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Elon Musk is one of the most influential people in the world, but his success is a result of deliberately subverting norms and challenging expectations.
Though financial resources differ greatly among entrepreneurs, a calculated media strategy is something every entrepreneur can add to their toolkit. Let's unpack Musk's rise to fame, from his publicly celebrated business successes to his Twitter game, to see how any entrepreneur can take a note from Musk's playbook.
In the heat of the dot-com boom, Musk invited the cameras to get a first-hand look at his success.
Although it was difficult for the public to understand the inner workings of Silicon Valley and VC money, Musk created an instantly recognizable icon in his sports car.
Rather than focusing on a clear path to profitability, Musk declares impossible feats to the world, such as getting humanity to Mars before he dies. People love rooting for success against all odds. As one of the richest and most powerful people in the world, Musk positions his companies as "Davids" by creating seemingly unbeatable "Goliaths."
As an entrepreneur, your goals are more than financial and operational. Set goals with the power to motivate your workforce, attract an investor or engage your customers.
Entrepreneurs know that the key to success is to stay laser-focused on their goals and objectives. Yet while Musk is so busy that he sleeps on an uncomfortable couch at the office, he always has time for the spotlight.
With the exception of Bill Nye, most scientists aren't drawn to the big screen. Except Musk, who can be spotted in Iron Man 2 rubbing shoulders with Tony Stark, on South Park and The Simpsons, and hanging out with Howard on The Big Bang Theory. For someone focused on advancing mankind, Musk spends a calculated amount of time crafting his image.
As an entrepreneur, remember that everything you post is a reflection of you and your business.
When Musk posts nerdy memes, he's affirming that he's a part of a subculture that many of his customers associate with.
When he offers emergency assistance to Ukraine, he's demonstrating the viability of his business goals.
When he posts updates about his business, he's signalling to the world and his employees that he's in charge.
What appears random is all a part of the bigger media strategy. Think about the image and signals you want to convey, and engage accordingly.
You are where you are because you challenged a convention, did something in an unexpected way or created something new. Know your end goal, and craft your image around it. From there, you can determine which rules were made to be broken, and how you will bend them in your favour.
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