Unlocking the Secrets of Elon Musk’s PR Strategy: Apply these 4 Principles for Maximum Impact


Can you imagine how successful your business would be if it got as much media coverage as Elon Musk?

Over the last decade, this entrepreneur and engineering mastermind has created some of the biggest companies in the world. He’s gone from almost filing for bankruptcy to being one of our time’s most influential thought leaders.

What’s more, Musk has built all his wealth with much less advertising than you’d expect. You could even say he’s thrown the traditional marketing model out the window, creating an empire in the process.

So why aren’t other businesses flocking to adopt his PR strategy to form their own success?

Here we investigate who runs the marketing for these multi-billion dollar companies and the principles you should adopt.

Let’s get started.

Elon Musk releasing a Twitter bird from a black bird cage

Key Takeaways

Red car flying in space with moon in background
  1. Elon Musk is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in recent history and has built a wealth of companies with minimal advertising.
  2. Musk’s PR strategy is unique in that he does not have a PR department and instead lets his products speak for themselves.
  3. Public image makes up 63% of a company’s value, so it is crucial to have a strong PR strategy.
  4. Musk’s PR strategy includes using social media to interact with customers, not trying to hide mistakes, and being transparent with the public.
  5. Startups can adopt Musk’s PR strategy to stand out from the competition and improve their public image.

Who Is Responsible for Elon Musk’s PR Strategy?

Public relations (PR) manages the media and community’s perceptions of your brand.

It’s one of the most powerful tools for marketing your business, attracting clients and improving ties with current customers. This set of techniques also enhances brand awareness, allowing you to promote a positive attitude and your vision for the future.

When generating massive publicity, nobody does it better than Elon Musk. You might think that the wealthiest man in the world has an entire team in the wings, pulling all the strings.

However, this eccentric billionaire and entrepreneur went in the opposite direction.

Musk made headlines in 2020, something he often does, when he announced that Tesla had closed its PR department. This decision created quite the controversy and led to many strategists scratching their heads.

When Elon Musk was asked why he chose this approach, he said he wasn’t interested in manipulating public opinion. Instead, he wants his products to speak for themselves; and we all know how that’s going.

So what can we learn from his strategy, and could it work for more organisations?

4 PR Strategies Every Startup Should Adopt From Elon Musk

Did you know that the public image of the most successful corporations makes up 63% of their value?

One bad headline in the media could ruin your entire reputation. What’s worse, it can take years for your brand to bounce back, which is time no startup can afford. 

But that doesn’t mean you have to conform to the marketing norms. If anything, it’s the perfect opportunity to use Musk’s PR strategy examples to your advantage and embrace your uniqueness.

Here are four principles you can incorporate into your company to generate a public image that puts you on the map.

1. Write Your Own Social Media Headlines

The idea of managing your own social media marketing is enough to give most business owners a headache.

While you can maintain a professional image, you become out of touch with your community. Elon Musk has shown how a casual approach to social media allows you to become more than just a brand.

By captaining his Twitter account, he can get involved in discussions about his companies. It also gives him a chance to explain how products work. As a result, people follow him for news rather than relying on outside publications.

Taking the time to get to know your audience is a fantastic PR strategy and sets you apart from the competition. You can learn more about your customers’ needs and get inspiration for future endeavours.

2. Don’t Try to Hide Your Mistakes

Musk is no stranger to PR blunders. His infamous unveiling of Tesla’s Cybertruck is a perfect example of why owning your mistakes is a good thing.

Rather than covering up the incident, he proceeded with the presentation and revealed his plans with a smile on his face. Elon Musk’s charm gained the audience’s attention and increased interest in the project.

As P.T. Barnum once said, “There is no such thing as bad publicity.” The Cybertruck incident spread like wildfire, driving pre-sales to over a million reservations by 2021.

He showed the marketing world how effective being accountable for your mistakes could actually be. By implementing this approach into your PR strategy, customers are more patient and believe the promises you make.

3. Stand Out From the Crowd

You can’t expect people to notice your brand if you advertise your products or services like everyone else. Sure, you’ll get a few leads from your campaigns, but it won’t set you apart or make a noticeable impact.

The only way to differentiate your company from competitors is by thinking outside the box.

For example, when Elon Musk launched the Falcon Heavy rocket, he decided to attach an unreleased electric car. While it may have looked absurd to some, the PR stunt produced massive exposure for both SpaceX and Tesla.

Not everyone has a spare spaceship lying around for marketing purposes purposes, but the idea demonstrates the power of creativity.

4. Don’t Stay In Your Lane

What do flamethrowers and a subsurface tunnelling project have in common?

Absolutely nothing, but that didn’t stop Elon Musk from selling both products under the same brand. Although the fire-breathing invention was a goofy marketing ploy, it drummed up $10 million of funding for The Boring Company.

Most businesses keep to their chosen industry, rarely venturing into uncharted territories. Many startups adopt these principles as part of their marketing plan, losing the public’s interest in the process.

Musk’s PR strategy shows that if you begin with a wacky idea, more people will take notice. They’ll also stick around for longer to see what your exciting company does next.

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Never Stop Aiming for the Stars

By staying true to his vision and thinking outside the box, Elon Musk has amassed an enormous following. Whether you love or dislike him, you can’t deny his incredible ability to generate interest out of thin air.

From breaking “indestructible” products on stage to colonising Mars, he proved that nothing is impossible. All it takes is a bit of determination, creativity, and an unwavering belief in your company.

Are you brave enough to adopt these principles into your startup’s PR strategy?

Contact Hippo Thinks today and let us help you create a template for success, and create a template for success and market your business in a way that gets you noticed.


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