Red Bull invests the majority of its spend on its internal audience development team. Take a second to visit its site (after you've finished reading this article, of course) for an example of a brand doing owned media right. You probably heard about a little stunt Red Bull put together last October in which Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner jumped to Earth from a helium balloon in the stratosphere. The stunt -- dubbed "Red Bull Stratos" -- was one of the most watched events in 2012.
Nike invested more than $200 million and hired over 200 employees dedicated to creating content and growing audience on its owned media channels last year alone. Meanwhile, Nike's spending on TV and print advertising in the U.S. dropped by 40 percent in just three years. The result? The company's stock has returned 120 percent over the past five years as the S&P 500 index (SPX) has returned just 2.5 percent.
In 2010, Starbucks launched a major content marketing effort called the "Starbucks Digital Network." News, entertainment, business, careers, and "my neighborhood" are just a few of the categories of content Starbucks produces daily, on a localized level. Also, Starbucks spends almost no paid or earned media dollars, nor has it ever. The result? Starbucks stock hit an all-time high about two years after implementing Starbucks Digital Network.
Apple not only markets itself with amazing, helpful, well-designed content -- it controls most of yours. Your music? In iTunes. Your movies? Apple TV. Your documents? iCloud. Everything else? On your iPhone.
Apple is a content play, not a technology play. The company makes devices that help you create and access content, period. Apple also recently became the most valuable company in history.