Customers as PR people

Tomorrow's Business

Last month we reported on Tesla’s innovative approach to press relations. Which largely consists of: get stuffed we couldn’t care less.

The decision to bin the PR department was in some ways admirable, we mused, a sort of gigantic V-sign to the notion that business should be accountable to the press.

Having just written a negative piece about Tesla and founder Elon Musk I have learnt that it does not need a paid PR office.

Its customers, its followers, are its PR team.

For daring to suggest that Tesla stock might be somewhat overvalued I am roundly abused as foolish, or evil, or both.

The responses vary from sarcastic to genuinely threatening. I am somewhere between amused and afraid for my life.

My suggestion that there is a cultish devotion to Tesla and its shares was also dismissed, without irony, by folk who think he is Jesus. The messiah in an electric car.

I think this is an American phenomenon mostly. Though I did get a similar reaction a while ago for not being entirely a fan of BrewDog, a company I assumed just sold beer, but I now realise is a whole way of life which you criticise at your peril.

I wonder what the PR implications are of working for a business that has a cultish following.

Maybe it is easier, or maybe you just join the list of people who gets it in the neck for stepping out of line.

At some point, Elon Musk is going to need the PR advice he presently disdains. My guess is that he won’t listen until it is too late.

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