Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Vehicles in the setting, lots of choice or little

I was working on vehicles for the game, and the fictional setting, and I started thinking about how many choices people have for the same thing. I thought in the dark future the there is large amounts of manufacturing, and some commodities are sold purely on brand perception because the item is simply designed to the point of perfection. So you don't get a Golf GT you get a Martian Mirage GT3 manufactured by the Jupiter Car company. Your buying much more than a car with a name, your buying an identity.

Marketers always talk about a special sauce or value proposition, but is there? We see that there is a lot of consolidation in the spaces that stop making profit because they cannot grow, cars, air travel etc. No one is making money in cars, because they can only proposition the customer by giving more for less.

If we have a look at vehicles now, it seems there is a lot of consumer choice. People not only focus on the function but brand perception, social perception, price etc. I don't think there is more than 5 choices of car. And if you think there is more, your naive and you believe the spin.

In the real world we are already genericising the car, check these two cars out.

An example
http://city.honda.com.au/ Honda City, whats this brand saying? Well you are a city living person with an Ipod or Iphone, and you want a car that's not too large nice for the environment/cheap to run and cheap own.

An example
http://www.renault.com.au/renault-cars/Clio-RS197/ Clio, this car is basically the same thing. Why by a Renault? well its the brand not the vehicle. The Honda city is better, and the Renault has a bigger price tag. You buy it to say your sophisticated, this small one is cheaper than the other Renault's.

Why can't this just be called, slightly expensive car that's red and gives good fuel economy (apart from the bad name) call it the Jupiter CarCompany City model?

In a future setting, how important are all these things? In the world of Star Trek there are credits people don't fuel multi-national companies. People must be happier, they get what ever they want from a replicator etc. I don't know if we can evolve to this state, if the technology was available would it be commercialized? Well if it was expensive to make, no way! too much money is at stake.

In my setting, we have a high population of humans that never leave their planets. This culture is really the bulk of the setting normal lower middle class people who work for some company doing X task for the almighty dollar. I think its easier to write stories where you can draw on all the flaws of human society than to write stories where you can't like Star Trek.

I like my humans flawed, jealous, belligerent, racist and thoroughly greedy because I can have them screw each other over for X number of reasons.

In my opinion, people are fairly easy to manipulate even when they know they are being manipulated. There is a chord in every person that resonates with the idea of belonging and branding and marketing is focused on resonating chords of people to associate themselves subconsciously with a brand.

In our world, we see immense levels of brand loyalty Coke, Nike, Pepsi etc. In the game setting we see brands which have been created, Berkley Genomics is the medical Juggernaut that most people have membership cards with to get anything from a detox, to a complete genetic alteration. Their logo is a white circle with a BG in the middle, this brand is all about security after all its medical you want your body to be safe while they put you under.

Virgin Aeronautics is the company that runs all the space stations and many of the inter system services. Their brand is always about quality, quality in the sense of you get what you paid for. They choose red and blue very standard retail colors.

Cars, I haven't come up with a ground and air car brand yet but I think, as I have to create all the standard vehicles I was wondering if we are going to see shortly in the real world a consolidation of the cars like we have in other areas which are not making much profit (airlines etc).

So ill have Jupiter Car company City car that's red but this may be badged the Martian Mirage GT3 (they even don't know what GT means anymore in my setting, its been used to sell cars for so long its now bereft of meaning)

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