How Mastercard is utilising events to become an 'enabler' of experiences

Beatrice Cornacchia, head of consumer marketing Europe at Mastercard, delved into the brand's approach to events and experiences during a presentation at The View from The Shard this morning (1 March).

Mastercard enlisted Ellie Goulding to surprise two fans around the Brit Awards
Mastercard enlisted Ellie Goulding to surprise two fans around the Brit Awards

She began by explaining that live experiences are central to the brand’s marketing strategy. Cornacchia has hosted more than 150 events during her 25 years at Mastercard, and that’s only including those with 100 or more attendees.

"Digital has impacted on Mastercard’s marketing strategy, and events are extremely important for us," she said.

"Today’s consumer is much easier to reach but harder to engage, which offers a great opportunity for us to deliver even better events, so our consumers can live a priceless experience."

Cornacchia explained that the rise of digital has seen Mastercard strive to play a more active role in its customers' lives. "In the past, Mastercard observed experiences of the consumers; now we want to be an enabler of them."

The priceless campaign remains

Despite changes in technology, Mastercard’s now 18-year old Priceless campaign is still very much in use – in fact it now spans 112 countries and covers 53 languages. 

"It is our overall concept, however it has changed, as Mastercard has shifted from an observer to enabler," said Cornacchia.

She drew on Mastercard’s 'priceless surprises' concept, which sees the brand deliver what it hopes to be engaging consumer experiences.

Examples include an event featuring New Zealand rugby playeer Dan Carter, who was surprised by his first-ever rugby team, meanwhile Kylie Minogue shocked one of her biggest fans by visting his gym to deliver a one-off performance. The brand also hosted a gig with the singer in London in 2014, as part of the campaign.

More recently, Mastercard teamed up with Mark Ronson and Ellie Goulding to provide two consumer surprises around last week’s (24 February) Brit Awards.

"Mastercard observed, now we are creating. We are part of your priceless moment," said Cornacchia.

"Events need to be part of this priceless positioning, because we want to connect with the consumer."

She added that the brand plays across various sectors, from sport and ballet to food. "We have a lot of assets and we build an event around these. We try to reach the consumer according to their passion."

Digital strategy

Cornacchia also touched on five key pillars that underline the company's digital approach: 

  • Add value – enhance the social experience.
  • Make it emotive – engage the consumer on an emotional level through visual content such as images and videos.
  • Embrace tech – an integrated approach where mobile is key.
  • Be contextual – target the right consumer at the right time.
  • Invest for success – depending on consumption – Cornacchia said that Mastercard is now investing the majority of its budget in digital.

What’s next?

Cornacchia spoke of Mastercard’s branded restaurant in Milan, which popped up in the Italian city from May through to December last year. "The view was a surprise, it could not be seen unless you were in the restaurant," she said. "The chef cooked in front of diners, and they changed every four days."

The restaurant proved so popular that the brand is planning to replicate the concept in another city this year, and London will welcome the pop-up in 2017.

While Cornacchia remained tight lipped about the UK experience, she did hint at its location: "[It will be on] a roof in an iconic buiding on London." 

The brand will also have a presence at the upcoming Champions League final in Milan.

More: Mastercard to deliver digital experience session

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