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Mastercard CMO Raja Rajamannar discusses keeping ‘Priceless’ campaign fresh in face of ‘digital tsunami’

By Minda Smiley | Reporter

September 28, 2015 | 3 min read

Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing officer at Mastercard, said that the brand has been forced to evolve over the past few years in order to survive in the face of what he called a ‘digital tsuanami.’

Speaking at Advertising Week New York, Rajamannar said that the company’s brand positioning used to be focused around the idea that Mastercard is “the best way to pay.”

Yet he said that consumer emotions drops when a consumer has to make a payment.

“Why do we want to associate ourselves at the lowest point of the cycle?” he said.

Over the past few years, he has helped lead the brand in a new direction that is based off of one central insight – that experiences matter more to people than things.

“To some of you that might be self-evident and quite a cliché and to some of you it might be a questionable hypothesis,” he said.

Building off of its long-running ‘Priceless’ campaign, the brand has introduced new elements over the past few years like ‘Priceless Surprises’ and ‘Priceless Cities’ that help MasterCard engage with consumers by surprising them with a number of different experiences than span sports, music, and entertainment.

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“They can be small surprises, like digital downloads of songs, or they can be once in a lifetime experiences on the other end of the spectrum,” he said, like being featured onstage in a Broadway play.

He added that even though the company is doing well – he cited the fact that its stock has multiplied five times over the past five years – the brand has had to find new ways to keep up with an always-on, targetable, highly engaged audience.

“We really have to look at ourselves and say, ‘how are we going to operate in this new space?’” he said.

According to Rajamannar, both the brand side and business side of MasterCard have seen tremendous momentum following the new positioning.

He was speaking at a panel titled ‘How Legacy Brands Become Pioneers in the Digital Economy.’

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