MZ generation refers to those who were born in the early 1980s~2000s. They are in their late teens ~ late 30s. They are the ones who are creating the current social/cultural trends with their young, energetic vibes. According to the experts, they will be the most influential consumers in the next 15 years. For a while, the MZ generation will be responsible for the success and failure of the industries.
That’s why corporations are aggressively marketing for the MZ generation. The same goes for Kia. Since changing their company name last March to ‘Kia,’ they have also changed their emblem, expected to become a vibrant, energetic company through such changes. Since then, Kia has been continuously announcing marketing strategies to build a new brand image. Among many endeavors, some novel, fun marketing cases are noticeable that may be to the MZ generation’s liking.
For the MZ generation, who have already been exposed to much information, text information is not appealing. They figure out what they like and dislike by seeing, listening, touching, and feeling in person. That’s why businesses these days are trying out various experience-type marketing to try to communicate with the MZ generation.
Kia made use of a makeover (changing how you look by changing hairstyle, makeup, etc.) experience to promote The new Kia K9 (hereafter K9). This was the so-called ‘For the Leader of Our Family’ campaign. 4 parents were styled greatly, and they all did a photoshoot with K9. It was an opportunity for the MZ generation to give their parents something meaningful, in consideration of how they had been so dedicated to their families. This event targeted both the actual purchasing consumers of K9, the middle aged, as well as their children generation ？ the MZ generation. Also, giving out a week test drive ticket for K9 and a night at the Jeju Haevichi Hotel made the participants a lot happier. It was especially notable that they collaborated with ‘The New Grey.’ The New Grey is a brand that has made huge waves among the MZ generation with their makeover contents in which their parents’ styles are changed for a special photoshoot.
MZ generation prioritizes now rather than the future. They value taste rather than price; personal happiness rather than group interest. Cultural themes such as ‘small but sure happiness’ and ‘work and life balance’ reflect such preferences of the MZ generation. That’s why they are willing to make big investments in pricy hobbies like camping and golf. Camping is especially enjoyed by the MZ generation as it doesn’t go against the social distancing restrictions due to COVID-19.
In response to such trend, Kia carried out the #KiaSportagecampingtoy event in July. 500 people who were selected among those who posted photos about ‘how I relieve my stress’ or ‘travels and memories that blew my mind away, relieving all stress’ with the hashtag #KiaSportagecampingtoy were given out the camping goods set. 7-9 products among 13 camping products, which include ukulele, water game, cup holder, water gun, fishing net, tube, basketball net, light chain, catch-ball, etc., were randomly given out.
This event drew more attention as it collaborated with the design brands ‘Muzik Tiger’ and ‘Flying Tiger Copenhagen,’ which are popular among the MZ generation these days. By also attributing the meaning of ‘3 tigers - Muzik Tiger, Flying Tiger, and Kia Tiger - getting together for the clients’ zero stress,’ Kia also reinforced its dynamic brand identity.
MZ generation is quite liberated with consumption, but they don’t open their wallets for everything. They only like to pay a lot when they consider it a meaningful consumption. They mainly focus on values such as eco-friendliness, human rights, and welfare. Among them, they are especially participating in eco-friendly consumption. They carry eco bags, take out food in multi-use containers, and separate trash ？ which were all considered dull and boring before, but now they are all considered to be noble and good, something everyone wishes to do themselves.
Kia introduced zero waste travel goods in August to also take part in saving the environment with the MZ generation. This is part of the Kia’s electric car EV6 promotion. They produced eco-friendly travel goods like toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, etc., to deliver the eco-friendliness of their electric car.
These goods were distributed to 450 people via SNS. People were chosen from those who posted activities that protect the environment such as getting rid of the label before throwing out plastic bottles, taking out drinks in their own tumbler, etc., on their SNS. The design was pretty and the intention was good, which was received well by the clients.
MZ generation was born and raised in the stagnant economy caused by the financial crisis. With such unstable social atmosphere, they tend to instinctively look for answers to the question ‘Who am I?’ This is the reason why so many psychological tests like the MBTI have been so popular in the past few years. Through such tests, they like to define their identity in certain types and ultimately seek out their self. Such culture is called ‘Labeling.’
Kia also recently developed an interesting psychology test. It’s the electric car EV6 promotion content, ‘Never Knew I Was a Natural Monument?!’ test. You get to answer 12 questions about your lifestyle, such as ‘do you just stand on your spot when you ride the escalator?’ and ‘do you just ignore voice-fishing messages?’ etc., to get a natural monument that resembles you. The resulting natural monument is linked to a characteristic of EV6, which is shown on the result page. For example, EV6’s spaciousness is connected to a huge Asiatic Black Bear while EV6’s energy efficiency is connected to a spotted seal, which minimizes energy consumption and moves around smartly. On the bottom of the test page, the message ‘please participate in saving the natural monument just like you, with an electric car that protects the air!’ is inserted to convey EV6’s brand philosophy.
You have to understand e-sports to communicate with the MZ generation. For the older generation, computer games were just simple pastime, but for the MZ generation, it’s all about serious competition. Experts say that the generational trait of being familiar with digital, IT, online, and virtual reality lead to the interest in e-sports. Most well-known e-sports include ‘League of Legends (hereafter LOL),’ ‘Starcraft,’ ‘Battle ground,’ etc.
Kia jumped into the e-sports market 2 years ago. From 2019 until now, they have been sponsoring ‘League of Legends European Championship (LEC).’ Making contents about selecting the best player and team of the season and collaborating with renowned European teams for Kia promotion videos have led them to actively communicate with the e-sports fans.
In December 2020, they formed a naming sponsorship with DWG Gaming, and the team name was changed to DWG Kia. DWG Kia won the 2020 LOL World Championship and is a strong contender this season as well. Through this business agreement, they will be playing under the name ‘DWG Kia’ for many years, showing off their great abilities.
Lastly, in August, they introduced ‘My Mr. LOL’ through the YouTube channel. 5 Kia executives and employees who are over the age of 40 and beginners in e-sports are teamed up after changing ‘Won’ of DWG to ‘On,’ calling themselves ‘DAMON Kia,’ playing against ‘DWG Kia’ in LOL. This was created to bring about interchange between generations via e-sports. The special endeavor brought on by these middle-aged men caught the interest of the MZ generation. The 3 uploaded episodes have recorded about 600,000 views, catching many eyes.
With the MZ generation at the center of the market, many corporations are introducing marketing plans that respond to the characteristics and tastes of the MZ generation. As the MZ generation prefers corporations that prioritize environment and ethical values, and voluntarily consumes fun and useful contents even if they are advertisements, business brand promotion strategies will change. According to such trend, Kia will also be carrying out marketing that induces the MZ generation’s empathy and fun communication. Now that they have gone beyond being an automobile manufacturer and have become an innovation leading mobility corporation, here’s looking forward to their interesting future marketing plans.
HMG Journal Operation Teamgroup@hyundai.com
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