Ahh, the Tesla Cybertruck. We watched the live stream in anticipation of what Elon Musk had been keeping under wraps for the last few years. Living in the information age, we have become accustomed to spoilers. Even Apple has lost its mystery and lustre that once blanketed its events. But somehow they managed to keep this truck hidden from the eyes of the masses who never fail to get their hands on the tiniest of details on every up and coming product in the universe.
Leading up the event, we debated amongst ourselves about which pre-released render was going to be the most accurate. Boy were we wrong. When the Cybertruck pulled through the mist on the stage, my jaw hit the floor. I reached for my phone and started frantically messaging in our group thread ‘Not a damn chance this was real’, ‘The real one is going to come out soon,’ verbatim, but you get the point. It was unbelievable. Twenty-five minutes or so of Elon the great explaining the details, and it became apparent, this was the real truck. As the dust settled on stage, I spent the next couple hours in the middle of the night Googling what had just happened – what did we just witness. It had to be the single craziest product reveal in the history of humankind.
The design was shocking. The crazy angles, the awkward edges, the unibody frame, the ridiculous wheels, there wasn’t a single design feature like anything we had ever seen. My initial gut reaction was a mixture of intrigue and slight disappointment. I didn’t like it. It was too far fetched. Too different. We weren’t ready for this.
I dozed off to sleep and woke up the next morning, reached for my credit card, logged into the Tesla website and placed my order. Sign me the hell up. By the time I doubled back seven hours after its reveal, I had fallen in love. The initial shock had worn off, and I had to have one.
We speak to our clients all of the time in our branding and web presentations about the importance of ‘sleeping on it’. Great design is going to make you uncomfortable at first – give it some time, and there’s a good chance it’ll sink in, and you’ll grow to love it. It’s human nature to take the path of least resistance. We don’t like change; we’re content with the status quo. But those uncomfortable and unthinkable places are where the magic happens. Every groundbreaking idea in history occurred when somebody dreamt of something that didn’t exist before. We need to aim to push ourselves to think different more frequently. It can become difficult the older we get – It’s almost like the better we get at our job and the more experience we gain, the more we tend to fall into moulds. We preach and adhere to processes that we’ve garnered success using, and that’s a good thing – those processes are an amalgamation of all of the information and teachings we’ve absorbed throughout our lifetime, we’d be crazy not to harness them. But now and then, it’s refreshing to throw it all out of the window and try something new. It can lead to results we wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. You need to take a different road if you want to see a different view.
This is what the team at Tesla continues to show us time after time. While it may seem like a reach to draw parallels between a futuristic truck design and a branding exercise for a coffee shop, remember, the real takeaway is not to be afraid to break the mould, challenge tradition. Favour function over form and let strategy lead the dance rather than just putting lipstick on a pig. Don’t conform to what the masses think the coffee shop brand should look like – instead of drawing a coffee bean with an organic script typeface under it, roll the dice and make it green with a two-tailed mermaid and see what might happen.