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Jakob Rosenfeldt Hansen 301704 Bachelor Thesis 2013

BA Marketing and Management Communication Numbers of characters 55,803!


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Summary
The development within social media is changing the way people are consuming
media. As a result, corporations can no longer rely on traditional media to connect
and engage with a target audience. Consequently, it is essential for corporations to
embrace new ways for ensuring customer engagement.

In light of the above, the purpose of this thesis is to investigate social media’s ability
to facilitate engagement among a target audience, in an integrated marketing context.
Through a case study of Red Bull Stratos the aspects affecting the level of
engagement on the social media platforms are analysed. For thoroughly examining
this subject a theoretical framework is established. The framework enables the thesis
to study the online behaviour of Red Bull’s target audience and answer whether the
content presented on the platforms is adequate for generating engagement. Finally, it
is discussed if the findings from the case study are applicable for other businesses and
industries.

The methodology is of the thesis is based on a top down approach. First, the
theoretical framework is established in order to create the foundation for answering
the problem statement. Next, the theories are applied for the analysis of the case
study. Methodological hermeneutics has been chosen as the scientific method for the
thesis. This implies the approach for answering the problem statement is qualitative.
Through interpretation of artefacts and an understanding of the intentions behind the
campaign, it is analysed how engagement is generated among Red Bull’s target
audience. To complement the findings from the analysis the thesis applies empirical
data collected through an interview.

The thesis reveals that, through a coherent and consistent strategy, Red Bull was
successful in utilizing the opportunities offered by social media and related concepts.
The outcome was a high level of engagement generated among the target audience at
the peak of the campaign. The content uploaded to the social networking sites played
an important role in the creation of this engagement. The content earned the attention
of the target audience due to its relevance, timing and emotional appeal. Moreover,
due to the accomplishment of Red Bull Stratos, the thesis argues that other businesses

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Jakob Rosenfeldt Hansen 301704 Bachelor Thesis 2013
BA Marketing and Management Communication Numbers of characters 55,803!
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and industries can benefit of embracing a similar approach by including elements of
Red Bull Stratos in their own strategies.

The research conducted for the thesis is limited to the field of social media and
customer engagement. Therefore, it is suggested that future research takes a wider
perspective and conduct an analysis of the Stratos project’s implications on the Red
Bull brand.

(Number of characters excl. spaces 2,260)

Keywords:
Social media, groundswell, content marketing, customer engagement, web 2.0,
integrated marketing communication, word-of-mouth, converged media.

(Total number of characters excl. blanks 54,803)

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Jakob Rosenfeldt Hansen 301704 Bachelor Thesis 2013
BA Marketing and Management Communication Numbers of characters 55,803!
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Table of Contents

1! Introduction!...................................................................................................................!4!
1.1! Problem Statement!............................................................................................................!5!
1.2! Delimitation!.........................................................................................................................!5!
1.3! Scientific Method!................................................................................................................!6!
1.4! Theoretical Framework!....................................................................................................!8!
1.5! Methodology and Structure!.............................................................................................!8!
2! The Theoretical Foundation of The Thesis!.............................................................!9!
2.1! Social Media in the Context of Integrated Marketing Communication!..............!10!
2.2! Web 2.0!...............................................................................................................................!11!
2.3! Social Media Sites!............................................................................................................!11!
2.3.1! Facebook!....................................................................................................................................!12!
2.3.2! Twitter!.........................................................................................................................................!12!
2.3.3! YouTube!.....................................................................................................................................!13!
2.4! The Process Of Engagement!..........................................................................................!13!
2.5! The Groundswell!..............................................................................................................!15!
2.6! Content Marketing as Part of a Converged Media Landscape!.............................!18!
2.7! Part Conclusion!................................................................................................................!20!
3! Empirical Data!............................................................................................................!20!
4! Introduction to Red Bull and The Stratos Mission!.............................................!20!
5! Analysis of Red Bull Stratos!....................................................................................!21!
5.1! The Integrated Marketing Perspective of Red Bull Stratos!...................................!22!
5.2! Creation of Engagement!.................................................................................................!23!
5.3! Part Conclusion!................................................................................................................!31!
6! Discussion!.....................................................................................................................!32!
7! Conclusion!...................................................................................................................!33!
7.1! Suggestions For Further Research!...............................................................................!34!
8! Bibliography!................................................................................................................!35!
9! Appendix 1!...................................................................................................................!41!
10! Appendix 2!...................................................................................................................!42!
11! Appendix 3!...................................................................................................................!43!

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Jakob Rosenfeldt Hansen 301704 Bachelor Thesis 2013
BA Marketing and Management Communication Numbers of characters 55,803!
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1 Introduction
“The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that changing really quickly”
- Mark Zuckerberg
(Tech crunch: 2011)

In today’s diverse society marketers are faced with many challenges when working
with social media as part of an integrated marketing campaign. The problem is how
to grasp it, social media is based on user-generated content and it is, therefore,
difficult for corporations to control if their messages reach their target audiences as
intended (Mangold & Faulds 2009).

According to Li and Bernoff (2011) a groundswell exist among the users of social
media and similar online technologies. Li and Bernoff (2011) define the groundswell
as a social trend in which people use online technologies to get information and
content from each other, rather, than from corporations and organisations through
traditional media. Consequently, for corporations to get exposure on social
networking sites, they need to create content that users want to share and discuss with
each other.

How such stimuli are created is very much up to the individual company. This thesis
will analyse Red Bull’s efforts to reach its target audience during the Stratos project.
Red Bull established the Stratos project in 2005 with the goal of making a record-
breaking freefall jump from 39 kilometres and reach supersonic speed. The goal was
accomplished October 14, 2012 when Felix Baumgartner completed the jump (Red
Bull Stratos 2013). Besides successfully breaking three world records, social media
was in wide extent used to promote the project (Red Bull Media House, 2013).
Therefore, this thesis analyses Red Bull’s ability to create engagement among its
target audience, along with Red Bull’s ability to influence the conversations taking
place on the social media platforms.

Finally, with the knowledge about social media, the groundswell and along with the
results of the case study (i.e. the Stratos project), this thesis takes a broader look at the

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Jakob Rosenfeldt Hansen 301704 Bachelor Thesis 2013
BA Marketing and Management Communication Numbers of characters 55,803!
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applicability of Red Bull’s approach. It is discussed if other business and industries
can learn from the experiences gained through Red Bull Stratos.

1.1 Problem Statement


In order to get a thoroughly understanding of the concerns presented in the
introduction above, this thesis’ main focus areas is within the field of social media
and integrated marketing communication. Using an extensive theoretical framework,
this thesis is interested in analysing Red Bull’s way of using social media throughout
the Stratos project and its ability to make use of the opportunities provided by the
groundswell. Moreover, this thesis reflects over the findings of the case study, in
order to see if other corporations can learn from Red Bull’s approach. Based on what
have just been said, the problem statement for this thesis is as follows:

Seen from an integrated marketing perspective, the objective of this thesis is to


examine Red Bull’s use of social media during the Stratos Project and study whether
engagement among the target audience was achieved. Additionally, this thesis looks
into the consequences of the Stratos project in order to see if Red Bull’s approach can
be applied in other contexts.

In order to answer the problem statement and give an in-depth insight to the world of
social media, the following research questions have been proposed:

• From a theoretical perspective, what characterises the strategies, technologies


and tools within the field of social media?
• By analysing the content presented on the social media platforms and compare
it to the “traffic” generated, how was the content able to establish engagement
among the target audience?
• To which extent is Red Bull’s approach suitable for other businesses and
industries?

1.2 Delimitation
The Stratos project was created as an integrated marketing campaign, however, due to
limited space and the extensive scope of integrated marketing communication, this
thesis will merely focus on the field of social media. Hence, emphasis will be on

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Jakob Rosenfeldt Hansen 301704 Bachelor Thesis 2013
BA Marketing and Management Communication Numbers of characters 55,803!
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theories, models and concepts within the field of social media. However, it is realised
that social media was part of a bigger picture during the Stratos project. Therefore, the
existence of other channels and media are taken into consideration, although not
analysed in-depth. This will give a holistic account of the problem statement, within
the space permitted for this thesis.

Finally, this thesis focuses on getting an understanding of Facebook, Twitter and


YouTube. Hence, the thesis excludes social networking sites as Instragram, Pinterest
and Google+. The reason for this should be seen as a combination of the limited space
offered and Facebook, Twitter and YouTube’s significance for Red Bull Stratos.

1.3 Scientific Method


This section explains the scientific tradition that serves as the foundation for this
thesis. The scientific tradition will act as an overall framework throughout the thesis
in order to create coherence between theory, research and empirical data.

As already mentioned in the problem statement, the aim of this thesis is to understand
how Red Bull was able to generate engagement among its target audience through the
use of social media. This is primarily examined through interpretation of theory,
research and artefacts related to the Stratos project and the field of social media.

Based on the above-mentioned, the scientific tradition found most suitable for this
thesis is Schleiermacher’s methodological hermeneutics. This approach belongs to the
field of human studies and strives to understand expressions of life through scientific
interpretation (Palmer 1969). Schleiermacher’s approach can be summarised as “the
art of understanding” (Palmer 1969: 92).

