The brand is the group of elements that distinguishes a product from another. Everybody thinks about the physical characteristics and the graphic. But many other factors build a brand. In Tesla, the mission of the company and the personality of the founder have a significant role. We all can learn from that brand, things that we can apply to smaller firms.
Buy a brand, an idea
On March 31, 2016, Tesla, the electric car company, presented the new model 3. It was at 8.30pm PDT. On the same day, in the morning, anyone could make a reservation for the car. They would have to go to a Tesla store, as soon as it opens, and pay US $1,000. During the keynote, they explained that 115,000 people had made reservations. That is, only in a few hours from the opening of the store and the public event.
One week later, Tesla reported over 325,000 reservations. These represent potential sales of over US $14 billion.
The price of the car starts at $35,000. The average cost with extras will be around $42,000.
They scheduled the production to begin in late 2017. According to Elon Musk, the full production to fulfill expected demand could take up to 2020.
There were lines of people to pay $1000 for a product even before they have any information about it. They will not have it for years. They do not even know precisely when.
Buyers are paying for an idea. They trust the brand behind it.
Tesla as a brand
A brand is a group of elements that distinguishes a product from others. The most visible part of it is the name and the logo. But other things give personality and make it unique in the mind of the buyers.
In this first post, I will talk about the characteristics of the product and the logo. In the next post, I will go deeper into the mission, the environment, and the founder.
The car has an impressive acceleration (see video). It has auto-pilot, even when it has some limitations, by now. There is a large touch-screen that provides information to the user. The software updates without human intervention. The vehicles have plenty of space for the luggage. The company has created a growing infrastructure of auto charges. They are spreading all over the world. These are measurable characteristics that differentiate the Tesla brand.
In mature markets, all the products are quite similar. The tangible things are easy to copy. If a brand makes something different and it is a success, all the competitors replicate it. Technology can be a differentiator but only for a short period.
But this is not a mature market. Electric cars are not new, but they have evolved and grown in the last few years. They are now competing with traditional brands. They try to meet the same need; they fight for the same consumer in some price ranges. But their differences are clear and easy to distinguish.
Among electric cars, Tesla has new approaches that make them unique. They are pioneers in a new sector and have to create new technologies to make the electric vehicles possible.
In this stage, the early adopters are decisive. Tesla has a lot of techies in its audience. They are experts in each characteristic and analyze them in detail.
In the future, the physical characteristics will have less importance. Some brands will evolve their investigations and will come to similar solutions. Many others will copy what works. At that moment, the emotional factors will be more relevant in the mind of the consumer.
Performance and features are the primary points from where to create the brand. In a physical product with new technology, it is even more critical. On the other side, there are other things built from there. They magnify and help grow what makes the brand unique. Let's see them.
Name and Logo
The name and the logotype are the visible part of the brand. The connection is so strong that some people confuse them all.
Tesla is an exception. The logotype is not the center that gives personality to the brand. People remember some characteristics of the car, the mission, and the founder. Fewer would be able to describe the logo.
Besides, the use of the letters and the graphic is sometimes confusing:
The logo without the letters is in the front of the cars. It gives it great notoriety. It is the face of the vehicle, and it is a way to give him a name.
On the web page teslamotors.com, we can see only the letters. The same happens in the factories and other buildings. On public presentations, the logo has a central position on stage. But, it is only with the letters.
Any kid recognizes the star of Mercedes or the horse of Ferrari. I think that just a few could identify the T of Tesla if it appears without the letters. Or perhaps even with the letters.
Compared to other cars, the logotype in Tesla has a less significant role in the brand. The use of the letters, the symbol, and its relation is not always clear.
In the next post, I will talk about the mission, the environment and the role of the founder. All those elements help to shape the brand Tesla.