Automotive Digital Marketing

Professional Community for Car Dealers, Marketing, Advertising and Sales Leaders

Loading... Be Patient!

What Can Car Dealers Learn From Red Bull About Content Marketing?

Is This the Top Content Marketing Company in the World?

Original Story Written by  - Edited for ADM Professional Community by Ralph Paglia 


The rise of blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and the like has made most Car Dealers become publishers to various degrees.

Add mobile HD cameras mounted to helmets streaming death defying leaps, extreme Ken Block Gymkhana rally car moves and radical drifting videos and you have an explosion of multi-media creators and publishers effecting the way automotive consumers see the brands your dealership sells... Mobile and modern camera technology coupled with global social networks are providing platforms and networks with the media fodder that are supercharging automotive content distribution and sharing.  There are literally hundreds of car dealers around North America who have been successfully using content marketing to establish a brand for their dealerships that drives customers into showrooms for much stronger appeal based reasons than simply advertising the lowest price on a new or used vehicle for sale.

Automotive content and media files are no longer gathering dust at the ad agency after a monthly dealership campaign is done, or sitting in the dealer's filing cabinet as a DVD, but are instead being published online. Often times the dealership's media content is streaming and unedited. It’s real and raw... Sometimes looking far from the professional 30 and 60 second clips that appeared on local cable TV for that dealership.


Automotive Content now comes in a wide variety of formats and media. It can start with a dealer's social media manager sending out a 140 character micro blog (tweet), a video. image or a long form content piece of 2,000 words on your dealership's Blogger site, Wordpress blog or in the dealer's main website... Then syndicated using a variety of tools to the dealership's Facebook Page, or shared by the blog's readers with their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram friends. It can even be a 6 second “Vine” video that goes viral when propelled by dealership employees using their personal accounts and many enthusiastic customers as well. Or, the dealership originated content might be a filtered snapshot of a customer's new car or truck posted on Instagram after being taken by the salesperson using his smartphone and the Instagram application.


These fast changing opportunities and mediums are presenting the traditional automotive marketer with some thought provoking and uncomfortable choices. You can almost hear the squirming and fidgeting going on in dealerships all over North America.


Why Content Marketing Upsets Traditional Automotive Marketing Professionals

The old school car dealer marketing habits and automotive ad agency paradigms don’t cut it anymore because content marketing requires a different way of thinking. It flips the automotive marketing model in many ways.

  1. Pull rather than push. Its about attracting the customer to you and your dealership's people rather than pushing advertisements. That’s different.
  2. Entertain and educate first and sell second. Traditional automotive marketing never wanted to educate automotive consumers... Instead seeking to confuse and bewilder.
  3. You don’t talk about your product. Mentioning your new or used vehicles in content marketing is inappropriate. The car guy old school thinking struggles with that. 
  4. You must think and act like a publisher not an advertiser. That is not in the comfort zone for most automotive marketers.
  5. You operate in real time. This means you have to be thinking about “continuous marketing” as well as being campaign focused. That’s demanding.
  6. Need different resources. This includes dealership staff and software. The auto industry status quo is being challenged.
  7. Needs a different culture. Publishing culture is different to an auto industry advertising mindset. Newsrooms, reporting and editing are a world apart from dealership marketing and sale campaign advertising.

These mind warps are presenting some challenges and potential disruption to various auto industry marketing departments at all three tiers, and the average car dealer as well. What are the obstacles in moving from traditional mass media habits to an automoticve publisher paradigm?


Dealership Challenges in Becoming a Media Company

The challenges come from many angles. Some are larger than others. It means adopting a flexible mindset that is open to change. That in itself is a challenge for most of us working in the car business.

Here are a few to keep in mind as you move to an automotive content marketing culture that  embraces the new automotive consumer realities.

