Tesla’s New Online Marketing Strategy: ‘Don’t Sell Cars, Sell Dreams’

It’s only been a week since Tesla CEO Elon Musk shocked the world by announcing that his car company would be entering a whole new market — online marketing and advertising. Since then, the electric car maker’s stock price and popularity have skyrocketed.

Shares of Tesla traded as high as $337 per share on August 24. Now, they’re down 16% to $276 per share.

The announcement that the company would be venturing into online marketing came as a major shift for Tesla. The brand previously relied on word of mouth and journalism to generate hype around its cars. But now that it’s been established that people love to read about electric cars and playfulness in general, Tesla has new ways to gain attention.

New Website, New Slogan

To keep up with demand, Tesla launched the website teslamotors.com early this week. On the front end, the site features the standard car-related content that you’d find on any other car review website.

  • Roughly six models of Tesla cars are covered, ranging from the Model 3 to the Model Y.
  • The site also offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the manufacturing process of a Tesla vehicle, as well as a look at the company’s business model.
  • Headlined by the tagline, “Electric cars. They’re about to make a comeback,” the site draws inspiration from both Tesla’s history and its future.

Why Now?

Musk first hinted at the existence of Tesla’s new marketing campaign in a tweet on August 16. The CEO and CTO of the company then followed up with news of the new website a day later.

Though Tesla has always been most well-known for its electric cars, the brand now sees the internet as a platform it can use to continue growing. In an interview with Roughly, Musk said, “I think in the next five years, you’re going to see a major change in how brands interact with consumers. And when I say consumer, I mean everyone. From Millennials to Gen Z.”

The shift to online marketing and digital media is also crucial to Tesla’s ambitious plans to become a completely autonomous car company. The company has already begun installing cameras and sensors in its vehicles that allow them to operate without any human input. Though they’re not yet fully autonomous, Tesla’s ambitions in this regard could redefine the ways we interact with our cars.

Speaking of redefining, Tesla has also updated its branding to better fit the new marketing strategy. Gone are the days of the quirky, word-of-mouth-spiral-approved names like “Sopwith Camel” and “Roadster.” Now, Tesla is using big, attention-grabbing words and slogans to gain brand recognition.

The updated brand identity is called “The New Way to Experience Car,” and it represents the promise that every Tesla model is going to be an improvement over the one before it. In an effort to evoke a sense of spiritual awakening when consumers read about its cars, Tesla updated its logo to feature a lightbulb (a nod to the firm’s heritage as a telecommunications company as well). It also became officially trademarked on August 21st.

What’s Next?

Musk has already begun tweeting about new products and initiatives that the company is cooking up, and the new marketing strategy is just one of them. The CEO also shared new details about Tesla’s upcoming electric truck, the Semi, which he said will revolutionize heavy trucking.

In fact, the success of Tesla’s new online marketing strategy is already being touted. The Verge’s Autos Editor, Emily Spivey, wrote, “It’s clear that Tesla is finally listening to customers and responding to their needs. The company has always focused on delivering the perfect car. Now, they’re using that drive to create the perfect customer experience.”

The Verge also praised the uniqueness of Tesla’s approach, writing, “Musk is always looking for ways to improve the customer experience, and he’s found the right way to market his company. By focusing on creating a brand new type of interaction between humans and cars, Tesla is carving out a space for itself in an increasingly crowded market.”

While Tesla is undoubtedly a brand new kind of car company, it’s also the pioneer of a new generation of technology companies who are blazing new trails in the automotive world. Its success shows that if you want to succeed in today’s world, it’s not necessarily about selling a lot of cars. It’s about establishing a brand and convincing people that your product is the best in its class.