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The Fragrance Factor of Mastercard's Multisensory Brand Strategy

October 22, 2021 Kelly Kovack
October 22, 2021

Fragrance marks the latest evolution in Mastercard's multisensory brand strategy. Visual cues are a crucial element to building brand recognition, but our other senses are often forgotten in the process of establishing brand codes. In a world where consumers are visually bombarded, the power to articulate a brand using the other four senses can be a powerful differentiator that cuts through the clutter capturing a consumer’s attention.

If you think a Mastercard fragrance launch is a marketing gimmick for some quick social media fodder reminiscent of Burger King's Flame-Grilled fragrance, you'd be wrong. Marketing innovator Raja Rajamannar, Mastercard Chief Marketing and Communications Officer and President of Healthcare, believes multisensory marketing is the future of defining a brand's character by establishing a multidimensional identity that differentiates it from the competition.

To that end, he has been operating against a hyper-personalized future of multisensory marketing full of immersive experiences that authentically engage consumers' five senses. This latest iteration of Rajamannar's transformative brand strategy is the launch of dual fragrances into one unique collection created in partnership with Firmenich. Both scents in the red and yellow, Mastercard's iconic brand colors, express passion and optimism—embodying some of the most exquisite ingredients in the world of perfumery.

"Science has shown that fragrance has the ability to evoke powerful emotional connections and with Priceless [the Mastercard fragrance], we hope to provide an uplifting, immersive and unforgettable experience to consumers," Rajamannar said.

The extraordinary volume of advertising clutter, combined with the shrinking attention span of consumers, has created a perfect storm for brands, forcing them to find new and innovative ways to capture people's attention and engage them. Mastercard has pioneered multisensory marketing by engaging consumers through multiple doors of perception, cultivating stronger connections, and distinguishing the brand. The fragrances follow Mastercard's introduction as a symbol-only brand mark (sight) and sonic brand (sound). The company has also added taste to its brand positioning with two original macaron flavors with Ladurée and the launch of its restaurants (taste).

“Firmenich is thrilled to be a part of this novel sensorial approach to capturing and maintaining consumer attention," says Théo E. Spilka, Global Vice President, Strategic Licensing & Business Development at Firmenich. "We at Firmenich are passionate about creating positive emotions and improving wellbeing, while preserving the planet! What our two talented perfumers Dora Baghriche and Marie Salamagne have achieved in creating two scents that are comparable with one another is remarkable; as this is symbolically in parallel to our company values on diversity and inclusion."

Mastercard previewed the fragrance at Fashion Group International's Night of Stars celebration. The rest of us will need to wait until next year.

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