Methodological hermeneutics believes that a text has one true meaning and that this
meaning is facilitated through an intended message by the author. In order to get to
the true meaning of a text, methodological hermeneutics aim at understanding the
intensions, emotions and thoughts of the author (Sherratt 2005). To achieve this,
Schleiermacher suggests that the researcher must imagine him or herself as the author
(Sherratt 2005). As a result, this thesis regards Red Bull as the author of the Stratos
project and strives to understand the intentions and meanings communicated via

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Jakob Rosenfeldt Hansen 301704 Bachelor Thesis 2013
BA Marketing and Management Communication Numbers of characters 55,803!
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social media, from Red Bull’s point of view. This way of identifying and empathising
with the author is categorised as the psychological dimension of methodological
hermeneutics (Sherratt 2005). Additionally, this dimension also includes analysing the
cultural context of the author; this means considering the context Red Bull is working
in and in particularly the overall context of the marketing activities conducted
throughout the Stratos project.

However, when conducting research based on methodological hermeneutics one must


also take a grammatical dimension into consideration. The grammatical dimension is
concerned about genre, historical context and grammar (Sherratt 2005). Genre and
historical context will be considered throughout the thesis. This thesis sees social
media as the main genre and takes earlier campaigns into consideration. Previously
work is recognized as a creator for the image Red Bull has today, though not analysed
due to the scope of the thesis. Grammar studies photos, text and videos and their roles
in the creation of engagement among Red Bull’s target audience.

The grammatical dimension and psychological dimension works together through the
hermeneutic circle. The hermeneutic circle merges the two dimensions together and
creates a holistic way for understanding (Palmer 1969). The hermeneutic circle states
that only through understanding of the parts and the “whole” is it possible to
understand the intended meaning. The parts and the “whole” are interrelated and
provide meaning to each other through interpretation (Palmer 1969). Hence, only by
understanding the parts is it possible to understand the “whole” and vice versa. This is
achieved by comparing something new with something you already know (Palmer
1969). Therefore, it is important with background information about social media and
integrated marketing communication before conducting the analysis of the Stratos
project. Consequently, for analysing the Stratos project, this thesis consider the
different social media platforms and their content as “parts” and compare them to the
overall marketing strategy for Red Bull Stratos and the overall level of engagement
generated.

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Jakob Rosenfeldt Hansen 301704 Bachelor Thesis 2013
BA Marketing and Management Communication Numbers of characters 55,803!
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1.4 Theoretical Framework
This section merely highlights the main theories used throughout the thesis. Each
theory is presented and the main characteristics described in brief. The theoretical
framework is as follows:

Significant focus will be on theories and concepts presented by Li and Bernoff (2011)
in their book “Groundswell - winning in a world transformed by social technologies”.
The book highlights strategies for communicating with a target audience through
social media and technologies, seen from the corporation’s point of view.

Pickton and Broderick (2005) present in “Integrated Marketing Communication” a


holistic approach for analysing marketing communication and propose strategies and
concepts for creating synergy and consistency through an integrated marketing
campaign.

To understand how engagement is generated Sashi’s (2012) customer engagement


cycle is applied. Through seven steps it highlights what must be considered when
aiming at generating engagement within a target audience.

Lieb’s (2012) theories on content marketing are used to describe how owned channels
can be used to publish content produced by corporations. Additionally, Lieb and
Owyang’s (2012) view on converged media is described in order to understand the
contemporary media landscape.

To support this theoretical framework news articles, scientific journals and other
relevant sources are included when appropriate.

1.5 Methodology and Structure


With the theoretical framework and scientific tradition in mind, this section outlines
the methodology utilized to comprehensively answer the problem statement.

This thesis is based on a top down approach, which implies that the thesis starts by
defining the theories and afterwards apply them to the analysis of the case study. As a
result, this thesis has a two-sided approach for answering the problem statement.

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Jakob Rosenfeldt Hansen 301704 Bachelor Thesis 2013
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Firstly, for a fully understanding of the intentions behind the Stratos project, it is
essential to establish a theoretical foundation. Thus, with the hermeneutic circle in
mind, chapter two is dedicated to establish sufficient theoretical background
information, for analysing the case study and answering the problem statement.
Secondly, chapter three presents the methodology of the empirical data gathered
through an interview with social media expert Mikael Lemberg (appendix three).
Chapter four introduces the reader to Red Bull and in particularly to the Stratos
project. Subsequently, chapter five deals with the actual analysis of Red Bull Stratos.
As the thesis is based on methodological hermeneutics, the analysis is characterised
by having a qualitative approach. For examining the engagement within the target
audience this thesis studies, photos, videos and updates and compare them to the
number of “likes”, “retweets”, “comments” and “shares“ they generated. By looking
at what specific content that generated a high level of activity and engagement, it is
possible to understand the trigger that engaged the target audience.

Chapter six reflects upon the findings from chapter five and discusses if Red Bull’s
approach is suitable for other corporations. This is obtained by looking at the results
in a broader perspective and by applying the knowledge gained through the empirical
data.

Finally, a conclusion will sum up the findings and the consequences of the Stratos
project together with suggestions for further research.

2 The Theoretical Foundation of The Thesis


This chapter gives an elaborated account of the theory needed to comprehensively
answer the first research question. Furthermore, it creates the foundation for
answering the overall problem statement of the thesis. Thus, this chapter strives to
understand the characteristics of social media and how social media can be used to
generate engagement among a target audience.

However, as previously mentioned this thesis realises that social media was part of an
integrated marketing campaign executed for the Stratos project. To understand social

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Jakob Rosenfeldt Hansen 301704 Bachelor Thesis 2013
BA Marketing and Management Communication Numbers of characters 55,803!
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media in this context, chapter 2.1 starts by defining the concept of integrated
marketing communication.

2.1 Social Media in the Context of Integrated Marketing Communication


Pickton and Broderick (2005: 25) define integrated marketing communication as the
“[…] concept under which a company carefully integrates and coordinates its many
communications channels to deliver a clear, consistent and compelling message about
the organisation and its products”. According to Pickton and Broderick (2005)
integrated marketing communication offers several advantages. First and foremost it
creates synergy. By brining together all aspects of a campaign and consider how the
channels can support each other in getting the message across, the “whole” becomes
more than the sum of its parts, i.e. 2+2=5 (Pickton and Broderick 2005). To achieve
synergy it is important that the channels are coherent and that the message is
consistent throughout all activities. Integrated marketing communication mainly
focuses on how to get the intended message across with the use of the traditional IMC
mix model (appendix one), consisting of advertising, public relations, personal selling
and sales promotion (Pickton and Broderick 2005). However, Pickton and
Broderick’s (2005) IMC mix model does not take social media into consideration and
is, therefore, not adequate for comprehensively answering the problem statement.
Hence, Mangold and Faulds’ (2009) view on social media as a hybrid element of the
IMC mix model is added. This will give a better understanding of Red Bull’s use of
social media in an integrated marketing context. The rise of social media has created a
platform that combines all the aspects from the traditional IMC mix model. Through
social media corporations can talk to their customers with global reach and vice versa.
Social media is also a hybrid when looking at the multimedia opportunities it offers. It
is possible to use social media to distribute videos, sound, text and photos. As a result,
corporations can no longer dictate the frequency, reach and coordination of a
campaign (Mangold and Faulds 2009). This aspect is further discussed in chapter 2.5.
By considering social media as a hybrid of the IMC mix model and use it in
collaboration with traditional channels and media, it is possible for corporations to
create a coherent and holistic campaign.

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2.2 Web 2.0
The technological foundation of social media websites, such as Facebook, YouTube,
and Twitter is web 2.0. Hence, this section is dedicated to create an understanding of
how the emergence of web 2.0 has made it possible for corporations, like Red Bull, to
communicate with customers in new ways.

Web 2.0 has allowed the development of interactive interfaces, collaboration between
users and user-generated content, which all are vital aspects for the existence of social
media (Tapscott 2006). The development of such software was termed “web 2.0” by
O’Reilly in 2006, he defines it as “[…] the business revolution in the computer
industry caused by the move to the Internet as platform […] (qtd. in McAfee 2009: 3)

Web 2.0 is characterised by offering platforms that enable communication and


interaction among the users. Many of the online platforms based on web 2.0 today are
free of charge and rely on content generated by the users (Tapscott 2006). Some of
the most recognized platforms today are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn,
Google+, Instagram and several blog sites (Smith 2013).

With the technological foundation of social media now established chapter 2.3 gives
an account of the characteristics of the three social media sites analysed in this thesis.

2.3 Social Media Sites


This chapter describes social media and gives an account of the characteristics of
Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. This is done in order to create the foundation for
analysing Red Bull’s activities on the different platforms during the Stratos project.
Each platform is unique and offers different opportunities. Consequently, it is
important to understand how each platform communicates to a target audience and
how interaction among users takes place.

In general social media is characterised by being build upon user-generated content,


interaction between users and by combining several media, such as video, photo,
sound and text. Kaplan and Haenlein (2010: 61) define it as “[…] a group of Internet-
based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web
2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content”. The

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Jakob Rosenfeldt Hansen 301704 Bachelor Thesis 2013
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following paragraphs give an in-depth account of the three social networking sites
analysed in this thesis.

