Over the years, the traditional method of doing business has been design, advertise, and hopefully sell your product. Recently, some brands are turning towards a new marketing strategy, experience marketing, by focusing on providing a stellar brand experience to customers instead of sticking to what is traditional.

Brand experience, simply put, is a complete bundle of perceptions, emotions, and consequently behavioral responses that a consumer will be having as a reaction to brand related stimuli. It is how a brand’s identity, design, packaging, and its communications resonate among its customer base and form a brand personality. A positive or a negative brand experience, customers may have with the brand is associated with the brand’s identity, directly affecting its customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. Therefore, customer experience management is key.

I would like to convey an insight into the brand experience that Tesla Motors is providing to its customers in relation to its tangible products and services as well as its customer relations, marketing communications, and overall the exceptional parts of its business strategy that I believe is significant in the brand’s prosperity.

California based Tesla Motors Inc., a high-end automaker along with a unique set of energy solutions, is definitely noteworthy when it comes to a full-on brand experience. I was on my way to a dinner when I first noticed the Tesla Store & Gallery on P.C. Hooftstraat and I would describe my five-second experience with the brand as exclusive, modern, and enticing. This is the first impression, the first step of the brand experience.  What the brand related stimuli – in this case seeing the showroom – made me feel or react as a consumer.

A complementing part of the brand experience is when customers are exposed to brand’s advertising and  its marketing communications, including word of mouth as well as the content on the brand’s own web site. In the contemporary times, we are continually bombarded with notifications on about anything and everything. Therefore, it is imperative that a brand sticks out from the crowd and that it stands for a distinct set of values. Tesla, for instance, aims to associate its brand with positive connotations of environmental responsibility, innovation, and especially with its CEO, Elon Musk. It is pretty unusual for a CEO to be this closely tied to the image of the company he works for. Nevertheless, this is working perfectly for Tesla, every tweet and every Instagram post from Elon Musk is a free-of-charge valuable marketing communication. As an engineer and a successful entrepreneur, Elon Musk, to some extent, represents the Tesla’s potential customer segment (at least until they design a more affordable car). Thus, it provides a perception for its targeted customers, “Tesla is what a successful business man/woman like you should be driving”.

Moving onto the tangibles, the actual consumption experience, Tesla’s unique products and services are naturally the most substantial part of the brand experience. Tesla is the first, and currently the only company to commercially produce a “federally-compliant highway-capable electric vehicle”. The latest Model S has outperformed its competition both in speed, durability and sustainability. Unlike any other car that you would consider buying, a Tesla is likely to be a one-time purchase – since the car works on purely electricity provided for free with the Superchargers (Tesla charging stations) that are steadily increasing in size and spread. Tesla Rangers are offering their services in Tesla stores for any problem you may face with their products post-purchase. Again, uniquely, Tesla cars are only available for sale in Tesla stores which are their own retail locations while many brands are making use of independent retailers. This is most likely to ensure that the customers’ brand experience goes as smoothly as possible without interference from uncontrolled variables such as how Retailer X presents their vehicles. Only trained personnel are in contact with the Tesla customer both pre- and post-purchase.

Tesla has intentionally departed from the traditional way of business in automotive industry and made a set of decisions that have made their products, services, and overall their brand experience a unique one. By choosing to use their own sales & services network over franchising their sales, it seems that they aim to provide a better experience for customer and incorporate the customer feedback more quickly into their product development & manufacturing process to improve the whole brand experience further.

I believe Tesla is one of the companies that took the saying “if you do not have a competitive advantage, do not compete” quite seriously. They chose to stand out from their competitors through their products, their marketing strategy and focus on the customers’ experience. Every successful business is a lesson to learn, so it is now up to the current and future competitors of Tesla to come up with creative ideas that will top the Tesla experience. Personally, it is now definitely in my bucket list to go in ta Tesla store somewhere in the (hopefully near) future to book a test drive.