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How Red Bull Embraced CCPA to Strengthen Customer Engagement

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As we rang in the new decade, January 1st brought the effective date of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). The law protects personal information and requires greater transparency from companies who collect the personal information of California residents.

It presents another opportunity for companies to either ride the rising data privacy tide, or be swept away by new data regulation. CCPA is arguably the most significant data privacy legislation since GDPR, which caused many organizations to lose a sizable portion of their addressable European audience overnight. Because of this, many companies felt a similar fear around how CCPA would impact their business and how they engage with customers.

Red Bull, the original and #1 Energy Drink Brand in the US, was using an unbranded or “category” insight community to deepen their understanding of the market and their shoppers. As thought leaders in the industry, they seek to collect objective insights around shopper preferences, behaviors, and changing market trends. Knowing that Red Bull’s iconic brand status can make getting unbiased insights challenging, Red Bull championed an anonymous “category” community as a way to provide the most objective insights possible to retail partners and internally across the sales and marketing teams.

In preparation for CCPA on January 1st, Red Bull needed to update their terms and conditions to be more transparent with community members as to who was collecting the insights they were sharing regularly. Shifting to include the company’s name made Red Bull nervous that the community bias would skew their data, and members would leave the community. At the time, the shift just seemed like an unfortunate procedural hurdle brought on by changing regulations. Red Bull was determined to find an alternate solution that would maintain the quality of customer insights their community provided.

“At the onset, we were told that we had to make the changes to our community in order to adhere to changes in privacy laws outside of our control. It seemed procedural as opposed to strategic. Flipping this to a conversation on transparency around WHY we need to make the changes and how it positions Red Bull as a leader in the space made a huge difference in our approach. We feel very comfortable with the way we are proceeding and are fully committed.” - Laura-Lynn Freck, Director, Shopper Insights, Red Bull North America

During Vision Critical Insights Days, a four-city conference on customer centricity, Vice President of Security, Privacy & Compliance Sweeney Williams, shared deeper insight into the rising privacy push and why it matters to customers. He showed customer-centric leaders of major global brands why CCPA was not leading the market shift, but a reaction by regulators and activists to what consumers already believed. Customers were walking away from businesses that failed to demonstrate transparency and maintain their trust—this legislation just solidified that. And, in the audience at the San Francisco event was Laura-Lynn Freck, Director of Shopper Insights, from Red Bull. What she took away from Williams’ presentation that day changed her approach to Red Bull’s community.

“I walk away with a newfound respect that we will also have to play a role as users of personal information. We are having to make adjustments to our own community because of rapidly changing privacy laws. I think Vision Critical is positioned exactly right for the rapidly evolving trends in Market Research.” - Laura-Lynn Freck, Director, Shopper Insights, Red Bull North America

With a newfound respect for the value of transparency in the research world, Red Bull knew that simply meeting CCPA’s minimum requirements was not enough. They took a bold step forward in demonstrating transparency with customers. Rather than simply burying their company’s name in terms & conditions, they put it front and center for existing and new community members—right in the logo used in all community communication.

It may seem like a small change, but oftentimes being transparent with customers doesn’t require massive transformation. The small change in logo was carried through to email communication. Current community members were sent updates with details on the change and new members were invited to join with the new logo on full display. Neither was done without some healthy worry that the change could alter the quality of insights the community was known for.

Four months after announcing their brand to the community, Red Bull’s decision to increase transparency with their customers proved to be the right decision for the company. Despite their initial fears, the insight community continued to provide unbiased and actionable insights. Moreover, the community members were more engaged with every project and with the member hub. Red Bull is getting more insights every day and is excited for the continued engagement with their now “sponsored” category community.

As customers continue to demand stronger data privacy rights, more legislation like CCPA and GDPR is on the horizon. But for companies like Red Bull that focus on the why behind the legislation and prioritize transparency with customers, they’ll be ahead of the curve and can sail the data privacy wave into an era of unprecedented success with trusting customers at their side.

Want to hear the full story of how Condé Nast transitioned from 32 regional companies to a global brand powered by a single research and insight team? Watch the on-demand webinar today.

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About the Author: Jason leads the global Customer Success Management team, responsible for the value realization from the Vision Critical platform by our customers. Passionate about customers, Jason is intuitively aware of customer sentiment, achievements, areas of growth, and how Vision Critical will work towards helping them exceed their business goals. His practical expertise on the challenges and best practices for deploying, adopting, and using technologies has evolved over his 20 years in enterprise software. A highly regarded industry speaker, Jason has spoken at dozens of technology events, primarily focused in the enterprise software space. When Jason isn’t discovering new service-oriented solutions for customers, find him sharing ghost stories with his wife and two kids about his hometown, Pawleys Island, on the east coast of South Carolina.

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