Tesla Motors really is the centre of ‘brand-envy’ right now. Have you ever seen a television advertisement for Tesla Motors? A billboard? How about on a bus stop? Probably not - yet you’re likely to have heard of Tesla and its somewhat unconventional CEO, Elon Musk.
The recent announcement of the new Tesla Model 3 has seen almost half a million pre-orders within just a couple of weeks – many of those before even seeing the vehicle for the first time.
So, how has Tesla managed to become such a powerful and influential brand with a loyal following that other businesses could only dream of?
We’ve compiled what we believe to be the 7 key elements to Tesla Motor’s marketing success:
1: Create Something That Matters
What Tesla has managed to do is create something that matters for everyone. It has created a paradigm shift that could very well have a significant and lasting effect on all of humanity.
You may be thinking “well, it’s a bit late now.” It’s not. You may just have to think on a somewhat smaller scale. Your mission and values may not change the face of humanity, but it could have a significant effect on your specific demographic.
Once you’ve created something that is truly valuable, the communication of it should theoretically be quite simple. Identify your audience, identify what your business could do for that audience and ensure it matters to them. This must be earnt, not bought.
2: Make It Cool
Not everyone’s business is obviously and immediately cool or interesting. What you need to remember is that someone will always find what you do interesting – you just need to find them. If you find your business interesting, someone else will.
Elon Musk is often likened to the achingly cool and charismatic DC Comics billionaire character, Iron Man. Elon is always working on new things and is always the first to talk about it on Twitter.
Even those who don’t have the money to spend on a car will follow Tesla because it holds some sort of emotional significance. They will probably then speak with their friends about the company - some of whom may actually be potential customers.
Keep working on new things and talk about it on social media. It may sound obvious but the more you shout about what you do, the more people will know about it. It also means the less PR you’ll have to send to the media. If what you do is truly newsworthy, they’ll be biting your hand off for it!
3: Build Your Executive Brand
There’s a very popular sales quote that has been paraphrased the world over – “people do business with people they like.”
Whilst the Internet has made this statement less true in its strictest sense, the sentiment still remains. The leader of a business, as well as many of its employees, should all build their own executive brands to act as the face of the business and to reflect its values.
Elon Musk is a prime example of a CEO doing this right.
With almost 4 million followers and 1,745 tweets, it’s fair to say that Elon is a pretty big deal on Twitter right now.
His executive brand is a very accurate reflection of himself. Not particularly articulate and a bit cheeky, but incredibly passionate about what he does.
4: Add a Human Element
Tesla’s CEO doesn’t use Twitter to just push out sales messages – but leverages the platform to engage with his customers, add a little personality and bolster his executive image. If people like and respect him personally, they will begin to like and respect Tesla.
5: Tell a Story
Social media is making everyone more accessible, allowing us to directly engage in conversation with celebrities and other high profile individuals.
It’s this accessibility and transparency that allows intelligent individuals to become powerful storytellers and inspire strong brand advocacy through open engagement and trust.
Elon Musk may not be the most polished public speaker, but he is certainly able to get across a real sense of knowledge and passion. It’s this that strengthens his story telling ability and has helped set him apart as a real industry leader.
Many business owners claim that they don’t have the time to build their own executive brand on social media, but it’s a long term investment that shouldn’t be ignored.
6: Generate a Buzz
Tesla’s marketing plan is very simple and very effective. Powerful brand values met with innovative, desirable and infrequently released products is what shapes the backbone of the ‘hype-machine.’ All Tesla or Elon Musk have to then do is tweet a teaser and watch the stock price skyrocket.
We’re doing Tesla’s marketing for it.
That’s not to say that any business will be able to achieve this sort of brand advocacy, as the case of Tesla is a very extreme example. Nonetheless, the fact of the matter is that this model does work and can be used to inspire any marketer.
7: Be Consistent
One of the most important aspects of developing your executive brand is to remain consistent. You can’t just set up your social media accounts, push out a few broadcasts for 2 weeks then go radio silent.
Social media is often a very slow process. It takes time to establish yourself as a leader in your field and it certainly isn’t something that you can rush and still expect to achieve the desired results.
Elon Musk tweets regularly and usually posts interesting and often humorous posts about what one of his many ventures has achieved.
The key is consistency. Post interesting things and engage with your audience – you’ll soon attract a good following. Tesla is evidence of that.