Nissan has demonstrated that real world testing with the public diminishes the safety concerns people have over autonomous driving. Volvo took notice—in 2017 they’re planning the largest demonstration and real world testing of autonomous driving with the public. After the terror of losing control of the car wears off, what will people feel? This opens up a new era for automotive brands, which are no longer seen as “simple” car manufacturers.

Drivers won’t be buying the horsepower, heated seats, high beam headlights or even reputation—they’ll buy the journey. The future ubiquity of autonomous vehicles, advancements in connectivity and the on-demand culture are creating an environment where we’ll be shopping for mobile experiences instead of the “Ultimate Driving Machine.”

Cars are unbelievably complex. Many cars have more than 30,000 individual parts that we’ll never see. However, a car can be perceived as simple because its complexity is hidden underneath the steel, aluminum or carbon fiber paneling and under a leather and plastic interior. When you drive, all you need to do is press the pedal and go – how simple.

Toyota’s Scion line—which will cease production this year—made an attempt at experiential branding. However, Scion confused branding a typology of mobility with marketing a single lifestyle that they imagined for their urban drivers. Their rigid experience failed to tap the reservoir of young urban drivers.

Changing needs and an evolving consumer base mean that automotive brands need to evolve their positions from what they are to what they really do. Some brands in the luxury sphere have a head start. Aston Martin’s bet on 007 has imbued the car and the experience of driving with something truly fantastic: Aston Martin customers pay for the experience of feeling like James Bond. Unfortunately, feeling like James Bond is no guarantee for the future of Aston Martin, especially as automation proliferates.

BMW makes an attempt at imagining how connectivity and mobility will alter their driving experience through its Vision 100, their brand projections for the future. Their solution is the introduction of Ease and Boost settings, where the car physically changes depending on the autonomous or manual settings. However, it’s blind to how the journey might actually feel.

The fact that cars have the capacity to make us feel should encourage the development of simple experiences that fit into our behaviors. Tech giants should be leading this revolution, but many emerging self-driving cars like Google X’s project are stuck with media-generated stories: a calm place to read a broadsheet newspaper on the way to work. How boring.

Incumbent automotive brands need to act fast. Like many new cars, Honda’s Civic LX features the growing array of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) – tools such as lane keeping, automatic braking, self-parking and adaptive cruise control. These features don’t make the cars self-driving, but they’re making the other things we do while in a car more important to the overall journey.

The reality is that doing things other than driving isn’t new. Since we started driving, we’ve been talking on the phone, listening to music, texting, checking e-mail, posting to social media, eating, watching videos, changing clothes, drinking and putting on makeup or trimming nails. Most brands advertise their mobile and digital integration, but isn’t that just the expectation?

As we experience a metamorphosis in the automotive industry, the environment a car provides you when you’re not driving will be the first reason for buying it. However, the key to successfully branding car experiences will be a brand’s ability to convey its experience into simple principles that navigate the complexity of a growing business strategy.

The challenge for car manufacturers is not to own a design like BMW or Aston Martin’s stylized grill or Tesla’s massive (and terribly ugly) center-console screen, but instead to own a distinctive mobility experience that the design, features and service creates.

We may drive less and buy fewer cars, but we’ll cover more miles. As powertrains, customer needs and the market change, the automotive brands that are able to create, own and communicate simple and meaningful mobility experiences through their branding strategy will be the ones on target to survive the next century of motoring.

Alexander Dale is a strategist at Siegel+Gale.