Mastercard brings priceless experiences to everyone’s lives: Manasi Narasimhan

Narasimhan, VP - Marketing and Communications, South Asia, Mastercard spoke about their latest sonic brand identity, the methodology and more

by Anjali Thakur
Published - Feb 27, 2019 8:26 AM Updated: Feb 27, 2019 8:26 AM
Manasi Narasimhan

Setting a new tempo for brand expression, Mastercard debuts its sonic brand identity, a comprehensive sound architecture that signifies the latest advancement for the brand. Wherever consumers engage with Mastercard across the globe – be it physical, digital or voice environments - the distinct and memorable Mastercard melody will provide simple, seamless familiarity. The news comes on the heels of the company’s recent transition to a symbol brand and is part of its continued brand transformation.

Manasi Narasimhan, Vice President - Marketing and Communications, South Asia, Mastercard spoke to us about evolving brand identity, their methodology and how the brand is rolling out their new identity in the Indian market.

Edited excerpts:

Can you elaborate upon Mastercard’s evolving brand identity?

In today’s digital-first world, it’s clear that brand identities need to evolve and expand. Mastercard’s evolving brand identity is a strategic response to the changing habits of our target audience, in terms of how they engage and interact with a brand. An approach first applied in 2016, followed by name drop from the symbol earlier in 2019 and the most recent is the introduction of Sonic Brand Identity. We understand that there are certain instances and certain markets where the name continues to play a large role. For much of Mastercard’s history, the red and yellow interlocking circles have been the hallmark of the Mastercard brand. They symbolise the brand’s promise and have become synonymous with the trust that consumers have that their transactions are secure. We are amongst a very few brands which have an incredible recognition and in research 80 per cent of consumers recognised our brand with just the logo.

What was the methodology to arrive at the decision to add sound to the brand identity?

As per industry estimates, voice shopping in India is on a rise and audio identities are not only to connect brands with consumers on a new dimension, they are tools enabling consumers to shop, live, and pay in an increasingly digital and mobile world. The recent transition of adding sound is a powerful new dimension to our brand identity and critical component to how people recognise Mastercard today and in the future.

How is the brand rolling out its new identity in India?

Just like any other new technology, this change will take place gradually. Over the coming weeks and months, we will be working to map how we bring this new brand experience to (the market).

What will be the brand marketing strategy for the year 2019 in India?

The focus for 2019 will be clearly to drive forward the ‘cash to digital’ agenda and support government’s Digital India through continuously educating the consumers and merchants. Apart from this, emphasis will also be on driving choices for affluent India through world class priceless experiences and positioning ourselves as the card of choice for increasing overseas travel amongst Indians.

Why did you think of removing your own name from the symbol?

In 2016, to reflect our readiness and optimism about the future, Mastercard introduced an evolution of our brand identity - simplified, modernised, and optimised for use in digital contexts. The evolution of our brand identity started with a new brand mark, and continues to play out in a dynamic design system that brings a forward-thinking, sophisticated, and inclusive brand expression to every touch point around the world. Mastercard has become a ‘symbol brand’ by dropping our name from our brand mark in select contexts, such as cards that use the red and yellow brand mark, merchant acceptance marks and sponsorship events as it is easier to translate across cultures and countries.

There are a lot of brands investing in sonic branding, including few of your direct competitors how do you plan to stand out from the rest?

With more consumer touch points than ever before, consumer expectations of brands continue to evolve as the lines between the physical and digital blur, and the ascent of ad blocks and voice-technologies continues to change the day-to-day way we live, shop and pay.

Traditional ways of advertising and marketing need to evolve, and leading companies are transforming how they show up and interact with consumers. For Mastercard, this has meant opportunities to expand our business through new products, services and purpose, and by bringing priceless experiences to everyone’s lives. Exploring how the Mastercard brand shows up through all senses is imperative to the advancement of our brand and business.

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