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Kia's four 'pillars' of engagement

News, 12 December 2016
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LOS ANGELES: Kia Motors America, the car manufacturer, has enjoyed consistent success through building its marketing strategy around four key "pillars" of music, pop culture, connectivity and sports.

Michael Sprague, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Kia Motors America, discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2016 Multicultural Marketing & Diversity Conference.

He reported that the company has successfully promoted models like the Soul, Sorento and Optima thanks in no small part to its focus on four factors which consistently underpin its communications.

"We changed our marketing strategy. And we built it around these four pillars of music, sports, pop culture and connected life," he said. (For more details, read Warc's exclusive report: Kia's brand road trip from worst to first.)

Each of these passion points has the potential to powerfully engage with consumers, and particularly millennials. "And, when a program transcends more than one of the quartet of touchpoints, the brand benefit grows," Sprague said.

While Kia has worked with various partners over the years in bringing its brand to life, the auto marque's core philosophy has essentially remained the same.

"As a brand, all of our filters – or all of the projects and initiatives that we have – had to go through these four key pillars. The greatest benefit is when we have an initiative that transcends more than one of these," he said.

In practice, that emphasis has yielded campaigns spanning an extremely broad creative palate, from dancing hamsters to tie-ups with household names like LeBron James, the basketball star.

At the same time, the automaker has also tapped into the authenticity of its consumers, showing them "basically experiencing our vehicles in everyday activities".

"The world is changing. We need to come up with content and ideas and authenticity in terms of our messaging to consumers,” Sprague continued.

"Cultural relevancy is important across all platforms, as well. It's not just about putting a spot on television. It needs to permeate everything that you and your teams do."

Data sourced from Warc

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