Although Red Bull might bring to mind images of extreme sports stars and/or drained office workers sprouting cartoon wings, the beverage brand has actually positioned itself as a media company that just happens to sell energy drinks. Not only does Red Bull sponsor hundreds of extreme sports around the world, it also uses music as a branding tool. Here’s how the media-meets-marketing strategy has played out so far.

Red Bull rocked Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Beverages as the top Genius brand, surpassing cult favorite Starbucks. While the energy drink’s website features extensive content for the aforementioned extreme sports category, its¬†Red Bull Radio¬†station stands out as one of its most unique digital tools, as it doesn’t run ads or reap revenue for the brand, but instead gives alumni from the pre-installed Red Bull Music Academy another platform to play their music. At the same time, the station, which is beginning to pick up traction, keeps the Red Bull name top of mind, specifically for those who love discovering new music.

The brand excels on social media in a similar fashion by serving as a hub for extreme sports lovers. Short videos are posted to separate Instagram accounts for racing, motocross, and other sports and can be played without sound for those with day jobs, helping earn Red Bull the highest engagement on Instagram and Facebook out of all beverage brands.

Most brands have tried both traditional and trendy marketing tools. However, by straying from the pack and dipping its wings into the oft-forgotten radio as a channel for promotion, Red Bull proves that taking the path less travelled can pay off too.

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