Industry Analysis – How The Energy Drinks Industry Uses Social Media
The energy drinks industry has really taken off over the last 10 years, with the pace of city life increasing so has the need to feel energised in order to get through situations where your energy levels may be waning. Whether you’re powering through revision notes or working in a busy office you’re likely to see someone with an energy drink in hand powering through the day or even night.
When it comes to generating buzz around a brand, energy drinks brands go big, very big. Consider Red Bull’s space jump last year… not even the sky is the limit when it comes to getting their brand in front of a wide audience. A spacesuit blazoned with their logo in front of the world live on TV was a monumental level of advertising. With that in mind, surely they must be using some interesting strategies and methods to extend their marketing activities out to their audience right? Well, let’s take a look…
Monster’s strategies on social media revolve around their sponsorship of many different extreme sports. They have a huge Facebook fanbase of 23,334,644 users and 766,527 Twitter followers. Let’s start with how they use Facebook:
As you can see from the image above they regularly receive a huge amount of likes and comments when you compare their activities with competitors in their sector and even when you compare them against large brands in other industries. A lot of their activity centres around extreme sports – sponsoring events and teams. This level of involvement with extreme sports leads to a huge following of interest, as consumers follow these brands as a means of getting closer to their sporting heros.
The main sports they concentrate on are skateboarding, NASCAR and Moto GP. A huge draw for them at the moment is the ‘drift’ video series that they film – a battle between a motorcycle and a sportscar drifting at high speeds in a different locations. This type of premium content draws in pure adrenaline junkies as it really is edge of your seat stuff, clearly highlighting how Monster stick to a strict philosophy when it comes to quality content.
On Twitter, Monster are using sponsored tweets to create buzz around their ‘drift’ series, expanding their promotional activities to a larger audience.
It really does seem they let their sponsorship of extreme sports do their selling. By constantly posting about extreme sport events, photos, videos and tricks they aim to captivate their audience in this way. There’s no direct selling, no discount codes, few promotional offers here just living and breathing extreme sports – like their audience does. They place their logo on vehicles, buildings and at extreme sports events you can find the company branding plastered over the athletes and walls of stadiums providing an effective way of getting the brand to perform as a backdrop for recognition.
Twitter for Monster is all about their hashtag #UnleashTheBeast and if you do a quick search through Twitter you can see that it is often trending this allows Monster to constantly have a large captive audience:
Red Bull Profile
Red Bull is the leading brand in energy drinks sector founded over 20 years ago. At the time of writing this post they have 39,321,181 likes on their Facebook Page and over 1,088,667 followers on Twitter, which is constantly on the rise and places them as the second most popular branded page on Facebook (according to Social Bakers). It’s astounding how many fans they build each week, achieving over 100,000 new fans on Facebook over the last 2 weeks. As part of their marketing activities, Red Bull sponsor several extreme sports teams and athletes which they regularly cover on their Facebook wall. They integrate their Red Bull TV into their page to keep their fans engaged for as long as possible on their Facebook page. Here you can access premium content that their competitors just simply don’t offer.
Interestingly, it’s very rare for Red Bull to post anything that doesn’t include an awe-inspiring image in a stunning setting. Their most popular posts are photos and videos of extreme sports which gather thousands of re-shares onto the personal Facebook profiles of their fans, this then promotes the brand to a further audience who don’t have to necessarily ‘Like’ the Facebook page to be exposed to these forms of media. There is however a lack of generating consumer feedback about their products. Again, like Monster they don’t really push drinks sales with offers or discounts, they prefer their constant sponsoring to do the talking, as they live and breathe extreme sports. One thing that stands them apart from their competitors is how they deliver their brand values through their social media communications. It borders on the confidence that Nike put into their messaging of ‘Just Do It’.
Their Twitter account boasts over 1 million followers, and by using the #Givesyouwings repeatedly in their tweets they aim to get as many people as possible talking about their brand on Twitter. They have even started incorporating new technologies such as Twitter Vine into their messaging:
Red Bull take the usage of hashtags and imagery to another level as they encourage their fans to get involved with public holidays such as July 4th, which can be seen in the images below.
