ANALYSIS: In the year 1984, a traveling Austrian man chanced upon an energy drink being produced by an Asian man. The producer specifically belonged to the Thailand region and produced the drink to enhance the energy and concentration levels of blue collared workers. Fascinated by the utility of the product, Dietrich Mateschitz, transported the concept to the European countries and named the product Red Bull. Today, this drink can be easily recognized by its tag line: “Red Bull gives you wings”.
Twenty Five years ago Red Bull and Mr.Dietrich initiated their attempt at becoming a renowned brand and have successfully achieved that aim on a universal scale by implementing a uniformed marketing strategy. I will briefly mention their style of spreading awareness so as to be able to illustrate the main point of my paper, that of highlighting the differences between the consumer behavior of people in the United Kingdom and India. Red Bull has gone against the norm and applied a new way of reaching its customers through buzz marketing.Essentially this implies the intense utilization of spread of knowledge through word of mouth to advertise your brand and product. They also use some other methods like cartoon themed funny commercials, sponsorship of sportsmen and sporting events like car racing to increase the brand awareness.
Having been introduced in India in the year 2003, Red Bull was the brand that created the market for energy drinks in India and continues to hold a monopoly with Power Horse as the only other competitor. The high price of this drink as compared to the other colas and drinks make it a product for the elite and the influential.The exclusivity of this drink also stems from its high level of caffeine content along with the distribution channels. Maximum availability in pubs and its usage as a component of several cocktails, associate it severely with alcohol and beer. The strong taste is another contributor to its alcohol-related image. Having existed in the UK for the last 25 years, the brand has firmly established itself and created a string niche market with the help of the large number of sporting events and sports people that it sponsors.
The target market that Red Bull focuses on is mainly teenagers and people who require high levels of energy like sportsmen and students or even young workers. Analysing on the basis of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, I hope to conclusively show the differences between the consumer behavior of people in the two countries. Power Distance: According to the Hofstede’s cultural dimension scale while India ranks high in this value, UK maintains a lower sense of power distance.From this I interpret that in a country like India, where it is essential for each person to explicitly display their social standing, the image of a product has a lot of impact on consumption and purchase decisions. Since, Red Bull is priced higher in India than other cola drinks, it is considered to be an elite product by a large segment of the population. Hence, although the image of the brand might narrow down the customer base, it continues to be treated like a “cool” product.As it also specifically targets the youngsters, a lot of young people and students consume it under peer pressure and to be able to belong to a certain group of people. In contrast, the drink in the UK is not considered as an indicator of position as the people do not feel the need to prove their worths using brands.
Here, the the prices of the drink are not considered to be very high either due to the developed state of the economy and do not seem to have a great impact on the consumption patterns. Masculinity and Femininity: Both these nations under comparison are known to be masculine societies in nature.Thus they are high on achievement and success. However, the manifestation of this value comes with varied action. In The United Kingdom, the brand is heavily associated with danger, adventure and sports. This image has been developed over a long period of time. The people associate achievement by attaining success by utilizing their talents and working hard.
This intense working capacity is achieved by consuming this drink and having a longer concentration span. In India, achievement is all about association and power.If you know the right people, you can attain unimaginable levels of success. Thus people consume this drink not only to feel more energized but also to mingle with a crowd that they think can help them attain success. Collectivistic and Individualistic Society: India is a collectivistic country with emphasis on family values and loyalty. Risk and adventure are attributes that Indians seldom possess. Although, Red Bull has organized a Grand Prix in india, that is the only sporting event in the nation in which they have actively shown presence.
In contrast, In Britain they conduct events like sky diving, mountain biking, bike racing along with the Grand Prix. The Individualistic culture of the United Kingdom is highly acceptable of these activities and recognizes the brand for it. Their purchases are highly motivated by this. On the contrary, to motivate purchases in India red Bull utilizes student ambassadors in college and also the method of handing out free samples which invariably pleases the crowd.Thus, I would like to conclude that although Red Bull has applied a similar marketing strategy in these two essentially different cultures, the appeal is different in each case. Use of comic script advertisements in a country where there is heavy endorsement and association with stars has been successful only to a certain extent as the colas continue to have a upper hand in sales.
But in a country with a more developed sense of humor and taste prevails, consumer behavior seems more affected by the sporting activities rather than advertising ones!