GRAP2413 – Advertising Media


Hyundai Kona 

  1. Background 
  2. Hyundai Motor Company 

Hyundai Motor Company, commonly known as Hyundai, is the largest car manufacturer in Korea belonging to the Hyundai Kia Automotive Group (Hyundai 2021a). Established in 1967, until now, Hyundai has significantly grown when becoming the 3rd most valuable brand in Asia and the world’s 5th largest automaker in 2020 (Anh 2020). After many efforts to improve products in both appearance and quality, Hyundai has succeeded in building its brand reputation (Jo 2010). With the global slogan “New Thinking. New Possibilities”, Hyundai is gradually asserting its youthful and modern image in the eyes of consumers (Hyundai 2021a). 

  • Strengths 

– Strong business model (Pratap 2021) 

– Have a large and diverse product portfolio (Bota 2018) 

– Have many rewards about the vehicle safety and design (Hyundai 2021b) – Top automotive brand reputation in the world 

– Owning the world’s largest manufacturing factory (Pratap 2021) – Low cost, high quality 

  • Weaknesses 

– Effect the brand reputation due to recalling the problem products (Pratap 2021) 

– Low marketing and promotion (Pratap 2021)

  1. Hyundai Kona 

Hyundai Kona is a small five-door crossover belonging to the B-segment SUV line of the South Korean manufacturer Hyundai (Hyundai 2017). Kona was launched in June 2017 in Korea and in August 2018, Hyundai Kona was introduced to the Vietnam market with 3 versions including 2.0 AT Standard, 2.0 AT Special, and 1.6 Turbo (TC Motor 2018). Kona has a strong, impressive design and distinct personality to attract customers with active modern lifestyles (Hyundai 2021c). 

  1. Market & Category 

Although motorbikes are still the preferred means of transport, the Vietnamese automotive market is being evaluated as steadily growing with great potential (Ha 2020). According to the ASEAN Automobile Federation (AAF), Vietnamese automotive market is currently ranked fourth in Southeast Asia in terms of consumption volume and domestic production capacity (Nhan Dan 2021). The growth rate of car ownership in Vietnam is 10.5% and is estimated to increase to 12-15% in the next decade (Ha 2020). 

In recent years, Vietnam has tended to preside over many projects of automobile manufacturing and assembling (Ha 2020). However, due to the inability to invest in the advanced automobile industry, Vietnam’s automotive industry is still heavily dependent on imports (Cuong 2021). Especially, in the context of the recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the automotive market in Vietnam in 2021 faces many challenges (PWC 2020). Specifically, the average localization rate of this industry is only 10 to 15%, which is one of the lowest levels in the region (CCI France Vietnam 2021). Faced with this reality, Vietnamese companies are forced to import components and spare parts from foreign markets to manufacture, assemble and repair vehicles every year. Consequently, this affects the production cost of cars in Vietnam higher than imported cars.

III. Competition Landscape 

In the B-SUV segment in Vietnam, Hyundai Kona is currently competing directly with formidable rivals including Toyota Corolla Cross, Vinfast Vfe 34, and Kia Seltos. These are all strong brands that account for the majority of the market share in the Vietnamese automotive market today. According to VTC News (2021), in the first half of the year, urban SUV sales in Vietnam fluctuated. Hyundai Kona lost its lead to Kia Seltos and Toyota Corolla Cross. Specifically, Kia Seltos topped the market share

with 43%, followed by Toyota Corella Cross and Hyundai Kona with 32% and 12.2% respectively (Appendix 1). As a new player, Vinfast Vfe34 is also reported to have strong growth (Focus2move 2021). 

In terms of media audit, all four brands are aimed at young and modern people in urban areas of Vietnam. To target the audience, each brand has clear marketing strategies. However, if Hyundai, Toyota, and Kia launched their products by paying for the advertising through marketing content on online PR articles (Appendix 2, 3, & 4). The launch campaign of Vinfast Vfe 34 was a resounding success without having to pay any media advertising (Appendix 5 & 6). The reason is that along with the introduction of the first electric car line of Vietnamese, Vinfast is also the car brand of the national corporation Vingroup (Anh 2021). Thus, compared to other foreign brands’ products, the name Vinfast Vfe34 is hugely attractive to the media.

  1. Brand Positioning in the competition 

In the automobile industry, price is the starting point. In many surveys about car-buying decisions, most consumers agreed that price is the most crucial factor (Real Car Tips 2021). Whilst, quality is the key factor to ensure customer satisfaction for a car brand (Real Car Tips 2021). Besides, to effectively build a long-term relationship between customers and brands in this industry, performance and reputation are also the top two leading factors.