2.3.1 Facebook
Founded in 2004 Facebook is, at the time of writing, the largest social networking
site, with 1,06 billion registered users and 618 million daily active users (Facebook
2013 and Smith 2013). Facebook is the second most visited website on the Internet
only exceeded by Google (Alexa 2013). Facebook’s mission is to “to give people the
power to share and make the world more open and connected” (Facebook 2013). The
way Facebook strives to do this is through tools as photo/video sharing, instant
messaging, comments, status updates, games, contests, check-ins (i.e. through mobile
devices share your location with your friends), photo tagging and likes (allow users to
indicate what content, celebrities and brands they like by giving a thumbs up). These
tools are available for all private users and corporations with a Facebook account.
However, corporations must create a Facebook page. A Facebook page allows
corporations to create a corporate site that users can “like” and then stay connected.
Furthermore, a Facebook page also enables the creation of targeted advertising, which
allows corporations to reach a specific target audience. Corporations pay to get their
ads shown in the right-hand side of the screen or in the users news feed as a sponsored
story (Facebook 2013). The higher an amount of money spend, the higher a number
of people do the ads reach. Facebook’s revenue is mainly gained from these ads (Rich
2011).

2.3.2 Twitter
Established in 2006 Twitter is the second largest social website with its 517 million
registered users (Creotivo 2013). Twitter allows its users to make updates named
“Tweets” no longer than 140 characters with the possibility of embedding photos and
videos (Twitter 2013). The Tweets create the content of Twitter and generate a real-
time information network (O’Connor 2012). Users connect with each other and are
presented with a news feed that includes the Tweets for all of the users they are
connected with. They way users interact is by comments, by forwarding updates
(retweets), hashtags (#) and the “at sign” (@). Hashtags and at signs allow users to tag
persons, events or products in an update. For corporations Twitter creates real time
connection with customers and the possibility for feedback. Moreover, corporations

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can create promoted Tweets and accounts in order to reach a higher number of users
(Twitter 2013).

2.3.3 YouTube
Kaplan and Haenlein (2009) define YouTube as a content community because the
main purpose of the site is creation and sharing of videos. YouTube has more than
one billion unique visits each month, however, not all visitors are registered users, as
videos can be watched without having an account (YouTube 2013). However, it is not
possible to upload videos or comment on videos without having an account. For
corporations an account makes it possible to share videos and allow users to like, rate
and comment on the videos Moreover, users can also subscribe to the corporations’
YouTube channel and will be notified every time a new video is uploaded. In 2013 72
hours of video was uploaded every minute to YouTube (YouTube 2013). YouTube
has contributed to a change in the way people consume TV (O’Connor 2012). For
instance, it is now possible to follow politicians under an election, see the newest
music videos and watch videos made by people and corporations from all over the
world, which use YouTube to become a global broadcaster. Occasionally, through
partnerships, YouTube live streams events in order to generate traffic to the site.
Finally, YouTube also generates its revenue through advertisements placed on the site
(Rich 2011).

This chapter has explained the fundamentals characteristics of three of the most
prominent social networking sites that exist today. Chapter 2.4 will describe the steps
users go through before becoming engaged on social media platforms.

2.4 The Process Of Engagement


For a thoroughly analysis of the engagement among Red Bull’s target audience during
the Stratos project it is significant to fully understand how engagement is created.
Thus, this chapter defines the process of generating engagement. Forrester Consulting
(2008: 3) defines engagement as “creating deep connections with customers that drive
purchase decisions, interaction, and participation over time”. Through the customer
engagement cycle Sashi (2012) explains how engagement is generated in a social
media context. Figure one shows the customer engagement cycle, which explains the
process of generating engagement through seven stages: Connection, interaction,

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satisfaction, retention, commitment, advocacy, and engagement (Sashi 2012). In order
to create the foundation for engagement it is a prerequisite that corporations connect
with their customers. After having connected with the customers, corporations can
start interacting. Corporations can use the interaction for value creation by stepping
into a dialogue with the customers or gain market insights about customers’ needs and
wants. Corporations Figure!1!2!The!Customer!Engagement!Cycle

should play an active role


in creating the interaction
by using the tools offered
by social media.
Customers will only
move towards connection
and engagement if
corporations succeed in
satisfying them through
interaction. However,
satisfaction per se is not Source:(Sashi!2012:!261.
sufficient for creating
engagement. Thus, the next step in the cycle is “retention”. In order to retain
customers it is important with satisfaction over time. According to Sashi (2012)
“satisfaction” has a positive effect on retention and creates long-term relationships.
Commitment is created through two dimensions, affective commitment and
calculative commitment. Affective commitment is emotional and is achieved by
establishing trust and mutual respect between customers and corporations (Sashi
2012). Calculative commitment is rational and is the result of lack of choices or high
switching costs. Combined, or separately, affective commitment and calculative
commitment results in customer retention, delighted customers and a high level of
loyalty. Advocacy is achieved when customers create emotional bond to the
corporation. Hence, customers that are affectively committed are most likely to
become advocates. Committed customers share their positive experiences about
corporations, offline and online, through word-of-mouth. Commitment, trust, delight
and customer loyalty is the foundation for engagement. Hence, customer engagement
only occurs when there is a strong bond between a corporation and its customers.
Engaged customers are spokespersons for corporations and are fans that remain loyal
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through ups and downs (Sashi 2012). Engaged customers are valuable to corporations,
as they spread goodwill through interaction with other people and will be customers
for a long time. To keep customers engaged is an iterative process. Customers will not
keep their level of engagement, thus, corporations must continuously work their way
through the steps in the cycle in order to retain and generate engagement.

2.5 The Groundswell


As recognized above, engagement cannot be created without communication and
interaction with the target audience. Therefore, in order to understand Red Bull’s
approach for generating engagement, it is essential to know how they communicated
and interacted with their target audience. Additionally, it is also important to be
familiar with the characteristics of the target audience. Thus, through theories and
models related to the concept of the groundswell, this chapter provides strategies for
how to analyse a target audience’s online behaviour and how social media can be
used as an initiator for engagement.

The term groundswell has already been defined in the introduction. However, to
elaborate: The groundswell occurs due to the emergence of web 2.0 technologies,
which have allowed people to stay connected through online services. This has
resulted in new ways for people to get the information and news they need. Instead of
turning to corporations when information is needed, people connect through online
services and use each other as sources of information. As a consequence, people rely
on content from online platforms to provide them with information instead of
information from corporations and organisations through traditional media (Li and
Bernoff 2011). Hence, online presence is important for corporations in order to get an
opportunity to affect the conversations and content distributed by online users.

This paragraph looks at how corporations can analyse their groundswell by using the
social technographics ladder. It categories users based on their online behaviour. The
social technographics ladder enables this thesis to see whether the content uploaded
by Red Bull applies to the users’ characteristics and preferences. The ladder classifies
users into seven categories, with the most active of the groundswell at the top of the
ladder and the most inactive persons at the bottom of the ladder (Li and Bernoff
2011). Figure two shows the ladder and the seven categories. Creators are at the top

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of the ladder and are people that at least once a month publish an article online,
upload a post on a blog, maintain a website or upload Figure!2!2!The!
Technographics!Ladder
videos/audio to sites like YouTube and Facebook (Li and
Bernoff 2011). Conversationalists make weekly status
updates on Twitter, Facebook and other social networking
sites and take part in the dialogues that occur in relation to
status updates. Critics do not create any content
themselves, however, they react to content posted by
others, e.g., by “liking” status updates, comment on blogs
and forums or take part in editing wikis (e.g. Wikipedia).
As it is easier to react than create, it is often seen that there
are more critics than conversationalists within a target
audience. Collectors save and collect content through
online bookmarking services. People categorised, as
collectors are also likely to vote on websites and use RSS
feeds1. Joiners maintain a profile on a social networking
site but without contributing with any content. Spectators
Source:(Li!and!Bernoff!2011:!
consume what the rest of the groundswell produces. 43.
Spectators do not necessarily have an account to a social networking site. However,
they consume what is accessible to them. They watch videos, read blogs, and updates
on sites where no account is required (Li and Bernoff 2011). Finally, inactives are
persons who not participate in online activities and are untouched by social
technologies (Li and Bernoff 2011).

Next paragraph outlines the five primary strategies used for tapping the groundswell.
The five strategies are: Listening, talking, energizing, supporting and embracing. The
five strategies are presented in order to create foundation for analysing the approach
taken by Red Bull and to assess if the strategy facilitated engagement.

Listening refers to using the groundswell as a market research tool. Corporations


monitor blogs, social media sites and other relevant sites in order gain insight about
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1
RSS is a system that collects all new content from websites users subscribe to. The
system generates a feed and makes all content available on one site, typically through
a RSS reader (Li and Bernoff 2011).
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what their consumers are saying about them online. Furthermore, Corporations can
also set up their own community for consumers to join in order to gain market
insights (Li and Bernoff 2011).

Talking refers to using the technologies available within the groundswell, as a


facilitator for getting the message across to the target audience. Today people are
exposed to more than 3,000 brand impressions every day, hence, messages may get
lost in the “noise” (Lieb and Owyang 2012). Consequently, it is important for
corporations to find other ways to connect with their target audiences. This can, for
instance, be achieved by creating a presence on social networking sites, create blogs,
writing updates, take part in the conversations on the platforms and post viral content
that people want to share (Li and Bernoff 2011). By talking to the groundswell it
makes people aware of your existence and encourages to interaction and sharing of
content. By posting content that people want to share corporations can use the
groundswell to spread their messages. Furthermore, people trust messages from
friends and family more than from corporations, thus the message is seen as
trustworthy (Li and Bernoff 2011). This aspect is closely related to energizing, which
is described in the next paragraph.

