Strategy is choice. Choice is sacrifice.
Focusing 100% on the unique value of being an ‘energy’ drink means you have to make intentional sacrifices in other areas - like taste.
Would Red Bull have the same ‘energy-boosting’ effect if it tasted like a basic lemonade?
I don’t think so.
Could they make Red Bull taste more balanced and objectively better?
Yes, of course. But they don’t want to.
For 35 years, they haven’t made any noticeable changes or improvements to the original Red Bull taste.
Besides wanting to amp you up with as much caffeine and taurine as possible, the synthetic taste makes sure you actually believe the drink is giving you energy. It’s a placebo.
They can’t tell you Red Bull will give you wings if it doesn’t taste like it will. It has to taste like it sounds and looks.
Funnily enough, in medicine, the existence of the Placebo Effect is still debated. But it has an obvious impact on consumer products.
Consumer products are less about outcomes and more about feelings. The perception of a product can completely change the overall product experience.