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Why Actions Speak Louder Than Words How to generate word-of-mouth referrals through living your brand values.

By Andrew MacKenzie

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Tesla famously doesn't advertise, yet it quickly built one of the most compelling brands in recent years. There are multiple reasons of course, but perhaps the most significant learning for other brands is that they don't just talk a big game when it comes to their purpose, they take big, bold moves.

Walking the talk

At the end of January this year, Elon Musk tweeted a reminder to the world that he'd taken the unprecedented step of releasing Tesla's patents for use by all, stating that "Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology'.

The reason for this bold decision? Because it might enable rivals' tech to catch up to Tesla's and help them achieve its purpose quicker: To help expedite the move from a mine-and-burn hydrocarbon economy towards a solar electric economy.

What Tesla can teach us

Consider how many brands have a big, bold purpose. Now consider how often that purpose is undermined by actions that are designed to appease shareholders, avoid risk or meet short-term targets.

Related: Always Keep Your Eye On Your Business's Value

So, what did Tesla do? Was it an inspired move that elevated even further the already impressive brand loyalty and adoration it enjoys? Or was it yet another PR move that gives their competitors what they need to catch up?

I think it's both. Tesla is bigger than ever, and the competition it needs has slowly started to catch up. Ingeniously, in both instances, it's helped accelerate Tesla towards its brand purpose.

Pulling it all together

So, here's my challenge: take a long, hard look at your brand purpose. Now, think about all the decisions you've had to make in the last few days or weeks and ask yourself: Were those decisions aligned to your purpose? Did they result in positive actions, rather than empty or broken promises?

If the answer to either of these questions is no, take a step back and think how in future you can turn the answers into yes.

Related: Build a Business of Value

Andrew MacKenzie

Managing Director, Boomtown

Andrew MacKenzie is the Managing Director of Boomtown, an innovative brand strategy company that helps clients differentiate themselves in competitive markets. With 22 years working in the advertising and marketing industry, Andrew relies on his experience across the board, from his graphic designer beginnings to his current role. Boomtown has multiple wins at the Loeries, Assegais, Clios, Epicas and under its belt. Visit

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