He said, “Against the digital transformation landscape and changing consumer behavior, Mastercard believes … it is time to put consumers at the center of our efforts; it’s time to be great story-makers.” Time out. Creating products/technologies that change lives for the better. “We’ve moved our brand promise from being the ‘best way to pay’ to ‘connecting people to Priceless possibilities.’” That’s a big idea. Here’s the backstory: About four years ago, Mastercard developed a strategic framework – called “Marketing 4.0” – which recognized just how important “connections” had become and realized that the Priceless campaign should not be limited to traditional advertising. Rajamannar explained, “Over the years, marketers have used various techniques to relate with consumers. In Marketing 2.0, the era of emotion, we saw brands like Coca-Cola appealing to emotions with their ‘open happiness’ campaign, and of course our own Priceless campaign, which was founded in the insight that ‘experiences matter more than things.’ Amazon stands out in the era of Marketing 3.0, where extensive data and intensive data analytics drive marketing. And now in Marketing 4.0 – it is the new era of connections. To celebrate their sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League in advance of the 2015 Final in Berlin, MasterCard arranged this Priceless Surprise to thank the passion of football fans … but also the fans behind those fans. For example, here’s what the Priceless Causes program has done for the World Food Program. Also, Priceless Cities is a global MasterCard program designed to enable MasterCard cardholders to live unique experiences and receive benefits that add value to their lives.
One of the must-attend sessions at Advertising Week this year was “Storytelling Is Dead.” It was billed as a seminar by Raja Rajamannar, the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer of Mastercard, but I was expecting a wake. Hey, storytelling has been very, very good for me so, I wasn’t really looking forward to hearing some guy from a credit card company tell me that “Mastercard believes we need to stop being great storytellers.” But, boy, was I wrong.
How To Break Through to Your Customers
Rajamannar defines “storytelling” as talking at consumers. And, since the “Mad Men” era, brands have used advertising to broadcast their stories at a large audience of consumers. But, it’s stopped working. He told the audience of advertisers in the Liberty Theatre, “Latest reports state that there are over 600 million devices running ad block software, and the message from consumers is clear: Stop interrupting me – I don’t want to see your ads. At the same time, consumers are constantly connected and literally have the power to make or break a brand at their fingertips. So how do you break through and engage with consumers?”
Good question. And Rajamannar had a good answer. He said, “Against the digital transformation landscape and changing consumer behavior, Mastercard believes … it is time to put consumers at the center of our efforts; it’s time to be great story-makers.”
Time out. Aren’t “story-makers” the same Mad Men (and women) that we used to call “storytellers”? Doesn’t Mastercard still have McCann-Erickson as its agency of record? Is this just a new variation on “the King is dead; long live the King” expression that the British have been using for centuries?
No, this is a much bigger idea. Rajamannar said “story-making” is the combination of “art, science, and necessity” that was developed as a response to a “society where the pace of technology and information exchange only continues to speed up; and where consumers only allow brands a few mere moments to make or break a relationship.”
Consumers Value Experiences Over Things
Rajamannar explained, “Studies show and retail sales data supports that today, consumers value experiences over things. Mastercard’s Priceless campaign – now in its 20th year – was founded on the insight that experiences matter more than things, but the way it is executed today is much different. Mastercard has evolved its Priceless strategy from a single traditional advertising campaign to a holistic experiential-led marketing platform.” Now, I know what you’re thinking: “What the heck is a holistic experiential-led marketing platform?” Here’s Rajamannar’s definition: “Mastercard is transforming into an experiential brand by doing 3 things:
- Focusing on consumers’ passions,
- Building experiential platforms.
- Creating products/technologies that change lives for the better.
“We’ve moved our brand promise from being…