Tesla is a car, tunnel, social, solar, space, internet, charging, roofing, media, perfume (wait) company
Carvana is leveraging consumer trust to regain Michigan sales license
Ben Hadley, Kyle Mountsier
Kyle Mountsier 00:24
Right, it is Thursday, October 13. We're full of brand and community conversation. I'm welcoming my good friend and special guests, Ben Hadley to talk about Elon Musk. Carvana in Michigan and Oh, lots of friends. Yes, go.
Ben Hadley 00:39
Don't need to repeat. Back for for my guest appearance.
Kyle Mountsier 00:47
Hey, look, yeah, we bounce sometimes.
Ben Hadley 00:51
It's been here and there, though.
Kyle Mountsier 00:53
It's here in there. You know, sometimes we just gotta get into it. Because things are happening. Lots of things are happening. Paul's out of office today hanging out with his fam, I got to do that earlier in the week. Just a couple of like, you know, we got to go through the housekeeping things just tick the things off. We're gonna be if you haven't heard at the modern retailing conference, the newly branded Brian passionate event here in just a month. I think, Ben, you're gonna be there too. Which will be really cool. And yes, it will be in Palm Beach a whole lot of different sessions, we're actually hosting a creative track, which is for creatives, and those that want to coach creatives and walk through like, what does it look like to do good creative in dealerships, we've got incredible people like Ali pinion, and Nathaniel Grek, like gonna be there and coaching through just what it looks like to create content for different platforms. We've also got an auto collabs episode today with two na da teachers. And so Michael Lukey. And Matthew vamos will be on there. But goodness, we got some stuff to talk about today. And I'm really excited about about some of the stories and and we said this Elon, his new musk, I know it's kind of how I like rolled that roll that front. But let's go ahead and get into it. So Tesla, it I don't know if you knew this Ben but they are a car tunnel social media. So solar space, internet, charging roofing media. And now last but not least a perfume company. That's Elon announced that his company the boring company, which is actually a company that has that is responsible for like, if people have been to Vegas, they might have been through the tunnel. That was a big thing that people were headed to last year nada. And they're basically cutting down the the ability for tunnels to be made by like, 1/25 of the time with this new technology that they have.
Ben Hadley 02:52
Just like let's throw that out there. Like it's cool. But like, you're like, you know, would you do like your check this out? What if what if we like put put people underground? Like, we call those tunnels? I know, man, this is gonna be revolutionary,
Kyle Mountsier 03:07
revolutionary tunnels revolutionary. Well, so. So last, the last time that the tunnel company did something that wasn't tunnels was back in 2018. They actually, they actually sold flame throwers at 500 bucks apiece, and, and sold. And they've also sold hats, they sold 50,000 Boring company hats. So they're kind of like this company as all things. You know, Elon go, they're kind of like half retail half, you know, company doing something else. And so they announced that they are selling $100 per bottle perfume called burnt hair. If you're looking at it, you can see it right now. It's kind of like this red bottle that has smoke around it. You know, it's the two little quotes like the retail quotes are, it's like being over a candle at dinner table without all the hard work or staying out of the crowd to get noticed as you walk through the airport. So what even is happening is
Ben Hadley 04:18
literally it's like almost, I think he took a challenge upon himself was the worst smell. How can I measure my brand? Right? One way is to say, I wonder if I'm so innovative as a brand, that I can dig holes under the earth and call it innovation. And everybody's like, yeah, we'll give it to you. He's like, Damn, what if I took the worst smell ever bottled it up? Where people also and he's, you know what I mean? Like he's taking like, the hardest things. Yes. And then in like in somehow getting away with
Kyle Mountsier 04:59
well being Because Because product is not like my kind of note on this is product is not the reason why people buy or subscribe to anything that Elon slash Tesla slash whatever he's doing does, right it's not based on product like many of the products are great, you know solar roofs, shingles, you know, the vehicles that they're that they're selling like the product is a strong product especially like the lead products, not these like perfumes and flame blowers and, and hats and, you know, merch and stuff like that. And I mean, they're sending people to freaking space for goodness sakes. But when when brand is greater than product, sales doesn't really have to get involved. Right? Because like, there was there was no like marketing campaign, Instagram, you know, Instagram blast feed in order to get a million dollars worth of burnt hair, perfume, salt.
