Blendtec was founded in 1975 by Tom Dickson. He remains the CEO to this day. The company is private and is not required to disclose financial information. Blendtec picked up the website WillItBlend.com as a way of getting the word out. The site is mostly the videos that are on YouTube consolidated for ease of viewing. It does divide videos of what customers can try at home and what not to try.
Several Will-It-Blend videos come with the disclaimer to not try what is shown on the videos. This doesn’t stop the company from getting calls from customers stating they broke their blender by trying to blend items not meant for the blender.
Dickson is proud to state that no one in his company has ever been hospitalized for the release of noxious fumes or other hazards when blending unconventional materials.
How the Company Started
Dickson has been an innovator since early childhood. One day, he spilled grains and discovered that vacuuming those grains broke the entire kernel. This led him to create a grain mill that processed the grains in a more efficient manner.
There is no indication of funding, and it’s likely Dickson fronted much of the capital. Continuing funding comes from its profits and operations.
None to be found.
Why it Works
The company launched a campaign called “Will It Blend.” It included several videos showing the company’s founder, Tom Dickson, pondering whether the company’s blenders were capable of blending various items.
The concept was used to show how durable the products were. Items such as marbles, wood, etc., were blended to prove the point. The campaign went viral and put the brand on the map.
Tom Dickson is an average Joe. He is deeply involved with the company at all stages of the process. He is down-to-earth and that is what makes people comfortable with him running the company.
The company believes in the promotion of good health through its products. That is and was always its focus. Its customers concur by reading the guest posts from the blog or around the web.
The company has sued Vitamix and won the case. It was a patent infringement suit for $24 Million. However, it took several years to get a resolution.
The company has an entire section on its website dedicated to recipes. Obviously, the idea is to use the company’s products to prepare the recipes. It tries to include healthy recipes that are seasonal.
Blendtec encourages guest posting as a means to offer testimonials on the use of the products. These often include recipes, but may also contain success stories about how the products lead to a healthier lifestyle. Of course, the products can be used to prepare non-healthy foods as well. However, the company is big on encouraging healthy uses of the products.
The company sells via partnerships and dealers, although you can also buy online at retailers such as Amazon. The company sells directly on these channels.
After creating kitchen mills, the company expanded its product line developing blenders to commercial kitchens. The product was a success. This led Dickon to create a consumer version of the product.
The Will It Blend videos garnered the attention of the media after they went viral. Dickson has appeared on a number of news and talk shows due to this success.
The company boasts the longest warranty available for a blender. These warranties start out at eight years and some go as high as ten years.
Blendtec is the parent company of Blendfresh, which is a multilevel marketing company promoting healthy products. Blendfresh does sell Blendtec products as part of its mix of products/services. It also incorporates learning about how to eat more healthy through its Nutrition University. This type of marketing can be a great way to get the word out and help sell more products.
The company boasts doing the majority of its manufacturing in the United States. It states that not every part that the products need are available in the US. But, it tries to do as much sourcing locally.
You’d be hard pressed to find a model of its blenders with a rating under 4-stars on Amazon. These well-built blenders are not cheap but that doesn’t seem to stop consumers from buying them and giving them good reviews.
On one particular model sold on Amazon, the buyer complained that the motor was vibrating excessively. The company agreed to send another motor but the user specified that it was an older model and refurbished.
Another reviewer, who was having problems, stated that the customer service was accommodating and helped her through the problem. It’s unclear why she did not update her 1-star rating.
Overall, the company has overwhelming 5-star ratings on the particular brand. It’s always a good idea to read through several reviews, both good and bad, to get a feel for what may be real or made up. Competitors will often flood the channel with poor reviews.
On a CNet review back in 2014, the company’s 725 model was rated poorly. It stated that it took little time to shred the rubber gasket, which rendered the device useless. CNet could not recommend this product. The review also states that an earlier review of a different product fared well.
If you look on BestBuy.com, you will see several reviews that are quite positive. This includes both high-end models as well as the company’s lower end models.
On Glassdoor.com, the company does not seem to fare well with employees. Tom Dickson receives less than half for approval from the employees who left ratings. The overall rating is 2.7 stars out of five, which is not very good.
One reviewer suggested the company has run its course. Others state the pay is competitive and the benefits are decent. Another reviewer stated that management is poor and has fired departments on a whim.
Lessons Learned By The Business
- The company believes in using an integrated approach with its partners and customers. They cross promote and encourage customers to get involved by describing their experiences with the products. Back in 2008, the band Weezer was promoting the release of its then new album, Pork and Beans. They worked with Blendtec to cross promote. Dickson blended the album in one of the company’s Will It Blend videos. Videos for the album contained a Blendtec blender.
- The company believes in being charitable, but not for the sake of winning over customers. The company works with charities directly. One campaign is in conjunction with the American Heart Association that teaches kids the benefits of locally-grown foods.
- Blendtec does not rest on its previous innovations. They are constantly looking for ways to improve the products or to come up with new ones. You cannot take the tinker out of an inventor such as Tom Dickson!
How Other Businesses Can Learn From This
Blendtec is successful in part due to its Will It Blend strategy. This got the word out quickly and meaningfully. The success was accidental and other companies should not make going viral a particular strategy.
If it happens in the course of doing other activities, then that is good. However, companies that try to make it a part of their strategy will fail when it does not go viral as expected.