When customers think of the auto industry, the first things that come to mind for many of them are features prominently advertised in commercials – horsepower, acceleration, torque, and fuel efficiency. But as technology continues to improve auto performance, safety and reliability on the whole, premium brands like Mercedes, Porsche and Lamborghini need to compete even harder to stay relevant. “Products are getting better, and they’re also getting more similar,” said Steve Cannon, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA at the recent Forrester Forum on Customer Experience.

While attractive product innovations are important, today’s luxury auto brands must position their vehicles as more than just subscribing to an affluent lifestyle. For example, Mercedes recently stated its desire to exceed standard measures of auto consumer perception (JD Power and their suite of award categories) by focusing more heavily on “delighting their customers at every interaction.” Well, delighting consumers begins with understanding them. Emphasizing driver safety and well-being, like Mercedes does in its “My Mercedes Saved My Life” video series, helps create an emotional connection with customers. Furthermore, auto brands are even investing more in their dealership sales staff since prospective buyers see them as the face of the brand. The takeaway: brand and consumer experience are now synonymous for car companies.

The technology that fuels product innovation in the auto industry will become increasingly commoditized moving forward. But it will also welcome a vast opportunity for companies focused on consumer insights to help optimize auto brand positioning. Resonate’s primary research engine, which provides consumer insights with unparalleled timeliness, can guarantee luxury brands understand the changing motivations of their clientele and assess the efficacy of new branding initiatives. Timely insights are the foundation of successful branding campaigns, especially in an era where being attuned to the needs and desires of one’s target audience is of primary importance.