We must stress the quality of images that are created deliver a far better amount of shares – having a designer is key to delivering share-able content.
Relentless owned by Coca Cola possess the smallest social media following compared with Red Bull and Monster. In fact when you make this comparison and view the numbers they are completely dwarfed by the competition – 312, 558 fans on Facebook and 11, 794 followers on Twitter. However, they are the babies of the business, founded back in 2006 and due to Coca Cola’s expertise in the industry they’re certainly one to watch in the near future – especially when you consider the amount of effort they’ve put into their TV advertising over the past year. What’s interesting to see is how Relentless have got their brand involved with much more than just extreme sports. They’ve positioned their business alongside popular music gigs and concerts, tapping into an audience who want to keep the party going, how do you do it? With Relentless that’s how!
If you remember their TV campaigns lately you’ll understand how they get celebrities such as Professor Green to spearhead their promotion – again tapping away at the all night party goers. Extreme sports also play a part in their communications on social media but not necessarily the same one’s as their competitors. There’s certainly very little focus towards motor sports and more of a direction towards skateboarding and BMX. Relentless make sure music a part of their more premium content, where they feature key figures in the music industry on their website to keep their audience engaged, delivering content that they want to hear about. Interestingly, unlike their competition – they don’t use the jaw dropping extreme sports images, instead they often push their products into the forefront of most of their messaging.
On Twitter, it does seem Relentless are lagging behind the competition when it comes to communicating with a wider audience. They currently don’t use sponsored tweets and there’s no real hashtag they that own within their messaging. This limits the number of people being exposed to their brand as well as limiting the level of buzz that can be generated. Music makes up most of the content and there’s certainly not much going on in the way of extreme sports action.
— RelentlessEnergy (@relentlessdrink) July 22, 2013
Brand Comparison & Analysis
(Key: Red = Red Bull, Blue = Monster, Yellow = Relentless)
When it comes to getting people to talk about their brand Red Bull clearly head the way in the energy drinks sector, with Monster at times climbing above them. Relentless though have a long way to go before they can get to these heights of engagement.
From the Facebook graph above we can see how there’s such big gaps between brands in this sector. New brands like Relentless struggle to get anywhere near the level of following their competitors possess on Facebook. Red Bull since January have seen their fan base soar especially over the last 3 months – with such a well established brand at the top can anyone reach them?
From the Twitter graph we can see once again Relentless bottom of the pile and Red Bull the only brand to achieve over 1 million followers. Monster though are hot in pursuit with the best follower growth over the last 3 months – at 27% increase compared to Red Bull’s 12%. Monster’s great usage of hashtags and sponsored posts seem to be paying off.
However by delving deeper into Twitter we can pull out some very interesting stats:
(Key: Yellow = Red Bull, Green = Monster, Blue = Relentless)
Despite Relentless having a much lower fan base and follower growth on Twitter, they surprisingly deliver a higher engagement rate than Monster which could lead us to believe the content they post resonates more clearly than what Monster shares with its audience.
One clear thing we’ve learnt is how brands such as Red Bull take their marketing strategies and aspirations to another level. The amount of sponsorship that they get involved with is incredible – this means the level of exposure they get on a regular basis is a brilliant way to keep their products in the minds of their consumers. It’s also interesting to see how brands in this sector view sponsorship of popular sports being the most important thing to help generate buzz around their brand. There’s definitely some clear brand positioning with the likes of Monster and Red Bull living and breathing extreme sports. Relentless have taken a different route and target themselves to a different audience – non-stop party-goers, only time will tell to see if this pays off.
Another thing that’s really surprising is how these brands don’t directly sell, they don’t use social media as a means of discounting their goods. They’re happy to deliver premium content that interests only their target audience with the self-belief that their constant presence will do the selling.