The year 2019 saw the worst slump in the Auto Sector and this in turn affected the other sectors associated with the Auto sector. As per media reports, sales of two-wheelers as well as four-wheelers fell by almost half in August 2019, as compared to the corresponding month in 2018. In 2019, Kia Motors launched first product for the Indian market – The Kia Seltos – during the festive season in October. Kia was an unknown brand until the brand launched its first car in 2019. The launch was a success and the brand campaign ‘Magical Inspirations, Stunning Designs’, became YouTube’s most-watched ad in 2019 garnering ~232 million impressions till date.
Isobar handled the Creative duties to create a Digital-First campaign for Kia Motors.
This was the first time that an Automobile brand was going only digital. The campaign at its launch broke all social media records and garnered an Organic Reach of 102% on Facebook and an Organic Reach of 55.8%, Twitter – Engagement rate – percentage Increase – 3.2% and on Instagram – New Followers – Percentage Increase – 50% (70,539).
The brand earned a total of 72,125 positive conversations over the last 6 months i.e. approx. 80% positive sentiment. (72,125).
Vijay Kumar -Digital Marketing & CRM – Kia Motors “We are excited and proud to be associated with Isobar India. To be an industry leader is the aim when two globally acclaimed entities come together to raise the bars of Automobile Industry. Being our debut product in India, the Kia Seltos launch has been the most ambitious project for us so far and we’ve been able to put a great show together for the same.”
Medianews4u in conversation with Gopa Kumar – COO, Isobar India
The thought, ideation, strategy and execution of the Meerkat – Jhonny story for Kia?
We at Isobar created a Digital only campaign for Kia Motors. Their mandate was to create content, manage social media and influencer content. Kia wanted a communication blitz but a specific digital media buzz around the campaign. The communication about KIA Seltos, the story of Meerkat and Jhonny was already on television. But increasingly we felt that the communication was not understood by the consumers. They saw it as a very interesting form of content of communication, but it needed to be told in terms of a story. It was then decided to actually have these two Meerkat and Johnny personas come alive online. We created different platforms, as millennials love Instagram and love to consume their content on-the-go, an Instagram & Twitter accounts were created and these conversations began to take place before the pre – launch of the car, the banter with Meerkat and Johnny was started. The whole premise was that Meerkat was trying to sabotage the launch of Seltos because of not getting any importance there. We also started with surrounding communication around digital and specifically on social media which was a lead up to the launch. The launch film was with Tiger Shroff, and we used a piece of content and how this content could be integrated with Meerkat – Johnny story line and amplified, we used the sound effects as well and created a piece of content and populated that online. We created The Adventures of Meerkat – an intriguing graphic novel for the Instagrammers that turned IG-Stories into a dynamic medium for storytelling. The animated series was an innovative cross-over between comic books and new-age smartphone experiences, which can be accessed anytime from the brand’s official IG handle.
On the release of the movie WAR, a motion poster was created with these two characters and it had a theatrical release and it was well received. At the launch, Meerkat and Johnny were there but the product became the main focus and important, social-first programmes were also initiated. On the day of the launch of the much-awaited SUV, Seltos, we decided to speak the language of all the car lovers by hijacking the most popular car hashtags on Instagram. Through real-time live coverage, dynamic Instagram stories, and carefully selected influencer collaborations across categories, Seltos owned a majority of the top 12 posts in the discovery section for the most important, relevant and popular hashtags. This also included 4 generic, most-used hashtags besides the branded ones, like – #CarLoversOfIndia. All of this was done in less than 12 hours.
How was the communication for the campaign conceived?
KIA communication is different from any other car communication, it stands out. The idea was to actually keep on building on that and build on conversations, on moment marketing and any other topical content which is going on and actually try to be part of the conversation. Seltos and the Badass story had to be amplified and put there. From there, your normal ORM as the launch has happened. This entire campaign the biggest story which is the industry first, and how we have been able to establish KIA on a digital platform with a very, very distinct voice, a much-loved brand. Brand equity in their 2019 edition mentioned that this is the best social launch for an automobile launch in 2019. A simple conversation engagement done simply well, it has delivered the message at the top of the funnel be it awareness and creating lots of interesting conversation points and then leading up to the sale as well.
Kia is feeling the need to go digital to tap into the millennial market?
Yes, digital has become mainstream now and it will be foolish for any brand to actually overlook and not be part of that. But for a brand like Kia, which is again, entering into the market in India, is a very youthful brand and has a very distinct style. It makes it all the more imperative on why the language has to be conversational, traditional automakers already there, Kia on its India launch wanted to have a very strong voice and resonate as well to have a good conversation to get a feel of what the people are talking, about the car with a positive outlook, all this was part of the overall communication and digital helps you to do that, that was enticing. I think Kia will always be digitally first on what they would want to communicate, we are not replicating what happens on Television, we think about the content that can actually be relevant for the audiences online and how that can amplify the entire Kia story.
As an agency do you feel that it’s no longer one communication fits all?
I think it’s imperative and very important. When we start planning, we now look platform by platform so, for example, you have the Facebook Thumb stopper’s, we create content only for Instagram, similarly for Twitter or LinkedIn or Snapchat, eventually, we end up doing Tik Tok. Platform wise, the focus will always be how does that particular creative piece of content will create that kind of fun and then we are doing that not only for Kia but for all the brands that we work with.
