I know there is no end to what you can do with an iPhone but it is getting ridiculous. We went to a conference hosted by the DMA last Thursday entitled “The Future of Direct Marketing” where a chap from Sony Ericsson said an interesting thing: “Technology should be about joy”. This got me thinking. He said if it needs to be about joy, then it means consciously not talking about the facts and figures of a product-‘opting out of the features race’ as he put it. Instead, it is about communicating the technology in a way that is relevant to a person’s life.
Generally it is tempting (and rational) for businesses to talk about the specification of their product in customer communications since so much of their internal resources are focused on improving their products. “We put a lot of resource into making our product faster/cheaper/bigger/smaller/ lighter/thinner-we should tell customers just how much”. Thus we are bombarded with numbers and stats which, for most people, are pretty irrelevant (640 GB hard drive, 16 megapixels, £3,000,000 repatriation insurance cover). And even if the numbers are relevant, let’s face facts, it is a little dull.
But does this have to be the case? It is not that I think that the specification is not important-far from it. It is just that it has to be made relevant to me before I will engage with the product or brand. And being relevant to me starts with communicating about a product in a way that I remember.
I guarantee you will remember this. An iPhone smoothie. Check out this video for a brand of blender you will never forget (millions already have):
I have no idea how Blendtec decided to come up with the “Will it blend?” campaign. However I would like to think it went something like this:
The smart marketing guys walked into the lab whilst the geeky manufacturing people were goofing around (ignoring health and safety) shoving all manner of objects into the blender they had built. The smart marketing guys, tired of simply producing press adverts with a pretty product picture stating the blade speed and a reference to “makes nice smoothies”, spotted an engaging way to tell the Blendtec story to their customers. One of them went home, got his video camera, knocked on the CEO’s door and told him what they needed him to do. Two hours later they posted a video on YouTube. A few years on and well over 100 blended objects later, the videos have won multiple industry awards and coverage on shows like Jay Leno to millions more potential buyers. Blendtec and its campaign have had more than 180 million views on YouTube. 180 million. If anyone has any idea what kind of conventional marketing budget it would take to generate that much engagement with that many customers then let us know. In a rather understated way Tom Dickson, the founder of Blendtec and star of the videos, says it best: “Will it Blend has had an amazing impact to our commercials and our retail products”.
Whilst writing this post, I thought about going to the Blendtec website to check out which metal the blades were made out of and how many revs per minute (is this even a proper blender metric?) the specification is. But I didn’t. Because it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that this brand of blender has been communicated to me in a very unordinary way that I will probably never forget. It brought a smile to my face, proved to me that it is a great blender and has encouraged me to tell many other people. I am not currently in the market for a blender. However when I eventually am, there is no way I will not check out Blendtec’s blenders as part of the process. And I think I will probably end up buying one-although I doubt I will bother to find out what metal the blades are made out of.
Posted by Ajai Ranawat
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