Tesla is a company fighting a battle. A battle against climate change and the world’s addiction to fossil fuels. As a result, Tesla has been subjected to constant attacks. Yet for all the Tesla "killers” that have emerged over the years, the EV automaker has remained resilient--and even stronger than before, propelled by the Model 3 sedan.
Part of this resilience is due to a secret weapon of sorts. Tesla is not a regular carmaker that just happens to make good cars. The company outright says in its mission that it is looking at a far greater picture: "To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainability." The company needs to succeed and make money to accomplish this, but Tesla’s true fight is against non-sustainable sources of energy.
And this, as it turns out, is a worthy cause for many people. In a recent video on YouTube, Solving the Money Problem outlined several points about Tesla’s secret weapon—the community of enthusiasts that it inspires and creates. This secret weapon is worth billions of dollars in advertising costs the video points out.
Something happens when people get behind the wheel of a Tesla. The company’s products are so disruptive, so cool, that it is tough not to talk about them to friends and family. This creates a network effect that is powered by word of mouth. For every new Tesla owner that purchases a car, some of that person’s family members or friends will likely try out the company’s products too.
Tesla also enjoys the support of celebrities, some of whom have used the company’s vehicles as central setpieces in their work. Musicians such as Travis Scott and Jaden Smith have used Teslas in their music videos, and thanks to their celebrity status, these videos get tens of millions of views. This type of exposure is something that Tesla gets for free, and it is something that rival automakers pay top dollar to get.
The same thing is true for social media influencers and content creators such as YouTube’s Marques Brownlee (MKBHD), who has over 10 million subscribers on his channel. Tesla seems to be well aware that today and tomorrow’s consumers rely primarily on the output of the internet’s biggest voices, and so, the company has opted to tap into them. This could pay off in spades, as these influencers’ viewers today will be the mainstream consumers of tomorrow.
Elon Musk is also a force to be reckoned with on his own. With his meme lord persona, real-life Iron Man reputation, and his vast reach in social media, Musk stands as one of the most inspiring individuals for millions of people across the world. Elon Musk’s fans are also likely to be supporters of his companies, such as SpaceX and Tesla. And this, of course, results in Tesla gaining a vast community of supporters who are willing to take to the frontlines and spread the word about the company.
One could say that the dedication of Tesla supporters is very similar to the commitment of Apple fans, who have been criticized in the past as being cultish. Yet, for all this criticism, the Tesla community continues to grow and thrive. Just like Apple’s products, Tesla’s vehicles and energy devices speak for themselves. But beyond Apple’s products, every Tesla vehicle and battery storage system sold is an additional blow to fossil fuels and an additional step towards sustainability.
As it turns out, that’s a cause worth fighting for many, many people.