Youth Marketing Insights » Red Bull http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg Inspiring best in practice youth marketing through sharing of ideas, strategy, trends and conversations about cool stuff Thu, 04 Feb 2010 04:31:40 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 en hourly 1 Why you should market your company culture, not just products http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/08/24/why-you-should-market-your-company-culture-not-just-products/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/08/24/why-you-should-market-your-company-culture-not-just-products/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2009 01:54:34 +0000 Meghan Stuyvenberg http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/?p=166 While a shift from traditional formulas for advertising ROI, I believe that the best youth brands have discovered how to not only market products, but market the companies.

This is important for two reasons – 1) your company is your products/offer, and your products are your company – seems obvious but unfortunately there is often a disconnect here as companies get bigger and execs get removed – CEO’s need to make an effort – cue Richard Branson. 2) there is a very fine line between your offer and your reputation, therefore you need to consider your company from a holistic point of view – no more left-brain and right-brain business structures.

Red Bull – the gold standard for which most youth brands aspire too (and I would argue most brands full stop) – is organised so that at heart of the company sits the brand and marketing. This is a fundamental difference to more traditional corporate structures where the marketing department is there to support the business. Red Bull understands that they are in the business of energy, not energy drinks, and this is why the brands resonates.

I love the idea of promoting the culture of a company as a branding exercise in order to deliver these messages to the consumer. Clever companies are realising their biggest brand fans and advocates are sitting right next to them and experimenting how to leverage this.

Zappos is a great case study of how to democratise social media within an organisation to help communicate the company culture outwards to consumers. We are not talking casual Fridays and a beers on Friday night, but what the company stands for and how this is communicated form the inside out. For example in this latest Zappos video several employees show off their tattoos and tell the stories behind them. Quite personally the tats seem a bit ‘hey look at us, we’re cool’ but I think that is more my personal feeling of tats then the initiative (btw I have tattoos and therefore am able to make such generalisations).

Check out insidezappos YouTube channel here for more company culture videos including baby showers, profiles of employees work spaces, and general antics.

Another company has recently announced a similar initiative. PUMA has a new integrated campaign which features a selection of 14 employees proclaiming their most random thoughts – their love for chicken nuggets and cupcakes, date-seekers and ex-girlfriend rants. Believe the photo shoot featured here will also form the new advertising campaign. I think this is great, PUMA is cleverly using employees to highlight how as a brand they are young and creative.

Check out PUMA’s YouTube channel here for more info.

I would only add an element to make this even more integrated by using this content at retail level. I think it’s a really good feeling if you were to walk into a store and get a sense of the corporate culture. I could see this content on loop in stores, each location creating and incorporating their random thoughts as well. Integrate the ad campaign with an internal comms initiative and watch it grow.

I think we all get at some level that being good is no longer good enough, companies need to be relevant. Youth want to buy into more than a product. Considering this audience participates in 145 CONVERSATIONS a week about brands – twice the amount as adults – I would suggest we all consider how we can resonate at every level, not just product.

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DUDE, Carl’s Jr taps into mysteriously hungry gen-y skateboarders http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/03/19/carls_jr_taps_into_hungry_gen_y/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/03/19/carls_jr_taps_into_hungry_gen_y/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2009 01:41:01 +0000 Meghan Stuyvenberg http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/?p=87 American quick-service chain, Carl’s Jr., has revealed more details of their BFF partnership with skateboarding star Rob Dyrdek, aimed to engage “hungry” Gen-Y and Gen-Z guys, as explained by Andrew F. Puzder, chief executive of CKE Restaurants in a recent NY Times article.

Background – the partnership is an integrated campaign with retail elements, sponsorship of a new charitable skate park in downtown Los Angeles, YouTube videos, all the social media sites and featuring the brand and CEO Mr Puzder on “Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory,” the skateboarder’s MTV show. For those not familiar, Carl’s Jr. is the QSR that brought us pop-culture marketing campaigns such as EAT MEAT (my first bumper-sticker BTW), and the infamous bikini-clad Paris Hilton car washing video. So needless to say they have been pretty successful at creating campaigns with WOM appeal among that meat-loving, fast food eating, young male population. Oh, and me to but I am probably an anomaly.

I have always been loyal to Carl’s, in LA they were my guilty, late-night pleasure. So I am all for this campaign. Of course as the article references it is great to see companies continuing to invest in “experimental” marketing initiatives – although at what point will we stop calling them experimental, maybe at the same time we stop using traditional vs non-traditional to describe media. In my opinion and without access to any evidence of this, I would think Carl’s would already have a relationship with this audience, therefore already have a level of involvement. Something about the “hungry” male and Carl’s Jr. seem to go hand in hand. Can’t stop myself from calling out the not-so-subtle reference of the super-hungry, skateboarder – is it skateboarding that makes them sooooo hungry?

Moving on….what I think is really interesting is the involvement CKE CEO Andrew Puzder in the partnership. I think it’s a solid move to integrate him into the show, press images and other channels. This says to me Carl’s values the relationships they have with its audiences, and could signal a shift in its marketing into more of a business model. If he could only become a pro skateboarder that would be the pinnacle, in the meantime I appreciate that he physically delivered food to the skateboarding posse as the first point of contact.

One note of caution, I think this will be a big test of authenticity for the brand. The skateboarding community has been notoriously difficult to tap. However defined, this specific tribe is hard on brands that try to market to them as “skateboarders”. In some cases we have seen that they even use the cool insert-service/product-here that companies flog them, and then they turn around and bag them out for it. Grass roots approaches seem to resonate here more than other sports-tribes such as snowboarding or surfing. That is why it took Nike so long to crack, and why Red Bull and others have dabbled but not dropped in. Maybe as high-profile figures such as the Tony Hawk, Bam Margera and Rob Dyrdek continue to bridge the mainstream divide, they will be able to do the same for the brands they work with.

While sometimes difficult to make a corporate brand messages skateboarder-esque, the videos are funny, the food is good, they donated to an inner-city charity and it has some good examples of multi-channel executions –– so, DUDE, I like it!

Photo credit: NY Times, Rob Dyrdek, left, and Andrew F. Puzder, CKE CEO, united to promote the sport and sell burgers.

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