Mastercard, the payments company, believes that effective sonic branding can help enhance brand attributes such as differentiation, image, identity and emotional connectivity with consumers.
Greg Boosin, executive vice president, global business-to-business and product marketing at Mastercard, discussed this subject at the 2020 Association of National Advertisers (ANA) State of Audio online conference.
“Sonic branding creates brand recall and solidifies a new element of your branding into your repertoire,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: How Mastercard is developing a multi-sensory brand – from sight and sound to taste.)
“Sonic brands [appeal] directly to your subconscious and they do that through logos, music tracks, live music events, phone sounds and computer sounds … If you’re not thinking about this, you ought to be.”
Mastercard conducted two years of research into how its brand might be translated into the audio realm, and worked with artists, composers, musicologists and agencies. It introduced the results last year.
Boosin was careful to distinguish audible identity from any simple tune, such as an old-time jingle, or even a sound logo that keeps popping up in a variety of media settings.
The audio future, he explained, rests on a sonic operating system anchored in chords that, over the years, have become a familiar anthem for the brand.
And that initial tonal construct is at the heart of a sonic DNA built around core brand melodies that are specific to time and place but are also clearly tied back to the brand.
According to Boosin, the audio identity was designed “to make the brand clearly recognizable at all consumer touchpoints, while offering the highest degree of creative flexibility when creating new music and sound assets.”
For instance, there’s an acceptance sound that resonates at the point of sale. There are also cinematic, operatic and localized (think Bogota or Mumbai) audio IDs for Mastercard.
Stretching the basic anthem into a content play, the financial-services enterprise also used the 2020 Grammy Awards to introduce “Merry Go Round”, the first song on a music album by Swedish artist Nadine Randle.
Through the strategic use of sonic messaging, “All of our brands can strengthen their differentiation, their image, their identity and, most importantly, their emotional connection and sense of belonging among consumers,” Boosin said.