Every company strives to create a community in which its customers can come together to celebrate and promote products, facilitating growth through word of mouth. Since its rebranding in 2002, however, Monster Energy has taken this a step further.
Despite primarily being the second most successful manufacturer of energy drinks which has, at times, been more profitable per employee than Apple, Monster has become a symbol of rebellion and developed a culture which is, in its own words, “a lifestyle in a can.”
This rebellious message is immensely popular with Monster’s target market, principally young men, and has created fierce brand loyalty which has transformed its customers into advocates.
How did Monster build such a loyal community?
Monster Energy correctly identified the limitations of traditional forms of advertising and instead looked to recruit members of the Monster Army by appealing to its target demographics more directly.
The company largely shuns TV adverts, choosing instead to obtain a presence at events which further its rebellious reputation such as motorsports, UFC and heavy metal and punk rock music.
Sponsorship of ‘bad boys’ such as Lewis Hamilton, Conor McGregor and a number of bands earned Monster a cult following among their fans, thus creating an ecosystem in these circles which developed the brand into a cultural force.
”It’s about creating emotional connection, excitement and energy, and living in that space.Marianne RadleySenior Vice-President for Marketing at Monster Energy
How does the community of advocates grow the brand?
This ecosystem becomes a breeding ground for the growth of the brand, with Monster empowering its advocates to spread the word about the Monster community, rather than using traditional marketing techniques.
Monster’s social media presence of 25 million Facebook likes and over 6 million Instagram followers amplifies its supporters’ shows of devotion, such as posting pictures of the ‘M’ logo tattooed on their bodies. In this ‘waste not, want not’ marketing strategy, customers advertise on the brand’s behalf.
Monster’s sales record speaks for itself, vying with Red Bull to be the most prominent energy drinks company in the world despite spending just a fraction of what its rivals do on marketing, with its stock having grown by over 70,000% since its foundation.
Meanwhile, its sponsorship of NASCAR in 2016 created 4.3 billion impressions online, helping to recruit new advocates. The success of Monster’s modern model shows that traditional forms of marketing are outdated.
”At Monster Energy, we celebrate the adrenaline rush, landing the perfect trick, dropping the hottest beat and celebrating with friends. Monster Energy is more than just an energy drink, but a lifestyle in a can.Monster Energy
How does Monster reward its customers?
The customer community is fairly compensated for its efforts in growing the brand, with Monster providing a number of rewards schemes such as giveaways of Monster and motorsports merchandise, as well as rewards for collecting the tabs of Monster cans.
More broadly, the company attempts to give back to the communities which cultivate the brand’s growth through philanthropic efforts, including support for retired athletes and military veterans.
What can we learn from Monster Energy?
The key to Monster Energy’s growth has been instilling a sense of belonging – and even ownership – in its customers which inspires loyalty and generates the self-sustainable growth of the brand.
Monster Energy has proved that creating a community with its own values and way of life, and allowing the community to advocate on its behalf, is a more effective marketing strategy than any advertising campaign could ever be.
By transforming its customers into advocates, Monster has provided a model for other brands to follow, so that they may also transcend their products and become a cultural force in their own right.