Change is remorseless. Without change there’s no progression.
“If I’d asked people what they wanted they’d have said faster horses” Henry Ford famously said when unveiling his Model T. He could well have been talking about modern research techniques. Whether white board spider charts or quantitive clicks applied. But that was in 1919.
Everybody that can read this online has an opinion on the motor car. So does your Nan or your toddler and of course that bloke down the pub. Which is why the automotive sector is a veritable smorgasbord of styles and substance. There are many variables of design at play. Multiple forms of creativity and innovation. Many channels of media and mediums to sell the product, accessories and merchandise. You can even buy yourself a lovely shiny Porsche pipe should you choose. Yes, women buy and smoke pipes too you know. Many of them are actually better smokers. To ignore 50% of the world’s population that want to buy your product would be a bit barking or even Dagenham.
Teslas are developed in the Norfolk hangers owned by the Malaysians and bought by the Californians designing for the Germans and built by the Romanians. One time niche manufacturers outperform big businesses, buying and selling brands and owning groups like your annoying nephew playing Christmas evening Monopoly. The Japanese have managed to not only catch up the Germans in terms of engineering but surpass them in product placement and brand experience. There have been galleries in Ginza for years now. The same programmers that visualised the game Gran Turismo designed the digital dash on the Nissan GT-R. Art imitates life and life propagates the desires of the next generation.
Unlike Apple, the big car brands are not beholden to one designer.
With the exception of Chris Bangle and his chisel period at BMW, the products evolve, curve, respond and progress. From the Aston Martin emulating Fiesta, the funky Fiat 500 or the bedroom wall Lamborghinis, affluent city streets are filled with art. It’s no wonder those cheeky chaps in California are eying up Woking for their denied secret projects.
In this dog eat horsepower dash for the line, the role of the brand is to allow progressive coherency. Attitude and flexibility. A way to achieve this is to stick to the plan and then allow fluid expression that is relevant to the specific product whilst not negatively contradicting the master brand. I don’t just mean sticking the logo on a cloudy sky image. Automotive is an experience led business. Luxury cars are semi self selecting for the most part. You can’t stop Foxtons fucking the image of your new city car though, yet.
In 2K16, design and the art of communication is not static, so why are the marketing models? If you consider the elements as living, moving parts to find their harmony – we respond in kind to progress. For me, it’s a great example of why obsess with the logo? if your holistic brand is fluid – then your marque is your constant signature. If it’s cool don’t fuck with it. End of. That’s how grown up branding works.
Some things change but some stay the same. The balance between leading innovation and responding to the wants of a broader culture is complex. It doesn’t have to be complicated. A great idea is born of a specific need and will have wider appeal by default. You can’t please all of the people all of the time.
That’s why it’s called marketing, not everything.