Energizing of the groundswell deals with encouragement of word-of-mouth. Word-of-


mouth is the sharing of information through interpersonal communication (Kotler et
al. 2009) According to Gelb and Johnson (1995) word-of-mouth is the phenomenon
taking place when friends, peers or family are used as a source of information and the
receiver perceives the communicator as non-commercial. Energizing is achieved by
connecting with the most committed customers and utilize them to create awareness
about your corporation. Committed customers can be encouraged to create content
about a brand, e.g., through updates, photos or videos about a corporation’s products.
This content will spread throughout the groundswell and create numerous of
impressions. This is not an easy job, however, if you have a strong brand with
passionate customers, they will inevitably create content about your brand and
recommend it to others. If not, it is necessary to encourage customers in other ways,
e.g., through brand ambassadors and opinion leaders.

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Supporting the groundswell uses tools provided by web 2.0 for creating a framework
wherein the persons inside the groundswell can support each other (Li and Bernoff
2011). This can, for instance, be achieved through forums where people can share
their passion for a brand or get help to solve problems for a product. Supporting of the
groundswell is relevant for corporations that currently use large resources on
supporting their customers (Li and Bernoff 2011).

Embracing the groundswell takes place when corporations include customers into
their business. This is done by include customers in the product development and use
their ideas for future products. Embracing the groundswell requires a strong and
engaged groundswell. Therefore, it is only useful for corporations that have succeeded
with the four other strategies explained above.

One drawback of using the groundswell for marketing activities is the lack of control.
Customers can speak freely about brands and corporations have little control over the
information and content distributed about them online (Kaplan and Haenlein 2009).
However, one method for corporations to gain some control over the content
distributed is by creating their own content for the platforms. For corporations this
means to use content marketing (Lieb 2012). Li and Bernoff (2010) do not propose
sufficient theory about this aspect, hence, next chapter of this thesis is dedicated to
explain how the uses of content marketing can help corporations in their online
presence.

2.6 Content Marketing as Part of a Converged Media Landscape


This chapter describes the term content marketing and how it contributes to a
converged media landscape. Content marketing deals with the actual content (e.g.
photos, videos and text) people see on the online platforms. The theories presented in
this chapter enable this thesis to analyse the content created by Red Bull, in order to
see its contribution to the engagement obtained.

Content marketing focuses on enabling corporations to create their own content and
publish it on owned media channels they control (Lieb and Owyang 2012). Owned
media include blogs, social media and websites. Lieb (2012: 2) argues that “Content

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is the bait, it’s what captures eyeballs, ears, attention and engagement.” Hence, it is
important to produce content that is relevant for the target audience. If successful,
customers will come to you without the use of advertising and promotion. This means
that customers are interested in your corporation and are receptive for what you have
to say (Sashi 2012). This enhances the prospect for getting the message across,
generating customer loyalty and engagement significantly. Content comes in many
shapes, examples are: videos, text, games, photos, audio, e-magazines, infographics,
newsletters and podcasts. Lieb (2012) argues that content should entertain, inform or
educate in order to engage customers. Content entertains by using humour,
storytelling, celebrities or emotions. Additionally, live streaming is another way to
create attention and engagement during an event. Through live streaming people can
be part of an event no matter where in the world they are (Lieb 2012). On the other
hand, content that informs or educates is achieved through knowledge sharing, videos,
online communities, websites, articles, research and statistics. The aim of content
marketing is to create, awareness, trust and transparency (Lieb 2012).

Moreover, owned media relate closely to paid media and earned media. Paid media
include all advertising Figure!3!2!The!Convergence!of!Paid,!Owned!&!Earned!Media
activities where media
buy is necessary for
achieving attention, e.g.,
ads on TV and all sorts of
advertising space bought
online like sponsored
stories and ads (Lieb and
Owyang 2012). In an
online context, earned
media include publicity
gained due to content
produced or distributed Source:(Lieb!and!Owyang!2012:5.
about a corporation by
users through, e.g., status updates, Tweets, reviews, videos and photos (Lieb and
Owyang 2012). The emergence of social media has contributed to the creation of a
converged media landscape where owned, paid and earned media all work together.
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Figure three shows this convergence (Lieb and Owyang 2012). For the analysis of
Red Bull Stratos it is taken into consideration how earned, paid and owned media
supported each other in reaching the target audience.

2.7 Part Conclusion


To sum up, the theoretical foundation established in this chapter has created a
framework for analysing the case study. Through theories and concepts related to
integrated marketing communication, social media, customer engagement, the
groundswell and content marketing this chapter has facilitated knowledge for a
thoroughly analysis of Red Bull Stratos. Next chapter presents the methodology of the
empirical data gathered for the thesis.

3 Empirical Data
In order to get a profound insight of Red Bull’s online strategy a qualitative interview
has been conducted. The interview was capable of contributing with data and
knowledge beyond what the sources of this thesis have provided. The interviewee was
advertising director Mikael Lemberg from the advertising agency “Komfo”. With
respect to the scientific method of the thesis, the interview was used as research tool
for a greater understanding of Red Bull’s intentions and strategy for generating
engagement. As the interview has a qualitative approach, the questions were open-
ended in order to encourage to conversation and elaboration. The data gathered from
the interview are interpreted and applied in the analysis and discussion when
appropriate. A transcription of the empirical data is presented in appendix 3. Next
chapter introduces Red Bull and the Stratos project.

4 Introduction to Red Bull and The Stratos Mission


Inspired by an energy drink developed in Thailand, Dietrich Mateschitz introduced
Red Bull to the Austrian market in 1987 (Red Bull 2013). Today Red Bull is sold in
more than 165 countries with a total of 5,226 billion cans sold every year (Red Bull
2013). Red Bull’s main target audience are people with a zest for life, mainly males
aged 12-29. However, females are also considered to be part of the target group,
though not the main target audience (The Red Bulletin 2013). Red Bull spends 30 to
40 per cent of its revenue on marketing activities. The marketing strategy is based on

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sponsorships, guerrilla tactics, events and advertising campaigns (Bhasin 2012).
Based on previously marketing activities Red Bull has gained an image closely linked
to extreme sport. Its marketing activities ranges from airplane races in Rio, ownership
of Formula 1 teams to personal sponsorships of athletes. The close link to extreme
sport correlates well with Red Bull’s slogan: “Red Bull gives you wings” (Red Bull
2013). The slogan also emphasizes the enhanced effect, which the Red Bull energy
drink promises to have on your performance (Red Bull 2013).

The Red Bull Stratos mission started in 2005 as a partnership between Red Bull and
the Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner (Red Bull Stratos 2013). It was a space
diving mission with the goal “of transcending human limits” (Red Bull Stratos 2013).
To achieve this the aim was to ascend to 39 kilometres in a stratospheric balloon with
a capsule attached to it, make a freefall towards earth and reach supersonic speed
before parachuting back to the ground. Appendix two shows a graphic illustration of
the original plan of the jump (note the initial plan was to ascend to 36 kilometres,
however, the actual height was 39 kilometres). Moreover, the project was established
in order to provide future research data for the aerospace and medical industries (Red
Bull Stratos 2013). On October 14, 2012, after having been postponed two times due
to bad weather conditions, Baumgartner succeeded in making the jump and broke
three world records. Highest jump (39 kilometres), longest freefall (36 kilometres)
and became the first person to break the speed of sound, without the assistance of an
engine (Red Bull Stratos 2013). The core target audience for the Stratos project is
similar to Red Bull’s overall target audience. However, as the Stratos project gained
much publicity, online and offline, the target audience for the Stratos project exceeds
Red Bull’s usual target audience. Thus, the extended target audience includes
mentally and physically active people aged 30-50, with an appetite for life. Online
platforms were in wide extent used to promote the event. Next chapter analyses Red
Bull’s ability to generate engagement among its target audience on the platforms.

5 Analysis of Red Bull Stratos


Based on the theoretical framework established in chapter two, this chapter analyses
Red Bull’s use of social media. This will give answer to the question proposed in the

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problem statement about whether engagement was generated during the Stratos
project.

With respect to the approach of methodological hermeneutics and the hermeneutic


circle, Red Bull’s intentions for the Stratos project are defined. This enables the thesis
to understand the true meaning of the project and social media’s role in the campaign.
From a marketing perspective, the intention was to create a story that was able to
capture the attention of millions of people and earn Red Bull the right to talk to its
audiences. This created an opportunity for Red Bull go get its message across and
solidifies its brand positioning. Hence, Red Bull aimed at emphasizing its link to
extreme sport and its desire to continuously push the limits for what is considered
possible. For capturing the attention of the target audience Red Bull used social media
platforms as a facilitator for generating engagement and word-of-mouth.

5.1 The Integrated Marketing Perspective of Red Bull Stratos


With the psychological dimension of methodological hermeneutics in mind, this
section analyses the overall framework of the marketing activities conducted
throughout the Stratos project. This is done to obtain an understanding of the context
social media was working in. Thus, this chapter applies theories related to the concept
of integrated marketing communication as presented in chapter 2.1.

