Connect with us


Brand mavens: Take a leaf from Tesla’s marketing playbook



More than $25 billion. That’s the combined ad spend of Volkswagen, BMW, Toyota, Ford, and GM each year.

Now, compare that to Tesla’s ad spend, which is a nice round figure: zero. Zilch. Nada.

And Elon Musk insists it will always be that way. Maybe this contrarian thinking is a good thinking; after all, Tesla is now worth more than the 9 largest car companies put together.

But what can you learn from Tesla’s brand strategies? Read on to find out.


Musk is on the record as saying “one customer should generate three”. Thus, it’s no surprise to see Tesla’s referral program constantly tweaked and optimised. Tesla’s incentives (such as giving customers and referrals $1000 off on their purchases) keeps the cash counters ringing.

Hype beast

Of course, Musk’s own Twitter following is enormous, and he uses his clout to feed the hype beast and drive buyers to Tesla in hordes. Like Apple, they use evangelists to spread the word, and bring more into the fold. And so they hype machine feeds itself, a self-perpetuating truth.


Through spectacular live events, Tesla generates waves (and sales) by putting on a show.

Falcon doors? Got it.

Electric trucks? You know it.

Even their failures go viral, like the broken glass on the Cybertruck. There ain’t any such thing as bad PR for Tesla.

Limited supply

Whether by design or accident, the limited production of Tesla’s and the crazy waitlists create a cocktail of demand that is just too heady. The waitlist for some of the cars stretch into months, and the recent shortage of chips will only exacerbate this. 

Do you think that’ll stop potential buyers heading to Tesla in droves? The opposite. It’s human psyche to want what you can’t have.

King of the hill

People want to know they own a piece of nothing less than the best, and Tesla feeds into this mentality expertly. 

Quickest production electric car at the Nurburgring? Check.

World’s Fastest SUV? Check.

A cybertruck that’s like nothing else? Double check.

Tesla owns the EV space right now, and it will take a lot of doing to unseat them. Sure, there are a lot of failings one can pin on the brand, but shoddy marketing isn’t one of them. Brand professionals can do a lot worse than take a leaf out of Tesla’s playbook.