  1. Target Audience profile 
  2. Demographic 

Age: Millennials from 25 to 38 years old (Keegan 2018) 

Gender: male 

Geographic: Urban cities in Vietnam with famously busy roads (Cong 2018) – Income: Middle to high earning (Ha 2020) 

  1. Psychographic 

The target audience is the middle class with an active and modern lifestyle (Quang 2018). They are young-at-heart with an open mind, who are ready to embrace and receptive to new products (Carrasco 2018). Besides, they are also tech-savvy and risk-takers consumers (Carrasco 2018). 

  1. Behaviour of using product

The target group is always interested in the value of the product (Carrasco 2018). Therefore, quality is the leading criterion of cars that influence their using behavior (Deloitte 2021). For them, the best choice is getting the most benefit at an affordable price. Besides, another deciding factor that makes them choose a car is the ability to save fuel rather than the power of the engine (Appendix 7) (Vietnamnet 2016). 

  1. Shopping behaviours 

This target group is very careful before making a purchase decision, especially high-value products like cars. They have their own opinions and want to experience actual products (Carrasco 2018). However, before going to the showroom to test drive, they tend to search product information, promotions, reviews through the internet (Carrasco 2018) 

  1. Media behaviour 

The digital report in 2021 of We Are Social (Data Reportal 2021) clearly reported the media behavior of the target audience:

As the generation that grew up with the development of the digital age, the internet greatly affects the way of thinking, living as well as behavior of this target group (Palm & Pilkington 2015). Specifically, most of them use new media such as social media platforms (Figure 5), mobile apps (Figure 6 & 7), and social networks (Figure 8 & 9) to reach the digital ad and search for product information, hunt for deals, view reviews & comments, as well as share personal views after using the products (Carrasco 2018). Besides, this audience also strongly approaches traditional media such as TV and billboards (Palm & Pilkington 2015). 

Media Insight: Facebook and Youtube are the top social media platforms that the target audience uses most often, thus they are the most effective channel to reach the consumers. Besides, videos and online articles on social networks are also potential channels to attract this group target.

  1. Customer Journey and Touchpoints mapping
  2. Brand current media activities 
  3. Current Campaigns 

Figure 11: A recap of recent Hyundai Kona Owned Media

Figure 12: A recap of recent Hyundai Kona Paid Media

Figure 13: A recap of recent Hyundai Kona Earned Media

  1. Evaluating Media effectiveness against the customer journey

VII. Discussion and Recommendation 

Based on the deep understanding of the target audience, the customer journey of car purchase as well as the media touchpoints, Hyundai has effectively used media performance to reach its target. Specifically, Need Recognition and Purchase are two stages that Hyundai is doing well. Firstly, the clips spread of the “Hyundai Kona – exploration” contest of Hyundai has created many broad discussions of the brand as well as product. In addition, TV, SEO, social media, and PR articles have potential access to the target group, which helps them achieve their expectations. And this is very useful for the objective of raising brand awareness. Whilst, at the Purchase stage, Hyundai has appropriately exploited media touchpoints. The presence on owned media platforms such as websites, social media sites, showrooms, and salesmen have helped create many advantageous conditions for customers in making a purchase decision of the product. 

However, Hyundai still has a few downsides in its media strategy. Specifically, in the Evaluations of Alternatives stage, there are hardly any display ads or social media posts mentioning Hyundai Kona vehicles. Besides, at the stage of Information Research, when searching for the keyword “Hyundai Kona Vietnam” on Google, most of the top results show the retailer’s websites without the brand’s owned media. In addition, in the Post-purchase stage, there aren’t any customer experience reviews on social networks and social media, especially Facebook. Consequently, these hugely impact the new customers’ attraction as well as the loyal customers’ retention of Hyundai Vietnam. 

In general, it is necessary for Hyundai to build a complete media plan that can cover the spectrum of the customer journey. This will help Hyundai reach the target audience in the most effective way. Specifically, Hyundai should focus more on building social media platforms including Facebook and Youtube as the main channel to increase brand access and engagement metrics. In addition, to attract the target group, especially Millennials, Hyundai needs to promote display advertising in both new and traditional media. In addition, besides media planning, it is recommended that Hyundai should adopt suitable media formats to optimize each customer touchpoint (Figure 14). To capture the attention of the target audience, Hyundai needs to prepare appealing content and image as well as trending and creative formats.

VIII. Appendix 

Appendix 1: Urban SUV sales in Vietnam after the second half of 2021 Appendix 2: PR articles of Toyota Corolla Cross


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