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Kia elevates brand via 360-degree mobile strategy


Kia's mobile site

International carmaker Kia is proving that mobile plays a crucial role in its marketing with a multifaceted campaign that includes mobile Web, advertising and applications.

Kia is specifically looking at how mobile plays a key role for car shoppers 21-34 years old and its use in other channels such as social media. The digital push is part of the brand’s recent rebranding to be more accessible to tech-savvy consumers.

“Mobile is a part of life with this demographic and age group and they do not know life without a mobile phone attached to them,” said David Schoonover, national manager for digital and CRM at Kia, Irvine, CA.

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“Mobile users are more receptive to receiving information when they are on the go and want a question answered quickly,” he said.

Kia is an automaker based in Seoul, South Korea and sells cars in more than 775 dealerships in the United States.

Virtual test drive
Kia is running two different kinds of mobile ads to promote the company's Rio line of cars.

The ads tie in with the company’s social media and mobile-optimized landing pages and are running inside the Flixster iPhone app.

The first mobile ad for the Rio cars are meant to drive users to the company’s social media sites. When users tap on them, they are directed to a mobile-optimized page where they browse through pictures of the car.

Users can also tap on two links to visit a YouTube account or Facebook page created specifically for the Kia Rio.

The two Kia Rio mobile ads

The second group of mobile ads lets users interact with the Kia brand and car via a mobile-optimized landing page.

Consumers can learn more about the car’s features with articles and photos and can build their own Rio car by picking a color.

Additionally, Kia has put a large focus on tablets as a way for users to interact with the brand in a deeper way with research.

Kia is using a specially-branded iPad app to promote the Rio line of cars. Users can build their own cars and find a local dealer.

The app includes interactive features such as a car key that users must swipe to activate the app.

Kia’s Rio iPad app also lets users view photos of the car from multiple angles and learn about its features with interactive elements.

The Kia Rio iPad app

To get users closer to the point of sale, Kia has rolled out a mobile site that is designed specifically for tablets. The site uses location to find a nearby dealer and car shoppers can learn about all of Kia’s lines of cars.

Auto mobile
The auto industry has always made a natural fit with mobile because the channel ties online and real-world together, and a key part of auto sales is getting consumers to dealerships to test drive the cars.

However, as mobile continues to grow, automakers are getting smarter about their marketing efforts with campaigns that reach across multiple mobile channels.

Kia’s tablet-specific mobile work also points to the widening gap between smartphone and tablet strategies. Tablets are becoming a separate channel that needs to be targeted correctly with separate features than smartphones.

There is a never-ending number of branded auto apps on the market, but what makes the Kia iPad app different is its tie-in with a tablet-optimized Web site that lets users take direct action after learning about the car.

Mobile advertising continues to grow and will play an important role as more inventory becomes available for brands to buy, per Mr. Schoonover.

“We are in a place where we are willing to pour more money into mobile advertising, but there are not as many properties for it as there as for the Web,” Mr. Schoonover said.

“We are absolutely not blind that soon, people that access the Internet via mobile will outrun desktop,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York

Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer. Reach her at lauren@mobilemarketer.com.

Related content: Strategy, Kia, David Schoonover, mobile marketing, mobile Web, iPad app, tablet, mobile advertising

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