Why Tesla's marketing makes it the new Apple
Why Tesla is the new Apple
Aside from both having visionary, perfection-seeking and outspoken founders there's a lot the two Silicon Valley based tech companies have in common.
Both fought an established institution and sought to change it due to an expectation that things should simply be better.
Both are/were (sorry Apple) painfully over-specced for what else was on offer. The Tesla models are stupidly cheap for the power, the efficiency and statement they make. Both have/had (sorry Apple) an almost evangelical brand following and even though Apple has lost this a little in recent years there's a brand love that exists that turns customers into huge brand ambassadors.
Apple changed the world with apps, user intuitiveness and the innovation if its products, Tesla is changing the world with a new vision of the role a car plays in your life.
Are the falcon doors that adapt their opening arc depending on the proximity of close vehicles on the Model X necessary? Is autopilot necessary? And that sun visor on the Model X..? Probably not, but now we have them the bar has been raised and it will never be lowered.
Apple did the same with the iPod. At the time people wondered if having 1,000 songs in your pocket was really neccessary, now if you can't fit your whole song library, films, and photos of almost every life event ever on something the size of a business card then consumers aren't interested.
Tesla's marketing is on a par with Apple's
Before Apple the tech world saw hardware as the main point of engineering, and therefore the way to win customers over. What I mean is there was a physical button for everything, no matter how rarely it was used. Apple created the mentality that software was the future, keyboards that appeared only when needed (sorry Blackberry) and swiping to access more functions, rather than endless menus and Tesla is doing the same. Suspension that recognises that your drive is steep so raises every time you get home. That's clever. How about a car that downloads new updates almost daily to perform almost like a new car each week.
Gone are the days when your car is outdated a year after you've bought it. Does that remind you of any other industry by the way?
Apple made it so companies that had been lazily doing all that was required to slightly improve a slow moving industry had to suddenly innovate. Tesla will do exactly the same.
Were Apple products the best on the market? Rarely in any category. Are Tesla cars? Not really.
But the major thing that Tesla and Apple have in common is that they are in tune with the consumer. They know what we want before we know it ourselves.
Sometimes all we want is change, and both companies have given us bucket loads of that.
What's the future of the car industry?
My prediction is that Tesla will engage an audience that has previously been apathetic towards cars.
People like my parents, who actively hated phones and computers now jump on an Apple and just love it, if i put my mum in a Tesla I can guarantee she'd start to love it like she does her iPhone.
I can't wait for the Model 3 to hit the market, just like I'm excited about the iPhone 8 (sorry iPhone 7). I think you'll suddenly see more Teslas on the road and that will drive awareness, which will drive interest.
Disagree that electric cars are the way forward? You might be missing the point, it's not about the architecture, or platform, it's about user pain and suffering. Tesla frees users from things that have suffocated them before.
A war in the Middle East will mean petrol prices in Sydney rise, affecting Joe Bloggs and his ability to go to work in his Honda Civic, or it might mean he has less cash for that holiday he wanted, or even that bottle of wine at the weekend. People don't like uncertainty, and they'll pay a slight premium for predictability. Fluctuations in electricity prices are rare, regulated and come with significant warning.
The rise of companies like Power Shop and the fact that electricity isn't controlled by a monoply group like OPEC means there's a lot more comeptition in the market.
I guess, in a really roundabout way, what I'm trying to say is that market conditions are perfect for the winds of change to roll through the car industry. Consumers are hungry for change, visionaries are ready to spark a revolt and the established players are big, slow to react, and will fight what's coming. One of the industry's biggest innovators, Audi, is clearly scared too.
It's rare to see significant industry shifts. It would be very interesting if California delivered us two industrial revolutions in the space of 20 years. When markets change, so does marketing. Personally, I cannot wait to see how things pan out.
Do you agree that Tesla is the new Apple? Do you think electric cars are the future? Do car buyers care about soft engineering, are they ready for more 'human-centric' products?
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