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March 14, 2018

86: Raja Rajamannar and the evolution of Mastercard’s “Priceless” campaign

This week on “Marketing Today,” Alan talks with Raja Rajamannar, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer and President, Healthcare Business at Mastercard. Rajamannar started his career at Asian Paints before moving over to the payment industry, holding numerous positions with Citi as well as two years spent as chairman and CEO of Diners Club of North America. He then spent time in the health care industry at Humana and WellPoint before assuming his current role at Mastercard.

Rajamannar and Alan spend a great deal of time discussing the incredible 20-year run and global impact of Mastercard’s “Priceless” campaign, which has cut across cultures, manifesting itself in 58 languages and 110 countries. Most recently, Rajamannar and his team shifted the focus of the campaign with its new iteration, “Start Something Priceless,” which launched at this year’s Grammy Awards.

Rajamannar also talks about the importance of brands being socially aware and standing for something at a time when consumers aren’t looking to simply buy something but to buy from a brand that shares their values and that they believe in. “Brands will now start becoming more and more socially aware, socially conscious, and try to do something good for society,” says Rajamannar. “Because that’s an expectation from consumers. It’s not only because it’s a good thing to do, it’s what consumers are demanding of their brands.”

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today” podcast include:

  • Rajamannar talks about his background and the career path that led him to Mastercard. ([1:47])
  • Tracing the creation and evolution of Mastercard’s “Priceless” campaign. ([5:34])
  • Tapping into a new cultural truth: Mastercard’s decision to move from enabling “Priceless” moments to inspiring “Priceless” movements. ([12:06])
  • “Start Something Priceless” launches at the Grammy Awards. ([13:26])
  • World Food Programme and Stand Up To Cancer: Rajamannar discusses the philanthropy of Mastercard’s Priceless Causes. ([22:16])
  • “It’s not a passing trend.” — Rajamannar addresses the escalating use of ad-blocking technology. ([25:28])
  • Rajamannar offers his advice for marketers stepping into a CMO role. ([28:50])
  • Marketers need to understand both creativity and analytics. ([35:38])
  • “At the end of the day, the market reality happens where the rubber meets the road, which is where sales happen.” ([41:00])

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