Tesla builds visibility
The story of Tesla and Uber, two of the most innovative brands in the transport space provide a timely reminder of the importance of brand behaviour and physical visibility in reinforcing what makes you unique. Consumers see Uber and Tesla as going toe to toe in delivering true category innovation, dwarfing established brands in the automotive space. But while they see both as being equally hot right now in UK culture, it’s Tesla who are seen to have a greater level of depth, purpose and potential in their brand.
Tesla has limited product visibility on our streets, versus the ubiquitous (but invisible) Uber. However through its distinctive actions, grand gestures and bold visions of the future Tesla has planted an idea in people’s heads about what the brand stands for and its vision for changing the way we drive. Tesla leads Uber (and the rest of the category) by a long stretch not only when it comes to being seen as a passionate, purposeful brand but in terms of its distinctiveness. In giving visibility to the passion and difference behind the brand through its actions and stories, Tesla is building mental availability in people’s minds without high levels of visibility.
We rapidly incorporate service brands into our habits, with the danger that they lose their distinctiveness, become the expected, and become susceptible to competition. Despite a lack of physical product, brands like Uber can learn from Tesla’s approach to brand building and invest in memorable stories and behaviours that build presence without visible product.