I believe it’s high time for Tesla to bring back a Press Relations (PR) department and produce other ways to speak than through the increasingly polarizing Elon Musk.
Tesla stopped answering press inquiries in 2020, and Electrek later reported that CEO Elon Musk dissolved Tesla’s whole press department.
On the time, the CEO told us that any query should undergo him.
In 2021, Musk commented on someone asking for Tesla to rent a PR department again. He turned the concept down and suggested that having a PR department amounts to “manipulating public opinion.”
Over the previous few years, the one way for journalists or the general public to ask inquiries to Tesla has been through Elon Musk – totally on Twitter.
Musk’s use of the social platform has evolved over the previous few years. It was a terrific feedback loop for Tesla, but over time, Musk has turn out to be more immune to criticism, blocked critics – including yours truly – and surrounded himself with sycophants on Twitter.
He is commonly seen retweeting and responding to tweets from people consistently praising him and even quoting him.
More recently, Musk’s use of Twitter evolved again where he now repeatedly tweets concerning the “woke mind virus,” the “deep state,” and conspiracy theories.
The CEO still tweets about Tesla, nevertheless it’s becoming harder and harder for constructive criticism to get through the noise and reach Musk.
Over the previous few months, surveys have shown that Tesla’s repute has been taking place, and the stock price is crashing further than the remainder of the industry.
It’s form of crazy that I even have to make the argument for a serious company like Tesla to have a PR department in the primary place.
But now greater than ever, Tesla must separate its voice from Elon’s. He alienated too many individuals. Tesla needs to construct its own voice, and despite what Musk thinks, a PR department helps with that.
I didn’t like what Musk said about PR departments being about “manipulating the general public.” After all, it might try this, but it might also simply find ways to efficiently communicate Tesla’s missions, its products, and services.
It may well also answer questions that the media has in an effort to make sure that probably the most accurate information is on the market.
Now I do know loads of you might be considering: “But I hate the media. Journalists are all biased assholes. There’s no point in engaging with them.”
Like in any industry, there are bad actors and incompetent people within the media, but there are also good people attempting to do the perfect for his or her readers or audience. Sometimes, they’re legitimate questions that need answering – and Musk shouldn’t be doing that for probably the most part.
Tesla’s PR department was never perfect, and definitely understaffed for an organization of that size and with the form of media coverage they were getting, but they did correct loads of misinformation and promote Tesla’s highly essential mission.
Now at a time when Elon has turn out to be more polarizing and there’s loads of confusion about several of Tesla’s programs, like Full Self-Driving, I believe it’s more essential than ever for the corporate to interact with the general public – ideally through a robust PR department.