Ben Hadley 06:00
Yeah, I mean, I think about this like, like, he's doing everything in the reverse, which is like, normally what you do is you go, okay, marketing and sales budget, let's segment a lot or segment the market. Let's advertise to that market, and then iterate and optimize. And eventually you have this like, hopefully, hyper awesome audience that loves whatever you're doing. And you create long lifetime value customers out of that. And he's just like, No, no, the best a audience can ever become the most optimal audience is just a community. So let me start the community first. And then the downstream effect is listening and just making cool stuff that they like.
Kyle Mountsier 06:50
Well, it's interesting, because then like, even if whatever the thing is that gets created, is outside of kind of the stream of conscious of that community. As long as it's close enough, right? Yeah, it's still the community is still attracted to it. So like perfume is kind of outside of that community. Like it's a tech community. They're attracted by like new tech trends or anything like that. So it's slightly outside enough, but because it kind of has this funky brand to it, this kind of like early adopters brand. It's close enough to the community that people are drawn in. I think this is important for anyone that's trying to build something of value right now. Like you can pivot your entire business to be based on this. I was actually watching a clip of Patrick a bad this morning at a soda con that we posted. And he was just saying, like, if you're not caring about how your customers are becoming community in order for retention, then if not now, when? Like, oh, because well, it's a recession. Oh, we're doing great. Whatever it is. It's just that's the that's the ultimate sense of like, whether or not your brand has staying power.
Ben Hadley 08:06
And literally, dude, I was at a paint store. A woman came up to me, this is like a few weeks ago, and just said, Hey, is that your Tesla in the parking lot was like, yeah, she was like, Oh, I have one too. And we'll I was like, This is so odd. I'm sure like Jeep owners probably go through the same thing. Because they have like the Jeep wave and like, you know, like, Oh, dude, like, whatever, like, especially wrangler owners. Yeah. But it was my first experience of being like, and then she was like, Oh, you're not on the local Tesla community email list. And I was like, there's a local Tesla community. She's like, Oh, I'll add you. And I was like, wild. Like, what other I've never well,
Kyle Mountsier 08:48
never in automotive. But this is interesting. You know, I'm a big soccer fan. And the reason why we did the soccer scarves at a soda con was because there's a lot of similarities that we're trying to draw to like the soccer community. Actually early early on in so Nashville soccer club is now an MLS. So that's the top tier of soccer in the US early on in Nashville soccer, it was 2014 that it was just an amateur club. So it was like crowdfunded, crowdsource. And basically, if you saw in Nashville at that time, football club, FC, magnet, t shirt, anything like that in the community. There, it was an immediate conversation Ender. And most likely you actually knew the person, right? Like, that's how tight the community was. Now that expands it as, as community become like a larger brand play you you, you now just have affinity because like there's a central source of agreement. Right. And this is what like most great communities are built on is that there's a central source of agreement. So, you know, the central source of agreement with the Tesla brand is Elon Musk. It just it's based on a person, right? It's based on that person's impetus. Yeah, he's the lead singer.
Ben Hadley 10:00
It reminds me so blink 182 Just got back together for reunion tour. Super pumped. Biggest. I'm like diehard fan. And it reminds me of that too. Like different how many text messages I get you to tap? Like, yes. You know, the band's back together the communities back together to like, anyways,
Kyle Mountsier 10:19
well hey look, before we get to the last thing I just want to throw this up, we just want to like as a soda, we want to we want everyone to know that we're actually the purveyors of everything in the world. At this point. We're actually the new Simpsons. So look at this image real quick. This is from April 120 22. This is in a an email that so to put out. We just want everyone to see this real quick. If you're not watching. We'll throw it up. Isaac, do we have? Do we have the image? Do we have the image of what we what we threw out there? Man? Please tell me we have the image, too. He's probably struggling for
Ben Hadley 10:56
your click baiting everybody. You're going I am I'm
Kyle Mountsier 10:59
getting everyone. Well, look, you posted in the comments. In the comments. On April 1, we actually gave everyone the option for 267 billion referrals to the asoto email we were gonna give people Elon Musk. So that's actually if you go back if you get the asoto email, go look at Jabil first email. We actually predicted Elon coming out with perfume. Bo. got crazy. Crazy. All right, let's keep rolling. I don't have a segue for that. Oh, there it is. Look at that that's in that was in the asoto email. There it is. There's the image Musk by Elon, he didn't call it that. That's okay. We'll give him Bert hair. All right, we're keeping moving Carvana is leveraging consumer trust to actually regain their Michigan sales license. So if you weren't following last week, Michigan said Carvana Yeah, out because of title implications and paperwork and things that weren't getting the customers too many customer complaints. And just I think it was yesterday or maybe Tuesday Carvana customers in Michigan got an email, asking them to quote support keeping Carvana and online hassle free car buying available without interruption in Michigan. Now, this isn't the first time they've done this actually, when they got kicked out of Illinois. They sent out a petition got over 6000 signatures on that petition with customers saying no, keep them in business, keep them rolling. And they are saying like, Hey, we're being singled out because of an antiquated process that actually makes it hard for us as an online retailer to serve customers. So this is actually a customer issue that we are not responsible for, but that antiquated processes are standing there for what's crazy to me here is that they are leaning on public opinion of their brand. To to garnish a change in legal opinion.
