Written by: Abhra Banerjee
About the author: President & CEO at Cleanomatics, a Stadhawk, Inc Brand
Insights to positioning
I will start with my favorite example which I consider as an all-time classic. If there were a Marketing Hall of Fame Awards for the entire last decade, this story should have won the topmost slot.
Red Bull- Gives you Wings.
This phenomenal drink formulation was developed as a humble energy drink called Kratin Daeng in Thailand by Khun Chaleo Yoovidhya for the blue-collar workers and truck drivers in Thailand. The drink kept them awake the whole night during their night shifts.
Enter the scene by an Austrian Gentleman by the name of Mr Dietrich Mateschitz. Mateschitz gets amazed by the fabulous anti hang-over properties of Kratin Daeng. He doesn’t waste any more time and meets the Yoovidhya family. Enters into a strategic tie up with them to introduce Krating Daeng to the world. History gets created. Krating Daeng gets a new name and a new home. Salzburg in Austria gives a rousing welcome to a new Hero RED BULL.
Cut to 14th October 2012. Felix Baumgartner, another Austrian, a skydiver, daredevil, BASE jumper decides to jump from a Helium Balloon flying at 128,000 ft above the Earth (the Stratosphere) by proclaiming—“I am going home”. This was part of a Red Bull Stratos Project. Thus, continued the saga of the legend Red Bull. Sometimes we saw Red Bull on the Formula 1 World Stage, sometimes sponsoring World Class Soccer Teams like Red Bull Salzburg/New York Red Bull.
Night Club enthusiasts loved their Vodka with Red Bull which they claimed enabled them to dance through the night till the wee hours of the morning. Skimpily Clad Red Bull models were seen whizzing past busy glittering streets of Paris atop their snazzy Mini Coopers adorned with large mock-ups of Red Bull Cans.
So what were the Insights which Mateschitz had which Yoovidhya didn’t have? Why did Yoovidhya’s creation have restricted appeal as a Functional Drink for the Blue Collared Workers whereas the same Product branded as Red Bull (with minor changes in product formulations, of course) captured the imagination of the glittering celebs in urban night clubs? Why did a Young CEO in India, son of a billionaire tycoon and a fresh graduate from London Business School, consider it “cool” to keep his office refrigerator completely stocked up with Red Bull Cans?
The answer to all the above lies in Mateschitz’s deep understanding of the psyche of his target consumers. He had the deadliest insights into the Young Minds and their Lifestyles . He leveraged his insights to define the positioning of the brand Red Bull and thus was born the legendary positioning statement— Red Bull Gives You Wings.
For young marketers the above case study has some great learnings on Insights led positioning and a superb marketing innovation process. Allow me to summarize them.
Identification of the target audience
- One needs to first understand their target audience and decode their demographics.
- To develop deeper insights into their behaviors, lifestyles, motivations and basically “what makes them tick”, it is not enough to just ask them the right questions. One needs to observe them for days together, shadow them wherever possible and understand them completely, inside-out.
- After decoding their insights, it is important to develop some hypotheses…like night club enthusiasts drink to not get drunk but to get adequate energy to dance through the night.
- Then these hypotheses need to be tested out by developing an MVP. (Minimum Viable Product)
- Once the MVP pilot proves to be right and ends up validating the hypotheses, the Brand Positioning strategy needs to evolve.
As they say Products are manufactured in the factories, but Brands are created in the minds of the target consumers with the right positioning strategy. Right positionings are born out of rich insights by an inquisitive marketing mind.
My advice to young marketers—always believe in outside-in thinking…inside out thinking will give you limited success like what was achieved by Yoovidhya. Outside-in thinking gave birth to the phenomenon called “Red Bull”.
The example of the brand is a perspective of the author used as an example to explain the subject and doesn’t intend any positive or negative context drawn towards the brand or person. The blog is purely created for the cause of learning