We kept the conversation flowing with Paul and talked the secret ingredients to quality content, influencers, and tear-jerking stories.
You can read more about how Paul got to where he is today here.
How do you judge great content?
When looking at content, it's A.) Did this content make something better for someone? Did it show our vehicles in a better light? If I see something that I'm just not feeling emotionally or it doesn’t ladder up to the brand, I don't like it. Content has to start with that. You also have to think about B.) Is this something that's going to make an emotional connection with whoever's viewing that content?
Working at Hyundai, I start from the roots of our brand and what we’re all about, down to our foundation of making things better. At Hyundai, our brand promise is, “Better drives us.” So our mission is really about making things better for people. As a mobility company, that goes into so many different facets.
Have there been big shifts in the way you discover what stories to tell, and who should tell them? Where do you think the best stories come from?
Our agency, Innocean does a really good job of coming up with ideas. They’re able to tell stories that tie in with our company, or link us with a charity able to communicate what we're trying to say.
But sometimes, our best stories are so authentic that it simply comes to us. For instance, we had a Chicago GM of ours share the story about a girl named Farrah, who owned a 2014 Elantra with a million miles on it in five years. She drives basically the distance of L.A. to San Francisco every single day out in Kansas, and we did a great job of communicating that.
Our charity Hope On Wheels works to fight pediatric cancer, and we did a piece focusing on the researchers working to find a cure. Often, the researchers are in the lab 24/7 trying to find a cure, and never see the kids they’re helping. So we created a surprise meeting where the families could meet the researchers. When we were surprising these people, it really tugged on the emotional heartstrings. It was so beautifully told and authentic to our brand, because nothing says “Better Drives Us” more than trying to save a kid’s life. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house after watching that.
What components are necessary for compelling and authentic brand storytelling?
To me, the person telling the story has to be a real person. Not an actor, or even an influencer. When it comes to authentic brand storytelling, it has to be true to your brand and what's actually in your DNA.
What do you think the new content trends are going to be in the next couple of years?
I think that influencers could be shifting to comprise more real people. For brands, while it's great that you can reach an influencer’s audience, these people are also promoting other brands to make more money, and it's not as authentic. With something as important a purchase as a car, you want that testimonial that's coming from an authentic place, as opposed to someone that's working with 20 other brands just trying to make money on Instagram.
Hyundai uses influencer marketing, but we get the most consideration through great content pieces. Through content, we can tell a story that people relate to, and bring them in like family so they can develop an emotional connection with us.
What is your favorite piece or pieces of content that you have created?
My favorite content we’ve created are the kinds of stories that people aren’t familiar with. We've done two that stand out to me. The first is a series called “Rolling with the Rookies”, showing 20 somethings heading into the NFL draft. But before their fame, they had a story. We went back to their hometowns and talked with their family and friends to tell stories about these people that no one really knows yet. As an NFL football fan, that's something that I could really dive into.
The other piece came from the launch of our motorsports program, where we had just finished our second season with Bryan Herta's team. We produced a behind-the-scenes episodic documentary capturing the last two seasons of the program with Motor Trend and their audience of enthusiasts. It was award-winning work showcasing Hyundai and the fact that we performed so well. Viewers can see our shortcomings, our failures, how something broke. But in the end, we won the championship. For me, those two pieces were really well done and I'm proud of them.
What is a piece of content you wish you had created?
I would say the NFL’s content with Play 60, and even their hundred year celebration, is captivating. They're telling their story in a really authentic manner that any football fan can relate to. It does a great job of putting a more human side onto their brand.