One of the most effective strategies for branding awareness and connecting with your ideal customers is storytelling. Tesla, Inc. has been doing this with massive success by telling stories that impact people.
Today, we’ll be looking at Tesla branding to understand what’s worked for them over the last ten years. We’ll also be diving in from the angle of storytelling and sharing how you can use the power of story to help level up your brand.
How did Tesla use storytelling?
Storytelling is one of the most effective ways to connect with your ideal customers. We are connected through stories, and, in your branding, you can use storytelling to build connection with current and potential clients and customers. Let’s see how Tesla does it.
A few key elements of their story:
*Co-Founder, CEO Elon Musk
It’s hard to think of Tesla without thinking about Musk. He’s the face of the company and the personification of innovation. It’s no coincidence that he’s also the founder of Space X, the pioneering commercial space company. His name is synonymous with innovation and market disruption. These are the exact concepts Tesla stands for. Musk has an impressive history from PayPal to Space X to Tesla, all three cutting-edge companies embodying industry disruption and doing things differently.
And Tesla certainly is about doing things differently. The automotive company brands itself as the driving force that will help shift the world’s energy use to more sustainable options.
Tesla doesn’t just tell their story; they encourage customers to tell and share their individual stories. There’s an entire section on Tesla’s website dedicated to just customer stories. Customers share their narratives of what attracted them to the company, what they love about the vehicles, and how their lives have been changed by connecting with the brand. Most of the stories show a journey, a progression from interested (possible customer) to raving fan. This is the epitome of powerful storytelling.
It’s brand storytelling at it’s best. It builds trust, encourages engagement, and fosters community.
*Tesla’s story of environmental impact
Every year, Tesla releases an Environmental Impact Report. The report is story of how their cars are reducing carbon emissions worldwide. Whether you agree with their reports or not, this strategy works to show they’re focused on making an impact and changing the world.
In a world where environmental issues are now top of mind for most, this gives many something to get behind to feel they are a positive environmental narrative.
Through their environmental impact stories, they’re connecting with their ideal customers: people who care deeply about the environment.
How does their storytelling tie in with their overall brand?
The company’s brand mission (from their website):
‘Accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. ‘
Notice that this statement doesn’t even say anything about automobiles, their main product. Their story is about the impact that they strive to achieve, with the cars being the vehicle to get them there.
Tesla is about innovation, change, transition, and its ideal customers are people who embrace these changes. They are not just serving everyone.
There’s a specific market Tesla speaks to and their marketing and mission are geared specifically to those people. That’s how the stories are so impactful because they’re real-life stories of people who connect deeply with Tesla’s mission. For them, it’s not just about buying a car, it’s about buying into a movement. The Tesla movement.
The stories (from customer stories to Elon Musk to their marketing, etc. are all centered around the theme of environmental impact.
What results have they gotten from storytelling?
Tesla has seen incredible growth. Some even describe it as ‘hyper’ growth because of the rate at which they’re expanding. In the last ten years, they’ve grown in annual revenue from approximately $15 million to over $21 billion.
Successfully increased their sales and loyalty (to the point where year after year they’ve had waiting lists for their new release cars). Customer purchases and loyalty have both continued to climb every year.
How can you apply the principles of storytelling to your brand and business?
So, what can you learn from Tesla’s successful brand storytelling?
• When you’re clear on who’s your ideal customer, you’re able to attract them.
• Effective branding uses elements of storytelling to connect with people’s ideals and desires.
• Find ways to listen/interact with your community. Hear their stories. Give them a voice.
Tesla, Inc. is a powerful example of storytelling in branding done well. Storytelling allows you to highlight your unique value proposition in a creative, meaningful way. You can apply the principles outlined above to grow your business and boost your branding for higher impact and deeper customer connection.