4 Powerful Ways Tesla Has Such A
Loyal Cult Following.
(And did it with a $0-marketing budget…)
There’s only a handful of companies in history that have created a followership of people (other than their founder’s grandma) who actually give a fuck about them.
The difference between those and the rest of the “mortal” companies is that their customers are not just buyers -they are brand evangelists.
Like Christian evangelists, these are people who believe in a company so much that they preach their Gospel and spread their message to anyone who will (cringely) listen.
Nike and Apple are two great examples of brands with thousands of thousands of brand evangelists. But they have spent a shitload of dollars to “convert” them.
Actually, there is only one company -Tesla- who has created this type of cult following -and done it with a $0 advertising budget.
Zero $. Nada $.
You won’t see a TV commercial. Or an annoying Facebook ad. Or an intrusive banner ad. Nothing.
What you will see is the 450,000 car reservations at the end of the first quarter. Goddam -that is an amazing problem to have.
But, how has Tesla done that? And, equally important, how can you replicate that with your personal or business brand?
These are the four things you must have…
1. A charismatic leader (and his audience).
Tesla can’t be understood without the guy sitting in the big, comfy couch. Tesla is indeed Elon Musk.
Musk became the Chairman of Tesla after a $7.5 million round in 2004. He came with a solid record of success. By that point, the South-African entrepreneur had already founded, grown, and sold PayPal to eBay for 1.5B.
He did not just give Tesla the funding they much needed, but also a very recognizable face to the company.
Elon is a charismatic leader. A visionary. An industry trailblazer.
Elon has a built-in audience that follows him everywhere he goes -including Twitter, where there’s 21 million of them.
How many companies do you know have 21 million followers that actually want to hear what they have to say? Well, for Musk and Tesla that represents millions of dollars in free publicity.
But it gets even better. After years of writing sales copy for businesses and entrepreneurs, there is one thing that I know for sure:
“People buy from people.”
We trust humans better than companies. They are more personable. We relate to them. To their fears, dreams, and ambitions. We enjoy their successes and understand their failures.
…and people obviously want to buy from Elon Musk.
2. A clear vision.
One of Elon Musk’s most underrated skills is his ability to put what he is up to in the simplest way so that everyone can easily understand –you just always know what his company is working towards.
Think about it…
The Boring Company… makes tunnels.
Space X… designs, manufactures, and launches rockets.
PayPal… facilitates online payments.
Tesla?… Tesla makes electric cars.
Easy, right? I’ve seen Social Media Agencies with just two employees that need three long-ass paragraphs to say what they actually do.
The clarity of Tesla’s vision allows the market to make the cognitive connection of this Person(Elon Musk) is doing that (electric vehicles) –which makes everything much easier.
3. A higher sense of purpose.
Just like Apple sells “something more than just” phones, Tesla sells “something more than just” cars.
It’s not only that their cars are electric –there are other electric car companies, after all–it’s the story behind it that makes Tesla stand out.
Tesla is the child of an explosive collection between obsessive engineers from Silicon Valley with a South-African entrepreneur’s dream to change the world.
“So if they are not selling cars, what are Tesla and Elon Musk really selling then, dumbass?”
They are selling a piece of the future –today!
Elon Musk sells high-technology. He sells the safety of our planet. He sells showing-off-ism. He sells innovation. He sells a statement. He sells human connection. He sells the value of human advancement (corny, I know, but true).
All in one car.
For the love of God, he even sells the OG Nikola Tesla.
4. Excellent products.
No marketing strategy and no charismatic leader can consistently sell something that people don’t actually like.
Seth Godin wrote on All Marketers are Liars that “BMW has a great marketing department called engineering.” Well, same with Tesla. As obvious as it sounds, your marketing is always easier when you don’t sell shit that smells horrible.
Now, I don’t know much about cars (I don’t even own one), but those who do say that “they are the total package. It delivers world-class performance and has a spacious cabin loaded with tech features. For these reasons, it’s one of the highest-rated cars on our site.”
What I hear is that “these things work hella good, man.”
Elon Musk shifted the idea from electric cars being for rich, old women following their cheating husbands through the golf course, and actually made them better than normal cars.