Is there more to Elon Musk’s crypto obsession than meets the eye?

Stephan ShakespeareCEO and Co-Founder
January 20, 2022, 5:28 PM GMT+0

The value of Dogecoin – a onetime-joke cryptocurrency now, like Frankenstein’s Monster, disavowed by its creator – soared last week as Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that the electric car giant would accept it as payment for merchandise.

It’s not Musk’s first foray into the digital currency space. So it’s worth asking: What is it with him and crypto? It may be for the memes, and according to some reports Tesla hasn’t done badly out of its Bitcoin investments. But our brand-tracking tool, YouGov BrandIndex, shows that savvy Musk knows how to align his product with crypto-enthusiasts. 

Among people who agree that “cryptocurrencies are the future of financial transactions”, Tesla’s scores are much higher across several metrics. As of January 15, Impression scores for Tesla (a measure of positive or negative sentiment) were at 12.0 among the British public; among crypto-enthusiasts, these scores were 21.9. This group are also more likely to believe that Tesla would be a great place to work: Reputation scores, which gauge whether you’d be proud or embarrassed to be employed by a company, sat at 17.8 for the nation and 24.6 among crypto-enthusiasts. Brits who are optimistic about Bitcoin, Dogecoin, or similar also record higher Quality scores (21.8) than the rest (17.3).

This carries through to more purchase-oriented metrics. While Consideration scores among the public are positive (8.0), they’re that bit higher among crypto-enthusiasts (11.5) – and when it comes to Purchase Intent, scores are twice those of the wider nation (2.1 general public; 4.3 crypto-enthusiasts). It’s the same story with Index scores: for Britons overall, they sit at 6.6; among the group who think cryptocurrency is the future, this measure of overall brand health sits at 12.7.

Overall, the data shows that Musk’s crypto-positioning appeals to a group of potential Tesla customers – one with a disproportionately high interest in his product.