Mastercard has successfully established itself as one of the world’s most recognisable brands, so the first change to its logo in 20 years is a bold step. The difference is subtle – dropping the capital ‘C’ from its name, which is now shown with the simplified but still iconic interlocking yellow and red circles – but these simple changes are the outward signs of a significant shift in focus beneath the surface.
Over 2.3 billion cards have been issued with the Mastercard brand mark, which is displayed by millions of merchants around the world, and the company has a strong strategy for building its merchant presence substantially in the next few years. The card business, however, is just one part of its broader strategy.
As digital technology continues to reshape the financial services market, Mastercard is building on its core competencies of data analytics and payment services to position itself as a forward-thinking, human-centred technology company, which is reflected in its new branding.
The steward of the brand, Mastercard’s chief marketing and communications officer Raj Rajamannar, is driving the change in order to leverage the company’s vast experience in the card payments market, and push forward the process of product and service innovation to ensure the brand has staying power in a market where change is happening faster than ever before.
The rebrand Rajamannar is introducing will be incorporated into all Mastercard products and communications, and it is a simple, clear and modern design that has been optimised for today’s digital market. It builds on Mastercard’s unparalleled brand equity to drive meaningful change in a business where competitors and disrupters are coming to market with innovative digital products.
Helping SMEs to launch their own cards
In addition to the launch of the new Mastercard brand, in the SME space the company is helping card issuers to launch their own cards by scheduling launch events, which have been held in the US and Europe.
“For an issuer in Spain, we invited small business customers to come and do an elevator pitch to a panel of industry experts, and we actually build a real elevator where people can step in and actually do an elevator pitch of 60 seconds on their company’s value proposition and what they are trying to achieve,” says Dick Paul, head of SME products Europe at Mastercard. “The winner can get a cheque that could help them to get their business off the ground.
The concept is then developed by Mastercard; we can bring it to an issuer; we can co-sponsor it together with an issuer and make a lot of positive communication around such a launch event. So, we leverage that on several different social-media channels as well, and it’s just something that creates a bit of a difference rather than just receiving a letter through your mailbox to say that there is a new card.”