The Stratos project was not merely built upon social media, it was created as an
integrated marketing campaign. Besides social media other communication channels
were also included for reaching the target audience. TV and magazines were some of
the other main channel used. Red Bull’s own monthly magazine “The Red Bulletin”
included feature stories about the jump in the six months leading up to event and in
the issue following the jump (The Red Bulletin International 2012). This generated
knowledge and interest before the event took place and contributed to increase the
awareness. Furthermore, Red Bull Stratos gained massive exposure on TV during the
day of the jump. The jump was broadcasted on more than 40 networks across 50
countries (Clancy 2012). The use of TV and magazines were used in close
collaboration with the social media platforms, in order to reach people and get the
intended message across. Consequently, social media worked in a context were TV
and magazines complemented each other in order to attain synergy and consistency.

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The use of TV and magazines were only part of the campaign; the Stratos project was
mainly based on a strategy aimed at reaching and engaging the target audience
through social media (Red Bull Media House 2013). Hence, next chapter analyses if
Red Bull was successful in engaging its target audience through social media during
the Stratos project.

5.2 Creation of Engagement


With regards to the grammatical aspect of methodological hermeneutics this chapter
conducts the actual analysis of the content presented by Red Bull on the social media
platforms.

Therefore, Lieb’s (2012) theory on content marketing, the customer engagement


cycle, Li and Bernoff’s (2011) five strategies for tapping the groundswell and the
social technographics ladder is now applied.

Red Bull’s approach for generating engagement was based upon communication with
the aim of gaining the audience’s attention. Hence, this thesis regards talking and
energizing as the most prominent tactics used and are, therefore, analysed in the
following sections.

According to the customer engagement cycle, connection is a predecessor for


generating engagement. Hence, first Red Bull has to start talking to its target
audience. In order create awareness about the mission Red Bull initiated its
communication through owned media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) nine
months prior to the jump (Red Bull Media House 2013). The content was created to
inform and educate the target audience about the mission. At first sight it can be
difficult to understand the concept of Red Bull Stratos. Therefore, Red Bull needed to
explain the target audience what it was all about. This was done through posts
revealing videos and photos of how the team prepared for the mission. It included
footage of test jumps and interviews with Baumgartner and his Stratos team. This
enabled people to get a closer relationship to Baumgartner. By learning about his
childhood and background for doing the jump they got to know him as a person, and
not just as another daredevil seeking attention. It created a connection between the

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target audience and the project as a whole. Moreover, it created foundation for
generating engagement. Some of the first content uploaded to all three platforms by
Red Bull, was a video introducing the Stratos project. It gained 1,494,323 views on
YouTube, which can be considered as a high number. However, in terms of
engagement the video did not reach high numbers. It reached 93 likes, 14 comments
and 34 shares on Facebook and got 86 retweets on Twitter (Red Bull 2013).
Consequently, since there are a high number of views compared to the level of traffic
generated, mostly spectators were affected by this video. Thus, creators,
conversationalist and critics were not affected by the video in the same degree. This
was very much the picture of the engagement among the target audience in the
beginning of the Stratos project. Hence, in order to move to a higher level of
engagement, Red Bull needed to move to the next step in the customer engagement
cycle. The interaction between Red Bull and the target audience, however, was at a
minimum. Besides uploading content to the platforms Red Bull did not step into a
dialogue with the users online. Many users posted questions on the platforms about
the mission, however, Red Bull did not reply. According to the customer engagement
cycle interaction has to be created in order to satisfy customers (Sashi 2012). Hence,
Red Bull missed an essential step in the process of generating engagement. By not
participating in the dialogues no interaction was created. It can be assumed to be part
of Red Bull’s strategy. However, Red Bull impeded the creation of engagement and
did not make use of the two-way communication processes offered by social media. It
creates a distance between Red Bull and its target audience when replies are not
reacted upon. This is not preferable when aiming at generating engagement. Among
the target audience it may give the impression of Red Bull being uncaring about its
customers and take them for granted. What Red Bull did instead, was to leave it up to
the users to answer the questions. This relates closely to the concept of the
groundswell, as the users get information from each other, rather, than from Red Bull.
Hence, it can be argued that this was able to compensate for the lack of interaction
between Red Bull and the users. As the project progressed Red Bull kept posting
content till the day of jump and was despite all able to create satisfaction and
retention. However, if Red Bull had focused on interaction earlier in the progress, it is
reasonable to assume that the level of engagement would have been higher over a
longer period. Nevertheless, as table one, two and three shows, Red Bull managed to
generate a high level of traffic on the platforms, in particular in the days leading up to
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(@redbullstratos) and the official
brand profile (@redbull). On this
social
Jakob Rosenfeldt Hansen platform,
301704 we decided to take Bachelor Thesis 2013
a closer look at the total numberNumbers
BA Marketing and Management Communication
of of characters 55,803!
!
mentions,
the jump. Table one, two and which is the
three shows the sum
increaseofin all
“mentions”, “interactions”,
tweets  mentioning  the  profile‘s  
and “subscribers”, on the three platforms, respectively. From the interview with
handle.
Lemberg (appendix three) it is realised that this was partly achieved through an
impressive budget
Table!1!–!Mentions!on!Twitter that allowed
nteractions sponsored stories
mp did and ads to direct
e official traffic to the sites.
ghtly For the purposes of this study, we
examined both Red Bull Stratos As it can be seen
le were
(https://www.facebook.com/redbullstratos) there is a profound
s, which
and  Red  Bull‘s  Official  Facebook  Page   increase in the
unday and
(https://www.facebook.com/redbull). The days leading up the
numbers on both pages signify that the event, and
Stratos mission was highly engaging for fans especially at the
on facebook and received a large number of day of the jump.
fan interactions (likes, comments and
Source:(Socialbakers!2012:!8.! This also indicates
shares).
an increase in the
Table!2!2!Daily!Interactions!on!Facebook

ght, the Red level of the


with engagement and
al jump. in the creation of
14 received earned media
uding some among the target
audience.
However, it does
ull official
ns is slightly not answer how it
740,000 was achieved. To
claim this for answer this Li and
Benroff (2011)
Source:(Socialbakers(2012:(5. theory on
energizing the groundswell is now applied.

The concept in itself played an important role in energizing the audience. According
to Kemp (2012) people have always been interested in space exploration and

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!
adventures. Furthermore, people love to be impressed by daredevils and what they are
capable of achieving. Hence, Red Bull talked to a basic human interest. Additionally,
the Stratos project
Table!3!–!Growth!in!Subscribers!on!YouTube!
was relevant for
n the graph the Red Bull
s PRO tool,
had a Brand. It could be
on the linked to Red
ubscribers.
Bull’s brand and
week of
age growth positioning and
ribers per highlights
ump dates
successful everything that
succesful) Red Bull
mped to
represents. The
ers in a
h is simply Jump literally
Source:(Socialbakers(2012:(4. shows that “Red
Bull gives you
wings” and emphasizes Red Bull’s link to extreme sport. Therefore, in order to
engage the target audience it was necessary with content that was able to show this
and establishes incentives for people to share the content throughout groundswell.
Because Red Bull has its own media house, it was possible to produce all content “in-
house” and gain full control over the message of the content. Thus, through
energizing of the target audience, Red Bull aimed at generating engagement and
advocacy by controlling the content communicated to the audience. Red Bull
energized its audience through content that was able to generate affective
commitment. Content with an emotional aspect to it were uploaded to achieve this.
Furthermore, by showing photos and videos from “behind the scenes” Red Bull was
able to make the project transparent for the target audience and obtain trust.

Red Bull Stratos reached 854,029 “fans” on Facebook and 205,158 “followers” on
Twitter (Red Bull 2013). This was the result of an increase in awareness, online
word-of-mouth and an emotional bond established between Red Bull and its target
audience. As a result, people began to advocate for the mission. Hence, the content
had also caught the attention of creators and conversationalist. On Twitter 3,2 million
Tweets were generated with Red Bull’s certified hashtags for the Stratos mission
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(#Stratos and #Livejump). Through knowledge gained from the empirical data of this
thesis, it is acknowledged that the number of persons who talked about Baumgartner
and Red Bull on Facebook was considerably high, compared to the number of people
who talked about all other popular subjects on Facebook at the time. According to
table one the average daily mentions of Red Bull on Twitter was an average of 762,87
per day from September 16, 2012 to October 16, 2012 (Socialbakers 2013). For
Facebook the number of average interactions (likes, comments and shares) was
37,542,03 (Socialbakers 2013). This is a high level of impressions and is evidence of
engagement mainly among conversationalists. Many Creators are also found among
the target audience. On YouTube users have created hundreds of videos with
Baumgartner. By looking at the first 20 videos shown on YouTube, it can be seen that
fans have created 14 of them. Red Bull used some of this content to promote the
event. One user recorded a video of a song he had written, which Red Bull later on
posted on Facebook and Twitter. The video got 27,797 views, 3,207 likes, 163 shares
on Facebook and 237 retweets on Twitter (Red Bull 2013).

Besides that Red Bull intensified its advertising efforts on the platforms (ads and
sponsored stories) in the days leading up to the jump, it was the content that was the
primary element for generating engagement. Photo one, two and three show the
content from each platform that generated the most traffic throughout the Stratos
project.

