Brands are a tricky thing. Companies have spent decades to build brands and define them, but the autonomous vehicle revolution may change all of that.
It’s been discussed before, but Bloomberg recently tackled the issue of brands and autonomous vehicles. Granted, a lot of this is speculation. We don’t know how private car ownership will look in 10 years, and we haven’t the slightest clue if fleets of driverless vehicles will be on the grid, ready to serve.
Should those fleets of driverless cars come to fruition, the issue with brands surfaces. If you’re simply calling up an autonomous car, do you care if it’s a Toyota, a Ford or a Chevrolet? To combat this, automakers will begin to push the comfort and connectivity of their vehicles to outdo rivals.
“It will be about connectivity, comfort and all of that,” GM President Dan Ammann, said.
He looks specifically to airlines and how different companies have branded themselves with certain services and amenities. However, at the end of the day, passengers don’t book because their plane is a Boeing or Airbus, it’s the creature comforts and services offered during the flight.
The report does look at one key area brands can use to differentiate themselves, and that revolved around trust. Brands have built enormous amounts of trust over the years and offer a familiar face in the future of fresh, and maybe slightly unnerving technology.
“When you have no control and you’re putting your life purely in the hands of a robot, you care even more about the credibility of that brand,” said Evan Hirsh, an adviser to auto executives at Strategy&, a unit of PwC. “I’m not sure how much confidence I would have in a Lenovo car.”
Yet, we likely won’t see a full-scale invasion of autonomous cars anytime soon, and any major developments will likely start in major cities first. For the time being, brands still matter. Dilution may be somewhat inevitable in the future, however.