Featured Advisory Board Member: Nick VanderLinden, Red Bull
Nick VanderLinden has a long track record working with beverage brands – he’s been the GM of Red Bull here in Dallas for two years after spending nearly 15 years at Anheuser-Busch InBev. Nick brings his extensive sales and marketing experience in the consumer goods sector to the DISE advisory board, and we’re very lucky to have his unique perspective.
We caught up with Nick to ask him about what sets Red Bull apart from other brands in sports sponsorship, the industry in DFW, and what advice he’d give his younger self.
What is your favorite thing about working in the sports/entertainment industry?
I love working within the sports industry and how our brands can activate within that space. We view the sports industry as a tool to connect our brand with the passion our consumers share with their favorite teams and help create an unforgettable experience. It is important to create a “wow” factor for our product to maintain our credibility as the brand that is the “instigator of go.”
What excites you about the local DFW sports/entertainment industry?
Exciting part about DFW is the partnership and collaboration DISE has built within the industry. There is a phenomenal amount of networking among the sports and entertainment industry. The more we all work together, the greater exposure our great city will receive.
What are the opportunities and challenges?
The largest opportunity we have locally is sharing the story of Texas. We are a top 10 metro and continue to grow at a rapid pace. We all have an opportunity to recruit more talent, events, programming, and recognition for Dallas and Fort Worth!
Where do you see the future of sports/entertainment in DFW? What is on Red Bull's road map locally that you can share?
Red Bull will continue to prioritize DFW. It is our highest dollar-share market in the region. You’ll continue to see us bring unique events to DFW for our consumers like we have in the past, such as Red Bull Soapbox races in the Colony and Red Bull Cliff Diving in 2020 at Possum Kingdom, as well as supporting our local sports team venues.
What sets Red Bull's marketing and sponsorship apart from other brands?
Having worked for other brands, I can tell you that our approach at Red Bull is completely different. We are smaller and more grassroots than most organizations. We don’t try to brand everything and gain exposure everywhere. It’s quite the opposite, which quite frankly took some time to get used to. We love to create an ownable Red Bull event - building, planning and executing everything in-house - where we can control the experience for our consumers. Most of the time, our locally crafted sports marketing events are built around concepts where our consumers can not only watch but participate.
Why did you choose to get involved with DISE?
The industry continues to grow and expand in DFW and it’s exciting to be a part of DISE!
What's the best piece of advice you've received?
Invest time and energy in your people. Truly care about your team’s personal and professional growth and your company culture will develop on its own because it’s contagious.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Depends on how far back we go…Way back, I’d tell myself to get my shit together. If we are only going back to the beginning of my professional career, I would tell myself to broaden my thinking and exposure outside of my current role as an entry level or mid-level manager and try to see the bigger picture of the organization or strategy I work within to be successful. Understanding that, while it’s easy to see the issues in front of me, it’s much harder to see how those issues play into the broader mission of an organization.
What are the qualities you look for in a job candidate for Red Bull that might be different?
We love the entrepreneurial spirit at Red Bull. We don’t have the resources some other companies have, and we love to hire people that see that as an opportunity to get creative. In addition to the normal attributes most companies look for (attitude, passion, character) we want people that have grit and the ability/willingness to learn something new or, as we like to say, build the plane while you are flying.
Want to learn more about Nick VanderLinden? Connect on Linkedin.