The power to surprise
‘Brand’, is a term normally associated with business. However, if you use a social media platform, and if you’re reading this I’m guessing you probably do, then you possess your own personal brand. There are a multitude of factors that determine an individual’s personal brand - what content you post online, the quality of the conversations you engage with and the consistency in which you contribute to your online profiles, to name a few. An abundance of people have leveraged the potential for mass exposure from online platforms such as YouTube and Instagram, and in the process created distinctive personal brands and enviable businesses.
Celebrities are adept at creating lucrative personal brands – Victoria and David Beckham, and Kim Kardashian, to name just three. The most successful are masters of diversification, able to exploit different markets, demonstrating new, diverse interests. Pop star to fashion designer, professional footballer to fashion icon and UNICEF ambassador, reality television personality to businesswoman.
Indeed, to stay relevant can require major transformation. Discovered at the tender age of 13, Justin Bieber was a well-mannered pretty boy who had major music success as a teenager. As his fan base of adolescent beliebers grew up, the singer decided it was time to start acting in a more ‘authentic’ manner. So he smoked a load of dope, threw eggs at his neighbour’s house, got drunk and arrested a handful of times. It’s fair to say Bieber ditched the wholesome image. Talking openly about his ‘issues’ and focusing on his music, Bieber has transformed his image whilst staying relevant to his fans. Rebrand complete. Album sales rocketed. Tours sold out.
And it is not just people who successfully rebrand themselves. Businesses do it too. Take Kia. The South Korean car company has worked hard to reinvigorate their brand image, working closely with automotive designer Peter Schreyer, renowned for designing the fabled Audi TT. Asked for my opinion on Kia motors a few years back, I would have responded – “cheap, ugly, boring and undesirable”.
Recently I saw the new Kia Optima Sportswagon and there’s no denying it’s a handsome piece of kit. In my opinion a more interesting proposition than its equivalent 3 Series or C Class counterparts. Part of this belief is probably predicated on my dislike for following the crowd, coupled with my tendency to root for the underdog. But is it appropriate to label Kia an underdog in today’s automotive market?
78,489 Kia motorcars sold in the UK last year would suggest otherwise. Incidentally shifting greater numbers than Mini. Once considered the cheap alternative. Today its different, You sense Kia’s fervent confidence in their now stylish, desirable range, offering a ‘worry free’ seven year warranty whilst remaining competitively priced.
Take the new Kia Sportage, at the front you find subtle styling nuances of Porsche Cayenne. And then there is the Kia Pro’ceed GT - a well-chiseled hot hatch indeed.
Kia acknowledged that positioning itself as predominately a value brand, focused on price competitiveness wasn’t the smartest business tenet. The decision to revitalise and reposition Kia’s brand moving towards reliability, quality, and design and technology has been critical in order to ensure longevity of the business. Kia’s ‘bigwigs’ have recognised that style with a peace of mind purchase are the most prevalent considerations for car buyers in the UK and they’ve questioned: realistically does the average car buyer need Germanic levels of build quality?
Kia are certainly living up to their brand slogan.
(Credit: carguide.com.au for photo of the 2016 Kia Sportage)