The first thing Dietrich Mateschitz did before launching Red Bull was to ignore the focus groups, reports Kerry A. Dolan in Forbes (5/28/05). “People didn’t believe the taste, the logo, the brand name,” he says. “I’d never before experienced such a disaster.” But like a true marketing hero he went ahead anyway, opened up offices just outside Salzburg, and deployed a six-person sales force to “retail outlets and bars across Australia.” Today, Red Bull, redbull.com, is a raging success: “In some countries (it) commands an 80 percent market share. In the U.S., where Red Bull enjoys a 47 percent share of the energy drink market, sales are growing at a 40 percent clip. Last year it sold 700 million cans in the U.S.; this year it hopes to sell 1 billion.” Yes, the brand’s U.S. market share has fallen some over the years, but there’s no denying that Dietrich Mateschitz created what is now a $1.7 billion category.
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