Mastercard launches sonic brand identity for retail PoS


Mastercard has launched a sonic brand identity for use in voice interactions and card acceptance at retail Point of Sale. The move follows the recent removal of the Mastercard name from the company’s logo.

The payments brand has also partnered with the pop star Camila Cabello to launch an advertisement featuring her song Havana and its new audio ID and collaborated with the musician Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park to analyse the music around its so-called ‘sonic brand architecture’.

Mastercard approached the sound industry to determine what its logo would ‘look like’ in the audio world. According to Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing officer, Mastercard, it had to have a simple melody, be neutral, likeable, memorable and hummable. With a brand presence in 210 countries, the audio ID needed to resonate across all territories and genres ranging from classical to electronic dance, Rajamannar said.

To date, 20 melodies have been created, which will be used in advertisements, for sponsorship, internal events and trade shows, music on hold calls and available as a ring tone download. A clipped version or MOGO (musical logo) has been created too for use with cards at the PoS as a confirmation that payments have been made successfully. Different orchestrations will play in different store environments so that the audio ID will be rendered differently in Tiffany’s versus a games store, for example.

Individual Mastercard countries will also be able to select the version of the melody they would like to use and let their own local people develop it.

Rajamannar said the new sonic branding represented a significant investment. It was unveiled earlier this month during Grammy week with the new Camila Cabello ad and at the Fred Segal retail destination store in LA.

Mastercard said it had removed the Mastercard name from its logo as consumers are being bombarded by commercial messages and have lower attention spans. Plus, they are increasingly buying through voice technology such as Alexa and Google Home.

Rajamannar said the Mastercard brand already enjoys strong recognition among 80% of consumers and that too fuelled a rethink of its branding strategy.

Removing the Mastercard name from its logo has enabled the company to increase the size of its logo on mobile phone screens for greater prominence among competitors at the point of purchase.