Evolving a brand

The story of any brand takes interesting twists and turns as it meanders its way along the path of success – or failure. In 2016, the Hyundai Genesis sedan became the Genesis G80, when the brand was launched as Hyundai’s separate luxury brand in America. Genesis became for Hyundai what Lexus was for Toyota, Acura for Honda, and Infiniti for Nissan. Of course, treading such a path is fraught with uncertainty and not everybody achieves the same success. Lexus has been very successful, but Infiniti had many ups and downs over the years, for example.

In the case of Genesis, success would follow and it became quite popular in a short time as a Hyundai sub-brand, selling around 20,000 vehicles per year in the USA with a car lineup comprising sedans only. Now that the new GV70 compact crossover and GV80 mid-size SUV have been launched, sales are set to increase, because Americans prefer the SUV format to the sedan. The GV80 has received many positive remarks in every review of it so far, being lauded for its interior cargo space and luxury features, while scoring well for performance and fuel economy too. It’s built on a bespoke platform, not shared with its Hyundai or Kia cousins.

The Nike brand story

Nike’s brand journey started shortly after World War II when Bill Bowerman, the University of Oregon’s track-and-field head coach, set out learning the cobbler’s craft so he could improve his athletes’ shoes. He modified the running shoes of an unexceptional athlete on his team, Phil Knight, and the lighter footwear boosted Knight’s performance. Knight lent his shoes to Otis Davis who wore them at the 1960 Olympics, winning the 400-meter dash (437 yards). Knight ended up writing an MBA paper on running-shoe economics and struck a deal with Japanese shoe brand Onitsuka to export their most popular shoe, the Tiger.

He tracked down Bowerman and they set up Blue Ribbon Sports in 1964, a 50-50 joint venture, introducing an improved design of the Tiger in 1965. The company was rebranded to Nike, the name of the Greek goddess of victory; the Swoosh logo and ‘Just Do It’ motto soon followed, and the rest is history. Interestingly, there are a few parallels to be drawn between Genesis and Nike, which evolved into independent brands in their own right in search of success. And perhaps five-year-old Genesis will achieve the same success in the future as Nike, a globally influential superbrand.

Getting the product mix right

It starts with getting the right product to consumers and Nike is extremely successful and popular among basketball players and many other sportspeople, because they offer a sports shoe for every need. Having started out as a sedan brand, Genesis has only recently embraced the SUV market and its success here is virtually guaranteed if the product is any good. Being able to bank on parent company Hyundai’s stellar reliability record and being possessed of one of the best warranties in the industry, Genesis will likely succeed. This is their current lineup of models:


  • Genesis G70. A compact executive sedan with a choice of a 2-liter turbocharged engine with 255 horsepower and a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 with 365 hp.
  • Genesis G80. A mid-size sedan with either 304 hp or 380 hp and offering up to 32 mpg on the highway – very good gas mileage for the class.
  • Genesis G90. The company’s full-size luxury sedan with an MSRP topping out at just under $80k with a 365-hp twin-turbo 3.3 V6 or 420-hp V8 and a choice of RWD or AWD.


  • Genesis GV70. A brand-new compact crossover arriving this summer. The US is likely to get 304-hp and 380-hp engines.
  • Genesis GV80. A mid-size SUV with either five or seven seats, currently with the same engine options as the GV70 above and offering up to 23 miles per gallon combined. Starting price: $48,900.

Nurturing the brand

Genesis might not (yet) be the kind of aspirational brand that football and basketball players love to drive – they still prefer their premium-brand sports cars and SUVs – but things are looking good. Considering what Nike has achieved, careful brand curation can see Genesis reach new heights in years to come. While many aspire to – and few reach – the global influence and success of brands like Nike, Genesis already has the most important building blocks in place: an excellent product at a competitive price and with a market-leading warranty. The sky is the limit as to how much it can achieve.