LOS ANGELES -- Hyundai Motor Co. and subsidiary Kia Motors Corp. unveiled their global brand slogans last week, but U.S. executives described them as guidelines not hard-core definitions.
Hyundai has adopted the slogan "Drive your way," meant to reflect Hyundai's "refined and confident" brand attributes.
Kia will operate under the idea of "The Power to Surprise," meant to reflect the "exciting and enabling" attributes of Kia products.
The slogans will be integrated into each automaker's product development, design, marketing, sales and service departments, Hyundai Motor Co. said in a release.
"Our new brand strategy is designed to ensure that we reach industry-leading levels, not only in terms of size but also in terms of customer perception and overall brand value," said Chung Mong Koo, chairman of Hyundai Motor Co.
American officials for both automakers are trying to decipher what impact the global slogans will have. Spokesmen for Hyundai and Kia U.S. operations said they believe the slogans are meant to guide the companies and not be restrictive.
Marketing analysts expressed concern that the brand concepts are vague and too focused on what the brands mean in South Korea. Also, while most campaigns place the company in context of the overall car market, these seem merely to place Hyundai and Kia in reference to each other.
"These are not succinct summaries of the brands, nor are they tag lines," says Steve Saxty, partner with PowerBrand Associates in New York. "'Driving your way' is such bad English; my worry is that the American ad agency will be ordered to use it as the advertising tag line."
Kia's statement is "too aspirational," Saxty added.
"When you bring in the idea of 'surprise,' you are setting a long-term expectation that can't be met," Saxty said. "They have lost the idea that has worked quite well for them, which is that there is nothing wrong with buying cheap."
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