Ben Hadley 12:59
Yeah, like I would actually I would say just because it's relevant, right? Like, if Tesla was in the same situation 70 million fucking signatures, language, right? Like, it would be bonkers. And so you can kind of see a contrast there, like six, eight, you know, 6000 signatures isn't isn't nothing
Kyle Mountsier 13:20
but a single state, right? Like, just send it to that state's
Ben Hadley 13:24
cuz I never I never really think of Carvana as a community or like, like, I've never really seen people be like, Oh, dude, like, you're Carvana buyer. So am I, you know,
Kyle Mountsier 13:36
it's no, it doesn't work like that. But I do think that it works in a way that like, people are like, Oh, no, that's the way that I do. And we'll buy cars. And if that's not an option, then that's bad for me as a consumer. Like, because the buy in when you get to that point isn't just oh, they had the car. It's they had the process. And then oh, great. They had the car. Right, which is opposite for a lot of auto retailers, which is inventory drives sales and not brand. And they've they've gone at Brand drive sales and inventory is a benefit to the consumer that they have
Ben Hadley 14:15
sales but yeah, just brand but yeah, I'm processing.
Kyle Mountsier 14:18
Yeah, whichever. Yeah. Yeah, their process drives their brand, the way that they communicate their brand. But that, like I was I was just thinking like, could like, let's just say the local DMV is like, man, that Toyota dealership can't get their stuff straight. None of their titles are ever right. They can't get customers, you know, licenses in under 60 days. We're just going to shut down their ability until they get caught up. Like what would happen if that dealership reached out to their customer base? Because some of these, I mean, you know, some of these larger groups like they've got a million or two customers in their database, like how would those customers respond in that moment? Would there be like a line of customers at the DMV being like you about our make them be able to do business?
Ben Hadley 15:06
I don't know. I can't see things so I can't see it. Like a maybe for some select dealerships out there. But you know, if we're talking broad strokes here, probably most of them would, would be on their own. Right. Yeah, that'd be like with the pitchfork. Let's go get them and then nobody is behind you. So how does
Kyle Mountsier 15:25
how does it how do how do like individual rooftop dealerships because right Carvana has the benefit of having a wider region ality even at the state level, and consumer base how does how does a dealership or group of dealerships start to move toward that? Like, how do we get like I think like
Ben Hadley 15:45
Damian Boudreau talks a lot about this was like, like, your, your competitive advantage is your local local pneus word. Right. And so, you know, it's like, if anybody's equipped to make a really like, potent community, right? It's, it's actually harder, I think to do at a national level than it is like you're talking about the Nashville MLS Football Club, right? Yep. Okay, like, super local, right? You're walking like, all of that becomes way easier. And I think we just have to move away from just like a bumper sticker or license plate thing as our as our signature of like, I bought a car. I'm a part of that. Yeah. John Jones, Toyota, whatever it is, and, and really make it more about like, Oh, we're at the local events where, you know, where were the the schools, the Boy Scouts, the whatever, like, really make people feel that impact because then they'll get addicted to that they won't want that removed. Right. And you see the dealership as a vehicle.
Kyle Mountsier 16:57
For community benefit.
