Social Media Tips From Monster Energy
Monster Beverage Company, makers of energy drinks such as Monster Energy, Lo-Carb Monster, and M-80, is no stranger to social marketing.
In 2003, for example, the company, which targets amateur action sports athletes between the ages of 14 and 30, launched Monster Army, a grassroots marketing outreach community that also locates up-and-coming athletes seeking sponsorship opportunities. Since then, more than 50,000 athletes have signed up as members of the Monster Army community. Currently, Monster Beverage Co. sponsors more than 1,000 athletes through the program.
Also, the company recently announced an exclusive relationship with the Loop'd Network, a social media platform exclusively for online sports communities that allows brands and networks to develop personalized communities. Loop'd Network currently boasts more than 200,000 members worldwide. Monster Army is an exclusive Web 2.0 community on the site, offering a new user interface and content such as athlete interviews, photos, videos, contests and sponsorship opportunities.
We asked John Lee, director of sports marketing for Corona, Calif.-based Monster for his take on the current social media space.
eM+C: Why have you decided to focus on social media?
John Lee: We don't do traditional advertising. We don't do print ads or television. We strictly have promoted our brands through athletes and the events that the athletes compete in. We are actually going after the next generation through the Monster Army program. And it's been a very successful program, allowing us to spread our brand through what we call our army members and our reserves out there, who are talking it up, telling 10 of their friends, who tell 10 of their friends.
eM+C: More than 50,000 athletes have signed up as members of the Monster Army community. It obviously is successful. Why do you think social media is working for you?
JL: We have really tried to establish our brand as a lifestyle brand rather than a corporate property. We've really integrated Monster Energy into the lifestyle of action sports, and I think this has really helped us spread the word pretty much like wildfire in social media networks. What makes it attractive is that the youths of today are pretty clairvoyant - they can see through smoke and mirrors - and they are very smart. And they are also Internet/computer savvy. So this is just a platform that allows us to communicate with these people.
eM+C: Do you have any social media tips for our readers?
JL: If your target customer is between 14 and 30, you should be already using social media/social networking or making the move soon. Also, Web 2.0 is not as scary as it looks. Find a consultant that is knowledgeable about new media marketing trends to help you develop a plan of attack. Remember that the Web is not all about e-commerce. If you're not using social media and social networking to bolster your marketing efforts and strengthen customer relationships, you may lose out to one of your competitors who is already there. And, finally, understand that if it's done right, your Web 2.0 community can be a highly successful form of grassroots marketing that spreads virally via the Web and word-of-mouth. It's all about brand engagement by communicating in ways your customers embrace and understand.