By delivering actionable and quick insight on evolving consumer preferences, Red Bull’s Shopper Insights team earned the right to help lead the business
Red Bull achieved
record year in sales growth
secured #1 brand share in the USA
4% growth in a competitive mature category
Red Bull is a global media, marketing, and sports powerhouse. The Shopper Insights team at the company’s North American division helps internal stakeholders and retail partners better understand shopper behavior with the goal of optimizing revenue opportunities.
In consumer goods, it is not uncommon for established companies to see flat or declining growth. Red Bull always bucked that trend, but the company wanted to understand evolving behaviors and preferences to continue to drive growth. Traditional ad hoc research was not keeping pace with the dizzying pace of change in consumer goods and retail. As a company that prides itself for being insight-driven, Red Bull sought to find a more agile way of understanding its core customers of millennial consumers. And to win the battle for shelf space, the company needed to help retail partners better understand the end consumers.
The company launched a community of consumers passionate about the energy drink category. By providing a deeper understanding of consumer preferences, the community challenges widely held assumptions. The company, for instance, learned that who consumes Red Bull drinks—and how and when they buy—were changing.
Data from the community provides insight on the competitive landscape, revealing channels the company can enhance to improve growth. The community helps Red Bull deliver more value to retailers. The company shares insight that partners can use to optimize their in-store promotional tactics. By offering original, proprietary insight, Red Bull is redefining its relationship with retailers while driving growth in an important sales channel.
In March of 2020 when the pandemic hit, the Red Bull team hypothesized that their energy drinks would not be a priority for shoppers and feared a decline in sales revenue. The team needed a way to proactively respond to market signals that they could lose customers with selective dollars, and find a path for growth in an uncertain market. They focused on understanding where potential growth opportunities still existed. As a company that prides itself on being customer-centric, Red Bull sought to connect with their customers to understand their changing buying behaviors and provide a network of support during a troubled time. The company knew they needed to better understand shifting trends during COVID-19 and how they should respond.
Red Bull used Alida Sparq, a digital insight community of consumers, to run a pulse-checking survey on COVID-19 sentiment. This survey set a baseline to understand how consumers are coping and how their purchasing preferences and buying habits had changed—this was the ultimate use of quick insights. Red Bull used these initial surveys as some of the first indicators to adapt their strategy.
These pulse checks revealed the value their customers placed on the Red Bull brand. The team wanted to double down on this sentiment and foster even stronger relationships so they launched their first Discussion Forum. Bi-weekly posts provided insight on customers' moods, what products were giving them comfort, usage data on click and collect delivery options, and tougher topics like how hopeful they were feeling. Red Bull was blown away by the participation in these forums. It was clear that customers needed a network to connect, interact, and feel supported in a safe space.
The community helps Red Bull deliver meaningful value to customers by uncovering their needs and delivering on them. By switching gears and using their insight community to not only collect insights but also provide a hub of connection, Red Bull is redefining its relationship with customers while learning how to drive growth. Their solution is powered by Alida, hosted on AWS.
Red Bull learned from their consumers that now, more than ever, people wanted their familiar comforts. They learned they could rely on the strength of their customers' brand loyalty when they needed to most. Now, Red Bull is putting a more significant focus on loyalty and relationship building as seen in their participation rates throughout the Discussion Forum. Having their community as a resource to ask important questions and share critical resources helped them uncover a surprising customer truth–energy drinks were absolutely considered essential in the eyes of their consumers despite selective dollars during the pandemic. People need energy to get through their toughest days and their emotional link with Red Bull kept them loyal to the brand.
Red Bull was able to leverage these insights to strengthen sales and retail strategies throughout 2020. These insights drove them to a record sales growth year and comfortably secured them as the #1 share Brand in the United States. This broadened their share lead throughout the year across all Retail channels.
Using their community, Red Bull gained valuable insights that empowered them to remain critical to their customers all while building stronger relationships with their core consumers. They will continue to remain agile by strengthening the ongoing partnership with their customers to validate strategic decisions that ultimately lead to revenue growth.