Building the Kia Canada Brand

Kia Canada is surprising and engaging consumers with its brand by inviting them to experience the mysterious Red Cube and by sponsoring soccer for youths in community housing.

Imagine you’re walking through a city’s downtown plaza and a huge, 30-foot-long, 10-foot-tall LED screen is flashing mysterious questions at you. Would you be intrigued? With its Red Cube program, Kia Canada bet that you would be. Its aim was to create online excitement by asking questions on a website to identify an unknown product. The website then invited consumers downtown to what resembled a four-sided art installation with LED screens.

Consumers didn’t even know what type of product the Red Cube was promoting when they first arrived. “It was trying to pique the consumer’s interest,” Kia Canada’s director of marketing, Steve Carter, says. It was only when the Red Cube’s program began and its walls turned transparent to reveal a Kia Soul, Sportage, or Forte inside that the mystery was revealed.

After three-day appearances in Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto last fall, the Red Cube’s appearances in 2017 are currently being determined. “We’ll do the Red Cube in some form or fashion, but not exactly the way we did it in 2016,” Carter says of the concept, which was created by Innocean Worldwide Canada.

Kia Canada is also enhancing its brand while giving back to the community through its support of the MLSE foundation of Toronto FC’s KickStart program for the past five years. The program provides more than three hundred children between the ages of six and twelve who live in community housing with a free, eight-week soccer program. They receive training from coaches, as well as soccer equipment, uniforms, and activity booklets. “It really helps the kids develop life skills, building their self-esteem, sense of fair play, leadership, and the ability to work together as a team. Those sorts of things will inevitably help them develop into productive adults as they grow older,” Carter explains.

Each year, the KickStart program improves and serves more children. In 2017, year-round operation is being considered. “While the KickStart program does tie nicely into our slogan—‘The power to surprise’—as well as our quality, excitement, and young-at-heart values, the real value is seeing its impact on the communities,” Carter says. “That’s how we define ourselves as a brand. Our intention is to continue to build the brand here in Canada and get Canadians more engaged and familiar with who Kia is and the products we offer. We’re trying to build an emotional connection with Canadians across the country.”