When the news broke that Elon Musk had acquired 9.2% of Twitter for just shy of $3 billion, the first statement about the transfer by the Tesla CEO—one of Twitter’s most well-known and prolific users—was a giddily glib tweet: “Oh hi lol.”
Oh hi lol
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 4, 2022
The social platform’s stock, meanwhile, jumped by 27%. That is the Musk effect. His mere presence inside Twitter’s ownership structure was plenty of to increase self-assurance in the power of not just the social platform’s product potential, but even extra so, its manufacturer. The small blue chook is now officially tied to Musk, a human being who has applied tweeting as his most important instrument to establish much more economical get than everyone on Earth.
Considering that its founding in 2003, Tesla has famously budgeted roughly zero to classic advertising and marketing, relying intensely on the acquired media drummed up by Musk by information media and, far more not too long ago, his antics and insights on Twitter. That approach has served the electrical car business come to be a member of the trillion-greenback sector cap club, a valuation which is nearly ten situations much more than the merged industry caps of Ford, GM, and Chrysler, all of whom shell out billions on promoting. Maybe Jim Farley, Ford’s CEO, is a great deal of laughs (the late SNL performer Chris Farley is a cousin), but his Twitter feed is practically solely about Ford. He has not adopted an altcoin cryptocurrency to boost to his followers. To my understanding, he has insulted specifically zero U.S. Senators. Musk’s individual brand name is so powerful that he turned Dogecoin, which begun as a joke cryptocurrency, into a . . . nicely, it’s even now a joke, albeit just one that some early adopters have benefited from his focus.
Musk’s hottest transfer to turn out to be the one-biggest stockholder in his preferred megaphone will have major brand value implications for Twitter, Tesla, and his have own model.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 7, 2022
For Twitter, that brand impression will rely on how Musk’s innovation-by-Twitter-poll tactic performs and no matter whether it truly improvements the system for the greater. Possibly it’ll be the edit button! But if it is, there are by now klaxons likely off about what a terrible notion an edit button could be. Or perhaps this is the first action in a for a longer time journey towards the decentralized social media that Musk, Twitter founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey, and present Twitter CEO (for now, at minimum) Parag Agrawal have been advocating for. That, also, is the sort of factor that appears wonderful at, say, 4:20, but may possibly not keep up in execution.
Tesla is also in a vulnerable posture, supplied just how intently tied its manufacturer is to that of its chief. I had advised yrs ago that the corporation maaaay want to slowly get started laying the basis for, and rising, its personal manufacturer independent of Musk. The balance concerning the community graphic of an inspiring CEO and legendary brand name promotion of its possess can be a driving drive for model development, as the record of Apple can attest. Of class, we’re speaking about a founder who has publicly advised the acronym for his favourite federal company stands for fellatio, with tiny to no outcome on his manufacturers, so y’know, uncharted waters.
When it comes to Musk, in a brand name context, the guy has been primarily bulletproof. He’s just joined the Twitter board, but he’s presently the CEO of a $1 trillion car or truck firm, with [checks notes] a few other jobs: CEO of an aerospace enterprise, CEO of a laptop-mind interface company, and the the greater part owner of an city tunneling firm. In people roles, he’s navigating the next scandals: The vehicle organization is experiencing lawsuits in excess of a deeply racist operate lifestyle, and its autonomous driving method has seemingly triggered fatalities on the streets as the tech is workshopped in general public. The urban tunneling business Monotonous Organization is routinely mocked for its feebleness in conditions of what it in fact delivers. And his brain interface organization Neuralink has been accused of torturing animals in a way that hasn’t been approved in scientific circles for many years. This isn’t even a finish list of Musk-associated scandals! In the meantime we’re all in excess of right here talking about an edit button?!?
This is the position. This is the electricity Musk currently wields—over this system and the culture at large. It is a testomony to how he’s applied Twitter to construct unwavering self esteem amongst his shoppers, traders, and admirers. He now made a no cost media flywheel all over his Twitter presence: Create one thing provocative, absurd, or insightful induce a wave of coverage rinse and repeat. That flywheel will only spin far more immediately, due to the fact the cultural footprint of Twitter dwarfs his electrical car or truck. At its main, this new Musk story is about a really vocal and effective specific relocating to guard his greatest brand—and manufacturer-developing asset. Whilst we dance about whatsoever characteristic bauble Musk decides to dangle in entrance of us, it all adds to his model graphic, and by extension, arguably that of his firms. It is the Musk-iest of Musk moves.
The only way this go has a draw back for Musk and his brand is if a) the SEC goes whole scorched earth and somehow forces him to cease tweeting. (Based on the monitor history of enforcement so far, this seems really unlikely). Or b) in the longer phrase, Twitter’s decentralization or some other Musk-led modify normally takes Twitter further than a warm-take yellscape and into an even much more risky weapon that can be tied to a specific, terrible occasion, or issue. His own particular edition of what the 2016 election did for Mark Zuckerberg.
Nevertheless if all the things at Twitter goes to hell, Musk will most probably walk absent with his individual model below his arm as the social network explodes into a fireball in the distance, Musk striding confidently forward like he’s the star of a Michael Bay motion picture. He’ll tweet some thing to the impact of, “Well they did not hear to me and all my terrific ideas”—in the lingua franca of some common meme, of course—along with a Twitter poll asking if he ought to resign his seat or offer his stock, even if that basically was presently happening and the nod to democracy (or mob rule, depending on your POV) is just a further performance.
Entrepreneurs are regularly chatting about and trying to get to make their makes a portion of culture. By that evaluate, Musk is a person of the world’s greatest. Don’t forget the 2019 Cybertruck function? When Musk had a rock thrown at the window? Musk shopping for Twitter could extremely properly guide to the first major crack in his standing, nevertheless if recent precedent is any sign, it’ll actually just include to his by now formidable manufacturer armor.