Two months ago, everyone in the crypto industry was singing the praises of Elon Musk as he seemed to have joined the “club.” For those who don’t HODL, the club feeling in the crypto industry is real. Just watch two strangers meet and find out they both are trading Bitcoin. They start off by asking the usual questions, such as what they are trading and how long they have been trading? The second question is usually asked to see how rich someone might potentially be. If someone says pre-2016, eyes widen and heads nod in respect. As crypto prices started driving higher and higher in November and December 2020, the icing on the cake seemed to be when Elon Musk announced that he had invested over a billion dollars from Tesla into Bitcoin.
Then came Doge. What started as a joke and was trading at less than 1 cent in January, rallied to around 70 cents after Elon started tweeting about it. At this height, most individuals in the crypto space began looking towards Elon as their leader. Being an accomplished and innovative pioneer, he was the perfect representative for this new technology. This is where things got shaky. Bitcoin was becoming Tesla or vice versa depending on who you asked. Then Elon was asked to host Saturday Night Live and the week before his appearance Doge began to climb. Investors thought that he might use this platform to spread the good news of crypto. However, when the show aired, some jokes were made, and one joke had Elon say that Doge was basically a hustle. Prices plummeted.
Friends who invested in Doge were upset and Internet message boards were abuzz. Apparently, Elon had not lived up to his newfound title as crypto king. Then just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, Elon tweeted that Tesla would no longer be accepting Bitcoin payments due to greenhouse gas emissions. Now his new found followers who I should say were a very young, Tesla-leaning group were beginning to turn on their leader. So what is the Marketing and market research angle on all of this?
From a Marketing perspective, gaining a young and technologically leaning group such as investors in crypto was a very good idea for Tesla. Elon understood the lingo these young investors spoke, and they liked the memes he posted. Tesla had opened up to a whole new market of loyal fans. However, after tanking the market more than twice, this new found market is now looking very hostile to the company and the CEO. It appears to be a key example of how individuals are looking to connect with companies and CEOs, however, once individuals do connect, a key understanding of the values and principles of this potentially new customer base needs to be carefully understood and treated with respect.
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