke 3 world records with their space diving project, to a tourist and convention bureau that had their ad go viral when it was banned from playing during the Superbowl, story after story unveiled one common thread they felt lead to their success …….  Read more


Let’s start by looking at a couple of success stories. 


red-bull-gives-you-wings2.jpgRed Bull Gives You Wings

One of my favourite companies to watch is Red Bull. I remember drinking Red Bull over 25 years ago in Austria and was shocked when it became an international sensation and created what was then a new beverage category known as Energy Drinks. Today, not only does it dominate in its market with over 40 Billion cans sold in 166+ countries (5.3 Billion in 2013 alone), but it has expanded so much into content marketing that it has its own publishing house. 

While many people are aware that Red Bull supports extreme sports most don’t know that they also own their own Music Academy. Why? Because the company’s  mission is to “give wings to people and ideas.” They want to inspire the body and the mind and it shows in all their marketing.


One of their most incredible marketing feats was the Red Bull Stratos project when Felix Baumgartner sky dived from the edge of space. If you have never seen the entire video, I highly recommend it (though I find it hard to believe there’s anyone out there who hasn’t seen it). Here’s the short intro to give you a taste of what they accomplished.


In fact if you want some entertainment some time, check out any of Red Bull’s ads online. Not only are they fun and adrenalin pumping, but they remain consistent to their slogan – Red Bull Gives You Wings. What you will NEVER see is a product dump. They won’t talk about its taste and they certainly won’t justify why you should buy it? What they will accomplish is their mission – to inspire the body and mind.


Over 40 Million Served Per Year

Back in 2003, the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority was launching a new campaign that the Super Bowl refused to air. The Super Bowl had a policy not to air any commercial with inferences to sports betting and with Las Vegas being a gambling mecca, it felt it needed to reject their ad.  There is nothing like forbidden fruit to raise curiosity so when the ad played shortly after the event, viewership went through the roof and the LVCVA successfully launched a campaign that has made “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas” a common household phrase. Here’s the irony. The ad the Superbowl rejected had no references to gambling.


Las Vegas.jpgIf you want to get a sense of some of the LVCVA ad campaigns here are snippets from the very success What Happens In Vegas Stays in Vegas campaign and their current campaign called “Vegas Enablers.” 


Again, what you won’t see is emphasis on the product or on gambling and casinos yet they attract over 40 million visitors a year. Cathy Tull, Senior Vice President of Marketing for the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority explained that they know that Vegas isn’t for everyone and they aren’t trying to justify it to the non-Vegas fans. Their mandate is to stay true to their audience and to continue to provide  the ultimate experience to the loyal die hard Vegas visitor.


Of course, it’s easy to justify successes like these when you have a huge marketing budget. It’s important to remember though that companies like Red Bull weren’t always big. What they did was stay true to their mission and their target market no matter what!


So my challenge to you smaller companies out there is this:


Are you spending your marketing dollars justifying your product or connecting with your audience? 

In other words, if your promotional material is “we” or “I” focused, it’s time to change it to “you” focused and make it about your target market. It’s also time to take a stand for what you believe in. You do what you do for a reason. There is something that truly matters to you. Are you getting that across to your audience every chance you get? If not, give it a try. You might just be that next marketing success story.

Cidnee is a sought after speaker on small business marketing, online marketing and content marketing.

Her style is very warm, fun, informative and simple to digest.

She has spoken at a variety of conferences including women events, travel and tourism symposiums, trade and association conferences, municipal events, and of course marketing conferences.

Having pretty much grown up on a microphone (she started in Elementary school), Cidnee loves to inspire business owners and marketing professionals to embrace the sometimes daunting and always changing marketing strategies and tactics.

With over 20 years of marketing experience there is very little she can’t talk about and she strives to always make the talk relevant to her audience.