Kumho Tyre might be big in Korea, but in the UK they weren’t really on the map. We developed a strategic approach and creative campaign that defined them as a company that not only makes tyres; but also makes a difference to retailers, schools, charities and communities.
Kumho Tyre – a major global manufacturer, but with little UK brand penetration — had to build brand awareness and grow trade relationships in a low-interest, over-saturated category. How can they connect with customers and independent retailers?
Our initial research revealed that most tyre brands fought on technical and performance advantages. As such, this would be a difficult area for Kumho to break into, despite the brand’s good reputation amongst fitters.
In most cases, tyres are a distress purchase, made reluctantly by consumers who perceive them as homogenous black rubber. It’s a commoditised market and brands, mid-market and premium, must work hard to justify price differential over the many value products available. Adding to the challenge, independent retailers tend to have no strong brand loyalty and can be reluctant salesmen.
We needed to develop a strategic platform around which to base a long-term communications plan, both B2B (independent tyre retailers) and B2C (end consumers).
It had to give consumers a reason to select Kumho over similar, mid-range tyres and provide independent retailers with a powerful message to stock up and sell on. We developed a new brand proposition: Making a Difference – a warmer, more human territory that positioned Kumho as not only a quality tyre, but also one with a heart.
This was more than just a strapline. It was an internal red thread that could run throughout the organisation – a wider commitment to good citizenship, good sense and safe roads. It would help Kumho become known as the tyre company that supports communities and their dealerships, and this theme informed our work for the best part of a decade.
The Making a Difference positioning enabled a clear, consistent brand message to be delivered through trade and consumer campaigns — as well as guiding the activation work when Kumho where Platinum Sponsors of Manchester United.
Kumho has since established itself as a key player in the dealer channel, having given retailers a point of difference around which to sell the brand to their customers.