Red Bull will be releasing 3 flavors of its drink: cranberry (meh), lime (meh), and blueberry (hmmm…this could be interesting) as seen above.
‘Bout time! Red Bull GmbH (the company that owns Red Bull and a small handful of other drinks) made €4.253 billion in 2011 (that’s revenue, not profit), and while they probably make a lot of money through sponsorships, and licensing its name, the bulk of their product sales probably comes from their signature drink. Diversifying their product line is probably overdue at this point. While releasing 3 flavors (even if there’s only 1 potentially good flavor imo) is a step in the right direction, they should leverage the power of their brand name more.
The energy drink category is getting awfully crowded with 5-hour Energy, Monster, Amp, NOS, Full throttle, Venom Energy, etc etc. And several of them are owned by PepsiCo (AMP) and Coca-Cola Company (NOS, Full Throttle) which probably have a bit more money to spend in pushing their products out vs. Red Bull. And in a growth market such as energy drinks, PepsiCo & Coca-Cola will probably want to expand and grab as much market share as possible to offset falling soda sales. Simply, the energy drink market is increasingly competitive with more players with more muscle behind the drinks.
Red Bull has an advantage though, ask people to name the first energy drink that comes to mind and Red Bull will probably be the first one for a large number of people. Have them name the first 2-3 brands that come to mind, and it’ll likely be in the top 2-3 of almost everyone. They have a recognizable brand name. And most people who drink it probably like it, more than just ‘grabbing whatever’s available,’ not everybody, and possibly not even a majority of Red Bull drinkers. But probably a number of people do (or hey, maybe’s it’s just me). Red Bull drinkers have a positive brand image and a connection to it. Use that! Leverage the brand name and expand Red Bull products.
Now extending brands is a risky business, it has to be done well, and possibly more importantly, organically. One need only look at brand extensions such as Hooters Air, Coca-Cola Blak (coffee-flavored cola…no really), the multitude of celebrity-endorsed products, and, (thanks for this one, google search!) BiC underwear to see cautionary tales when it comes to brand extensions. And yes, BiC, as in the company that makes pens.
Extend into energy bars! That’s a category that should be relatively stable for the next several years at least. Adventurers and outdoors people will always provide a market for that, and people on the go (9-to-5ers, students, busy parents) would grab them as impulse purchases at check-outs, convenience stores, etc, if not outright buy boxes of them. And the whole category of ‘energy bars’ is pretty broad, there’s the category for mountaineers and cyclists who wanted something to sustain energy for a long period of time that may cost a bit more, protein bars for weightlifters/gym rats, and then the more natural stuff that’s been around for awhile: the Nutri-Grain bars, Granola Bars, Chewy Bars. Not strictly ‘energy bars,’ but granola/chewy/nutri-grain bars were energy bars before energy bars were energy bars, right?
Red Bull could target any of these sectors, or, eventually all of them. Or a combination, use “whole grain oats, wholesome grain, dried fruit packed with nutrients and vitamins” etc etc etc to project the wholesome good-for-your-body image and sell it as an energy bar. It gets a foot into the energy bar market while appealing to those in the granola/chewy/nutri-grain bar segment (though pricing could need to be navigated carefully as energy bars will probably be pricier vs. nutrigrain/granola/chewy is a bit more bulk-buying inexpensiveness).
Red Bull: Now Available in Flavors!