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5 Lessons to Learn from Elon Musk’s PR Playbook

Make your next marketing campaign out of this world with these moves from Musk.

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If the past couple of years of entrepreneurship have been defined by one person, it’s Elon Musk. Musk has pioneered not only the electric automotive industry but also various other industries with PayPal, SpaceX and the Boring Company. Well known for his Twitter antics, he has made a name for himself by spearheading many of his companies’ PR efforts.

Here are five lessons from Musk’s various PR strategies and publicity stunts that might help you put your business on the map.

1. Own your mistakes

There is a now infamous video of Musk demonstrating the strength of the Tesla Cybertruck’s window glass by throwing a metal ball at it. It was just supposed to carelessly bounce off the window, but the actual result is the window displaying a massive fracture. Many CEOs would write this off and try to hush it as faulty and have the car taken off stage. But Musk instead did the rest of his presentation on the car with the broken glass right behind him. And in the end, him owning it led to people wanting to see the car in its final form. Musk is notorious for not always living up to the outlandish promises he makes, but he’s proven time and time again that if you take accountability for where you are failing to meet expectations, people will be patient and tune in for every update thereafter. 

2. Reach for the stars

In 2018, Musk petitioned for the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket to be able to launch with a Tesla Roadster — which was unreleased at the time — onboard rather than a test payload. The end result looked absolutely ridiculous, but it proves how effective setting unrealistic goals can be. Musk gets attention for his various businesses by thinking outside the box and doing things that seem ridiculous but are actually genius. What better way to kill two birds with one stone than to combine a PR stunt for two products into one? It seems simple and sometimes impractical, but if Musk has demonstrated anything, it’s that there is always room to be creative and goofy with your PR and still find a massive amount of success.

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