What Tesla’s move to eliminate its PR department means for the industry



The electric automobile company might have shut its press shop, but the communications function remains crucial.

Tesla, the electrical automobile company based on billionaire Elon Musk that positions 124th about the Fortune 500 list, has closed down its PR department. It apparently decided it needs a great connection with the network. Journalists seeking confirmation don’t know who to ask.

The move was first reported yesterday by Electrek, a news website that tracks the transportation business ’s change from fossil fuels to electrical. The site wrote:

In case you’re a reporter that isn’t getting a response from Tesla, don’t take it personally, because it’s due to the automaker having dissolved its PR team.

The move has been verified to Electrek at the maximum level at Tesla with the source saying, “We no more have a PR team. ”

Observers were turns stunned and circumspect. It was called everything from a “flex”–a showoff move–to a sign that Tesla’s PR department may ’t compete with Elon Musk’s nearly 40 million Twitter followers, or that Musk himself could ’t take any press criticism.

Elon Musk dissolves Tesla's U.S. PR group since they can't compete with his own Twitter accounts that has 39 million followers.

This is the largest Twitter follower flex ever. https://t.co/8pINh5Fwvc

— Dare Obasanjo (@Carnage4Life) October 6, 2020

Every organization is currently a media business. Go direct if you’ve got some thing to say. https://t.co/WUnZjRY72a

— balajis.com (@balajis) October 6, 2020

Tesla, a Fortune 500 company, has dissolved its PR department, seemingly because its CEO can't withstand any amount of critical coverage and can't comply using a single person who does. https://t.co/c8TPAf9EcQ

— Will Oremus (@WillOremus) October 6, 2020

[FREE GUIDE: The 7 questions you should be inquiring about brand journalism]

Whatever the motives or impact, it’s certainly a sign of Tesla’s unique status on the market, and the notoriety it’s developed for Musk, with his own checkered media background.

“Tesla receives more press than any other automaker and the team always appeared understaffed,” Electrek reported. “It literally was one-tenth of this magnitude of a PR group for the automaker of Tesla’s dimensions and probably 20 times smaller compared to the PR teams at most leading automakers. ”

However, Electrek continued, the department managed to correct misinformation and make some excellent content over the years, “while operating under the pressure of a supervisor who famously often becomes jaded by poor coverage. ”

Here are a few classes for the PR industry from Tesla’s most magnificent move.

1. Owned media channels offer brands power.

Elon Musk has 39.1 million followers on Twitter and Tesla itself contains 6.3 million followers. Tesla has apparently decided that it has an immediate connection to its followers and fans via social media. It’s a subsequent that’s revealed openness to spread disinformation, and an unwavering devotion to the brand that impartial and objective media manufacturers could never replicate.

For other organizations, the takeaway might suggest creating an immediate connection to the audience.

2. PR pros should do more than just write press releases.

Tellingly, Tesla hasn’t folded its investor relations department, which occasionally communicates with investors via the media.

Fast Company wrote:

The automaker’s investor relations division  seems to be still intact. The goal of that division, as is the case at all publicly traded firms, is to speak with shareholders, not necessarily journalists. For example, on Friday, that department issued an announcement –branded a press release on the website–saying Tesla produced over 145,000 automobiles and delivered close to 140,000 in the next quarter.

A number of Tesla’s PR department was reassigned with the company, revealing the team’s altered priorities.

Electrek wrote:

Gina Antonini, also a senior director at Tesla’s comms staff for three decades, watched her role changed to director of external relations and worker expertise at Tesla in February.

Also in February, Tesla communications manager Alexander Ingram transferred to a function as content lead for Design Studio at Tesla.

PR pros can make themselves indispensable by getting business experts who’ve communications wisdom. The communications discipline isn’t going anywhere–however, priorities are shifting for businesses that are prepared to innovate.

3. Trust comes at an excellent price.

Some reporters have recognized the final of Telsa’s PR shop instead of carry on the adversarial tactics that have become common in tech firms in their own relationships with journalists.

Vice wrote:

In a perfect world, Tesla and the other tech firms like it would approach the PR role otherwise. For example, they could try really providing some advice to journalists from time to time once we request it. They would cease blatantly disrespectful behavior such as forgetting to comment to a story before publication only to publish multi-thousand word blog posts concerning the story later, which makes our stories seem unnaturally one-sided and biased (typically the first thing we’re accused of when publishing a narrative they don’t like). But in the absence of that, dissolving the PR department is a nice second option. It doesn’t change anything, but at least it drops the pretense and saves us a tiny bit of time.

PR pros who have great relationships with the media and give real value to journalists will still have a part to perform for organizations who don’t see themselves as previously scrutiny.

The Public Relations Society of America had this to say about the information:

If accurate, this activity sets a very dangerous precedent for blocking the continuing flow of data from one of the planet ’s most innovative and influential businesses, in addition to influencing the media’s ability to responsibly cover a company ’s actions.

Disengagement isn’t a path to success and can result in dramatic reputational ramifications with long-term effects. Strategic communication counsel is a vital element of standing management, since is a robust, fully working, effective and transparent communications process.

Tesla is a exceptional business. Most other organizations would be unwise to assume that they could follow its own lead and close their comms shop without losing their place in the national conversation.

What’s more, the PR professional that can supply the complete breadth of wisdom and counsel to their organization will always be a vital advantage to manufacturers that are willing to make investments.

The article What Tesla’s move to get rid of its PR department means for the market appeared initially on Ragan Communications.

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