12/17/2014 12:10 pm ET Updated Feb 16, 2015

From Products to Experience Ecosystems

Brands and consumers are demanding more of each other. But if you want your brand to get more from consumers, you need to give more. You need to provide things of real value and relevance. As touchpoints fragment and competition proliferates, the brands creating the most impact make every interaction with consumers add as much value as the product or service itself.

This principle isn't just the preserve of the likes of Red Bull. Any brand that wants to build a relationship with consumers in the online world must think first of what they can offer the consumer -- not what they can get out of them. But this isn't just about giving discounts or loyalty points -- those sorts of things are a dime a dozen.

This is about creating things that generate greater meaning for consumers -- either by being useful, being highly entertaining and immersive, or by facilitating social connections.

To do this, brands need to stop thinking about communications, and start thinking about content -- content that has genuine value in people's lives.

Red Bull is the king of the experience ecosystem
Ten years ago, Red Bull was an energy drink. Since then, it has created a media empire in which the product itself is secondary to the activities that the customer engages in and cherishes.

The brand has built a rock-solid association with high octane sports, from cycling to Formula One, something it lives through every touchpoint, creating a volume of content so substantial that it owns its own Media House, producing just about every type of digital and traditional content you could imagine. It operates a TV station; prints one of the biggest magazines in the world; produces documentaries, movies and music; and runs a market-leading digital strategy offering of web TV, web radio, online games (leveraging its association with competitiveness), newsfeeds and digital databases.

It runs more than 900 domains in 36 languages under the umbrella of, and is one of the top five sports content producers on YouTube globally. Throughout its operation, it entertains its young, marketing-cynical audience by showing daredevil, extreme, epic content that people want to watch.

Red Bull has turned into a media empire that also happens to sell a beverage.