Visa Engages the Senses With Sonic Branding


Have you heard the sound of Visa? Soon you will, as the brand is rolling out sensory elements including sound, animation and haptic (vibration) cues to signify a completed transaction in digital and retail environments.

The multisensory Visa branding will debut in its global advertising campaign ahead of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. The goal is to appeal to the emotions and the senses, so customers can see, hear and feel the Visa brand as they make payments across platforms and touchpoints, particularly mobile.

“For 60 years, the Visa brand has been a global symbol of innovation, speed, trust and security,” stated Visa CMO Lynne Biggar. “As payments become increasingly embedded in commerce, the notion of ‘Everywhere You Want To Be’ takes on even greater meaning for our brand. As new payment experiences continue to take shape in the world, this suite of sensory branding elements will give consumers the assurances we know they want every time they use Visa.”

Consumer research by Visa on the value of sensory branding found that:

· 83% said the sound or animation cues positively impacted their perception of the Visa brand
· 81% said they would have a more positive perception of merchants who used either the sound or animation cues
· Less than a second in length, the sound of Visa was found to signal speed and convenience
· The effectiveness of haptic technology in advertising has been shown to incite feelings of “happiness” and “excitement” during exposure among consumers.

Visa spent more than a year developing a less-than-a-second sound to signal “speed and convenience.” The audio mark will be accompanied by a unique vibration and animation added to its logo.

The process of developing a sonic brand involved “neuro-research” and spanned eight markets with focus groups and the culling of 200 different sounds, eliminating one that sounded “angry,” and several that elicited “visceral reactions.”

The final two contenders “fit the criteria of being energetic and optimistic and not overly intrusive,” said Biggar to the Wall Street Journal. “We wanted to make sure we had the global view. Not just four-to-five uninformed people deciding which sound won the popularity contest. You’d be surprised by how excited and how competitive or opinionated we all can be about very short sounds.”

As Neuromarketing notes, “In today’s day and age, the most successful brands are the ones that deliver feelings and emotions. By stimulating senses (like sight, hearing, taste), emotions will be delivered and learning will be stimulated. This is very effective, because our senses are directly linked to the limbic part of our brain that is responsible for memories, feelings, pleasure and emotions.

“When a brand tickles multiple senses, we will experience the brand more profoundly and connect with it on a deeper emotional level. Sensory branding is a type of marketing that appeals to all the senses in relation to the brand.”

Visa payment

In an ever-expanding universe of connected, payments-enabled devices, a strong brand that’s instantly recognizable reassures customers of safety and security.

A study commissioned by Visa showed that about 71% of respondents thought a website was secure when the Visa logo was visible, leading to a higher likelihood to complete a transaction. In today’s digital world filled with connected wearable devices, sensory branding elements aim to evoke those emotions even where the traditional Visa logo is not visible.

An early form of sound marketing is jingles, used in the U.S. as early as the 1920s and the first network jingle was created in the 1940’s – “Pepsi-Cola Hits the Spot” – placed in millions of jukeboxes nationwide.

Coca-Cola, meanwhile, has its own audio signature that it embeds in its messaging along with bespoke “pop and pour” and “lift off cap” audio tracks. Its 2010 World Cup anthem, “Wavin’ Flag” by K’naan, included its sonic logo, also featured in this year’s “Taste the Feeling” global campaign.

Now it’s Visa’s turn to embrace multisensory branding that brings its brand to life across the senses. VisaNet, Visa’s brand’s global processing network is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second – prime turf for sensory enhancement at the speed of sound.

Visa’s sensory branding will be available as a software development kit (SDK) on the Visa Developer Platform, and through the Visa Ready program in 2018, along with pilot programs with a national merchant and point-of-sale (POS) hardware vendors.

In an increasingly digital world powered by mobile payments, “Its another component of our strategy to evolve how our brand is presented to consumers. We all are becoming very responsive to the use of sound,” as Biggar told the Wall Street Journal.

Visa just turned up the volume on its mission to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network and reshape the future of commerce one haptic at a time.

This article first appeared in

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