Automotive

Published on June 18th, 2018 | by Subhash Nair

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What Bugs me about Tesla is Their Blog

Tesla as a car company has been quite controversial, as most of us are aware. They’ve been making huge claims about transformation, delivery, profitability, technology, but reality always seems to be too strong to overcome.

Before I go further, I want to make it clear that I believe that Tesla will do well in the future. Perhaps under different management, or if the market really does shift in their favour. Their products are revolutionary, and I appreciate what they’re trying to do. They’ve single-handedly shaken a 100-year old industry and their fighting not just the old guard, but the oil and OEM cartels who all have deep pockets.

What I want to address in this post is Tesla’s strange problem with PR and communications. As someone who covers automotive news, I have a set of bookmarks that take me to official company newsrooms. I sort these newsrooms out according to the kind of products they sell. Naturally, competing brands tend to have a similar frequency of updates and the press releases tend to cover similar topics and are written in similar tones.

They’ve all got their own flavour, especially at the premium level, but Tesla is one brand that simply does things differently. In fact, I would say they’re doing their PR and Comms like an overly defensive tech company. It’s really strange.

On the one end, they’ve got an Investor Communication page. This gets updated once or twice a month and is really geared towards what investors look for. Progress on major projects, financial reports, things of that nature.

On the other end, they’ve got a company blog. Now, some other car companies do have blogs, but they’re always full of positive brand stories. Toyota, Honda, and VW group emulate blog-style websites that I really appreciate. But at the same time, they also send a steady stream of press releases that keep the media informed of product launches, company projects, collaborations, etc. Tesla’s blog posts over the last few months has been really bizarre. Posts are rare – no more than 2 a month. Many posts are worded rather personally and take on a defensive tone.

Everytime there’s a crash, Tesla be like, “Saya ingin menegaskan bahawa masalah kemelut air di Selangor lebih kritikal”

They’ve also got a product page. I will concede that it is comprehensive and high quality. But it is a little static. You get a list of products, images, b-roll and specs.

I find it really odd that Tesla are not taking this part of the equation as most other car companies do. It’s a missed opportunity for free neutral-to-positive press coverage. They could easily do what any other premium brand does and give fans regular updates about their products. It would also be interesting to explain the tech that goes into their electric cars the way other brands are doing. Instead, the only time we hear about Tesla is when one crashes, or when Elon Musk goes on Twitter to say something controversial. I don’t think that’s a great long-term strategy for those who want to see the brand evolve.

I particularly enjoy the structure, ease of access, diversity of topics, and frequency of updates found on Audi’s website

This isn’t just a problem because Tesla is a car company, but because Tesla competes against PREMIUM car brands like Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Infiniti, Lexus and Volvo. Of course, Tesla is a little different, but take a look at the media sites of these established brands. Every week, we get a new story, a new update, a new development. The more they say, the more hyped the fans stay, the clearer a picture we have of what each brand represents. It’s a missed opportunity for Tesla, and I do hope they get on it as soon as they can.

Like I said before, I do sincerely think Tesla has a future. But they really need to take this opportunity for brand building as their headstart in their particular niche is gone. They’re now directly competiting against all-electric vehicles from these brands.


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