What Hyundai's New Brand Says About You | Bruce Turkel

An article about Hyundai’s new Genesis in Road & Track Magazine caught my eye:

“Genesis has always offered good value. Now, it’s starting to offer an identity.”

Reading the first two paragraphs I knew this article was for me. And for you.

“Value is great. Money matters, dollars talk, and nobody wants to get hosed. But in the world of flagship luxury cars, value isn’t enough. 

What Are You Buying?

You’re not just buying a collection of equipment thrown into the quietest and most comfortable shell automakers can produce. You’re buying an image.

“That was the core problem with the original Genesis G90; really, the problem with any luxury sedan from a newcomer. It’s easy to outdo the Germans with more equipment for less money, but left-brain math isn’t the only thing that motivates car purchases. Forming a true identity for the brand is key.”

As much as I love cars, I have little interest in luxury sedans and even less interest in Genesis. But I am interested in their brand value.

The author continues:

“Which is why the new G90 matters so much. Because despite what you may assume from the sheet metal, this isn’t a new car. It’s the old G90 in a bold new costume. The platform, powertrain options, ride tuning, and interior design all carry over mostly unchanged. The G90 is restyled, not reinvented.”

Do you see what I’m getting at?

From the article:

“Genesis, as a brand, needs to say something. The company has won industry awards, garnered critical acclaim, and delivered high-quality products since its inception. Even in a market dead-set on crossovers, Genesis’ all-sedan lineup has posted a 96% year-over-year sales increase. 

“But they’re growing a small piece of the market. Genesis still hasn’t made an imprint on the wider public consciousness. Testing the previous-generation G90, I told multiple people what it was, only for them to respond, “oh, a Hyundai Genesis.”

What Are You BuyingBrand Function is Table Stakes

As we’ve discussed so many times before in this blog, function is cost of entry. So, no matter how good Hyundai’s Genesis is, few people are going to care. Because today, all cars are good. And a Hyundai, Toyota, or Kia can get you from Point A to Point B just as well as a Mercedes or Range Rover can. Maybe even more reliably. But clearly luxury car buyers are not simply buying function.

Back to the article:

The Difference Between a Good Brand and a Great Brand

“The 2020 G90 no longer looks or feels like the poor man’s S-Class. With distinct and bold styling (and) a new color palette, the G90 leans into its position as an alternative choice. The wheels, grille, and taillight design… say something, which the old design never really did.

“It’s not the same as a Mercedes S-Class. And now that it’s not trying to be, it’s a much better car.”

The old Genesis said its owner wanted to drive a halo car but wasn’t willing to pay the price of German or British luxury. With its new design, the new G90 not only says something about Genesis’ new brand vision, but something aspirational about the person who drives it. Because while a good brand makes people feel good, a great brand makes people feel good about themselves.

Is your brand good? Or great? 

 

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