The content is characterised by all being from the day of the jump. Table one shows
that Red Bull Stratos was mentioned 23,649 times on Twitter, in the month leading up
to the jump. 20,000 of the times were on the day of jump and the day after. The Tweet
shown in photo one (next page) was retweeted 8,416 times and has in wide extent
contributed to this level of traffic. Based on these numbers it is argued that the level
of engagement among the target audience on Twitter was substantial.

The reason for the high number of retweets is due to its relevance for the target
audience. As already mentioned, people love daredevils, especially when they
succeed. Thus, as people followed the jump on TV or on the live streaming on
YouTube, many created a need for sharing their excitement and enthusiasm. A Tweet
is a simple and easy way to do this. Hence, the high number retweets. The Tweet was
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created by Red Bull only seconds after Baumgartner touched ground in order to catch
people’s attention while they were still affected by the event.
Photo!1!2!Tweet!Stating!Baumgartner’s!Return!to!Earth!

Figure!3!2!Red!Bull's!Twitter!account.!Retrieved!April!28,!2013.

From table two it can be seen that in the month leading up to the event 1,163,803
interactions were generated on Facebook, whereas 909,959 of them were generated at
the day of the jump (Red Bull 2013). Photo two (next page) played an important role
in reaching this level of engagement. The photo achieved 527,790 likes, 15,429
comments and 69,367 shares (Red Bull 2012). It is estimated that the photo generated
at least 10 million impressions and up to 50 million impressions, depending on the
amount of advertisement used by Red Bull on Facebook (Socialbakers 2012). This
means that Red Bull’s message has reached millions of people that otherwise would
not have been affected by Red Bull’s marketing activities. These numbers indicate a
high level of engagement among the target audience and are achieved due to the
design of the content. The photo shows Baumgartner after touchdown sitting on his
knees and looking humble over what he has just achieved. The photo has an
emotional appeal and captures the essence of Red Bull Stratos. Compared to the
Tweet (photo one) this post shows it instead of telling it. People who watched the
jump saw it as an “I was there moment”. Therefore, this photo is relevant for the
target audience, as it will trigger people’s emotions when they see the photo appears
on Facebook afterwards.

Through likes, comments and shares people are able to express their emotional
connection to the project and feel as part of it. Consequently, the photo has strong
emotional appeal and reinforces the affective commitment established prior to the

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jump. The high number of retweets and likes for photo one and two indicate that
besides having engaged creators and conversationalists, Red Bull also managed to
engage critics. Furthermore, the high number likes for photo two indicate that critics
make up large part of the target audience. Due to the high number of impressions and
reach it is conceivable to assume that the Stratos Project has also affected joiners to
some degree. Even though they merely maintain a profile on social media sites, it can
be argued that due to the high level of impressions they have been exposed to the
content while being online.
Photo!2!–!Photo!From!Red!Bull’s!Facebook!Page

Source:(Red!Bull’s!Facebook!page.!Retrieved!April!28,!2013.

Table three shows that Red Bull’s YouTube channel gained 184,604 new subscribes
in the month leading up to the jump and 87,801 of them subscribed at the day of the
jump (Socialbakers 2012). The reason for this increase has to be found in the number
of people who watched the live streaming of the jump on YouTube. The live
streaming gained more than 8 million viewers, which is a YouTube record (Iezzi
2012). It was the result of integration among the platforms. In all updates at the day
op the jump, on Facebook and Twitter, a link to the live streaming was included.
Consequently, people were presented with the same message and directed to the same
site. Through transparency the live streaming contributed to generate trust between
Red Bull and its target audience. All viewers could follow Baumgartner in his jump,
whether he would succeed or not. This gives the impression that Red Bull was not
only doing it for the sake of publicity. Furthermore, photo three shows a screenshot of

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a video uploaded to YouTube by Red Bull with highlights of the jump. At the time of
writing it has 33.760.469 views (Red Bull 2013).

Photo!3!–!Screenshot!of!The!YouTube!Video!With!Highlights!of!The!Mission

Source:(Red!Bull’s!YouTube!channel.!Retrieved!April!28,!2013.

The high numbers of view are due to the timing of the video. Because of Red Bull’s
ability to create its own content the video was uploaded within hours after jump,
while people were still amazed and touched by the jump. Furthermore, it was well-
produced and allowed everybody else to feel as part of the group who saw the jump
live and to some degree get the “I was there” feeling. As, spectators consume content
created by others users, it is conceivable that many of the viewers have been
spectators affected by the traffic generated on the platforms and afterwards drawn
into YouTube. This indicates a high level of engagement among the target audience,
since viewers then have been exposed to earned media generated on the platforms.

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As it can be seen, Red Bull has been able to engage nearly all categories of the
technographics ladder. However, no evidence supporting collectors’ online behaviour
has been found. Understandably, inactives have not been affected by the activities
taking place online.

When looking at the outcomes of Red Bull Stratos, it is unquestionably that it was a
success in terms of engagement and awareness. By creating content that was able to
cut through the clutter and catch people’s attention and emotions, Red Bull reached
out to millions of people with tools provided by web 2.0 and social media. Red Bull
was in high degree able to generate engagement because of its approach to the project.
Red Bull sees themselves as a media company that create content in order to sell
energy drinks and not the other way around. Lemberg argues that (appendix three:
line 110-111), “It was all just a matter of generating something people wanted to talk
about and then make the conversation the actual advertising.” In order to obtain such
earned media the Stratos project used paid and owned media. The social media
platform was owned media, whereas the use of ads and sponsored stories to promote
the event was paid media. As a result, Red Bull was able to reach and affect a high
number of people with its message. Hence, through interconnection the converged
media landscape contributed to a higher level of engagement and enabled Red Bull to
use the capabilities within the groundswell to spread its message.

5.3 Part Conclusion


In conclusion, what made the Stratos project successful was Red Bull’s ability to
create relevant and timed content. Red Bull was able to talk to its customers when
they were most engaged through content with an emotional appeal to it. As a result,
Red Bull Stratos was a success when looking at its ability to generate engagement
among the target audience. The success is also the result of Red Bull’s ability to talk
to almost all groups of the technographics ladder. However, the campaign was not
perfect. Red Bull did not make use of the tools offered by social media to a degree
that encouraged to interaction, which could have resulted in a higher level of
engagement over a longer period.

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6 Discussion
In order to answer the final research question this chapter looks if other corporations
can apply Red Bull’s approach of the Stratos project. Red Bull Stratos is considered
successful in terms of reach and engagement. Thus, it could beneficial for other
corporations to apply elements from Red Bull’s approach into their strategy.

It is not essential for corporations to create worldwide event in order to create


engagement, it is important to find a way to cut through the clutter. Lemberg argues
(appendix three: line 287-288), “You need to have a brand that stands for the content
they you are producing […]”. For businesses this mean to prove their worth by
creating content that is relevant for their target audience and link it to the core of their
brand. In order to obtain trust the content should be affective and not look like a
publicity stunt. It is about generating value for the audience and create content that
make them come back and share it with others. Pepsi is an example of a company that
has embraced content marketing as a tool for generating engagement among its target
audience. Pepsi’s website is no longer a display for its products; it is a music news
site with articles, videos and photos of artists and bands that are popular among
Pepsi’s target audience (Pepsi 2013). The content is created by Pepsi and distributed
on its website and on social media platforms. Moreover, in order to encourage the
target audience to generate content for the site and, thereby, achieve earned media all
content generated by Pepsi’s users on social media sites is shown on the website and
is visible for all visitors of the site.

To engage a target audience through content marketing demands large resources. In


order to keep customer engaged it is essential to keep producing content. Thus,
corporations need to consider if they are ready to do it. However, if corporations are
successful they have something unique that is hard to copy by other competitors.
Content marketing can be used in large scale, like Red Bull Stratos, or in a less
extensive scale for smaller businesses. Experts agree that even a small injection of
Red Bull’s way of thinking could be beneficial for corporations (Chun 2012). To be
successful, no matter the size, corporations should be dedicated to generate content
that is able to create an impact. It is suggested that corporation create a media
department to handle the production of content. This allows corporations to stay in

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control, to some degree, of the content distributed about them online. More
importantly, it enables corporations to produce timed content. This means that
corporations can produce content when customers are most engaged. If used properly,
content marketing is an efficient method for affecting the process of customer
engagement.

7 Conclusion
Based on the theoretical foundation of the thesis and the findings of the case study, it
has become evident that Red Bull was able to engage its target audience. Red Bull
reached and engaged millions of people through social media. Based on what has
been said in this thesis it can be concluded that Red Bull Stratos was undeniably a
success in terms of engagement and reach. Red Bull Stratos was a campaign with
several aspects to it, which all worked together through an integrated marketing
strategy. TV and magazines were used to create attention through traditional media.
However, the main focus area was within social media. Through a strategy that
utilized the groundswell and took the converged media landscape into consideration
engagement was achieved.

