Why colour, taste and sound are becoming “priceless” (Importance of Brand esSense #16)

As a strong proponent of sensory branding and the importance of building brand assets, I was excited to see Mastercard’s latest move in the evolution of their brand experience into taste.

Earlier this year the company dropped its name from its branding, relying on the two coloured circles of its long-standing logo. Following that, in February they announced a sonic logo (click here to listen), with a unique melody which they plan to use when customers interact with the brand in-store (point-of-sale and payment acceptance), online and eventually with voice assistants and other touch points.

The sound can be adapted for different situations and local contexts, with varying instruments, tempos and even musical styles. The company say that next year they plan to produce their own record based on this.

Their latest move is a campaign called “The First Taste of Priceless”, which introduces two bespoke macaron flavours designed to fit with the brand’s tagline and positioning. The sweets will be available at events sponsored by Mastercard and become part of internal company culture. This comes after launching a flagship restaurant in New York and a Bistro in Rome’s international airport.

The macarons are inspired by the company logo, with two flavours representing “passion” and “optimism”, based on custard apple (red) and yuzu (yellow), which are said to have a “tangy” taste. Let’s hope the taste complements the sonic logo and visual appearance of the brand, and I’m intrigued to know what they plan to do with the sense of touch!

These are interesting times in using the senses to create more meaningful brand experiences, a core mission at TapestryWorks, and I hope more brands plan to follow suit.


Brand esSense by Neil Gains (Kogan Page, 2013)

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