Long-term brand association with football pays off for Hyundai

Through its sponsorship and brand strategy, Hyundai has become synonymous with football, says marketing leader

In an era of automotive market saturation and game-changing technological innovation, Hyundai credits its top-down marketing association with football with keeping it in the growth game.

The Hyundai A-League was launched at the same time Hyundai graduated from being independently imported to a fully-fledged subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Company in Korea.

In May, Hyundai accelerated its way from ninth to second position in the ranks of Australian automotive companies for service after overhauling its customer experience approach

Most recently, Hyundai launched its FIFA World Cup integrated sponsorship campaign, ‘Have a Fling with Football’, based around the understanding that football has to compete against more established Australian sporting codes such as Rugby League, Aussie Rules and cricket – except when the FIFA World Cup is on. The campaign, which runs until 15 July, includes an ambassador-led TVC, official match screening events, a broadcast partnership with SBS, and a competition to win a car, along with other public relations and influencer engagement.

The long-established sponsorship of football by Hyundai has been a fruitful one. Hyundai marketing director, Oliver Mann, said the company’s ascent into the top tier of automotive brands has paralleled the growth of football’s, from the FIFA World Cup to the Socceroos national team, and from Hyundai A-League down to grassroots clubs.

According to Futures Sport and Entertainment, 38 per cent of A-League fans are more likely to consider purchasing a Hyundai than the general population, and 78 per cent of football fans believe Hyundai is supportive of football in Australia. It also ranks first of all brands associated with Australian football.

“Hyundai has grown in tandem [with football] to become Australia’s third-most popular vehicle brand over the same period, so the association has been an aligned and mutually beneficial one,” Mann told CMO.

Mann credited this to Hyundai and football sharing many key attributes: Youthfulness, dynamism, ambition, passion and determination.

“In addition, Hyundai and Football are both brands which challenge the established status quo. It gives each of us permission to act and behave unexpectedly, as well as making the relationship between the two a natural and authentic one – a relationship which is helped by the ‘top to bottom’ association,” he said.

“Market saturation is a key challenge – Australia is one of the most competitive and price conscious markets in the world, so keeping your head in the daily race for retail sales is critical. Hyundai is always competitive, and we try to stand out from the crowd by remaining faithful to our challenger brand roots.” 

Like other segments, Mann pointed out automotive is changing rapidly with several game-changing developments starting to emerge. 

“As well as Eco-powertrains, there’s also autonomous, connected technology, and a drift away from vehicle ownership towards new vehicle usage models. Later this year, there will be developments from Hyundai in the form of a new family of eco-cars. Hyundai is determined to be a leader in all these developments, and so it’s certainly an exciting time for the brand,” he said.

For this latest campaign, Hyundai recruited high-profile rugby, cricket and Aussie rules athletes as campaign ambassadors, who will feature in a TVC as well as at various free ‘pop-up’ football events around Australia.

“There’s no one specific channel we focus our energies on, rather, effort is put into fully integrated campaigns across all channels and mediums. We understand the football audience is a wide one, whereby the level of fan passion means consumption of the sport in different areas,” Mann explained.

“We’ve seen increasingly impressive results towards the core A-League fan through at-ground activities as well as social and digital consumption, while broadcast and above-the-line channels have also been key for us when talking and demonstrating our relationship towards football to the more passive football fan.

The pop-up events are designed to capture the attention of the indifferent football fan, with a view to share the beauty of the game.”

A key focus is including experiential component in 2018 activations to bring Hyundai’s invitation to ‘Have a fling with Football’ to life. This is being achieved through a smaller number of exclusive VIP events which fans, be they hardcore fans or bandwagoners, could be a part of.  

“Using iconic venues normally associated with other sporting codes underscores Football’s ability to convert loyal fans into World Cup fanatics,” Mann said.

Along with the media evaluation metrics it receives from Football Federation Australia, Hyundai undertakes bespoke research with Futures Sport and Entertainment to help it to better understand the football audience. 

“Not only is it important for us to know the audience, and their specific triggers, it’s vitally important we continue to understand their relationship to our brand and their relationship to our campaigns out in market for us to be continually optimising our approach,” Mann said.  

“Hyundai’s association with Football is a long-term brand investment strategy, and it’s about creating increased brand value in the long-term by growing image attributes, appeal and brand consideration – which ultimately will lead to vehicle sales.”

Hyundai has had the naming rights for the Hyundai A-League since its inception in 2005, and started the Hyundai Goals for Grassroots program in 2007. In that time, the group has worked with 324 local clubs across the country and has donated $765,000 in club grants.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu 

 

 

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