Jolt was the first energy drink to be introduced in America. The response was great but it was not until 1997 when the market got a significant boost with Red Bull making its appearance in the variants of energy drinks. Since the late 90s, the growth rate of the energy drink industry has doubled, according to Beverage Marketing. And, consumers are still thirsty for a more interesting variety of energy drinks that will provide the needed energy boost to their lives.

What are energy drinks?
These are non-alcoholic beverages that are intended to offer a burst of high energy to the consumer. They contain less calories than commercial beverages and the energy burst could be attributed to high amounts of caffeine.

Manufacturing a Winning Energy Drink
Most energy drinks are usually carbonated or milk-based. Various innovations include energy drink powders and energy tablets such as LiftOff. Powders and tablets are convenient to carry and when mixed with water, give you a boost of energy any time, any where.

The basic ingredients used for manufacturing any form of energy drink are the same and act as stimulants and aid performance. Common ingredients include:

  1. Sugars in various forms such as high fructose, sucralose, acesulfame-K or aspartame
  2. Mild acids such as citric acid, malic acid, or phosphoric acid which add a sour taste
  3. Nutrients can include caffeine in high amounts, vitamin B-complex, antioxidant vitamins C and E, and taurine, an amino acid. Other nutrients include bee pollen, inositol, and glucuronolactone. Herbal extracts, such as ginseng, guarana and ginkgo biloba are often added for their nutritive value. Other herbs may include horny goat weed, milk thistle, yerba mate, damiana and rosemary.
  4. Some energy drinks are pasteurized for preservation. If they are not pasteurized, preservatives like sodium benzoate or potassium sorbate are used.
  5. Colours: Besides being colourless, common colours include caramel colour, yellow, orange and bright red.
  6. Flavours, either natural or artificial flavourings are used.

The presence of caffeine in an 8-oz serving of an energy drink should range between 70 and 80 mg of caffeine.

Sport drink ingredients may include coffee extracts, guarana (a plant extract from the Amazon basin with high caffeine content), cola and various types of tea. These drinks will typically contain some sugars in the form of carbohydrates.

A variation of energy drinks is smart drinks, or nootropic drinks. These drinks are a blend of various fruit juices, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Smart drinks often include amino acid supplements believed to enhance concentration, boost energy levels, and resist stress.

Importance of Flavour
Typical flavours of energy drinks are citrus, lemon, berry, mango, cherry, or grapefruit.

A recent survey states that about 35% of energy drink consumers are above the age of 35. In fact energy drinks that contain high sugar levels are more popular with women and children, while energy drinks with strong flavour and taste are generally preferred by male consumers.

According to some key findings of a prominent business intelligence for a consumer goods industry, it was stated that pomegranate has become the fastest-growing flavour in many nutraceutical beverages launches. Whereas orange flavour was more common with over 6% of all the launches in 2006 that contained it.

Marketing a Winning Energy Drink
The following aspect are specifically vital when coming up with a long term marketing strategy that is suppose to mark a place in the market for your enegy drinks;

  1. Clever marketing strategies
  2. A nationwide distribution networks
  3. A name that creates instant brand recognition
  4. The right kind of packaging

College students and teenagers form the core target market sections for energy drink manufacturers. The core age group is from 12 to 30 years. Currently, the edgiest advertising for energy drinks include wild, jaw-opening stunts such as jumping from a bridge, no-parachute sky diving, or even a one-manned rocket launch! By far this age group is the hardest to impress, but challenging and innovative marketing techniques can lead to high profits, even for small batch quantities.

Another target group is sports enthusiasts and fitness freaks! Energy drinks intended to optimize sports and fitness performance begin with drinks that are to be taken before exercise, during and concluding the exercise program. Popular sports personalities have endorsed a number of energy drinks. Recently, Tiger Woods has endorsed his own line of sports drinks manufactured by Gatorade. Profit margins in this category can be 40% and more.

Not only are energy drinks popular with the younger generation, and sports/fitness enthusiasts, Americans at large are turning to energy drinks. The growing demand for energy drinks is direct result of people’s lives getting busy. People fill their lives to the maximum, adding more and more responsibilities, leaving little time for rest and relaxation, leading to stress and fatigue. This has resulted in people turning to stimulants to keep them going and which offers them the energy needed to complete their tasks.

What’s in a Name?
For energy drinks, a name is synonymous with lifestyle. Take for example the energy drink Crunk. Hip-hop artist Lil’ Jon is the self proclaimed “King of Crunk”, who popularized this term Crunk and the typical lifestyle it represents in the hip-hop community.

Choosing an energy drink is a way of making a statement of who you are and what you identify with. Since most energy drinks are consumed by the younger generation and sports people—choosing an appropriate name and creating the right buzz around it can boost the popularity of an energy drink. This becomes a bit obvious when you take a look at some of the current names for energy drinks: Spiked Silver, Josta, XS Energy Drink, Wired, Vault, Spike Shooter, Piranha, Nerd, Monster, So Be Superman, Full Throttle, Diesel Energy Drink, Rockstar, and Relentless!

Energy Drink Packaging
Energy drinks are available mostly in typical bullet-shaped recyclable aluminium cans. Energy drink packaging should be bright and flashy rather than subtle and understated. Since the core consumer group target is extreme sports enthusiasts, young adults, teenagers and fitness freaks, label designs that signify bolts of energy, flash, instant thrills and speed will be popular.

Packaging in plastic bottles has recently become popular.

The Market Scene
While most energy drinks target young core group, or fitness and sports enthusiasts, the market is still open for energy drinks intended for specific age groups such as women, senior adults, or the working sector.

What do you think about that marketing insight? Is it applicable to fit all energy making companies or can it be twicked to fit a companies marketing strategy and agenda?