“Just received verbal govt approval for The Boring Company to build an underground NY-Phil-Balt-DC Hyperloop. NY-DC in 29 mins.”
Musk’s work in progress, the Hyperloop, is a new form of travel that would use magnetic levitation to propel pods full of passengers through underground tunnels at more than 700 mph. At that speed, you could get from Washington D.C. to Manhattan in 29 minutes.
There’s no doubt Musk’s vision is intrinsically intriguing, but even if you’re not ready to revolutionize transportation, there’s a lot you can learn from his perfect mix of public relations, digital content, and advertising.
Let’s dive in.
The way the story is described in that initial tweet uses clear, concise and repeatable messaging. “NY-DC in 29 minutes” could be a standalone headline. Musk resisted the temptation to round up, leaving us with a number that’s actually easier to remember than the more mundane 30.
The “verbal okay” is a great sound bite too. We don’t really know what that means, but it sounds legitimate and makes us want to learn more.
Musk knows funding and political support for his project can be more easily garnered if he can demonstrate public interest. He’s using social media to build his case.
Getting an idea off the ground by building and validating the need for that idea can be a useful strategy. Author David Meerman Scott, for example, used this approach to break into publishing. When he couldn’t get his first book published, Scott created a heavily downloaded e-book. He used this as proof of concept to finally get that book deal. Better yet, by the time the book came out, he already had a fan base.
Scott, like Musk, built his audience in advance. As a marketer, you can apply that strategy to your business as well.
Elon Musk is a master at getting the general public to buy into his visionary ideas. His approach uses more show, and less tell.
Rather than claim he is about to revolutionize travel as we know it, Musk shares images from successful Hyperloop test runs, research papers, and social media posts. He immerses people in his process and makes them feel like they are along for the ride.
Chances are, you’re not going to read the white paper he links to, but just the fact that it exists enhances the project’s legitimacy. Believable, repurpose-able content creates authentic stories and ultimately, builds brands.
In the real-time world we live in, it takes raw, real-time marketing tactics to stay relevant and sustain a growing business. Thought leaders such as Musk and Scott fully embrace this rule, consistently identifying innovative concepts that spread ideas and influence minds within a broader audience pool.
Addressing trends and consumer demand with a sense of immediacy demonstrates brand sustainability for long term growth, diversity, and expertise. For most marketers who don’t moonlight as billionaire tech pioneers, a real-time approach doesn’t necessarily require fancy technological tools or complex automation, but rather a keen intuition for knowing when to strike when the (target market) iron is hot.
Musk is seen as the cowboy of technology, a crusader for a better future.
His personal mystique permeates all of his brands. Through flawlessly unified messaging and interactive advertising and visuals, Musk humanizes his brands in a way that most other technology conglomerates can’t.
He creates products customers believe will change their lives for the better, promotes his creations in a fact-based way that people trust, and gets people to share his vision for the future. Musk is as brilliant a marketer as he is an engineer, inspiring his consumers to hope for — and believe in — a better world.