As Isobar you strongly believe in Programmatic and AI, how is this helping Isobar in planning Media?
The point is, programmatic helps you to understand audiences, able to create these different personas understand more importantly the work they do, go deeper into that segment and then using that data point, create a customised personalized communication. So again, if the funnel is awareness, interest, desire, action model, we will be able to actually influence each of these purchase journey by the linear or nonlinear with different form of communication depending on the kind of journey that person is on; he may be directly coming to the site or he would have interacted with that brand and then dropped off. I would want to actually show him a different set of communication. He would have actually interacted with, let’s say, the chatbot on the website, that means he’s interested, at that point we start showing him, the nearest dealer. Today personalized communication is the way forward and programmatic helps you to do that, it aids you to segment the audience, then you’re able to show personalized creative. You can create these kinds of creatives depending on their persona, for example, if he’s a sports fanatic, you can show and communicate features of a particular car that has some kind of a sporty feature, you can coordinate that on a piece of sporty content and tailor-make it to his needs and helps us to do personalized creative at a scale to drive traffic toward the site.
Use of Voice in this campaign?
Voice was not used for this campaign, we are starting off with the Carnival Campaign extravagant by Design Communications leading up to Auto Expo and trying to do some very interesting industry first at the Auto Expo.
View this post on Instagram
Meet Mr. Brown. Born and raised in opulence, his life is sheer Extravagance and he loves every bit of it. Just like the CARNIVAL which stands a class apart with its opulent interiors, ornate looks and features to aspire for. Are you ready to experience sheer Extravagance? #KiaCarnival #CarnivalComingSoon #SheerExtravagance #ThePowerToSurprise
We saw the Auto market down, but brands like KIA coming out with new cars, how as an advertiser do you see this?
If it is a good product story then everything works out right, the sentiments are low and the Auto market is seeing a downturn, but people were looking forward to a car which has a very distinct style, has very good looks, so-called premium, but at a very competitive price that features and enhances the demand. MG Motors is doing well as Kia then that means that there is definitely a demand for that particular category. If you actually have got the product right and the pricing right you will be able to drive the demand. From an advertising point of view, if you are able to get your communication right, nobody would have imagined with only one car on the platform they have knocked off the other manufacturers in the country.
Are Isobar’s clients now thinking Digital-first approach for their communication?
I think almost all of them, but to be realistic about 30% of our clients. It’s not that traditional advertising does not work, for some television is primary and for others Digital is primary, but each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses. Most of our brands have moved from let’s say ‘why digital’ phase to ‘first digital’ for sure. While they may continue to spend heavy on television, increasingly the second most important spend would be digital. That’s where we are but depending on the maturity of brand, where they are in their overall life cycle they might be digital-first or maybe second.
This campaign has seen huge footfalls across platforms, what was the client’s reaction? What more do you think you can do to support him?
They were very happy with the overall response, good conversation and content and build a method to check the competition which actually lean towards positive and Seltos has done its job and now Carnival on the day of launch, pre-booking has had 2000 cars pre-booked on a single date online vide a payment of 1 lac. Again, when we say that the Automobile sector is down, but there’s a demand for the brand that is good and people are looking forward to it. They have built that trust and continue to build a strong brand.
What’s your Focus for 2020?
In Isobar we want to continue building, what we focused, we started to see a change from 2019 onward, we’re not just focusing on digital for our brands we’re now delivering end to end communication. We are the mainline agency for many brands, devising print, television, this started out with Visa and now we are doing it for multiple brands be it in Delhi or Bengaluru and Mumbai as well.
That’s a shift that has definitely happened and you want to build on that and be one of the leading creative agencies in the country that’s very important and that’s the objective for 2020.
Then Voice, we need to continue to build and there are two or three brands which are interested. Earlier when we used to speak to clients, they used to say let’s see when it happens, but for pure brands like Max Bhupa, have come back and asked us to start working on Voice. So there are multiple projects that we are working on. When the brand starts seeing more and more brands actually lapping it up, you start seeing that it becomes mainstream. From media standpoint, video content continues to be a huge focus in 2020, but we feel and I continue to say that eventually in the next few years it will be 15-20% of our overall revenue.
That’s the focus that we want to actually get to and execute. All marketers are looking at it that way, at meetings with clients, they are asking for specific content strategy, to take it forward with Facebook, OTT. Now with new content players coming in everybody wants to have a very, all-round kind of approach, which lends itself to the overall strategy of the brands communication.
Are brands more evolved now and want to work closely with agencies. It’s just not ROI but looking beyond it?
This shows the brands maturity and point of view. I think they’re now engaging and very actively stating the business problem, and how a particular tool can help solve that. That said, the agency-client engagement happens in a real sense earlier it used to be this is our communication help us to amplify it. Now they see that digital becoming a very important part of the overall transformation process, state a problem it’s up to us and work together to actually arrive at a solution which definitely solves the business problem, it can be through a campaign, product innovation or it can be anything, but that active dialogue is now happening. There is a trust now and we are able to add value.