Kia Event Series Recognizes Community Game Changers
African-Americans over-index on the ownership of Kia vehicles, but Kia is outranked by a number of auto brands in sales to African-Americans. To increase engagement among this growing demo, and drive consideration, trial and loyalty, Kia created the Inspirationally Crafted event series in New York City and Los Angeles, evenings of gourmet food, drink and celebrity djs that elevated the brand and resulted in an 800-percent return on investment. Inspiring? Oh, yes.
The idea for the events came from an insight that African-Americans admire responsible brands that show that they have heart, especially when it comes to the community. That sentiment aligned well with Kia, whose brand name derives from the Korean symbol for “to rise above.” At the heart of this event strategy was a recognition program that helped elevate that message and the brand by showing that Kia is connected to the spirit of the community. The events were not aspirational as many auto industry programs are. They were indeed inspirational, and about real people who make real contributions in their communities.
Kia partnered with Uptown Magazine, a luxury lifestyle magazine targeting affluent African-Americans, which promoted the event and program through its print and digital channels. Together, the two brands recognized #GameChangers who “impact and elevate the consciousness, experiences and opportunities of others in their field and the community overall.” Among those recognized: Derrick “D-Nice” Jones, rapper, producer, photographer, and technology expert; Nicole King-Burroughs, designer and creative director; Lauren Maillian, an entrepreneur and author; Jeff Clanagan, founder, ceo and president of CodeBlack Entertainment; LaQuan Smith, a celebrity fashion designer; and Brian Dobbins, executive producer of ABC’s “Black-ish.” On top of the recognition aspects of the events, guests could reach out and touch the best-selling Kia Optima midsize sedan, the award-winning Sorento CUV and the K900 luxury sedan in a stylish and sophisticated environment.
On top of this partnership with Uptown Magazine (including coverage in its bi-monthly magazine, on uptownmagazine.com, at Uptown Unplugged and other signature events), Kia engaged journalists, bloggers and cultural advocates to generate content surrounding the Inspirationally Crafted series. And for those that couldn’t be a part of the physical event, influencers helped promote #GameChangers Twitter Parties with influencer hosts who encouraged followers to join the conversation by tagging the brand handles and hashtag in order to win prizes (like more than $300 in gift cards, awarded live).
Coupled with the special environment ripe for sharing, the result was organic amplification that led to 20 million earned media impressions—and a recorded 100-percent positive brand sentiment score. The series continues in 2016 and is driving into new markets, including Chicago.