How has Tesla come to be a reference without spending money on advertising? We are going to analyze the Marketing and Advertising strategy of Tesla.
Tesla Motors is the pioneer company in the manufacture of electric cars. But, how has a company founded in 2003 been the car brand with more engagement over Audi, BMW, Toyota, Cadillac or Porsche? The result is a mix of marketing and advertising strategies that have made a difference.
A strategy that has revolutionized the automotive market and caught up with the big names in the industry. Today, in our series of marketing and advertising strategies for large companies, we are going to analyze Tesla’s marketing and advertising strategy.
A little bit of history
Before we start, we must know how Tesla was founded. The company was created by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning in 2003 in California. These were components of one of the two teams of the company AC Propulsion that developed an electric prototype for the General Motors, the T-Zero.
The other team consisted of Elon Musk and JB Straubuel. The objective of creating cars driven by renewable energies became impossible due to the multiple problems involved.
Tom Gage, president of AC Propulsion, proposed that both teams joined forces to make their developments viable. Thus, Elon Musk and Straubel teamed up with Martin Eberhard to found Tesla Motors. Musk would provide the necessary funding and would be responsible for design. In contrast, Eberhard would remain as CEO and Straubel as CTO.
In the early years, Eberhard was running the company, Musk supervising the design and Straubel the vehicle mechanics. So they took out the first prototype called Tesla Roadster, based on a Lotus Elise prototype. Its objective was to demonstrate that an electric vehicle could compete with the best sports cars.
Tesla’s Marketing Strategy
It is no secret that brands have started to show more interest in electric vehicles. Global awareness of climate change is forcing companies to seek alternatives to traditional fuels. In this category, Tesla cars have become the most desired, an ideal luxury product aspiration.
The potential interest of the consumers lies in the fact that the brand has been able to sell itself as a fashionable product in an emerging market. The brand has associated a series of very positive values that have made it the object of desire of many consumers. The Tesla do not stand out for being electric vehicles, they stand out for being Tesla.
But to get to this point they have had to make a careful marketing and advertising plan. They have not spent a hard time in publicity but have managed to create a powerful brand using the new resources that globalization has brought. And without investments, it is the car brand with the most engagement.
According to a study by BrandTotal, it is the company that has the best organic engagement in social networks, even though it does not pay for campaigns on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. One of the characteristics of the brand is that everything it generates and grows is done in a very organic way, creating a very solid community of followers that is dedicated to the values of the brand.
A master plan
As Apple does, Tesla has managed to turn their products into an object of desire and status. His strategy has been clear from the beginning: make few units to avoid losses and generate high demand with little supply. His first car, the Roadster model (based on the Lotus Elise), competed directly with the high-gamut sports cars: the Porsche Boxster S and the Porsche 911. They came to manufacture up to 500 units a year, dismantling the myth that you could not make a high-performance electric car.
The second step was to make a greater number of vehicles at a lower price. They hired Franz von Holzhausen, a designer who worked at Volkswagen and Mazda to design his new model: The Model S. With it, Tesla proved that it could compete in the luxury saloon sector.
The Model S was a resounding success and everyone started wanting a Tesla. The desired effect had had an effect, and those who could not economically aspire to a Model S demanded a “cheap” version of a Tesla. For them, they launched the Model 3 with a starting price of 59,000 € and later a more affordable version for 35,000 €.
With the Model 3, they have managed to outperform the BMW 3 Series, the Audi C4 and the Mercedes C-Class. A threat to the traditional brands of the sector that are beginning to react. But just as Apple did in its day with the release of the iPhone, recover the lost ground will not be a matter of two days.
One of the characteristics of Tesla’s business is that it does not sell its cars through intermediaries. Tesla wants to control the entire purchasing process so that the user experience is complete. Thus, you can have a greater margin of benefits at the same time that the customer can save by paying less than if he bought it through the current dealer.
All cars are available on the Tesla website, and its marketing was conceived to be entirely online. Even so, they have opened many stores in the most important cities of USA, Europe and Asia where they can see and try Tesla models.
With this they intend to offer the customer a convincing experience while getting sales and service benefits that traditional manufacturers do not have in the distribution model for franchises and official workshops. Customers deal directly with Tesla staff and not with franchisees.
In addition to selling in its stores, Tesla makes temporary samples of its cars in shopping centers with a large influx of people, where you can answer questions personally and thus get a different experience. In 3 months and with 6 samples in shopping centers Tesla attended to 400,000 people individually. According to George Blankenship, sales director of Tesla Motors: “We do not want to sell a car to people, we want people to buy us a car because they want to, it’s different, I think that anyone who comes to a Tesla store today will want to buy us a car in the next 10 years. , not the next 3 days, but the next 10 years.”
Know how to generate conversation
Although the brand does not spend on advertising, it does care that they speak well of them, of becoming the message. They usually make juicy statements that are commented and analyzed by technological and motor blogs, as well as by the influencers of the sector. They also make spectacular presentations and broadcast live on social networks, so that everyone can see and get trend in different social networks.
In addition, their products have been in spaces that connected with the public that seek to turn it into an object of desire. In high standing galleries in Berlin or luxury shopping centers in Dubai.
Presence in social networks
The social network where Tesla has more presence is Instagram. This social network takes 55% of its activity, followed by Twitter. The scope and engagement in these two networks is very high, especially if we take into account that Elon Musk himself is a very active user in both.
All content is published, maintained and fed directly by the company itself. This means that it has a more direct contact with its clients and uses it as a space for interaction and debate with users.
When it comes to creating engagement on electric cars, Tesla leads the ranking ahead of major brands such as BMW, Volkswagen, Toyota and General Motors, always a step away from what the Elon Musk company does. At the level of statistics, the brand occupies the third place in the mentions ranking, surpassing the 94 million comments that mention its name.
All this would not be understood without the participation of Elon Mosk on Twitter. He is one of the most followed CEOs in the world, with more than 25 million followers. The close behavior of Elon in the networks plays in favor of the brand image, which they see as more informal than the rest, dominated by multiple management committees.
Tesla’s cocktail of success
Tesla has been creative with the activation of the brand through experiences. They have got consumers talking about the brand, but without paying a dime in advertising. Like Apple, Tesla controls the technological content and brand positioning. The attractive design is, the technological content also (autonomy, super loaders, punctual updates, Autopilot). Tesla is a luxury object that both geeks and sheikhs like as those who only want a Tesla because celebrities have one.
And to all this, the impact guaranteed by its CEO: Elon Musk. It’s what Steve Jobs went to Apple, a guarantee that the brand will appear in the news in every news it gives. Musk is increasingly known and, above all, appears more and more in the media, which have a very high interest in what this manager does and says. A perfect cocktail that perfectly summarizes the success of Tesla.