  • Re-allocation of dealership resources. It is hard to discard old habits but it requires a hard look at what isn’t working or appropriate and try something new.
  • Re-educating the dealer's marketing team. It will mean sometimes forgetting what was taught at university or college because most of the changes in media are mostly less than a decade old. YouTube is not yet 10 years old (founded in 2005), tablets have only been around for 4 years and Facebook was launched in February 2004.
  • Changing the dealership culture. Maybe change management is needed.
  • Adapting to a mobile content world. Smartphones only exploded into popular culture when the first iPhone was launched in 2007. Websites need upgrading to be “mobile responsive” and content optimization now has to consider viewing on smartphones.
  • Understanding re-purposing of auto industry sourced content. With the broad range of multi-media formats (30 plus at last count) and social networks, car dealers need to understand that we have different  preferences for the media we read and watch and the social networks we use to consume them on. Same message but different media.
  • Developing an integrated mindset. This means weaving your dealership's content marketing into other marketing channels. This includes embedding content marketing in and across all media channels used by the dealership including social, search, email and traditional mass media.
  • Creating “conversations around the dealer's brand” not about the dealership. (Thanks Altimeter for that insightful phrase). This means creating automotive relevant content that has heart and soul of the dealer's franchise brand embedded but not mentioned. 

So what does this adaptation look like?

Crawl, Walk, Run Into Automotive Content Marketing 

Content marketing is still embryonic for most dealerships and auto groups. Here is how Altimeter sees the stages of content marketing maturity

So let’s take a closer look at the key elements of each phase according to Altimeter.

  1. Stand: Dealership has resources dabbling in automotive content marketing and may even have a blog but use it infrequently. It’s more about push advertising
  2. Stretch: Dealer's management team begins to build a strategy and starts taking some first steps. Assigns an internal advocate/sponsor and starts to focus on one or two specific channels.
  3. Walk: Dealership progresses beyond channel specific and starts moving its content across many platforms. Processes are formalized and a team of social media marketers begins to take shape. Governance and the ability to scale are emerging.
  4. Jog: This is where a culture of automotive relevant content is noticeable. The dealership is seriously committed to content marketing. Automotive Content moves from simple to more engaging and experiential. Relationships with OEM marketing resources and ad agencies move from campaign focused to long term. Dealer still struggles with how to integrate with other media channels.
  5. Run: This is where the dealership or group's brand becomes a bona fide media company.  It even monetizes some of the content being created, by charging dealerships within a group (for example). It is able to make money from innovative and highly original dealer produced content. Automotive Content production and creative are now often being managed by fully dedicated dealership employees.

What is an example of a company that is at the run stage? 

Red Bull the “media company”

Red Bull is an Austrian company that was founded in 1987 that sells the most popular energy drink in the world, with 5.2 billion cans sold in 2012.

It now has a separate stand alone media company with 135 staff. Red Bull has become a media company that just happens to sell an energy drink product.


What do they publish?

The publishing is extensive both in media, channels and formats. It includes mobile apps, print, web TV, web radio, newsfeeds, social networks, video and even a full length film. It owns 900 different domain names spread across 36 languages.

1. Full feature film “The Art of Flight”

This takes publishing and being a media company to the extreme. But that is what the Red Bull “Brand” is about.

2. The “Print” magazine

Red Bull doesn’t stop at digital publishing but also does print. The Red Bulletin has a distribution of 5 million copies a month. This is inserted in newspapers as a free publication.

3. Mobile games

It doesn’t stop at full length moves but also extends to games. Here is the Red Bull X-Fighters mobile game.

4. Events that are captured on media

These are mostly sporting events of some type and includes: diving, Formula One Motorsport, plane racing, snow boarding and cycling just to name a few.

5. Music

Not content with digital media they also sponsor a music school and month long event called Red Bull Music Academy.

6. Epic events on YouTube

One of the most memorable and also one of the most successful media events put together by Red Bull is the “Red Bull Stratos” jump from the edge of space.

The brand awareness created by this content provides some insight into content marketing on steroids. Here are some stats courtesy of Sarahs Faves

  • Red Bull Stratos on YouTube had 8 million concurrent views. The previous record was the Curiosity Mars landing at 500,000 
  • The photo of Felix Baumgartner taken after landing generated 29,000 shares, 216,000 likes and 10,000 comments
  • The peak of online mentions of the hashtag #stratos was 194,000 

Currently  their YouTube channel has received over 600 million views putting them in the top 5 of sports producers on YouTube on the planet.

