Page 1: Introduction
Today’s consumers have higher expectations than ever before. Dramatic improvements in media, communication and transport have made the world’s economy more connected. Products developed in one country have become increasingly attractive in other parts of the world. However, entering markets in other parts of the world is not an easy task. Entrants face many different challenges as they try to develop their brand profile. This is especially evident in mature markets like the UK car market. This market has a number of long established brands. The awareness and brand loyalty that exists for established brands form a barrier to entry for new organisations. This case study illustrates how Kia , a South Korean motor company, has used sports marketing to develop its brand identity in the European motor market.
The Kia Motors Corporation, based in South Korea, has 12 manufacturing and assembly plants and subsidiaries in 165 countries around the world. Globally the Hyundai Kia Group is now the fourth largest car company in the world. Kia Motors UK has more than 166 dealerships. It also has plans to grow the network to support the increasing demand. Kia is a relatively new entrant to the UK car market. However, it has become more well known in recent years. Kia does not have the same level of brand heritage in the UK as it does elsewhere in the world. Kia aims to overcome this through its massive ambition and plans for growth in the European market.
Developing brand identity
To support this growth plan, Kia has to develop its brand identity. In the past Kia has competed mainly on price, using a competitive pricing strategy. The challenge for Kia has been to increase awareness of its brand within European markets. Alongside this it has created positive perceptions of its products through high profile sponsorship deals. It wants consumers to view the brand as a manufacturer of cars of great quality and design. To do this it has harnessed the power of sports marketing to influence consumers’ perceptions of its products.