I got in line at the Starbucks' drive-thru yesterday for my iced caramel macciato. While waiting, I noticed a familiar scene play out. This is a scene I've watched dozens of times since Tesla placed a Supercharger station in the Starbuck's parking lot:
Tesla owners chatting with each other.
And they aren't just chatting. I watched the owner of a white Model X show a man around the exterior of his car. Before long, he had the hood and trunk open as they continued talking. I couldn't overhear what they discussed, but I didn't need to.
Can you think of a better ambassador for your brand than a happy owner?
The CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, doesn't seem like a man who leaves details to chance. According to Tesla, "Stations are strategically placed to minimize stops and are conveniently located near desirable amenities like restaurants, shops and WiFi hot spots."
Jon Bach wrote about the unspoken rules of Jeep owners a while back. When you combine these "rules" and the culture around a car, you create a strong sense of pride and exclusivity around a brand. Tesla, like Jeep, has a fervent and outspoken fan base.
Until recently, Tesla didn't offer an affordable (by most standards) model. Then last week Musk took the wraps of the Model 3, which starts around $35,000. Over 500,000 people have already plunked down a $1000 deposit for a Model 3.
Tesla has created the ultimate water cooler for electric car fans.
It won't be long until Model S and Model X owners are singing the praises of their cars to the owners of the Model 3, and vice versa. I imagine those interactions will be critical to the future success of Tesla. What some might see as a limitation to owning an electric car, may ultimately become an advantage for the auto maker.
So many interactions that used to take place person-to-person are completed today through a website or digital assistant. It's important that companies find ways to interact and listen to their customers. Tesla has gone a step further by allowing their owners to interact, share stories and help move the brand forward.