Ben Hadley 16:58
Kyle Mountsier 17:00
Yep. Well, speaking of getting addicted, segway many people are addicted to Starbucks, at least many people that I know and specifically, the caffeine that comes along with it. And delta recognizes that fact, just yesterday, a day after Dunkin Donuts, changed their rewards program and got a little flack for it. Starbucks and delta have come together and said, Hey, look, we're going to offer reward and loyalty benefits across our ecosystems, signing a partnership to give SkyMiles as well as Starbucks stars, to consumers that purchase or, or take activities within each of the loyalty rewards programs. To entice the customers to join the partnership members who link their accounts between now and December 31 will earn an additional 500 SkyMiles. Now that's just for linking the accounts, which is pretty wild. And after joining and making only one Starbucks purchase, they will accrue 150 stars enough for a free coffee. So if you never here's the thing, this is so cool, because if you never do anything with this, but you're like I got a Starbucks account, and a SkyMiles account, you can get 500 SkyMiles get a drink and get another it's like buy one get one free basically.
Ben Hadley 18:19
No it's a no brainer. Yeah, but also I'm guessing there's way more Delta diehard SkyMiles people that have Starbucks accounts than any Dunkin donut like you know what I mean? Like oh absolutely are so key on their target market with this like in the ideal customer Well,
Kyle Mountsier 18:37
you know, what's interesting is well one just the fact that these are massive brands with massive amounts of people in their loyalty rewards and so one of the one of the notes was a big reason for this decision was not just like it's it's that they want to understand customer behavior because so much is tied to the purchase behavior, the travel behavior, like how people are interacting with these brands that are that are closely aligned. It's interesting in the Nashville airport this is crazy. This is anecdotal for me, but in the Nashville airport, the southwest and American terminal terminals that are primarily those two obviously they've got a bunch in each terminal but the two terminals that are primarily that have the majority actually all of the coffee shops in those two terminals are local coffee shops to Nashville, three of the top Nashville coffee shops like the like the premier ones that people in the country kind of know about right? Yep. So those are in those terminals in the Delta terminal the only available coffee shop which pisses me off when I have to buy when I have to go to Delta. Yeah is Starbucks right? It's like they already know their target customer it's not like they it's not like they haven't done this research already and already, like connected those two ideas is like Oh, Delta customers. Big bro. Anne's stream of conscious speed, right? Probably Starbucks customers connect to that in airline terminals, okay, connect that offline for people and start to like, be in their minds more often. It's like, if you're, if you fly Delta all the time, what are you gonna do? Stop at the gas station, or Starbucks? Now you're stopping at Starbucks and a story. You're also
Ben Hadley 20:25
like, I feel like the Delta customers is like, way more business oriented. Like, you know, like, I used to be diehard BTV, Burlington, Vermont to Atlanta, and then and wherever else. So I was super, super diehard delta. And, you know, so you're like, but you're always going to a new place, there's not really consistency in their schedule, the only consistent thing would be a Starbucks coffee, right? Because they're everywhere. It's wild. So it totally makes sense. Crazy thing, I mean, personally, this is instant coffee. This is like the like, it's like a sin in Vermont, that you're supposed to be drinking, like really, like, great, you know, whatever. So maybe it doesn't completely apply to me. But genius. Well, it's.
Kyle Mountsier 21:18
And I think that, you know, you and I both know, there's a guy in in that's trying to press in the automotive with like a thing called the gas app card. Right? Yeah. Like, how do you find more ways to be in front of your customer in things that keep them sticky to your brand? So like gas cars, right? Easy? Easy move? Right? Yeah. Even coffee like local coffee. Some of the companies that some of the dealerships that I know that don't just like, bring in the you know, whatever it is, you know,
Ben Hadley 21:49
does your tribe do the local community thing? You come on? Easy, easy. The craziest part about that is like you can't live in America. It's harder to live in America without a car. Right? Right. So the connections there, like gas is easy. But what about tourism? What about?
Kyle Mountsier 22:10
Yeah, it's like whatever you're doing, you're probably doing it associated with the car. So find the one that makes most sense for your community and build community around that. Well, if you haven't figured it out. We're kind of brand people. We're kind of community people. And we feel like if car dealerships lean into those things, they might have a little bit more staying power. So you know, Go Lean In