The Powerful Sales Strategy behind Red Bull

red bull

Red Bull is an energy drink that doesn’t do well in taste tests. Some say it’s too sweet. Others just shake their heads, saying, “No.” Its contents are not patented, and all the ingredients are listed on the outside of the slim silver can. Yet Red Bull has a 70 to 90 percent market share in over 100 countries worldwide. During the past 15 years, the drink has been copied by more than 100 competitors, but such companies as Coca-Cola and Anheuser-Busch have been unable to take market share away from Red Bull.

Says Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz, “If we don’t create the market, it doesn’t exist.”

Mateschitz’s secret to creating a $1.6 billion worldwide stampede for Red Bull lies in a highly ingenious “buzz-marketing” strategy that herds consumers to exclusive and exciting events that get high media coverage. Red Bull supports close to 500 world-class extreme sports athletes that compete in spectacular and often record-breaking events across the globe. Mateschitz explains, “We don’t bring the product to the consumer, we bring consumers to the product.”

Today Red Bull is a powerful global brand and very few customers know the story of the highly talented, creative and determined salesman, publicity-shy Dietrich Mateschitz. Tiny Austria’s only billionaire, Mateschitz located his office in the quaint lakeside village of Fuschl, near Salzburg, Austria. His architect is currently building a new office building in the shape of two volcanoes.

His collection of 16 airplanes is located in a steel and glass hangar, which serves as an aviation museum and the home of the Flying Bulls at Salzburg Airport. He tries to keep it down to working three days a week. He likes to keep things simple. The size of his headquarter staff is only 200. Mateschitz farms out the production and distribution of the 1.5 billion cans sold worldwide. The total number of employees worldwide is only 1,800, which brings the sales volume per employee close to a million dollars. Mateschitz not only generates brilliant sales and marketing ideas, he is equally talented in the execution of the biggest and boldest business ideas. His latest project involves a $1 billion motor sport and aviation theme park in Styria, Austria.

The Traveling Toothpaste Salesman

Mateschitz grew up in a small village in Styria. His father, whom Mateschitz didn’t meet until age 11, was held in a POW camp long after WWII ended. Mateschitz was surrounded by teachers, but he wasn’t a good student. When he turned 18, he went to the University of Vienna. It took Mateschitz 10 years to finally graduate with a degree in World Trade. His friends said that Mateschitz liked to play, party and pursue pretty women. After graduation he decided to get serious and become a “really good marketing man.” His natural charm helped him land a training position at Unilever, and soon he was promoting dishwashing detergents and soap all over Europe. Colleagues described him as “funny, full of ambition and always filled with crazy ideas.”

Mateschitz had a natural talent for selling. He was creative and had a knack for getting things done. He soon got promoted to the position of marketing director for a leading, international toothpaste brand called Blendax.

After years of traveling and selling toothpaste around the globe, Mateschitz came to the realization that most successful managers live out of a suitcase, slowly turning gray and seeking comfort from a bottle or lonely women sitting in a bar. Mateschitz wanted more out of life; he expected more of himself and soon became obsessed with the idea of creating his own business.

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