In the introduction of this thesis a quote from Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg,
is found. It states: “The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that changing
really quickly” (qtd. in Rao 2011). Red Bull has embraced this way of thinking. Red
Bull has developed from being a company selling energy drinks to a company that
produces content in order to sell energy drinks. Hence, Content marketing was an
important feature for the level of engagement generated. Red Bull Stratos was in itself
a unique concept, however, what engaged the target audience was the content’s ability
to show this uniqueness through relevant, timed and affective content. However, the
campaign has also room for improvement. Red Bull did not make use of the two-way
communication tools offered by social media. This can be assumed to have affected
the level of engagement negatively. If having stepped into a dialogue with the target
audience, a higher level of engagement may have been reached earlier in the process
and maintained over a longer period.

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Nevertheless, other corporations and industries can learn from Red Bull. By
embracing content marketing and the groundswell, corporations can speak and
interact with their audiences in new ways. Corporations will in higher degree be able
to affect what are distributed about them online and as well be able to create their own
content for distribution. As long as the content links to the brand users will understand
the message. In order to create incentives for users to share it, corporations should
create content that informs or entertains through an affective appeal. It demands large
investments, however, if done properly corporations are rewarded with an engaged
target audience and over time a loyal customer base.

7.1 Suggestions For Further Research


It is realised that not all content created by Red Bull is analysed. Thus, to gain a
deeper insight into the content’s affect on the level of engagement, research of further
content uploaded during the Stratos project is suggested. Athletes sponsored by Red
Bull were also used to promote the event online. Research on this issue would be
applicable to get a more detailed picture of the process of engagement among the
target audience. Finally, the research area of this thesis has mainly been within the
field social media and its impact on engagement. Hence, the Stratos project’s
implications on Red Bull’s brand have not been analysed. For future research it is
suggested to investigate the change in people’s assessment of the Red Bull brand and
the impact of the overall positioning of Red Bull.

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Tapscott, D. (2006) Winning with the enterprise 2.0 in IT&CA Big idea. New
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9 Appendix 1
The IMC mix model.

Source: Pickton and Broderick 2005: 17.

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10 Appendix 2
The initial plan of Red Bull Stratos.

The Mission
Red Bull Stratos
deciphered
36,576m

–23°C 36,576m
Baumgartner jumps. 34,000m Baumgartner unlocks the
It is warmer here than door of his capsule and
at any other point during steps out of the capsule
the balloon ride up 32,000m

within 35 secs
30,000m Baumgartner will reach
his maximum speed
down to -60°C
Ferociously cold 28,000m
temperatures on the
ascent: coldest of all 28,000m
in the troposphere 26,000m Air gets denser, slowing
Baumgartner down,
25,929m
JET ALTITUDE RECORD
but making him more
24,000m (SR-71 BLACKBIRD) aerodynamically sensitive.
Risk of flat spin greatest
THIS IS WHERE EARTH‘S OZONE
LAYER IS AT ITS STRONGEST
5 hours 22,000m
Total mission duration

20,000m

17,000m
15,447m
GLIDER ALTITUDE RECORD
Stratosphere 15,000m (PERLAN PROJECT)

Tropopause
LAUNCH SITE:
12,000m ROSWELL
(NEW MEXICO)
Troposphere 11,000m
COMMERCIAL FLIGHTS
10,000m AVERAGE HEIGHT

8,848m
MOUNT EVEREST SUMMIT
05:00 8,000m

Lift off. Still morning air


is required so that the huge
6,000m
balloon can be inflated
Baumgartner pulls the
ripcord five-and-a-half
ILLUSTRATION: ALBERT EXERGIAN

4,000m minutes after leaving


the capsule. He will
land 15 minutes later
2,000m
1,500m
Roswell,
New Mexico

Source: Red Bulletin March 2012: 12.

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11 Appendix 3
Interview with Mikael Lemberg April 23, 2013, Copenhagen.

The interviewee is social media expert Mikael Lemberg (ML). Lemberg is employed
as advertising director at the Danish based advertising agency “Komfo” and is
considered as one the of leading expert within Facebook and social media in Denmark
(Elberth in Lemberg 2012). During the Red Bull Stratos mission Lemberg was
employed as Client Partner at Facebook’s European Headquarter in Dublin.

The interview was guided by open-ended questions in order to encourage to dialogue.


The interview was recorded and afterwards converted into a written transcript.

The interview starts on the next page.

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1! Interviewer:
2! Red Bull gained a lot of publicity with the Stratos project and Facebook, Twitter and
3! YouTube were the platforms mainly used. Red Bull did not make use of traditional
4! push media like TV and print ads. Why do you think Red Bull mainly used these
5! platforms and do you see it as a good idea to mainly use social media platforms for a
6! campaign?
7!
8! ML:
9! I saw a commentary somewhere where guy said that, what Red Bull did was basically
10! to create their own Super Bowl. That is pretty true and I am not sure that what they
11! did has cost a lot more money than a Super Bowl ad. But they got single share of
12! voice for like an hour and a lot more earned media than a Super Bowl ad would
13! generate. So, I think it is a great idea.
14!
15! Interviewer:
16! The event was also broadcasted on TV in over 50 countries, which contributed to the
17! high level of publicity. Since it was broadcasted on TV the reach goes beyond Red
18! Bull’s usual target audience and the people Red Bull usually communicate with. Do
19! you see that as a benefit or a disadvantage, since they ended up talking to many
20! people outside the target audience?
21!
22! ML:
23! Well, Red Bull is a fast moving consumer good, which basically means that even
24! though they might have a target audience, it is more like a focus audience. Basically,
25! they probably think that anyone who wants to drink the product should drink their
26! product. So, of course they had a focus audience, which generates a higher return on
27! investment than other people. But I am sure they are happy to get as many people to
28! talk about Red Bull regardless if they are in the focus audience or not.
29!
30! Interviewer:
31! What do you see as the intensions behind the campaign? Was it to increase awareness
32! or to increase sales? Basically what was the message they wanted to get through to the
33! audience?
34!
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35! ML:
36! Well it is a typical branding objective. This is about positioning Red Bull as
37! something that breaks boundaries and challenges perceptions and makes people able
38! to do amazing stuff. So this is very much a branding campaign. I guess the objective
39! was probably to solidify the perception of the brand. You have to remember as well
40! that Red Bull do not see themselves as a soda company, they see themselves as a
41! media company and they do a lot of that kind of things. In Denmark they just opened
42! the Red Bull Studio, which is a record label for independent artists that cannot get
43! studios or funding other places. It is a really interesting move, to see how they went
44! from being a soda company to being a real media company that just happens to sell
45! soda as well.
46!
47! Interviewer:
48! Athletes sponsored by Red Bull and online ads were used to promote the event. In a
49! campaign like this, how do you see paid, owned and earned media merge together.
50! Because as I see it all three media were used?
51!
52! ML:
53! They definitely did, I know for a fact that they had some pretty impressive budgets for
54! Facebook advertising during the peak of the campaign, to make sure they got traffic
55! into the site where everything was happening and so on. But the whole thing about the
56! modern media landscape today is that it is a big blur between paid, owned and earned
57! media. If you look at the Facebook platform there is a big blur between paid, owned
58! and earned as well. Your page is owned, which means that when you communicating
59! to your fans it will be owned media as well, but you do not want to reach all of your
60! fans unless you are engaging, so you have to consider that. With Paid media on
61! Facebook you can have a sponsored story telling somebody about something that has
62! strengthen, what is normally what we would consider earned. So the whole point is
63! that it is a bit blur what is paid, earned and owned, what we really should be
64! interested in is how many conversations am I generating. Conversations are what
65! move and that is what they should be tracking themselves on.
66!
67!

