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Purpose at Work: Lessons from Kia on Leveraging Marketing for Impact

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Simon Mainwaring explores how brands can offer quality products while making a positive impact at the same time

Purpose at Work: Lessons from Kia on Leveraging Marketing for Impact

Companies pay millions of dollars every year to advertise their products online and on television. Today’s consumers are looking to support brands that offer quality products while making a positive impact at the same time. Popular sporting events and other high profile forums are excellent opportunities to share your purpose with conscious consumers.

Kia’s Big Game campaign, which aired during the 2019 Super Bowl, puts a purposeful twist on traditional car advertising. Historically, automobile manufacturers have produced “noisy” Super Bowl advertisements to capture eyeballs. These spots often feature celebrities, wild animals, scantily clad models and picturesque frontiers. Instead, this year Kia shared a more personal look into its corporate culture. This touching dialogue illustrated how it is making a stand for good while making quality automobiles.

Kia intentionally avoided hiring a celebrity for its Super Bowl ad campaign this year. Instead, Kia's The Great Unknowns advert shared stories about company employees in West Point, Georgia. The town faced economic hardship after the cotton mill that supported thousands of jobs shut down. Kia’s decision to move its U.S. manufacturing facilities there gave new life, hope and prosperity into the challenged region. By sharing Kia’s community story they show a more human side of the brand. What’s more, it demonstrates Kia’s investment in the American important working class, its target consumer audience.

In addition to the purposeful spot, Kia launched The Great Unknowns grant for higher education. With the money the company saved on not paying for celebrity endorsement, Kia funded young people pursuing a college degree. Kia says they will continue the grant in 2020.

Ultimately, big stages and campaigns are big opportunities for meaningful impact. Kia’s purposeful marketing strategy offers lessons to brands looking to share their mission driven story.


Simon Mainwaring is the founder and CEO of We First.

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David & Goliath, Fri, 29 Mar 2019 09:20:35 GMT