325K People Bought Elon Musk, Not Tesla

It’s been under a week since Elon Musk announced the Tesla 3, and 325K people have put down a $1K deposit to buy the car.

I’m personally a huge fan of Tesla. I’ve watched the videos, live streamed all of their announcements, and have read every consumer report about the Tesla since the first one came out.

But what I find more interesting than the car, is the fact that the Tesla 3 has earned the title for the highest amount of sales for a single product of all time, ever. People haven’t even seen this car in person, and yet they are dropping a $1K deposit and making a $35K decision in a matter of minutes, even though it will be around 2 years before their purchase hits their driveways. This is crazy, like $14.5 Billion crazy.

So why all the hype? Why is it that Chevy releases an electric car and it barely makes it into the day’s news stories, and Tesla releases a similar product and no one can shut up about it? Why does Tesla, a relatively new company, command the market in the biggest movement in automotive history since the Ford model T?

I believe it has to do with building a personal brand.

Tesla is Elon Musk, and Chevy is… Chevy. I believe that people trust people more than brands. It’s not that people don’t trust brands entirely, but they certainly trust people more.

I watched the unveiling of the Tesla 3, and watched as Elon spoke about his creation through a practical, candid, and even unrehearsed presentation. His delivery was almost awkward at times, but I think that may have worked for him. He did not come across as some executive that wanted to give the sales pitch on their latest and greatest vehicle; he was a man who was in love with the electric car.

People bought a Tesla because they could identify with Elon. They trusted that this man would lead his company to build the car to spec and on time, and would not let us down. Customers fell in love with the Tesla 3 because they could tell that the CEO was in love with the Tesla 3. Not because that’s his job, but because that’s his passion.

In a world of corporations trying to push their products, people still want to connect with people to buy products. It’s truly the age of personal branding, and $14.5 Billion in sales has proven that once again.

Fourteen Billion Dollars.