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68!
69! Interviewer:
70! Of course all the platforms were interconnected and there was also a corporate
71! website collecting all of the information in one place. How much does that means for
72! a campaign like this, that everything was connected?
73!
74! ML:
75! It means a lot of course that they have thought the concept thorough. I mean a lot of
76! good project have died in bad infrastructure and this could have done so as well. But
77! they thought it through from the beginning on all platforms. I am sure that they had
78! already briefed all the media companies as well about when they could expect to
79! broadcast it live and briefed them about how to do it and so on. It is just a perfect
80! example of a well-executed campaign.
81!
82! Interviewer:
83! I would very much like to understand how Red Bull was able to generate engagement
84! among its target audience. What do you see as the main trigger for generating this
85! engagement and online word-of-mouth for this campaign?
86!
87! ML:
88! Well, we have always loved daredevils, so the concept in itself is very impressive; I
89! mean every small kid has had a dream of travelling to outer space. Being on the burst
90! of the outer space is something that triggers our imagination. So, they could probably
91! not have done this if it was a guy sailing around the world in a small canoe or
92! something like that. It would not be half as interesting even though it would probably
93! be at least as dangerous. So, the concept was good, but they had been building this up
94! for months, before it happened. I think I heard about it probably April 2012 where I
95! was at a Facebook conference in California and one of the keynote speakers was a
96! representative from Red Bull. At that point she told that this was their newest and
97! most crazy concept they could think about. So they had been planning that for more
98! than six months - how to execute it and they had before the actual jump, one or two
99! attempts where they send up the balloon and took it down again. Maybe they could
100! have done it in the second attempt, but they probably took it down to make sure that
101! now everybody knows that someone is going to jump soon.
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102!
103! Interviewer:
104! You talked about Red Bull’s own media house before. For the Stratos project many
105! concepts from content marketing were used. What is your view on content marketing
106! in this context?
107!
108! Well it was all content, I mean none of it was classic branding messages like “drink
109! Red Bull and be cool” or whatever, it was all just a matter of generating something
110! people wanted to talk about and then making the conversation the actual advertising.
111! So this is a perfect example of content marketing, there was no brand message here, it
112! was only content.
113!
114! I have some screenshots I would to present for you (see Photo one, two and three).
115! Within 18 hours this photo got over half a million likes and over 60.000 shares. How
116! much is a photo like this worth?
117!
118! Depends on how you measure it, but like one way of measuring it would be like what
119! is the total number if impression a post like this generates and we are talking millions
120! here. Maybe 10 millions, maybe 20 millions or even 50 millions depending if they also
121! advertised the event on Facebook and so on. What you could do then is to multiply
122! with a CPM (cost per impression) of 25-30 DKK then you would have an impression
123! of what you would have to pay to generate this kind of awareness. Still if what took
124! place happened organically that is probably because the content was as cool as it
125! was. So even if you bought you way into 20 million impressions, with any other
126! message than this, it would not have had the same value. So maybe you can say
127! instead of 25 DKK CPM you can say 50 or 75 DKK because the message was so
128! strong. But we are talking millions here of course.
129!
130! Interviewer:
131! The same goes for Twitter a post got over 8.400 retweets and a YouTube video got
132! over 33 million views. Is that worth the same as the Facebook photo?
133!
134! Yes definitely, I mean like if I was a Classic PR agency then when I was counting the
135! earned media value I generated, like if I got a newspaper to talk about my clients’
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136! product or if I got a TV station to broadcast something that was not a commercial and
137! still positive about my clients’ product, then a normal CPM rate for that might be 160
138! DKK. So, that would be a 160 x 33.000, you can multiply that yourself and find out
139! what a PR agency would charge for that kind of impressions.
140!
141! Interviewer:
142! Red Bull also had the live streaming on YouTube and broke the record with 8 million
143! live viewers and I do not think it has been broken yet.
144!
145! ML:
146! No, I don’t think so.
147!
148! Interviewer:
149! With this high numbers of viewers and impressions on Facebook would you say that
150! the Stratos campaign had a high level of engagement among the target audience?
151!
152! Yes definitely, I mean at the time I was working at Facebook and I do not remember
153! the exact numbers but we had this real-time insight tool where I, for instance, could
154! look up within a certain time span, like the last hour, how many people have
155! mentioned this specific word in Denmark or globally or in the US. I do not remember
156! the exact numbers and I am not sure that I am allowed to tell them either. I remember
157! looking up and compared how many people talked about Baumgartner compared to
158! how many people talked about the Danish prime minister or other popular subjects
159! and he (Baumgartner) blew them all up. So, definitely high engagement.
160!
161! Interviewer:
162! What kind of content do you perceive as the most effective. The photo on Facebook
163! got over 500.000 likes, however, there were content that did not reach the same level
164! of attention and engagement. So, can it be concluded that for Red Bull Stratos the use
165! of photos was the best approach?
166!
167! ML:
168! Well in many ways, if you are only measuring the impact in terms of reach and
169! impressions, then photos will be the most efficient in means of communication on
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BA Marketing and Management Communication Numbers of characters 55,803!
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170! social media because it is so easy to consume and it is so easy to share. But of course
171! a well-produced video, even though, it is seen by fewer people might have a bigger
172! emotional impact. So, it is not a question about either or, it is about the perfect
173! combination. I think if they haven’t had the live stream, which is also video, the
174! photos would not have had tenth of the value.
175!
176! Interviewer:
177! So, it is about the interconnection between the platforms?
178!
179! ML:
180! Yes and it is the fact that you can see a photo and say, “I saw that live”. That is the
181! interesting part.
182!
183! We touched upon the advantages related to earned media and content marketing,
184! however, do you see any disadvantages by focusing on earned media and content
185! marketing?
186!
187! ML:
188! It is a big process and it is not easy to generate likeable and shareable content. It
189! requires a huge investment from you both in manpower, creativity, resources and
190! finances. Besides there is no guarantee that it is going to work for you. There is no
191! guarantee that people are actually going to like and share it. It might just fall to the
192! earth. So, that is the big disadvantage. It is not something that is easy to do, you
193! cannot just role out a content marketing campaign without a huge investment. I mean
194! huge of course compared to your size, but it does require a big investment of you and
195! there are no guarantees.
196!
197! Interviewer:
198! Since Red Bull has its own media house, do you think corporations need to have
199! something similar in order succeed?
200!
201! ML:
202! Yes, I doubt that a PR agency could have done this for Red Bull. I do not think so.
203!
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Jakob Rosenfeldt Hansen 301704 Bachelor Thesis 2013
BA Marketing and Management Communication Numbers of characters 55,803!
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204! Interviewer:
205! If you look at the campaign as a whole, do you see it only as publicity stunt or do you
206! actually think they tried to achieve something bigger?
207!
208! ML:
209! I think it matches. They are actually saying what they are doing here. It is not just a
210! one time off, if the advertisers was a bank or many other soft drinks, it could be Coke,
211! Pepsi or something like that, then people would have thought, this is cool but it is just
212! a marketing stunt. But in the case of Red Bull it has been known for long that they are
213! sponsoring daredevils and love to challenge classic conventions and they will
214! continue to do that afterwards. I am sure that we have not seen the last bit of
215! Baumgartner either.
216!
217! Interviewer:
218! Due to the high number of impressions Red Bull gained on social media, combined
219! with the overall publicity obtained, do you then think Red Bull has changed the way
220! corporations should use social media in the future?
221!
222! This is kind of back to the point I mentioned about no guarantees in future investment.
223! This is not something that anybody can copy. You cannot copy these things and
224! content only works once, then it is just copy after that. So, I mean I am sure that a lot
225! of people and companies have been inspired to think out of the box in general terms
226! and think about other ways to generate word-of-mouth than just do a advertising
227! campaign. But it is not like I think that we are going to see people jumping out of the
228! sky all the time from now on.
229!
230! Interviewer:
231! Do you then think corporations could learn something by integrating Red Bull’s way
232! of thinking, maybe just in a less extensive scale?
233!
234! ML:
235! Yes definitely, I’m sure of that. If you compare to a total different business, I am not
236! saying that they were inspired by Red Bull. But one of the other big content marketing
237! successes we are seeing right now, I think, is Netflix. People may not notice that it is
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Jakob Rosenfeldt Hansen 301704 Bachelor Thesis 2013
BA Marketing and Management Communication Numbers of characters 55,803!
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238! content marketing, but the whole” House of Cards” series is content marketing. It is
239! one big ad for Netflix and because it is produced by Netflix there is not other place
240! you can go and see it. They are probably getting a lot of new users, I read somewhere
241! that they got 10 million new users just because of “House of Cards”. So, it is an
242! advertisement and I guess it is an even more extreme case of content marketing
243! because nobody realises that this is content marketing. It is just content.
244!
245! Interviewer:
246! Do you see any places where Red Bull could have done things differently throughout
247! the campaign, because it may sound like the perfect campaign?
248!
249! ML:
250! No it is not the perfect campaign. From my perspective, when I was sitting at
251! Facebook, there were lots of things where I might have done things a bit differently.
252! Like which platforms hosted which parts of the campaign. If we have millions of
253! people talking about it afterwards why do you not spend some more money on
254! upscaling the reach of these messages with social ads and stuff like that? So it is not
255! the perfect campaign, but it is definitely a well-executed campaign.
256!
257! Interviewer:
258! So, do you think that Red Bull should have used other platforms? Or should they have
259! used the platforms in a different way?
260!
261! I think it was a very well-executed campaign and I do not think that any special
262! platforms were missing here. It is not a question of the platforms it is a question of,
263! did they reach all the users they wanted, did they reach with the content they wanted
264! and did they follow up on whatever was being produced afterwards. But I can look at
265! it from my perspective and say “hey” why did you not spend some more money on
266! social ads but I do not know the whole picture. So, it is hard for me to say, other than
267! I am sure that there were points where they could have and done things differently.
268! But they definitely deserve praise for the campaign.
269!
270!
271!
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Jakob Rosenfeldt Hansen 301704 Bachelor Thesis 2013
BA Marketing and Management Communication Numbers of characters 55,803!
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272! Interviewer:
273! You have already mentioned Netflix as company that also uses content marketing,
274! however, do you see any other companies on the market today capable of outdoing
275! Red Bull’s way of executing online marketing campaigns.
276!
277! ML:
278! No, I think a lot of companies have the potential of generating great content
279! marketing. Because if you are a fast moving consumer good or if you are some sort of
280! service that penetrates a lot of people’s everyday life, then you have a lot touch bases
281! with a lot people that you can exploit for content marketing. The question is, do you
282! have a brand that is solid and believable enough to put content marketing over it.
283! Bilka (retail store) in Denmark is reaching a lot people daily and they sell fast moving
284! consumer goods and people are in some way depended on Bilka’s existence in their
285! lives. But that does not mean that they can just drop a guy from space and that will be
286! great content marketing. You need to have a brand that stands for the content you are
287! producing as well. Netflix has that; it is all about movies and entertainment. Of
288! course they can market themselves with brand new series. Red Bull has it. So, that is
289! the biggest challenge for everyone else who want to replicate it.

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