If there’s one thing corporations like to do, it’s to control the media narrative about them.
In the tweet, Musk said he hoped to soon publish part 2 of his “top secret Tesla masterplan.”
Working on Top Secret Tesla Masterplan, Part 2. Hoping to publish later this week.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 10, 2016
What The Media Wants To Cover
Media coverage of Tesla has concentrated on Tesla’s controversial proposal to buy SolarCity Corporation (:SCTYN/A) and create a comprehensive sustainable energy company. Investors and the street have questioned the move with Jim Chanos of Kynikos Associates calling the proposed acquisition a “shameful example of corporate governance at its worst.”
More recently, two crashes involving Tesla’s automated functions have caught the media’s attention. One, in May, resulted in the driver’s death. The other, July 1, involved a crash into a guard rail and is being investigated to see whether automated functions were in use at the time.
Using Mystery To Misdirect
Elon Musk isn’t exactly shy about trying to change the narrative and his most recent “Top Secret Masterplan” tweet, designed or not, may do just that.
The effect of the tweet is enhanced because it hints at a part 2 to Musk’s original Tesla Master Plan of Aug. 2, 2006, which laid out Musk’s vision for electric cars. Importantly for Musk and Tesla, the hype turned into reality.
Musk’s master plan then was to build a sports car, use the profits to build an affordable car followed by an even more affordable car and provide zero emission electric power generation options.
What Happens In Part 2?
The sky’s the limit when it comes to speculation about what Musk’s latest tweet suggests. Anticipated projects range from a Tesla truck to a more advanced version of the company’s Autopilot software. Keep in mind Musk said recently Tesla cars would be technically capable of driving themselves from New York to Los Angeles by 2018.
Some have suggested Tesla’s automotive ventures may soon be over with the company’s new Gigafactory becoming a more important focus. There’s even been some tongue-in-cheek talk about Musk bringing back the Tesla coil.
Related: DRIVERLESS TRUCKING – IT'S COMING
Tesla Is Not Alone
When it comes to using mystery, hype or even misdirection to help control the media, Elon Musk and Tesla are not alone. One tech company, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPLC) has built an entire machine around keeping customers and the media focused on what’s next versus what’s happening now.
One similarity Tesla shares with Apple is a track record. People pay attention to rumors and teases when it comes to Apple because the company has a history of breakthrough products. As a result, even incremental upgrades to existing products get plenty of attention.
As a result, until and unless Tesla fails to deliver, as with Apple, the promise of something new will continue to be a powerful tool to help mold media coverage.