Master of the Cards: How Legacy Brand Mastercard has Led the Finance Category to Success

By Morgan Holt

Mastercard remains one of the most successful brands in the world and it shows no sign of slowing down. Mastercard continues to provide its customers with new opportunities and ambitions to live better. This article discusses Mastercard’s innovative initiatives that incorporate advanced technologies into financial services in today’s highly digitalised and competitive world.


Every year, the world’s most popular brands are placed on the respected BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brand list so we can all review how they are faring with the consumers of today’s world. Amazon topped the list for 2019, having invested in its services and offering to deliver a truly unique customer experience – read more on that here.1

But one of the most interesting listees was Mastercard. Pushing towards the top 10 as it ranks in position #12 globally across all categories, the brand enjoyed a 30% year-on-year increase in value on the global brand rankings. Building upon its strong 50-year heritage, Mastercard has developed a rich agility and stayed hyper-relevant across the globe.

Technology has redefined the financial category across the board, giving rise to new consumer expectations and challenger banks that claim to meet them. Considering the sheer pace and progression of life and business as we know it in the last decade alone, you might expect that a heritage brand like Mastercard would be disrupted. Yet, FITCH data has shown that Mastercard has been a significant agent of this change, making it a true success story – both as a brand in people’s lives and a provider of market leading financial services. How has Mastercard become such an icon?


A symbol of financial security and freedom

Such an icon, in fact, it doesn’t need its name anymore…you may have noticed the swathe of press earlier this year when Mastercard dropped its brand name2 from its famous yellow and orange disc logo and created a melody to accompany its marker instead.

At this point, we must acknowledge the true power of its distinctive brand design. Marketing mogul Mark Ritson’s point that ‘all brands have codes; graphical and symbolic devices that are associated with the company or product’3 is true. And the application of these codes should be spread throughout the marketing mix constantly to establish an identity people recognise and resonate with. For over five decades, Mastercard had done just that and so was in a great position to make such a bold move.

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About the Author

Morgan Holt is Chief Strategy Officer at global retail and brand consultancy FITCH and is responsible for growing the strategic capability of the company globally. With 400+ people and 9 offices FITCH enviable opportunity to design the future for clients as varied as LEGO and Lynk&Co.



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The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.