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What We Can Learn From Tesla's Innovation Mindset

I drove a Tesla (TSLA) Model X the other day and it exceeded my expectations in ways that I had never anticipated. They changed the driving experience. Let me say that again: They changed the driving experience.

Sitting in the driver’s seat made me feel like a kid again, and I’ve been driving for more than 25 years. The car is 100% electric, and it’s always on. There are no keys to turn for ignition or unlocking. Like magic, you simply step in, select a gear and go. And that’s where it begins. The entire driving experience is different and the car is just unbelievably fast.

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Tesla is living proof of the power of total integrated marketing

Every aspect of the Tesla brand has been shaped by a vision to radically alter the driving experience, and that vision has been realized to a remarkable degree. They aren’t just talking about doing it; they’ve meticulously aligned their product, marketing, communications and customer service to not only take on the automotive industry, but to affect a paradigm shift of what is possible in a category that has never before achieved widespread adoption. That’s radical and something that all of us in business can learn from.

Marketing can’t help you stand out if you don’t stand apart

A recent HBR article titled, “The Financial Industry Needs to Start Planning for the Next 50 Years, Not the Next 5” talks about the winners and losers in the race to shift the organizational culture from Industrial Age thinking to Information Age thinking. This is not about creating some sizzle ad campaign that gets people in the door to take their money; it’s about delivering a wealth management experience that is entirely different from what investors experience today. In the financial services industry, there’s a lot of discussion around attracting next-generation investors. But there lies a problem in trying to attract next-generation investors with past-generation client management and communications strategies.

Choose to innovate now and transform your firm

Over the next 50 years, there will be massive winners and massive losers in the financial space. Those that will be on the leading edge will be positioned as such from the investments in long-term growth that they are making today. The danger of overanalyzing every dollar for short-term ROI is in the failure to gain from the experience and learning process that comes with piloting systems and ideas. Playing catch-up to faster-pace competitors is not a strategy for success either.

Consider this exercise: Pick one innovation priority that you want to focus on over the next 12 months, and draft a one-sentence vision of how that will enhance the client experience.

Then I encourage you to answer the question: “What could I do in the next 90 days to achieve this vision?” Use your notes as a guide to help shape your thinking towards an innovation mindset.

Photo by Maxime Staudenmann on Unsplash

Craig Hall

Craig Hall is founder and president of Marketing Wiz, a financial marketing firm specializing in the independent wealth management space.


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