The Mech Touch Chapter 1145
1143 Marketing To Children
Fulfilling the Astreya Mech Academy's commission sounded very interesting to Ves. He would have to design training mechs that played the same role as his virtual training mech designs.
The Young Blood design consisted of a knight mech with a few gimmicks that put some oomph into its performance. The Old Soul was a much more eccentric mech that made use of ECM and a very powerful but low-capacity rifle to assassinate unsuspecting targets with a single shot!
While both of them possessed a number of weird quirks that made them unsuitable to be piloted by every mech cadet, they nonetheless helped their users develop some very specific skills.
Ves saw the advantages in designing physical training mechs for mech cadets. What better way to capture the hearts of his customer base by getting to them when they were young?
As a marketing specialist, Gavin was more than aware of the implications.
"While designing a mech for Jarle Brenthill is a good way to reach a wide audience, this option is pretty good as well! Mech pilots are most impressionable when they are young! Why do you think so many companies market their products to their kids despite mainly selling their products to adults? That is because they know that if they can turn those kids into early converts, their loyalty will already be assured by the time they grow up and have the means to buy their products!"
Marketing to children was one of the most effective ways for companies to grow their market share and insure their dominance in their sectors.
This strategy was most pronounced at a very famous trans-galactic casual restaurant chain. Even though the quality of their food was dubious at best and as awful as nutrient packs at worst, scores of people still frequented their chains in the trillions!
While it helped that their franchises was present in every corner of civilized space, another reason for their dominant market share in the business was their deliberate strategy to hook in children.
By offering a kid-friendly environment and using many other means to hook them in and earn their love, their devotion to the restaurant chain would be seared into their psyche even after they shed their innocence and grew up to be parents themselves!
While these adults really should have known better and frequent a better restaurant chain, the fond childhood memories they cherished kept pulling them back to the same damned franchise, this time with their own kids in tow!
This way, this deviant restaurant chains could already begin to indoctrinate their next generation of customers!
This pattern of wooing children into becoming their future customers was so strong because it continued to build up its momentum with each passing cycle! In fact, it was so strong when done right that it propelled that ancient restaurant chain from its modest beginnings on Old Earth before the Age of Space into one of the most far-reaching trans-galactic enterprises in the Age of Mechs!
While all of this sounded rather devious, it was a legitimate business strategy that worked in countless different sectors!
"Just think about it, boss! The brand loyalty that emerges from childhood infatuation is one of the strongest forces in the multiverse!" Gavin slavishly gushed at the thought of indoctrinating thousands of mech cadets into becoming the LMC's devoted fans!
Even Ves became awfully tempted by the opportunities presented by this commission. While training mechs are designed to be cheaper, simpler and less sophisticated than commercial mechs, the competition in this market was extremely intense!
The example of that millenia-old restaurant chain proved that even if you offered a crappy product, as long as you captured the hearts of the young, you could still achieve enormous success!
Therefore, countless mech companies competed to supply mech academies with training mechs at such low prices that they practically gave up any hope of making a profit.
This was because these savvy mech companies knew that they would be able to earn much more money down the line once the mech cadets grew up and influenced the purchasing decisions of their outfits!
While Ves understood this logic and wanted to take part in it as well, one major caveat stood out.
"If the Astreya Mech Academy wants me to adapt the Young Blood and Old Soul designs, then I can't accept this commission. Neither of those virtual designs are original works of mine. They're both variants based off existing mech designs!"
Back then, designing an original mech was an unimaginably daunting challenge to Ves. Designing variants was a necessary stopgap to earn money, expand his reputation and get some much-needed practice.
"Astreya isn't demanding something as modest as that." Gavin retorted. "They have several lists of demands for the two training mech models that diverge from the Old Soul and the Young Blood."
"So the commission is to design a knight mech and a rifleman mech that merely resembles my virtual training mechs?"
"That's the gist of it, boss. It shouldn't be a problem to design original mechs that are 'inspired' by your old variants, right?"
"It sounds like they expect two different mech designs from me." Ves grimaced. "Even if I'll be working with outdated component licenses, it's still a tall order for me to design two training mechs in just a handful of months. It is critically important for me to deliver a flawless product. If any flaw in the design remains, it might end up resulting in the death of a mech cadet, which will present my company with a public relations nightmare!"
Marketing to children had a lot of merits, but the risks were high as well. If the company behaved in an ethically unscrupulous fashion, it would quickly provoke a backlash among parents. If it acted negligently in their handling with children, then the lawsuits that ensued would drag its reputation into the abyss!
After Ves returned to the LMC, he put a lot of effort into restoring its reputation for quality. With all of the renown he earned lately, the LMC once again became a standard for selling classy premium mechs.
If Ves wanted to maintain his company's hard-fought reputation, then he needed to put his full effort into designing the two training mechs for the Astreya Mech Academy.
"I spent seven months to design a modern, feature-bloated mech design like the Aurora Titan." Ves said. "Designing the two training mechs based on outdated standards should take much less time, but even then, due diligence requires me to put at least months in each design! That's too much time!"
