Elon Musk from Tesla

Harness the power of PR like Tesla

US electric car brand Tesla is one of a kind. The company has never paid for an advert in its 13 year history, but has built a reputation as one of the world’s coolest brands. Several of the Tesla models have required recalls, but there’s been no lasting brand damage. And the CEO picked a very public fight with media powerhouse, The New York Times, but emerged unscathed.

Despite all the drama, the car maker has retained a glowing reputation and millions of loyal fans. The brand has even made it on to Interbrand’s prestigious ‘100 most valuable brands’ list for the first time this year, at number 100.

But how has Tesla got away with actions that would ruin the reputations of many other companies? Quite simply by harnessing the power of public relations. Let’s look at what Tesla is doing right and what your company can do to make the most of your PR:

Be visible

Love him or hate him, most people know Elon Musk’s name. Although he didn’t develop the idea for the Tesla car himself, he is seen as the company’s public face. He blogs regularly, is very active on social media and goes to great lengths to answer the public’s questions personally.

Takeaway: Decide who your spokesperson will be and get him or her out there. Post, Tweet, like and share. Host webinars and podcasts. Sponsor and speak at industry events. Write books and bylined articles. Give media interviews. Be nominated for business awards. The more people that see you sharing expertise and demonstrating how your products can add value, the more they’ll trust you, make purchases and support your company.

Be visionary

Tesla envisioned an electric car that was also testosterone-inducing, powerful, and fun to drive. It was a bold, and courageous vision. There were plenty of doubters and bumps along the way, but Tesla stuck to the plan and look at them now.

Takeaway: Determine what is unique about your company and capitalise on it. Customers like associating with companies that are on the cutting edge of their industries and passionate about their brand’s making a difference in the face of criticism. They’ll be eager to hear about what you’ll do next.

Be passionate

Elon Musk is brash and not afraid to gloat about his triumphs. He also defends his products like a parent protecting a child. The public feels his zeal and supports him much in the same way that Steve Jobs’s fans did. Many will recall the masterful way Steve Jobs fired up the public’s anticipation for Apple products by teasing about upcoming product launches. Elon Musk plays a similar game using his Twitter feed to great advantage.

As a result, both men cultivated a legion of fans who love their products, the companies and what they’re trying to do.

Takeaway: Show some love for your company and brand. Strive to make it the best organisation it can be, and promote it. Demonstrate your shared values and beliefs to help promote emotional attachments. And make those beliefs part of your core operating processes. Highlight corporate responsibility efforts and don’t be afraid to take a stand on something important.

Be smart

Musk is known for being exceptionally intelligent. He learns all he can from those around him. And when he discovers a solution to a problem, he works hard to blaze the path and achieve success.

Takeaway: Stay on top of what’s going on in your industry. Attend seminars, exhibitions, and industry events, and make an effort to keep learning. The more you know the more power you’ll have, both in terms of advising your customers and being a credible source of information for the media.

PR Superstar can help

Whether your company’s problems stem from lack of visibility, poor reputation, looming crises or lack of branding, PR Superstar can help. Give me a call on 020 8274 0807 to find out how.



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