Brand Positioning. In this article I will explain why Elon Musk is consistently featured on mainstream media and why he is enjoying every single moment of it.
While reading this short dissertation, I invite you to suspend anykind of moral judgment while focusing on the entire process of his brand building strategy and how you can copy it step by step with no divergence to exponentially increase the value of your business.
I have said multiple times to startuppers and entrepreneurs in general that the marketing department is the Ministry of Propaganda of their company.
What is the function of the Ministry of Propaganda?
The function of the Ministry of Propaganda is to shape the beliefs of your target.
In doing so, the only function of your sales people isn’t prospecting but closing according to a previously established procedural strategy of upselling and upselling.
Unfortunately, most startups and entrepreneurs still believe that the perfect product will sell itself and they do not have any need to develop a marketing strategy around their product—until they realise that they are running out of money as none of their perfect product has been sold in the market yet.
This isn’t my personal opinion but a statutory truth you can see for yourself by visiting multiple startup hubs.
Of course, at the beginning you will need to push the sales, but this is just the first stage of an entire marketing process.
Another problem that newborn entrepreneurs are facing right now is a generational issue.
Coming from an educational, social, and economic environment where any request is immediately solved, they do not have enough persistence to go ahead, convincing themselves that what they are doing isn’t going to work.
The sad truth about it is that an entrepreneur must outperform the average person in three psychological requirements:
That said, I am now deepening the reason why I define the marketing department as the Ministry of Propaganda of a company.
The consumer will purchase your product only if he BELIEVES that your service is going to fulfill his why.
It’s all a matter of beliefs. Like it or not.
When an entrepreneur decides not to hire a marketing employee because he believes that his product is so good that it will sell itself, that entrepreneur BELIEVES it to be true. And what is believed to be true is believed to be right.
Your marketing department is the Ministry of Propaganda of your company because he needs to work on shaping the beliefs of your target by conveying a positive perception of your product.
What does this mean?
It means that your duty as an entrepreneur is to be able to create an ideology around what you do, which is basically selling your philosophy.
What is an ideology?
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, an ideology is a set of beliefs and principles.
Even better, Business Dictionary defines ideology as a system of ideas that explains and lends legitimacy to action and beliefs of a social, religious, political, or corporate identity.
The latter definition is self-explanatory.
You need to build around your product a system of ideas that moves your target to action.
Before selling your product you need to sell the idea behind your product.
In his book Public Opinion, Walter Lippmann makes it clear:
“For the most part we do not first see and then define, we define first and then see.”
In Crystallizing Public Opinion, Edward Bernays argues that the definitive role of the PR counsel is to generate a stereotype that the group he is targeting will commonly believe to be true:
“The tendency the group has to standardize the habits of individuals and to assign logical reasons for them.” (p. 105)
Although the conceptual history of ideology deserves more space here, I will move on to definitions of ideology that come from the Marxist and Post-Marxist school and the definition of bio-politics from the study of Foucault.
The first definition of ideology is the one of cultural hegemony by Antonio Gramsci.
By cultural hegemony, Gramsci intended to express the cultural manipulation of one dominant social group over another by conveying its specific values, perceptions, and beliefs and making them widely accepted.
Thus, Gramsci was able to give a better explanation of what Marx defined as false class consciousness, which was the tendency of the proletariat.
The second definition by the French philosopher Louis Althusser moves away from the original conceptualisation of false consciousness and includes a more detailed approach.
According to Althusser, ideology is always present in a given society and is expressed through the use of language, that is a symbolic system of metaphors that generates a specific interpretation of reality.
As a consequence, ideology isn’t just a philosophical construct; due to its ability to generate specific actions that are the direct result of repetitive practices, ideology has a material existence.
Thus, the individual isn’t to be conceived as a neutral living being, but instead as a subject that creates commonly accepted practices that become normal or obvious.
The function of ideology then is to generate a series of axioms.
What is an axiom?
Cambridge Dictionary defines axiom as “a statement or principle that is generally accepted to be true”.
This is even clear in the studies led by another neo-Marxist intellectual, Michel Foucault.
According to the French philosopher, the Western world has substituted the coercive exercise of power in place of a new kind of power which constitutes into “a positive influence on life, that endeavours to administer, optimize, and multiply it, subjecting it to precise controls and comprehensive regulations”.
[(Michel Foucault, The Will to Knowledge: The History of Sexuality Volume 1 (1976) (trans. R Hurley, 1998) p. 137]
The final aim of this new power is to lead toward a process of normalization, which is the common acceptance by a social group of specific actions and ideas that tend to be classified as normal.
You may ask:
What does this preamble have to do with Elon Musk and me?
Answer: more than you think.
It’s been a while now that Elon Musk has suggested that the government take serious action toward developing a universal basic income.
What any ideology has in common is that it tends to portray itself as the undeniable last stage of history.
Marx, for example, believed that the last stage of history would be the triumph of the proletariat and the realization of factual equality.
Hitler believed that the last stage of history would be the final domain of the Arians over the other races.
Liberalism believed that the last stage of history would be a worldwide system of trade (globalization), now disconfirmed by the return of economic policies that put national interests first.
Thus, Elon Musk, undisturbed by the tech community—as he is working to make the cake bigger for every single player in the tech industry—is promoting a new ideology: the inevitable triumph of artificial intelligence.
Why is he selling this undecidable statement?
For the simple reason that he must create a worldwide accepted vision/direction in order to drive the tech industry toward billions of dollars in investments.
If the world is definitely going to be dominated by artificial intelligence, your risk as an investor in financing the tech industry will be minimal.
Elon Musk is selling the inevitable, the obvious, the normal course of history, the “there is no way it’s going to be different,” the “it’s the natural evolution of things.”
With a wrong premise, however, that political parties who are now receptive to the universal basic income are not considering.
The universal basic income is anti-economic by definition.
During the second lesson of macroeconomics, they teach you that when a central bank prints an excessive amount of money with no increment in productivity, the direct consequence is an exponential increase in inflation that will cause not only an unjustified increase in prices but also a consistent increase in the rate of unemployment.
Doesn’t Elon Musk know anything about it?
Of course he does.
But he is now promoting his long term position of dominance.
Through universal basic income he is promoting the idea that government should deposit a monthly amount of money in the bank account of their citizens that they will consequently use to buy products of just a few companies that have monopolised the market worldwide.
Although I doubt his predictions, I cannot deny that the triumph of artificial intelligence over humans is plausible beyond any measure.
How is Elon Musk attracting billions not only to his companies but to the benefit of the overall tech industry?
I don’t think so…
He is doing it by being relentlessly featured on any media possible in order to shape the beliefs of the average consumer toward the acceptance of his vision.
Why does he need to be featured every single day even in the most irrelevant magazine on the planet?
Because he knows where the real power of propaganda lies.
REPETITION. REPETITION. REPETITION.