The lesson of the Tesla car fire: Don’t be silent
Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
10 October 2013
It’s always the coverup that does the damage
In case you missed it, there is a YouTube video of a Tesla car on fire. Immediately, the video went viral and Tesla’s stock took an immediate hit. Media outlets called it, “Tesla’s worst nightmare,” and the video showed up on many news outlets in a matter of hours.
To put some things in perspective, from 2006-2010, the National Fire Protection Association reported there is an average of 152,300 car fires per year. That’s about 17 car fires per hour.
“When there is a brand vacuum, people make it up on their own because all of us look for meaning in everything. If meaning isn’t provided, we’ll just make it up.”
Because Tesla went quiet. It hasn’t said a thing. When that happens, in the absence of delivering your own message, the rest of us fill in the blanks.
By staying silent, Tesla has created a brand vacuum. The whole purpose of having a brand is to give current and potential customers a scaffolding of meaning. When there is a brand vacuum, people make it up on their own because all of us look for meaning in everything. If meaning isn’t provided, we’ll just make it up.
Brand is, in part, the amalgamation of all communication vehicles an organization has at its disposal. When that communication ceases, the brand is damaged and the ability of the organization to control its brand meaning is compromised.
Brands must always control the message, even if it is damage control. The moment you ignore something or hesitate, you put the meaning of your brand in someone else’s hands.
Ford Advertising Tom Dougherty, CEO - Stealing Share 23 April 2018 Ford advertising. Find someone new. News that Ford advertising might be leaving advertising giant WPP rocks the advertising world. However, the agency with 49 offices across the world will be allowed...
Sheetz MTO Tom Dougherty, CEO - Stealing Share 19 April 2018 Sheetz MTO process remains sloooooooow I lay it on pretty thick in a post on Sheetz some years ago. For purposes here, I am rescinding a portion of my prior analysis, yet offer up a new critique. You see,...
Amazon Best Buy Tom Dougherty, CEO - Stealing Share 18 April 2018 Who wins the Amazon Best Buy partnership? The recently announced Amazon Best Buy partnership is not the kind of partnership where Best Buy is opening a store within a store on Amazon. Rather, this is a...