How brands like Mastercard are using music and sound to build brand identity

How brands like Mastercard are using music and sound to build brand identity

Amongst the chaos and uncertainty of COVID-19, people around the world are being brought together by the enormous power of music and sound. This is a medium that has the unique ability to calm, unite and connect us, in a way that nothing else really can.

From the UK’s Clap for Carers, to Italians singing from balconies and Spanish serenading their neighbours with guitars, we have seen just how powerful music can be to bring communities together and to evoke emotional connectivity.

According to American musician Billy Joel, music is “an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.”

Music and brands

In the business of brand building, sound has become a prominent player, propelled by the rise of voice, Alexa, connected tech and the reality that consumers are turning ads off. Across industries, marketers are being forced to find their audiences in new places; the places our ears can reach but our eyes can’t always see.

Furthermore, with our attention as an audience split across numerous channels and platforms, the medium of sound has never been more important for brands to carve out their identity.

There are a number of brands notably leading the charge by investing in their sonic identity. Take Mastercard, which last year went so far as to release their very own brand ‘taste’, which followed the launch of their audio identity, designed to be a powerful auditory identifier in the experience economy.

Retailers and travel companies are also obvious sectors where sound plays a significant role, from traditional marketing and media platforms (print, online and digital, TV and radio) right the way through to physical touchpoints, whether in-store, on-board, or through live activations and pop-ups.

The opportunity for brands

In an increasingly competitive market, brands across all industries must put sound at the centre of their marketing strategy in order to build lasting relationships and emotional connectivity with customers.

Moreover, in times of crises, such as today’s global pandemic, there is a real opportunity for brands to use music in a way to connect with their customers, particularly when they are less able to sell products or services.

Take O2, or Barclays, for example, both brands with a strong connection to music in their support of live events and festivals. Wouldn’t it make good marketing sense for brands like these to utilise music and sound in order to connect with - and add value to - the lives of their customers as they deal with the impact of coronavirus?

There’s no denying this is a challenging time for all businesses, with sales and growth on the backburner for many. But they can still maintain a connection to customers, and music is one positive way in which they can do this. Put simply, brands that have permission to play in the music industry can – and should - do more.