There are three men in the world who don’t need public relations, U.S. President Donald Trump, Hammer Technology founder Luo Yonghao and Silicon Valley Iron Man Elon Musk. But only Musk, who dares to admit to cutting off PR, lets go of himself. On the evening of October 6, U.S. time,media reported that Tesla had disbanded its core public relations team at its U.S. headquarters, while retaining only a few PR managers in Europe and Asia.
A source said the move to disband the core PR team had been confirmed by Tesla executives and could be said to be a nail in the coffin.
Tesla will become the first “alien” among global automakers and even technology companies not to communicate and deal with the media. As soon as the news came out, Tesla’s “godly operation” called an uproar in the U.S. and overseas markets.
But Tesla has long been “unique” in its unusual and atypical corporate strategy. Coupled with Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s rebellious personality and tesla’s foreign PR strategy and performance over the past six months or so, it’s no surprise that Tesla is now taking this bold step.
Tesla PR “The Great Retreat”
In December, Keely Sulprizio, Tesla’s last public relations and communications employee, left to join an artificial meat company. Since then, Tesla’s public relations team has staged a “great retreat”, with almost all members being transferred or left internally.
In February, Alan Cooper, Tesla’s most senior public relations communications staffer, left Tesla after he was transferred to the position of director of demand production. Gina Antonini, a senior public relations manager, has been re-ed as Tesla’s director of external relations and employee experience.
Alexander Ingram, communications manager, is the head of content at Tesla Design Studios. In April, Danielle Meister, Tesla’s senior global communications manager, left. Although Tesla is still arranging test drives for some YouTube network celebrities recently, their PR roles have shifted.
Tesla’s public relations team is just the tip of the iceberg.
A number of overseas media outlets have found that Tesla’s pr relations team has rarely responded to media inquiries in the past year, and in the past six months, Tesla has responded to only one inquiry during a roadshow.
Media man Jason Torchinsky, for example, has discovered an “unusual” reversal in Tesla’s public relations attitude. A few years ago, Tesla’s public relations team was active, proactive, proactive, and caring about the media’s comments and opinions about Tesla, trying to correct media misresceptions and keeping news blogs and PR content up-to-date. But in recent months, “everything has disappeared”, and Tesla’s public relations team has stopped responding to media inquiries, even though they may no longer consult their email accounts, as if the world had evaporated.
Plus, Tesla CEO Elon Musk himself has always had a displeasure and disdain for the media. Tesla has repeatedly publicly claimed that it has been unfairly treated by the media.
In May 2018, Musk lashed out at the media on Twitter, saying that “big, self-proclaimed, hypocritrite media companies claim to be the spokesman for the truth, but publish articles that cover up lies and truths, which is why they are increasingly disrespected.” “
Musk also criticized the media as “billionaires” who “have systemic negative and political biases on almost everything.” In a recent interview with The New York Times, Musk complained that he was saddened by the news coverage and understanding of some of the media on Tesla’s Battery Day, even though he did not give any media interviews after the speech.
All this has left many in the industry skeptical that Tesla’s prism team will make a major adjustment, and now all speculation has been confirmed. Of course, Tesla’s core PR team has been completely dismantled, and the question that follows is, who will continue to do Tesla’s media PR work in the future?
“Cosmic Network Celebrities” to smooth everything out?
The answer, of course, is Musk.
In recent times, Musk has become the only channel for the media and the public to get Tesla’s “official” dynamic and response, given Tesla’s suspension from responding to media inquiries and the occasional press release. Musk himself regularly posts news on Twitter about Tesla’s strategy, business, and technology.
Tesla is the world’s most famous electric car manufacturer, and CEO Elon Musk as a veritable “cosmic network celebrity”, across the space, automotive, human brain science, multi-dwelling development, in technology, automotive culture, trend-oriented, influential. But the impact is so great that it doesn’t have to do a good job of system engineering corporate PR, and Musk’s status as a “cosmic network celebrity” could become a “double-edged sword” in Tesla’s development.
Electrek argues that Tesla’s reliance on Musk for public relations is inherently unreliable. On the one hand, Musk himself doesn’t have much time to answer media inquiries, or even 1 percent, and on the other hand, Musk himself is highly subjective and preferred, responding only to fans on Twitter who admire him and absolutely admire him, who hardly question any of Musk’s views.
These will undoubtedly lead to a reduction in the accuracy of Tesla’s news in the future, and the interests of the public and users will be indirectly compromised.
In general, companies do not have a public relations team at the start-up stage, or the PR team is small. Public relations teams like Tesla have been understaffed, and it’s rare for technology companies that don’t match the size of their own growth with market attention. Tesla’s PR team is about 20 times smaller than the PR team of mainstream automakers on the market.
Having a great PR team makes a great technology company even better.
Apple’s high-end, mysterious tunes, for example, are inextricable to the PR team’s drip-drip. Over the years, Apple’s public relations team has been careful and careful to maintain the “cool” image of Apple, Apple products, including major press conference emergency management, from the public network, media gathering information feedback to the enterprise, dealing with out-of-control negative reports, etc. , Apple has accumulated a mature and successful prY philosophy.
Interestingly, Tesla’s public relations departments in Europe and Asia will continue to function normally. China has become the second-largest market after the U.S., accounting for 30 percent of Tesla’s global sales, according to Tesla’s 2020 Q2 results. The European market is Tesla’s other important overseas market besides China, and it makes sense to adopt different PR strategies.
Not long ago, Tesla’s refusal to deliver the Model 3 to owners of PingDuoDuo’s “billion-dollar subsidy” campaign was a flurring one, with different business logics, causing Tesla’s public relations team to “disapprobe” in China. So the impact of the withdrawal of the core US headquarters PR team on China and Europe is still being assessed.
Whether Tesla’s dismantling of the core PR team at its U.S. headquarters is about to usher in a new era depends on the performance of Musk, the “man at the helm.”