One of my favourite social media success stories is Blendtec ‘s Will it Blend video campaign. Blendtec, a high-end, high quality, commercial blender company conceived the idea of putting extreme blending videos on YouTube. The first five videos cost only $50 to create. With help from platforms like Digg, the videos went viral instantly, scoring over 6 million views in the first week. (Source: Li and Bernoff, groundswell) This highly successful social media marketing campaign resulted in 1000% increase in sales.
Blendtec wanted to develop a marketing campaign to create brand awareness and increase sales in the consumer market. “The story goes that on the days that employees at the Blendtec plant smelled sawdust, they knew Tom (The CEO) was experimenting again and would flock to see the show. Tom was stuffing things like 2x2s into his blender. Noticing how entertained the staff was, Tom’s marketing manager, George Wright, caught it on video, and with an advertising budget of only $50 it all began. It instantly hit the jackpot on YouTube, and the rest is history.” (Source: Li & Bernoff, groundswell)
The key was blending what people wanted to see. Blendtec claimed its blender could pulverize anything. That anything for example, was Tom Dickson’s personal iPhone. The iPhone was an icon, the very cool gadget at the time. Everyone was mesmerized by what the iPhone could do. Blendtec flipped that notion on its head and showed people what a Blendtec blender could do to the iPhone. People were fascinated. And when people are fascinated in today’s world they like it, they share it, and they talk about it instantly.
Blendtec has a good quality product that delivers on its promise to do what a lot of blenders cannot do at its current price point. However, there are many excellent products that don’t see the same results as Blendtec. As Li and Bernoff point out in Groundswell, Blendtec took advantage of social media in the middle stages of the marketing funnel in its campaign.
After the awareness stage, Blendtec was engaging with its audience. On www.willitblend.com Blendtec told its audience where they could see a demonstration of their own and asked for suggestions of new items to blend. Blendtec was allowing the audience to interact and form relationships with the brand and other customers. As people forms strong bonds, relationships, and connections with someone or something they become loyal. They become customers.
(Note: A version of this post first appeared on www.sociallyengaged.ca)