Brand Champion: Russ Weiner

This edition of 7 Secrets of a Brand Champion features Russ Weiner, founder and majority owner of Rockstar Energy Beverages. A couple of weeks ago the news came out that Weiner sold Rockstar to PepsiCo for a cool $3.85 Billion dollars. 

Russ Weiner owned 85% of Rockstar and found proclaimed success after a career defined by big risks, failures, self-belief and innovation. Like a true Brand Champion, Weiner was able to establish a clear vision for the future of his energy drink brand which he was able to capitalize on. 

As the son of famous conservative radio host, Michael Savage, Weiner planned to follow in his father’s footsteps after graduating San Diego State University with a degree in political science. But, after running for California State Assembly and losing, Weiner found himself working for Skyy Vodka, where he initially pitched his idea for an energy drink brand and had it turned down.

Thus, Weiner made the decision to start his own business and take out a $50,000 loan by mortgaging his own condo. And despite Weiner’s resolve to successfully launch an energy drink brand, industry experts claimed the market was already saturated by brand offerings like Red Bull and Monster. At the launch of Rockstar Energy, Weiner drove around San Francisco in an old limo with the Rockstar logo painted on the side to promote and pitch his new beverage brand.  

As Rockstar Energy grew, Weiner adopted a marketing strategy that opted to spend less marketing dollars than his competitors while sponsoring wakeboard, motocross, and surf athletes, as well as deploying young models in branded bikinis. Meanwhile, his personal lifestyle grew to embody what it meant to truly be a Rockstar. Weiner had become the owner of several mansions as well as a 161-foot yacht named “Rockstar.” Weiner is quoted saying he worked around the clock 24/7 for over 20 years to make his dream for Rockstar Energy a resounding success. According to Forbes, Weiner said that “ It shows that the American Dream is still alive and well.” 

Brand Champions not only have a dream and a vision of what they want to get accomplished for their company, product, service or brand. They have a plan to make those dreams become reality. They utilize a team to figure out how to differentiate, message, package and brand their ideas so they become a reality. And ultimately, Brand Champions embody the essence of a brand, serving as the best representatives and spokesmen for it. 

What are you doing to define your brand and drive its success? At Brand Iron, our team of branding specialists and consultants can help you create a team of Brand Champions ready to act.

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