Eventually, Ves decided to reject this commission despite the benefits it brought to him and his company. He simply didn't think it was responsible for him to rush the design of vital teaching tools.
"Please send a message to Astreya telling them that I appreciate their interest in my work, but that I am too predisposed to fulfill their commission. Does that sound polite enough?" Ves asked.
"It will do, boss. It's kind of a bummer to them but they many other mech designers are eager to fulfill their commission. They won't be short on new training mechs."
Ves grunted in acknowledgement. He knew that even if Astreya commissioned another mech designer to develop copycats of his Young Blood and Old Soul designs, the mechs they received would never be able to replicate the charm of Ves' work!
He hoped that Astreya's mech instructors prepared themselves to be disappointment, because their mech cadets would definitely perform differently!
"Okay, let's move on to the third commission. Give me the details."
Gavin presented his boss with the last commission worthy of consideration.
"The LMC is becoming more known outside the Bright Republic. While our market penetration in foreign states is miniscule, we are involved in many different markets so the amounts all add up. What if we gain an opportunity to increase the brand recognition of the LMC in a foreign state? Perhaps we can even elevate it to the level of one of their domestic mech companies!"
Ves raised his eyebrow. "A foreigner wants me to design a mech for them? Why me? Why not approach a mech designer from their own state?"
"The client is a powerful family from the Ylvaine Protectorate. You know how those religious nuts are fairly closed off to the Bright Republic despite being neighbors, right?"
"They are known to be rather insular and intolerant to foreigners."
"Well, somehow, your mechs have started to build a small but loyal following in the Protectorate. In fact, of all the orders that the LMC and NORA Consolidated has received for our new Aurora Titan mechs, the Ylvainans number the most out of all of our foreign customers!"
That sounded fairly remarkable to Ves. "I thought the Ylvaine Protectorate has always been a marginal market to the LMC. Is the Aurora Titan popular with them because we are riding on NORA Consolidated's coattails?"
"NORA Consolidated has a wider presence in the Protectorate, but they're still small fry all considered. Instead, a recent development has occurred. Some bigshot came into power and suddenly ordered numerous batches of Blackbeaks and Crystal Lords for whatever reason. That single-handedly aroused the interest of the Ylvainans into our products!"
That sounded very odd. Perhaps that bigshot had encountered one of his gold label mechs and became a fan of his designs. No matter what, a customer was a customer, and Ves was always happy to sell his mechs to more people, regardless of whether they were Brighters or Ylvainans.
Hell, Ves was even willing to sell his mechs to the Vesians if he wasn't afraid of seeing his own products used against him and his state!
"So what is the commission, exactly?"
"The client wants you to design a mech that is suitable for ceremonial guard functions. They are supposed to be part of that Ylvainan leader's mech bodyguard detail."
Ves frowned at that request. "Are the mechs supposed to be for show or primed for battle?"
"Both. That's why she commissioned you specifically. Something about how your art will be able to compliment her stature or something. She wants six copies of whatever you come up with that meets her demands. That said, the client doesn't want you to design something that looks pretty but collapses at the first blow. The mechs you design will have to be at least as formidable as the Blackbeaks and the Crystal Lords."
"What mech type does the client want?"
"A landbound mech that is unique, looks good in projections and is versatile enough to deal with both distant threats and dangers up close."
Ves immediately had a bad feeling about the mech type in question.
"Does the client expect me to design a hybrid knight?"
"No." Gavin shook his head. "She wants you to design a hero mech."
"Are you kidding? A hero mech? A mech armed with a sword in one hand and a rifle in the other hand? How can they possible act as bodyguard mechs?"
"They won't make up the only mechs of the client's security detail, boss. She's already accompanied by knight mechs and other mech types. She merely thinks that she'll look better in her public appearances if the mechs in the backdrop consists of hero mechs. That they are versatile enough to respond to many different threats to her life is merely a bonus."
The request to design a hero mech was not simple at all. While Ves believed that fulfilling the request of a very powerful and very influential foreign customer would do his company a lot of good in the Ylvainan mech market, the difficulty was immense!
A hero mech defied the trend of specialization common among mech designs in this region of space! Their versatile loadout and their ability to adapt to many different situations all sounded great, but it presented countless problems to mech designers!
Ves would have to put in as much work as he did into the Aurora Titan design to even come up with a decent hero mech design!
He might as well ignore the commission and design it for the market instead if that was the case!
"Rejected. Hero mechs require way too much time and effort to design. I'm not looking to work on something so complex at this time."
Gavin's eyes glinted. "What if I told you that the reward will be worth it? The client is such a fan of your products that she promised to open up the LMC to their mech market without restrictions! That means we'll be treated the same as a domestic company by the Ylvainans!"
Ves widened his eyes. That was indeed a very magnanimous offer! The Ylvaine Protectorate's mech market was a lot more closed than the Bright Republic's mech market. Quota, tariffs and other trade barriers made it so that the LMC would never be able to reach more than a fraction of their potential customer base.
Yet this reward might change everything! It could turn the Ylvaine Protectorate into the LMC's second home market!