Red Bull is an Austrian energy drink company with a higher market share than any energy drink in the world, with over 5.4 billion cans sold every year! You probably know them because of their slogan, “It gives you wings,” and their strong association with all things young and energetic!
Red Bull is a category-defining brand making a massive impact even in its third decade of existence. It’s a company that our churches should draw lessons from, like how much commitment is required for innovation and excellence, just like Disney, Netflix or Amazon have done. It continues to innovate the way in which it reaches its consumers, although it is a fairly bland product—hyped-up over-caffeinated sugary drink!
Red Bull is in the Content Business…and so is your church.
If you look closely you’ll discover that Red Bull has transformed itself into a content production and distribution business that sells drinks on the side, and hence the reason why our church should aspire to be like Red Bull.
Instead of purchasing sponsorships and advertisements in other content properties, Red Bull has transformed itself into one that produces content platforms.
Red Bull is about content and so should your church be.
They have four major content production divisions:
- Feature Films — Red Bull produces full-length feature films for cinema and downstream channels (DVD, VOD, TV). They make nonfiction action sports and youth-oriented films, aiming to relay outstanding stories while setting new standards in production quality. Some of the movies they’ve produced are:
- Print — Red Bull publishes high-quality print publications covering a wide range of interests. Every magazine has a unique approach to the topic it features. It has targeted distribution and reaches a dedicated readership with the greatest impact possible. Check out a few of its titles:
- Television — Three dedicated television services by Red Bull are its main focus. Red Bull TV offers action, sports, culture and lifestyle programming. Servus TV is dedicated to presenting culture, technology and nature programs. Terra Mater Factual Studios is working to produce the best nature and geographic documentaries and feature films.
- Digital Media — Red Bull Media House manages all online activities for the Red Bull brand through platforms, content and social media. Online properties include:
What if you thought of your church as a publisher?
Every Sunday churches produce content through their weekend services. Usually, that content goes on the shelf and we move on to the next weekend. Sure, that “shelf” might be on the church’s website, where the content is hoarded and never leveraged again. But what if we produced a bunch of derivative “product offerings” off the back end of the main content we produce?
When you worked hard to produce the message, then why are you just letting it gather dust just sitting on your website?
We need to think of ways to expand and inculcate that content produced into new channels to help reach more people.
4 Ways to Leverage Your Existing Content to Reach More People
- Syndication — At its simplest form, you need to automate the spread of your content through launching a podcast on iTunes and YouTube channel. A recent study by Daniel Im of LifeWay Research showed that churches with podcasts have a higher number of decisions for Jesus than churches without a podcast!
- Package Into a Book — There are messages that pastors convey all the time that seem to have a deeper impact. These “core messages” should be compiled into a book for distribution. You could either self-publish this book and release it yourself or talk with Caleb Breakey at Sermon to Book who will help guide you through the process.
- Leverage It on Social Media — How is your content popularized throughout the week? People who follow your church on various social media channels look to connect with you and your content. Post the sticky statements into graphics on Facebook and discuss the topics on a live video. Social media is a fire and the content is gasoline…when the combination is right it can make a huge impact!
- Launch a TV Network — Maybe most of our churches can’t do this. But I wanted to highlight Hillsong Channel—a 24/7 channel repackaging of all of their content. In fact this seems like a logical extension, as these large churches produce such huge video content that broadcasting through a single channel seems justified. It’s worth watching their production to receive ideas for ways to leverage your content.
Why Does Red Bull Content Marketing Work…Lessons to apply to your church:
Push vs. Pull
There used to be times when organizations could push their advertising in front of people who were compelled to watch it. People could access only three channels on TV, there were limited number of print publications and thus were trapped watching annoying TV ads and being bombarded by boring advertising copy.
Red Bull begins with what its audience prefers to watch and partners its messaging with that. It’s transforming the model inside out. It’s pulling in young adult males (a demographic that the church typically struggles with) through action sports, far-flung adventure and adrenaline.
What questions is your church answering? Where are people asking the questions that you are wrestling with? Begin there. Begin with what people are talking about and then draw lines back to the Gospel and your church.
Sounds a lot like what Paul did on Mars Hill in Acts 17.
We’re Wired for Story
Red Bull is honing its storytelling skills. Observe carefully the evolution of what they’re presenting. You’ll see that it has shifted from high energy clips of action sports to sophisticated and emotional stories of trial and triumph.
People are drawn by stories.
In fact, there is increasing evidence that the human mind is hardwired to see the world as one giant relaying of the story. Check out this story in Scientific America “It Is in Our Nature to Need Stories.” Narratives attract people to return thirsty and explore more.
How are we making use of stories to encourage people to return to church, thirsty for more? Are we following Jesus’ footsteps of using simple stories to tell eternal truths?
Audience Building vs. Event Promotion
We understand from evaluating Red Bull closely that they focus on building a community of people rather than just a group of consumers. They attempt to build a tribe of people around their values offered.
Rather than trying to promote a single event or product, Red Bull is transforming itself into a lifestyle brand that rivals Nascar, Apple, Abercrombie & Fitch, and American Eagle. The energy-infused vision of life they portray is a compelling picture of the future. Their motive behind whatever they do is to draw people into their lifestyle and approach instead of the cheap win of a quick sale.
As the church will promote its content through a wide range of channels, it will inch toward becoming a lifestyle brand. This sounds a lot like the disciple making that we’ve called ourselves upon, but people will see the message of Jesus integrated into every aspect of their lives.
What can you learn from looking closely at Red Bull?
What do you notice when you consider Red Bull’s approach to content marketing that you could apply to your church?
This article originally appeared here.