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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Kia Wants to Form a More Emotional, Lasting Bond with Its Customers


Kia’s decision to revamp their logo and tagline signals a deeper, broader shift within the company. It will, according to the carmaker move their thinking away from simply being a value-for-money brand to a valuable brand—one that delivers a more emotional, lasting bond with its owner.

The new logo itself—symmetrical left-to-right and diagonally, is meant not just to demonstrate solidity and confidence, but is also akin to a handwritten signature. The rising strokes, particularly in the “K” and “A” are meant to embody the carmaker’s rising ambitions.

With the auto industry facing a paradigm shift involving CASE (Connected, Autonomous, Shared, and Electrified), Kia realized that now is the right time to re-focus their efforts to personal mobility.

“Changing our corporate name and logo is not only a cosmetic improvement,” says Ho Sung Song, Kia’s President and CEO. “Kia has been in the business of mobility for over 75 years. We started building bicycles, and since then we have never stopped providing mobility solutions. This represents us expanding our horizons and establishing new and emerging businesses that meet and exceed the diverse needs of our customers.”

While Kia has admitted that the pandemic has accelerated the transformation, they also say that the paradigm shift has been the writing on the wall. With increased competition even from non-traditional automakers Kia has realized that to set themselves apart, they have to offer a new and more rewarding customer experience.

“Mobility is at the core of mankind,” adds Artur Martins, Head of Global Brand and Customer Experience. “It has never been even more important during the pandemic, and Kia will be a part of that mobility.”

Martins says that Kia’s brand strategy focuses on two key points: space and time. “Space,” is meant to inspire customers not just through their products, but other touchpoints such as dealerships. Meanwhile, “Time” is meant to put deeper emphasis on making each moment valuable to the customer, eliminating what he deemed to be “wasteful time” with the launch of services such as service pickup and delivery. The latter is meant to generate a more emotional relationship beyond car purchase.

Of course, because Kia wants to strike a more genuine bond with its buyers, design is fundamental to its transformation. Karim Habib, Head of Kia Global Design says that as the Hyundai Group’s “dynamic child,” the upcoming Kia models will feature bolder designs which are “original, exciting, and inventive.” The trademark “tiger-nose grille” will remain as it gives the brand “consistency,” but its interpretation will be different moving on.

Song says that the new logo will be implemented on every single model that Kia refreshes or revamps. It will make its debut on their first full-electric crossover set to be unveiled in the first half of 2021. However, the first globally-strategic model to adopt it will be the all-new Sportage, set for second half 2021 launch. As for dealerships, their new Global Space Identity will transform their entire retail network in the next 2 to 3 years.

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