By Theodore Opara
HYUNDAI has maintained its position as one of the world’s 40 most valuable brands for the third year in a row, according to the latest Best Global Brands report from respected international consultancy Interbrand. The carmaker retained its place as the world’s 35th most valuable brand and sixth most valuable automotive brand, despite challenging conditions in many global markets.
Interbrand’s rankings are calculated using companies’ financial balance sheets combined with marketing activities, while also reflecting each brand’s potential profit. The analysis assessed Hyundai’s brand value as growing to US $13.2 billion for 2017 – a 5.1% increase on the previous year. The ranking comes after Hyundai sold 4.86 million units annually worldwide, and places the Hyundai name above Audi, Nissan, Volkswagen, and Porsche.
This follows a period of exponential growth for South Korea’s leading automotive manufacturer that has seen a fourfold increase in brand value since 2005, rising from US $3.5 billion to its current record value.
“Hyundai Motor aims to be a lifestyle brand rather than simply an automotive brand, so we are building on our ‘Modern Premium’ brand direction and moving into new automotive spaces that allow people to experience our brand value at every touchpoint.”
said Wonhong Cho, Chief Marketing Officer at Hyundai Motor Company. “Our brand philosophy and blueprint for future mobility has resulted in the rise of our brand value and, in addition to quality, technology and price, our creativity and innovation will lead us to achieve sustainable brand growth in the future.”
The annual Interbrand Best Global Brands report identifies the 100 most valuable global brands, analyzing the ways in which the strength of a brand benefits organizations, from delivering on customer expectations to driving greater economic value.
The ranking is based on a combination of attributes, each contributing to a brand’s cumulative value. These include financial performance of branded products and services, the role the brand plays in influencing customer choice, and the strength of the brand in commanding a premium price or securing earnings for the company.
“A key element of Hyundai Motor’s sustainable growth in brand value was its ongoing commitment to the development of its vision for ‘Future Mobility’, in spite of tough market conditions,” said Mike Rocha, Global Director of Brand Valuation for Interbrand. “Hyundai Motor is working incredibly hard to realize its vision for Future Mobility by developing affordable autonomous driving technology and connectivity for everyone, under its brand direction, ‘Modern Premium’.”
In addition to maintaining its reputation for the highest quality, Hyundai also strengthened its global product portfolio, including the new-generation Azera and significant upgrades to the Sonata, both available in Africa and the Middle East and featuring the latest evolution of Hyundai’s unified design language. Internationally, the company unveiled the Kona premium compact SUV and the i30N, the first model of the company’s high-performance N lineup. The i30N draws on Hyundai’s involvement in motorsport, in addition to demonstrating its desire to put thrilling driver experiences at the heart of new car development.
In outlining its future direction, during the past year Hyundai also set out its blueprint to move into new automotive spaces, which incorporates the launch of 15 eco-friendly vehicles by 2020. The company is also advancing its research into affordable autonomous driving and connectivity technologies, through its future-focused Project IONIQ and open-innovation collaborations with external parties.
“Hyundai is adding excitement to our brand, both for the products we have now and for those we will be bringing to the market in the future,” said Hyundai’s Head of Operations for Africa and the Middle East, Mike Song. “We are well-established as a dependable brand, and the increasing value of our name shows that we are also transformed into a desirable brand.”
Beyond its innovations in new products, Hyundai continues to grow its brand identity through high-profile marketing campaigns. These include long-term sponsorships of major art installations at the Tate Modern in London, and at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), and also the opening of an interactive brand experience at the Hyundai Motorstudio in Goyang, South Korea.
Other initiatives included ‘Shackleton’s Return’, a campaign following the grandson of legendary polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, as he explored Antarctica with a standard 2.2-litre diesel Santa Fe. Within two months of launching, the campaign exceeded 140 million views on YouTube, the highest number of views for an automotive campaign. In the United States, a promotion for the American football Super Bowl showed military personnel stationed in Poland experiencing the match with their families at home, using satellite technology and 360-degree immersive pods to transport them to the stadium. A video of the initiative attracted more than 41 million views.