When you think of electric vehicles (EV), chances are Tesla is one of the first images that come to mind. And when you think of Tesla, it’s a pretty good bet that what follows are thoughts about Elon Musk, charging stations, or space travel.
It’s hard to think of another electric auto company that has such a strongly recognizable and cohesive brand presence. At this point, almost every manufacturer has at least some eggs in the EV basket. Some, like Renault-Nissan, have a lot of eggs–producing more EVs globally than Tesla.
Still, Tesla is the EV company most connected to the industry and the most talked about online. This is a testament to the power of their branding, and with a little creativity, it is possible to harness that same success for your own dealership.
Changing Approach for Changing Times
Most manufacturers got online fairly quickly when the internet first developed, and continue to use it as a marketing tool. However, the internet hasn’t stayed idle and neither has the way we interact with it.
Whereas once the World Wide Web was a market place and a company’s website was its storefront, now the internet is more akin to a cafe where people meet and hang out socially. Just like you would be annoyed if someone handed you a business card while you drank your coffee, people online prefer to deal with people instead of corporations.
This is where personal branding comes in. The art of personal branding is to turn your company into an interactive entity, rather than a static thing. Though most people wouldn’t be able to name the CEOs of top car companies, and those same CEOs rarely interact with the social side of the brand outside of occasional press releases, Tesla has its CEO go straight to the people via Twitter.
The result of this approach, along with their other innovations, positions Tesla as the EV brand in many people’s minds. Here are three steps you can take to do the same for your dealership.
- Shift your self-perception. One of the differences between Tesla and the other car companies, is that Tesla doesn’t see itself as a car manufacturer: they see themselves as a lifestyle. Their marketing strategy looks at the whole consumer, who they are, how they live, and what they want from the future. They then connect their content with these goals.
Notice how those things have little to do with cars. Other car companies still view themselves as car dealers, and therefore when they try to target those areas of consumers lives they show how having a car will help people achieve the things they want. Tesla instead shows how their EVs already fit into the lives and dreams of their base. Start to see yourself as the brand you’re creating, rather than a retailer.
- Forget selling. On that note, while it may seem counter-intuitive, in order to make a successful personal brand, it’s important to not focus on selling while you’re creating your persona. Focus on who you want your customers to think about and connect with, and the selling will follow later.
- Be selective. Finally, keep in mind that making the face of your company more personal and personable doesn’t mean sharing everything. Think about what you want your brand to represent and carefully curate and edit what you post online or in other shared content.