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Embrace the Future
by Andy
March 31, 2016

Tesla logoOur Volvo SUV needs new brakes – and according to the nice mechanic Volvo is the only car brand without brake sensors, so you never know you need new brakes until you hear the grinding.  And I heard the grinding.  Conspiracy theorists point to Volvo’s intimate relationship with brake manufacturers as the reason behind this lack of sensor.  Today, I am one of those theorists.  I digress.

As the mechanic drives me home, while their brake vendor buys another bottle of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, we drive by a Tesla distributorship.  A line extends out the door and around the building.  Ah yes, today is the day Tesla starts taking orders for the Model 3 that won’t come out for over a year.  There are other affordable electric cars made by well-respected manufacturers, but you don’t see lines forming to buy their products.  So why Tesla?  Why Apple, for that matter?

This is a classic branding case study.  Tesla and Apple represent far more than dependability and technology (arguably semi product-focused attributes).  Rather, these companies tap into an affirmation that the future is a good place, not scary.  One just needs to embrace it.  Since the future will also feature gas fluctuations and digital reliance, it’s best to align with visionary companies helping to create that future.  Tesla has led people to believe it has a better grasp of what the future holds.  Meaning, consumers believe Tesla’s products will better meet the realities of that future.  Tesla provides comfort and a sense of stability in an unknown future.

‘Visioning’ is another core tenet behind relevancy marketing and showcasing your expertise of where the category is going and why.  The more the market agrees with your perspective, the more they’ll believe the products and services you sell are well-positioned to take advantage of that future reality.  A growing belief in your perspective means you can charge more for your products — and even get them to lay down $5K as down-payment on a product you don’t have to deliver for over a year.  That is crazy powerful.

Visioning can be directly applied to B2B, though most don’t do it well.  Companies that lead the discussion define the future.  Those that do not are merely vendors within it.  Leaders set the rules.  Vendors abide by them.  There is plenty of time to sell product attributes, but the real power comes from selling a vision.

Embracing the future, and effectively communicating your vision within the market, creates brand advocacy and high returns.

And check your brakes!!!

6 Responses to “Embrace the Future”

  1. Tesla is creating a virtual “endowment” through these down-payments. It is amazing that through no product only by their “vision” they create tangible capital that they can invest into producing a future product. Maybe electronics companies could do that also: Samsung could do the same thing with their next phone: Be first in line for the Galaxy Note 2020! put down a $100 payment and we will put our engineers immediately to work on making it even lighter or faster or lemon-scented. In some communities, Google Fiber could do that – “we will install google fiber in the first community that generates $250,000 in capital for trucks, fiber optic wire, technicians, servers, etc”. But, I don’t see people willing to do the same thing for a cable company saying put down an extra $50 / month and we will make a better DVR for you. There is a trust issue that probably has been violated by cable companies or american car manufacturers that prevent them from doing this. I will say that Tesla even has a hassle-free refund if you decide to change your mind.

  2. Good post! Completely agree with the Visioning statement

  3. My Volvo’s brakes are squeaking too… very timely insight.

    Thanks for explaining the Apple/Tesla appeal. I always wondered why people jump through hoops to pay more for those products!

  4. Outstanding. This may be the best explanation of the Tesla phenomena I have read. Genuine leadership requires vision, intelligence and courage. Elon Musk projects that in spades. And the market cannot resist the resulting magnetism. It voluntarily bends to his will.

  5. Well said, Andrew. You touched on one of the many reasons I would never buy a Volvo. You also nailed why I am so intrigued (although dwindling of late) with Apple products. And you’re spot on with your assessment of Tesla. Now if I could only get my wife to give me the $5k….

  6. Elon has created (now twice) his own large scale Kickstarter campaign – good approach to getting capital without giving away stakes in the company…

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