What is the benefit provided by that level of product awareness? Maybe hard to measure but I am sure they are selling more Red Bull.


What can automotive marketing professionals learn about content marketing from Red Bull?

There are many lessons to be learned from Red Bull, but here are the top lessons about content marketing we can learn from their public strategy and execution.

  1. They have learned to entertain first. They understand that if you do this the sales will come.
  2. They create conversations “around” their brand. No one wants to talk about a drink but they will talk about music, share amazing photos and embed videos that are epic
  3. They have learned to monetize their content. They license some of their images and they sell their movie and they also charge you to read their magazine
  4. They created a focused and powerful content strategy by setting up a separate media company. No distractions allowed from the goal of publishing awesome content.
  5. They understand the importance of mobile. They have developed apps, games and platforms that work for all devices
  6. They understand not just quality but quantity. They are “everywhere”

What about your dealership?

  • What content marketing lesson are you going to implement today?
  • Does your dealership marketing team “get” content marketing?
  • What is your automotive content production record... Good, bad or ugly?
  • What surprises you most about Red Bulls content marketing?
  • Do you think they are the top content marketing company in the world
  • What’s your biggest takeaway from their content marketing strategy?

Read More at the Source:

Views: 1262

Tags: Car Dealers, Content Marketing, Learn, Red Bull, Social Media, automotive, marketing


Oops... You need to stop "Lurking" on ADM and become a more genuine Automotive Professional by completing your membership registration. As a registered ADM Member, you can post comments, publish your own articles (be a star!) and start Forum discussions. Stop being an online "Peeping Tom" and JOIN ADM RIGHT NOW!

Join Automotive Digital Marketing

Comment by Albert Carrasco on November 9, 2013 at 6:45pm

Great article really enjoyed it, thank you Mr. Paglia.

Comment by Alexander Lau on November 8, 2013 at 12:57pm

Dealers are hesitant to spend the money on it. Social has a bad name at dealerships. It shouldn't but it does.

Comment by Ralph Paglia on November 8, 2013 at 12:56pm

My point is that when looking at the most successful dealership marketing campaigns of the past 30 years, they were often inspired by something a company outside the auto industry had done... Sometimes, when we take a good look at what a company like Red Bull did to become so overwhelmingly successful in a particular media channel (in this case social) we can glean ideas and strategies that can be used by dealers at a local or regional level...

It would seem to be well worth the small amount of time and brain effort to understand what made Red Bull such a big success in social media if we want to do better for dealers targeting a local audience.

Comment by Alexander Lau on November 8, 2013 at 11:15am

Dennis, it's all relative. If a dealership only has one location, they have less money to spend in general.

Comment by Dennis Yu on November 8, 2013 at 11:14am

If a dealership has only one location, then they need only create attention locally, not globally, like Red Bull, right?

Comment by Alexander Lau on November 8, 2013 at 6:39am

Great example, but unless a dealership is going to spend a serious amount of money, they'll never come close.

Comment by Dennis Yu on November 8, 2013 at 12:06am

Love to hear examples of what some dealerships have done with content marketing.  Red Bull is an amazing success, no doubt-- but what can guys with smaller budgets do?

Automotive Professional Network and Resource Exchange for Car Dealers, Managers, OEM and Marketing Practitioners seeking Best Practices.

ADM Sponsor

William B. Terry
Rated by Super Lawyers

loading ...

ADM Badge


Based On Your Interests...

ADM Consulting, LLC

Onsite/Offsite Combination ADM Consulting, LLC Professional Services
Select the maximum monthly investment you plan to make
Sign up for

Automotive Marketing Tools

Get ADM Toolbar

Click here to take the ADM Member Survey

Getting too many emails from ADM? Click mailbox below to control which types of alerts and updates you are sent......



ADM Professional Services
Phone Consultation
Topic or Issue:

Top Automotive Marketing Forum Discussions

Share the Best Content w/AutoMarketing Community

© 2020   Created by Ralph Paglia.   Powered by

ADM Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service, pub-1344093271332697, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0, pub-1344093271332697, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0