‘Car’ is to ‘brand’ like ‘rock’ is to ‘roll’

A consumer’s relationship is about the entire interaction with the car – not just the visual appeal. And then there are the aspirational elements associated with an automotive brand. Dragon Drive allows each car maker to customize the UI and service offering and to offer the driver a consistent connected car infotainment experience, keeping its own branding and design – the brand and design its consumers love.

I have to admit: I love my car. I feel very close to it. Not only because it’s beautifully designed or because of its powerful engine, but admittedly, I love the image that comes with it, or actually that comes with the brand. From an objective point of view, it probably doesn’t drive better than other brands in the same category, and of course, there are other beautiful cars, too. But, I’m a driver and a consumer, and I know what I want.

A common definition of brand is: ‘Unique design, sign, symbol, words, or a combination of these, employed in creating an image that identifies a product and differentiates it from its competitors. Over time, this image becomes associated with a level of credibility, quality, and satisfaction in the consumer’s mind’ (businessdirectory.com).

Consumers have strong emotional ties to brands – with automotive brands being among the highest emotional pulls for consumers.  What you drive says a lot about you, or in many cases, what you want to aspire to be or the perception you want to portray.

Car makers have been particularly successful in building up very strong and valuable brands. Among the top 12 global brands 2013 as ranked by Interbrand, you will find Toyota, Mercedes-Benz and BMW, even ahead of popular consumer brands like Disney, Amazon and Pepsi. Other automotive brands such as Honda, Volkswagen, Ford, Hyundai, Audi, Porsche, Nissan, Kia, Chevrolet, Harley Davidson, Ferrari are ranked by their brand value among the top 100 brands in the world!

Everyone recognizes these brands and most of us have a certain predefined image and perception associated with them. They have been investing in building a consistent brand experience in their cars, and during the last couple of years, the user and brand experience of the Human Machine Interface (HMI) system became more and more important. Ultimately, the responsibility for the HMI increasingly moved from the supplier to the car maker. The infotainment system is the part of the car, where the user enters in direct communication with the car.

For me as a consumer attached to my favorite car brand and as a marketer, a consistent brand experience when using the car infotainment system – onboard, connected or both – is very critical. It has to have a consistent look and feel and way of operation.  It has to be integrated and different modalities should work consistently across different functions, apps and services. As a driver, I don’t want to bother with different user interfaces, different buttons, different type of commands, depending on which service I’m using in the car.

And it turns out – the car makers want to keep that consistency as well.

Dragon Drive is Nuance’s automotive grade content and natural language delivery platform. It is unique in that it allows s that it allows each car maker to customize the UI and service offering and to offer the driver a consistent connected car infotainment experience, keeping its own branding and design. For me, this is a key element of an automotive grade solution. And it’s not only about the visual design, it’s about the whole interaction with the car. It has to be designed for the car, with drivers’ needs in mind. To learn more about Dragon Drive check out this 30 second Video or our  connected car vision blog post and let us know what brands appeal to you and why.  We’d love to hear from you!

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About Fatima Vital

Fatima oversees Nuance’s global automotive and consumer electronics marketing programs, serving as the lead on solutions like Nuance’s popular Dragon Drive platform. Fatima has been with Nuance for over a decade, originally joining the company in February of 2003. Prior to her time at Nuance, Fatima’s early career included her working as a marketing director at Philips, with a focus on speech recognition solutions. Originally from Portugal and now residing in Germany, Fatima graduated from University of Siegen in Germany with a degree focused in business, marketing and finance. In her spare time, Fatima enjoys spending time with family and friends and is an active runner, skier and hiker.