Interview: How Genesis Uses Instagram To Reach The Next Generation Of Luxury Consumers
The luxury division of South Korean auto manufacturer Hyundai motor group is taking a direct new approach to reaching millennial car buyers, fostering engagement on social media as automotive consumers increasingly look to digital discovery
It is no secret that automakers and retailers are looking for new ways to reach younger generations, who are increasingly choosing ridesharing and ridehailing services or other public transportation options over traditional car ownership.
To promote the release of its new G70, automotive brand Genesis started with an obvious but necessary strategy: meet consumers where they are. Partnering with creative agency Innocean Worldwide Americas, Genesis went to Instagram to capture the attention and imagination of millennial potential consumers.
On the @build.your.g70 account, users can personally configure their own custom G70 model using Instagram Stories, with an eventual link out to make a purchase on the Genesis site. A more advanced configurator tool is also available for use online. PSFK spoke to Kelly Kliebe, VP Group Creative Director at Innocean, about the importance of customization to reaching a luxury consumer and entering social media channels in a way that is authentic to a brand.
Can you start by describing some key trends you've noticed in the marketplace and how you're responding to them?
More than ever, American consumers expect to customize and tailor products to their preferences. To help support this effort, we created an innovative 3D configurator that allows the user to build and price a model to their preferences based on exterior and interior colors, trims, packages and accessories. Most web-based configurations you see today are flat, 2D experiences that don’t help the user experience it in a realistic setting.
How do you think the auto industry differs from other retail categories, in terms of sales strategy?
Car buying behavior is changing. Consumers are increasingly turning to digital first. They may not necessarily see the dealership as their first step in the car buying process; and with this change in behavior comes new expectations. Car buyers want an omnichannel experience, but building the necessary capabilities requires significant effort for both brand and dealers. It requires a shift in thinking that’s more than just about driving consumers to your website or your dealership. Oftentimes, we have to go to them.
A car is obviously a major purchase, less subject to impulse shopping than much of what else is advertised on Instagram. In your opinion, where in the purchase path does the Instagram stories configurator fall?
All of our social platforms are about brand and product awareness. What is unique about this experience is we are using a lower purchase path activity of customizing the product our viewers are interested in, on a platform known for discovery awareness. The thinking here was fishing where the fish are. Rather than driving them to our Genesis.com configurator, they can do it right in their social feed. We fished where there was fish.
In your opinion, do you find Instagram to be a fruitful way to drive conversion?
Instagram is our highest engaged platform, and conversations with our followers are at their highest levels here. We have been receiving tremendous amount of responses on this experience, our products and the Genesis brand overall. We always strive to make sure to continue that conversation with our followers so they know that they are being heard and that they are the ones steering the future of the Genesis brand.
Who is your target customer? Is it the millennial or even Gen Z-er who is active on social media?
Our G70 target is the millennial luxury intender. This audience is highly active on social media, using it to cultivate their image and connect with brands that provide value and exclusivity.
What is the value of customization to the luxury auto industry specifically?
The ability to customize is important for any auto buyer, but it is particularly important for the luxury consumer. That’s because luxury consumers often use luxury car brands as a means to cultivate and reinforce identity. Some may want to stand out from others, and thus will seek out unique products and services that allow them to do so. Others may want to realize and communicate a sense of accomplishment. Whatever the motivation, customization allows for expression and reinforcement of identity.