Martin (Marty) Smith
May 19, 2014

Red Bull Branding 2: Friends of Friends Marketing

Red Bull Branding 2 on Curatti graphic

Red Bull Branding Lessons: We Are All Media Companies Now discussed differences in marketing between P&G in the 1950’s and Red Bull in 2014. There are many differences. P&G’s brand marketing told parables and myths. Procter & Gamble used TV to align P&G’s brands with core values such as “good mother” and “take care of baby”.
Bang! Marketing Changed. Today Red Bull’s marketing has no such presumption.

Red Bull wants to create parable and myth too, but Red Bull does so by following and branding extreme accomplishments of loyal and adventurous customers. Red Bull is a curator and publisher making sure members of their community know cool things other members create.
Bang! Marketing Is About To Change Again

Friends of Friends Marketing = What’s Next

Why does every digital marketing tactic reach a point of diminishing return? When I was a Director of Ecommerce email marketing was our most profitable channel (by far). As the profitable truth of email marketing as a tactic worked its way through the ecommerce community email marketing efficacy declined.
Point of Diminishing Return graphic on Curatti

This “pile on any working tactic until it works less” is a common digital marketing approach. There are two ways to WIN given the inevitable “point of diminishing” returns for every “new” digital marketing tactic:

  • Be AHEAD of competition in adoption of new tactics.
  • Change marketing focus from short term tactics to long term concepts such as Friends of Friends marketing.


Friends of Friends Marketing Defined

Friends of Friends Marketing is built on three simple ideas:

  • Create Inspirational Content.
  • Form Community and Tribes based on 5 Pillars.
  • Develop new Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and use new tools such as Curagami to understand and track Friends of Friends Marketing. shim


Create Inspirational Content

Inspirational content is easier to find than you think. Bet inspirational content arrived in your Twitter, Facebook or G+ today. The trick is being aware enough and focused enough to curate your customer’s content into your marketing with the MBF principle (More, Better, Faster). The more User Generated Content (UGC) you receive, value and curate the better. UGC is so important to Friends of Friends Marketing you should create plans, games and contests to promote and reward it.

Form Community Based on 5 pillars

Last week I shared our latest work to understand the pillars of online community in How Can Your Website Make Love: 5 Internet Marketing Tips on Curatti. Pillars of online community are:

  • Creation Story – Who Are YOU (About page should map core values and tell a story referred to over and over).
  • Authoritative Content – Become the expert for your entire business segment.
  • User Generated Content (UGC) – Must be valued by actively curated and rewarded via gamification.
  • Gamification – Defined system of rewards that may include “jobs” so community begins to scale and take over.
  • Movements Not Campaigns – Umbrella ideas that incorporate major calendar events but whose genesis you own. shimshim


New Way of BEING & New Tools

Friends of Friends Marketing is a new way of BEING instead of another tactic. Tactics arrive, go up, become murky and then discounted when everyone piles on. Instead of chasing the next tactic why not change your brand’s, company’s or product’s approach? People don’t BUY Brands they JOIN them. Faith Popcorn Friends of Friends marketing is dedicated to creating and curating inspirational content, creating community based on 5 Pillars, developing social rewards (gamification) and watching and reacting to new Key Performance Indicators such as:

  • Curagami’s Velocity (social shares / money).
  • Link Efficiency Index  (LEI or how fast is your website creating links vs. competition).
  • Blue Ocean Keys (Keywords your website is brewing and branding to own later). shim


Our Durham, NC based and Triangle Startup Factory funded startup Curagami is dedicated to Friends of Friends marketing.

Red Bull Phase II

As good as Red Bull is at “the new marketing” they aren’t creating community. Community is defined by

  • Sponsors draft and publish operating community guidelines.
  • Members ability to communicate, follow and fan other members.
  • Members can easily speak to community sponsors.
  • Sponsores act as curators to make sure great content is shared across the community.
  • Sponsors listen to members and do less and less as members do more and more.
  • Members can own a piece of the community (via profiles, comments or being asked to contribute).
  • Sponsors and members collaborate and work together to determine value of new features or community direction. shim


Building Friends of Friends Community is a lot of work, but there are significant benefits. Community once built or tribes once formed decay MUCH SLOWER than tactics. Community members feel connected to the sponsoring brand AND to the community of friends they’ve come to know, interact and collaborate with.

Master Blaster graphic and link to How Your Website Can Create Love

From When Everything Is Social Community Rules on Curatti

If you are looking for more detail about how to create online community read When Everything Is Social Community Rules on When you move from chasing the latest tactic to Friends of Friends Marketing you transition from using the web as a Direct Marketing sales platform to incorporating its true power into your company’s core branding and marketing. Friends of Friends Marketing takes more work up front than looking at the calendar and creating another President’s Day Sale.

Key ecommerce metrics such as list growth, online engagement and your company’s ability to create something that decays slow – love – more than compensate for higher Friends of Friends Marketing startup costs as time goes on. Maybe the next “tactic” your online marketing should adopt is a different way of being – one that places Friends of Friends Marketing front and center.

Friends of Friends “advertising” may be the only marketing left. People aren’t open to persuasion EXCEPT from trusted sources such as friends. Chances of someone acting on your advertising is zero. Your advertising can be a helpful tool when someone recommends your brand, service or company to their friends.

The good news is Friends of Friends Marketing creates extensive reach FAST.

Friends Six Degrees graphic on Curatti

Friends of Friends Marketing is a different gig. Tools we used to use to climb marketing’s Everest such as traditional print and TV advertising aren’t gone, but their new role is in support of Friends of Friends Marketing. Too expensive to make markets the old fashioned way.

Friends of Friends Marketing needs different kinds of marketing such as:

  • Movements not sales.
  • Cause marketing is a good idea.
  • Many different content types (copy, graphics, video, slide decks, User Generated Content, Contests, Games).
  • New and different Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
  • New tools.


Want your marketing to “one up” Red Bull and your competitors (most likely)? Create Friends of Friends Marketing and hang on.

The following two tabs change content below.
Passionate cancer survivor, Internet marketer and former Director of Ecommerce who believes in Margaret Mead's quote, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Glad to be an "Editor of Chaos".

Latest posts by Martin (Marty) Smith (see all)