Many times when I shop and “dip” a global network branded EMV card into a merchant terminal, the card will sit there until a hideous alarm goes off letting me know that I need to turn my attention back to the POS terminal and retrieve my card. Mastercard seeks to change that with a new set of chimes that will sound, not just at the physical POS but also for online, mobile and of course voice activated purchases.
Add “Sonic Brand” and “Sonic Architecture” to your vocabulary
This Mastercard melody is all a part of their multi-year long effort to refresh the Mastercard brand which also recently saw the global network drop their name entirely from their visual brand logo:
- You can hear what the Mastercard melody sounds like here.
- The tones will come in different versions to be meaningful in different locations such as a unique version for coffee shops and also different tones for various geographic locations.
- The idea of a sound cue is not new, (think of the three tones representing NBC) but gaining traction with voice-activated devices.
- Mastercard has endeavored to make their sonic brand pleasant and soothing as you spend your hard earned dollars.
- Visa debuted their two-toned transaction chirp last year. You can hear that here.
This trend could be a boon for ad agencies
AdWeek had plenty to say about Mastercard’s move into sonic branding:
Just one month after Mastercard refreshed its logo (and announced a shift away from using the brand name), the company has more brand identity news. Today, it released its own sonic branding—a new sound that will help consumers recognize the brand when they make purchases with their Mastercard or when they see an ad for the brand on TV.
“Just as people all over the world recognize our red and yellow circles, they will now come to associate our unique sound as Mastercard every time they hear it,” said Mastercard’s chief marketing and communications officer Raja Rajamannar.
After working with a wide group of people for inspiration, Mastercard’s in-house StoryLab got to work creating all the assets for the sonic identity. Last month, to announce the new logo, Mastercard rolled out its first wordless press release. To top that, the brand produced its first “Audio News Update,” sort of like an audio press release, to share the news.
As payments take a back seat to the user experience and as transaction occur through devices that are not card based and don’t carry a brand, sound cues could be important to retaining brand relevance. These sonic brands are going to need to be common and heard with every transaction for it to become embedded in our payment habits.
Overview by Sarah Grotta, Director, Debit and Alternative Products Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group