Mastercard tunes in 'sonic brand identity' as audio marketing continues to rise
- Mastercard is introducing a sonic brand identity as part of a larger overhaul of its branding, the company announced in a news release. What the company is calling a "comprehensive sound architecture" will touch across channels, playing in everything from commercials to whenever a consumer completes a shopping action with their card.
- The sonic brand identity — a short, melodic series of chirps — was developed with the help of musicians and artists like Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda, along with agencies from around the world. It comes as a recognition of the growing role voice and audio marketing play in the industry, with voice shopping projected to reach more than $40 billion in revenue by 2022, according to OC&C Strategy Consultants data cited by Mastercard.
- To support the rollout, Mastercard is launching a multichannel marketing campaign around the Grammy Awards. The push features an ad starring nominated artist Camila Cabello and a Sensory Lab activation at the flagship Fred Segal retail store in West Hollywood, California, that will include interactive experiences and exclusive gear from Joe Freshgoods and the musician Kyle. Fred Segal is the first retailer to enable to the sonic brand identity at the point of sale.
With the introduction of the sonic identity, Mastercard continues to rework its brand to better reflect the growing role mobile plays across touchpoints in consumers' lives. At the beginning of the year, the company removed the Mastercard name from its logo as a way to broaden its suite of products beyond physical cards and accommodate smaller screens on smartphones and other mobile devices. The logo change was the result of 20 months of "intense research" around the globe, CMO Raja Rajamannar explained at CES in January.
"Virtual real estate is shrinking — you need to optimize your brand presence and impact," Rajamannar said at the Las Vegas show on a panel about how technology is becoming a guiding force for brand strategy.
Mastercard positioning the sonic brand identity as a response to the rise in voice shopping and audio formats like music streaming and podcasts also underscores how these channels are evolving from nascent digital experiments to more concrete pillars in marketers' toolkits.
Truly transactional voice conducted through assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant has limited use cases for now, but industry forecasts, including OC&C Strategy Consultants' insights, signal that the space will take off in the next few years as adoption of IoT products like smart speakers grows and the software powering these devices becomes smarter.
Smart speaker ownership leaped to 27% of U.S. households last year versus 14% in 2017, according to a recent study by Visa and Pymnts.com. Among surveyed owners of voice-activated speakers, 28% had used them to complete a purchase in the past week, the groups found.
Similar to competitor Mastercard, Visa has attempted to build out a more robust branding identity that goes beyond traditional logos and marketing materials. The brand last year released an SDK that lets developers experiment with "sensory branding" experiences that leverage things like sound, animation and haptics. The goal of these features is to create recognizable cues that attach positive associations to when consumers complete an action, like a payment with their card.
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