This article first appeared in Marketing Mag
Alex Horner writes that Tesla’s launch of an affordable model electric car this week is the result of a decade of relentless pursuit of an unwavering brand purpose.
Almost a decade ago, Tesla’s enigmatic CEO, Elon Musk, wrote a blog post and published it on the Tesla website. Titled ‘The Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan’, it outlined a highly ambitious purpose for the then fledgling company:
“The overarching purpose of Tesla Motors is to help expedite the move from a mine-and-burn hydrocarbon economy towards a solar electric economy.”
As far as purposes go, Tesla’s was a great one: succinct, progressive and aspirational. There was no waffle. No superlatives. No use of the dreaded word ‘innovative’.
The post then takes things a step further with Musk offering a fairly detailed plan that outlines how he hopes to achieve his vision. Here’s the summary of that plan that he closes his post with:
- “Build sports car,
- use that money to build an affordable car,
- use that money to build an even more affordable car, and
- while doing above, also provide zero emission electric power generation options.”
With the launch of the $35,000 USD Model 3 this week, Musk can put a tick against each step of his plan. The original Roadster was the sports car. The Model S was the more affordable car. The Model 3 is the even more affordable car. And SolarCity (another Musk company) represents his strides towards zero-emission electric power generation options.
Think about that for a second. Consider just how much effort, focus and self-belief it takes to achieve an extraordinarily ambitious vision of this type. It’s not an exaggeration to suggest that many modern brands will have had ten separate purposes and plans within that time period, thanks to ten annual planning sessions in the past decade.