Elon Musk has accomplished an amazing number of things in a few short years. He is the father of SpaceX, the Hyperloop, and Tesla. He has created disruptions within the world of transportation, solar power, space exploration, and artificial intelligence. But he has done something else extraordinary that few people are aware of. In less than a decade, he has created one of the most valuable brands in the world, a brand that other companies want to associate with. The power of the Tesla brand is what’s behind a new pop-up showroom inside the Myer department store in Melbourne, Australia.
Myer is Australia’s largest department store but it is not resting on its laurels. Myer has recently hired Mike Scott as its head of marketing. Scott joined the company in June 2016 after working with Virgin Australia, Nike, and McDonald’s. “We want to disrupt; we want to innovate. We need to act like a contemporary brand,” Scott says. Myer stores have introduced hundreds of new brands in the past 18 months but none with quite the panache of Tesla.
On Friday, February 17 (that’s today if you are keeping track — it’s always tomorrow in Australia), a Tesla Model X will arrive in the underground parking garage of the Myer store in Melbourne. Models draped in merchandise available inside the store will step out before the car is whisked upward by elevator to its new temporary home on the 6th floor. The event will be covered live on Periscope.
Tesla likes to do these pop-up showrooms in locations that enhance its image as a premium automobile for discriminating (and well heeled) shoppers. Martha’s Vineyard and The Hamptons were part of last summer’s grand tour. Last fall, one appeared in Nordstrom’s in The Grove, a trendy shopping area near Los Angeles. The Tesla store in Sydney, Australia, is located on Martin Place, a four-block-long pedestrian mall where only the biggest and brightest stars in the world of merchandising display their wares. Tesla is now in Macau, an island near Hong Kong popularly known as the Las Vegas of Asia. It’s all part of burnishing the brand, something that Tesla’s marketing chief, Ganesh Srivats, knows how to do well. He was previously head of marketing at Burberry.
What it comes down to is that Elon Musk has created virtually overnight a brand that ranks with the most valuable and powerful names in the world of commerce — Coca Cola, Nike, Disney, and LEGO. Think for a minute. Which car would you rather have, a Tesla or a Ford? No contest, right? Ford has been around for nearly a century; Tesla less than 10 years.
When you buy a Tesla, you are buying all the power packed into the brand. That power is what Nordstrom and Myer want to leverage when they invite Tesla to display its cars inside their stores. They are some of the world’s most successful retailers, yet they too are drawn to the power of the Tesla brand. When it comes to taking an idea and spinning it into gold, there is no one alive who does it better than Elon Musk. That’s certainly part of his genius in action.