How Mastercard Keeps Its Brand Fresh and Current

Jan 15, 2019

Mastercard has spent decades solidifying its brand as a reliable, trusted and convenient payment option for people around the globe. With all that trust and recognition, you’d think the company wouldn’t want to change a thing.

Mastercard Makes a Change

However, that’s exactly what Mastercard did early last week when it teamed up with design firm Pentagram to make a change to its visual identity. Specifically, the company dropped the Mastercard name from the company logo. The interlocking orange and red circles will now solely represent the brand on its cards, at retail locations and online.

It may seem like a relatively small move. It’s not. Messing with a logo can have repercussions for years  — just ask Gap. Mastercard did its homework, including two years of research to make sure people could still identify the brand without the name. It made the announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas – one of the year’s biggest tech trade shows.

The move follows the likes of Starbucks, Apple and other highly recognizable brands that have also decided to declutter their corporate look by adopting nameless logos. As the world becomes even more digitized, a modern, streamlined look typically plays best. As Mastercard CMO Raja Rajamannar put it, “reinvention in the digital age calls for modern simplicity.”

A Change In The Way We Pay

The new Mastercard logo also reflects a shift in the company’s messaging and core value prop. Fewer and fewer customers are using the “card” in Mastercard. Instead of identifying as a credit card company, Mastercard now refers to itself as a “technology company in the global payments industry.”

By evolving its brand from both a visual and messaging standpoint, Mastercard is better positioned as a global digital payments company. The update, and the big splash that came with it, show that Mastercard is changing with the times.

Long story short: Even the most established brand names are on a never-ending journey to reinvent themselves and stay relevant. A smart tweak to a logo or graphic identify can help companies adapt to changing customer expectations.

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