A family member of mine is currently looking for a new electric vehicle. She already test drove many of them: BMW i4, Polestar 2, Volvo C40 and XC40 Recharge, various Tesla and Mercedes models, as well as the Genesis GV70 Electrified. She was most impressed by the Genesis and said it was fire, both inside and out.
“I love everything about it … except the brand,” she told me.
For this Chanel, Louboutin, and Valentino-wearing real estate agent who has driven nothing but BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, and Volvo vehicles, brand cachet is a huge factor in any purchase decision. It didn’t matter that she liked the Genesis the best out of all the vehicles she drove; the brand simply didn’t have enough prestige in her books and that was enough to dissuade her from buying one. This is precisely the type of challenge Genesis faces.
As a new luxury automaker that’s only been around for eight years, it’s an uphill battle in a space that’s dominated by well-established brands, many with a century of history and legacy behind them. Despite the fact that its lineup of vehicles has won numerous awards and is setting new benchmarks in their respective segments, Genesis hasn’t yet broken through to the brand snobs and image-conscious. Here are five strategies Genesis has deployed in its fight to appeal to these buyers.
Opened in the heart of New York City’s Meatpacking District, Genesis House is a 46,000-square-foot showroom, high-tech event space, world-class restaurant, and luxurious library. Inside, visitors can see each model in the Genesis vehicle lineup, touch and feel all the materials offered inside its vehicles, and see all the brand’s paint swatches.
This space is also home to art installations and wide, expansive areas with beautiful views of New York that show visitors what the brand is all about. Copper accents, for example, are widely used throughout Genesis vehicles, and that design cue is present throughout Genesis House.
As with any luxury brand, the devil is in the details, and Genesis House is full of impressive details. The building’s elevators, for example, are lined in real copper metal, which takes an enormous amount of upkeep to prevent tarnishing. Instead of using copper-coloured materials in the elevator or in the curtains around the building that would be easier to care for, Genesis used the real stuff, a small but meaningful detail that shows how the brand doesn’t want to cut corners and is dedicated to authenticity.
The library upstairs is also thoughtfully curated to showcase Korean and Asian culture and align Genesis with some of the world’s most well-known luxury brands. Visitors can freely read books on Korean tea or flip through substantial Assouline coffee table books on luxury brand powerhouses like Bentley, Rolex, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and more.
Michelin Guide Restaurant
Genesis is the first automaker to own a Michelin Guide restaurant. Located on the upper level of Genesis House in New York City, the Genesis House Restaurant serves food inspired by traditional imperial and royal Korean cuisine but with modern interpretations. This Korean fine-dining restaurant is curated by chefs from Seoul’s Michelin-starred Onjium, and the menu changes to reflect what ingredients are in season. The food and cocktails are thoughtfully curated, and the space’s airy feel and award-winning architectural design blend New York and Korean culture well.
Meaningful Brand Partnerships
Genesis has recently sponsored the Scottish Open and partnered with Vogue World during fashion week. A big part of getting on the radar of society’s most influential people is by sponsoring events they attend or watch. As Europe’s oldest and one of the most prestigious golf tournaments, the Genesis Scottish Open is steeped in the history and distinction that Genesis as a brand doesn’t have yet, so the partnership makes a lot of sense.
Vogue World is yet another prestigious event that Genesis sponsored that kicks off London Fashion Week by celebrating British culture and fashion. Attended by royalty, world-renowned celebrities, supermodels, artists, tastemakers, and more, Vogue World is watched across the world. It’s a big deal that Genesis can share the stage with a name like Vogue.
“This sponsorship recognizes how Genesis and runway fashion seek to evoke emotion and captivate the attention of those around them,” Genesis said in a press release. “With its Vogue World sponsorship, Genesis leans into the brand’s focus on design and fashion while targeting its luxury disruptor customers.”
One of One Program
Many upper-elite luxury automakers have an arm of their business that deals in customizing vehicles so certain clients can bring their design dreams to life and have a vehicle that no one else has. Porsche has its Exclusive Manufaktur, Rolls-Royce has its Bespoke program, Bentley has its Mulliner division, and it’s rumoured that Genesis may be planning its own One of One program. A big part of luxury is exclusivity, and this is one way Genesis might be trying to get a foothold in this space.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, while Genesis acknowledges that a lot of luxury is built on exclusivity and rarity, opening up luxury to those not typically invited is part of its strategy as well. Old-money luxury brands are not always the first to embrace outsiders, but Genesis is making a conscious effort to be inclusive in meaningful ways.
While many automakers use influencer marketing, Genesis’ approach differs. It created a program called “Genesis Originals,” where it has partnered with creators to showcase how the brand embraces originality. Each of the six ambassadors is a person from a traditionally marginalized community. Celebrating the qualities that make people original and unique is vital to fostering inclusivity as a mindset and not just a buzzword.
Luxury is more than just fancy products – luxury is a lifestyle and a mindset that is notoriously difficult to achieve, but Genesis seems up for the challenge. Always the underdog, Genesis surely has a lot more work to do to be accepted by people like my Chanel-wearing family member who is shopping for a new car, but all of these tactics seem to be pointing the brand in the right direction.