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Ask the average Joe or Jane about Hyundai Motor America, and you'll likely get one of two answers: "Hyundai who?" or "Vehicles of low quality."

Traditional advertising can create awareness, but changing the perception of quality through advertising is difficult. That's one of the reasons for Hyundai's event marketing programs.

"Event marketing programs are extremely important to us because there is a low level of awareness for our products," says Dave Weber, Hyundai's vice president of marketing. "Our quality is better than people perceive it to be, so it stands to reason that having prospects sit in Hyundai models can change perceptions of the company's quality and turn prospects into customers."

According to Weber, that's exactly what its event marketing programs do. He says 65 percent of the people who get behind the wheel of a Korean-built Hyundai say they may purchase it.

One program displays Hyundai vehicles at Six Mills Malls across the country. Weber says more than half of all people who inspect a Hyundai say they would consider the brand for a future purchase. Shoppers are invited to enter sweepstakes, adding their names to a Hyundai database in the process.

A second program, Power of the Purse, is a series of seminars at women's events where Hyundai conducts sessions to help women purchase a car more effectively. The seminars take the audience through the purchasing process: how to research a product, the dealership experience, the best way to test drive a vehicle, and the steps involved in the transaction.

Another nontraditional advertising program is Hyundai's official sponsorship of the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colo. Those who attended the event March

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