Red Bull, Physicists, Belt and Road Initiative, Growth Marketing

Brigadoon Weekly March 2019.png

Red Bull, Physicists, Belt and Road Initiative, Growth Marketing

Brigadoon Weekly
April 21, 2019
Curation and commentary from 
Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 

Brigadoon Weekly  = Emerging issues shaping commerce + culture


Red Bull wasn't created by economists

"Marketing is the science of knowing what economists are wrong about."  -- Rory Sutherland

As a means to beat Coca-Cola, no economist would approve of an expensive beverage, served in a small can, and which tastes awful.

An economist using logic, facts, and numbers would never greenlight Red Bull.

But Red Bull has changed the global beverage market forever and altered the way Coca-Cola operates permanently.

Austria beating Atlanta is the playbook of how products and ideas will win going forward.

Energy drinks have transitioned from being a niche product to one of the fastest growing segments in the global drinks market. The global energy drinks market now stands at $55 billion and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3.7% from 2018 through 2023.

How troubling is this for Coke? 

Consider the first energy drink under the Coca-Cola brand will launch in Europe this month.

Coca-Cola Energy, which will debut in Spain and Hungary, features caffeine from naturally-derived sources, guarana extracts, B vitamins, and no taurine – sounds like Red Bull but with a Coca-Cola taste. 

And not surprisingly, Coca-Cola Energy will be offered in 250-ml cans, just like Red Bull.

The economists of Atlanta are following the entrepreneurship of Austria.

Economists assume most decision making is driven by logic. 

This is flawed.

Using logic to make a decision is called System 2 thinking. 

But most decision making is driven by emotion. 

This is called System 1 thinking.

Facts and numbers don’t drive our decision making. 

Facts take a back seat to emotional responses. 

Numbers with no context and color are no match for actual experiences. 

Great marketers understand the power of ubiquitous and unconscious System 1 decision making to sell products or shape ideas.

Sutherland believes, "Once you reach a basic level of wealth in society, most problems are actually problems of perception.”

The role of a business is to create value by solving problems for customers.

As I move through life, it is clear you don’t always need to solve difficult technical challenges with massive and costly technical solutions.

You need to communicate with a customer to see things from a different, more indirect point of view.

Acknowledging the importance of perception well better position your brand and improve communications.

When it comes to entrepreneurship and thought leadership, one is bigger than two.


Marc A. Ross is the founder of Brigadoon and specializes in thought leader strategy for executives and entrepreneurs working at the intersection of globalization, disruption, and politics.


One: A quantum experiment suggests there’s no such thing as objective reality: Physicists have long suspected that quantum mechanics allows two observers to experience different, conflicting realities. Now they’ve performed the first experiment that proves it.

Two: Misdiagnosing the Chinese infrastructure push: China’s Belt and Road Initiative does not pose a military or strategic threat to the West so much as an economic one.

Three: How humans and artificial intelligence can work together to create a brighter future

Four: The casualization of American apparel: Will the athleisure trend stay or go?

Five: How to identify and tell your most powerful stories: When I ask executives what their favorite speech is, Steve Jobs’s Stanford commencement address is always at the top of the list. Many think of Jobs’s talk as their favorite because it is incredibly moving — thanks to the stories it contains. Execs love to hear talks like this, but few are comfortable delivering them. Why? Because great stories expose our flaws and our struggles. This is what makes them inspiring, and not sharing them is such a missed opportunity to connect with your audience.


Brigadoon Radio: Episode 9: Accessing Fresh Perspectives: Recorded Pinehaven House at Sundance Mountain Resort, Dr. Mark Stellingworth speaks with Leo D'Cruz during Brigadoon Sundance 2019.

Leo is a 2x Brigadoon Sundance participant and is a communications strategist serving as Chief Communications Officer @ ReverbArt + Design based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Brigadoon Radio: Episode 10: What Makes a Good Founder: Recorded at the lounge inside the Robert Redford Center at Sundance Mountain Resort, Dr. Mark Stellingworth speaks with Michael Rivera during Brigadoon Sundance 2019.

Michael is a first time Brigadoon Sundance participant and for 2019 joined the main stage to lead a discussion on "Life Is a Startup: What Founders Can Teach Us About Making Choices + Managing Change."

Michael is the Executive Director of Founder Central @ USC Marshall School of Business. Michael joined Founder Central after eleven years as the Founder & Managing Director of an early-stage investment firm based in Santa Monica. 


This Week in Startups + Rachel Hepworth: She's the head of growth marketing at Slack. On the podcast, she breaks down how startups should “Go to Market and Grow” @ Founder University. You can listen - here.

#BAET = Be An Entrepreneur Today