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Tesla partners with Australian department store chain on pop-up showroom

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 14:56
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Companies that want to disrupt customer expectations are now turning to Tesla to create positive brand association and appeal.

Peek into the Myer department store in Melbourne’s Central Business District (CBD) this Friday and you’ll see a mini Tesla showroom with Model X set as the centerpiece. The Australian department store chain, with its familiar merchandise lines of designer clothing, cosmetics, homewares, toys, food, travel goods, and the like, will launch Tesla’s pilot store on the sixth floor. It’s all part of the retailer’s drive to integrate new and innovative brands into Myer merchandise selections. Brand association with Tesla is part of the company’s “New Myer” marketing strategy.

The images and symbols that come to mind when thinking about the Tesla brand have related, perceived qualities that translate to the known Myer name. That kind of acquaintance and differentiation just isn’t replicable from within the Myer line of products or even outside Myer to another carmaker. And it may help the retailer to reinvent itself and attract back customers who have not visited a Myer store for some time.

Myer will host a launch event scheduled for tomorrow evening where models will arrive in the underground car park of Melbourne University in Tesla Model X vehicles. The launch will also be broadcast live on Periscope, allowing people at home to have a 360-degree view of the showcase.

Tesla has special implicit and explicit meanings to which a consumer relates. At least that’s the conceptual framework that Mike Scott, head of Myer brand and marketing, has in mind. Scott joined the company in June 2016 after jobs with Virgin Australia, Nike, and McDonald’s. Scott said he is confident that the open-ended deal between Myer and Tesla will succeed. “We want to disrupt;, we want to innovate. We need to act like a contemporary brand.” The Tesla brand will offer that allure. Myer has introduced 850 or so new brands in the past 18 months, but none have quite the panache of Tesla.

Scott acknowledged that a “magnetic brand” like Tesla offers Myer a kind of halo effect, a mirror reflection, from customers who recognize and respect the Tesla product class. Through working with a disruptor like Tesla, Myer will be able to offer visitors a “what they want, when they want it” customer experience, added Myer chief executive Richard Umbers.

Tesla, too, will benefit from having access to a customer base that may not ordinarily visit a Tesla showroom. And although this is Tesla’s first official entrance into the Australian department store world, it isn’t the company’s first partnership with a large retail chain. Last June, the Silicon Valley electric carmaker announced a partnership with Nordstrom that allowed interested parties to test drive vehicles and speak with Tesla employees, directly from a showroom gallery set up within the company’s upscale retail store.

Brand association trend is all part of competing on a global stage, according to Scott. “Technology has shortened the supply chain, so we’re competing with the biggest and best.”

According to a report from the Sydney Morning Herald, the deal between Myer and Tesla is set as “open-ended”. We’ve reached out to Tesla for confirmation on the relationship, and will report back with updates.

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