CompanyOctober 5, 2022

Building a Team of Leonardo da Vincis with Mastercard CMO Raja Rajamannar

Chet Kapoor
Chet KapoorChairman & CEO
Building a Team of Leonardo da Vincis with Mastercard CMO Raja Rajamannar

How does a chemical engineer become one of the world’s most influential marketers? How does music play a role in marketing today? Does brand loyalty even exist anymore? Mastercard CMO Raja Rajamannar answers all of these questions with fascinating stories, anecdotes, and actionable insights on the Inspired Execution podcast

What makes a holistic marketer

Raja believes that a company’s true differentiation happens through marketing. While sales and products can be automated or replicated, marketing is about bringing together data, technology, and creativity to deliver unique and engaging experiences. But you need the right team of marketers to do this successfully.

“If you look at the brain, human beings tend to specialize either in the right brain or the left. The right addresses more of the creative, unstructured, innovative kind of thinking. And the other side is data and technology, the numbers, the quantitative stuff,” Raja explained. “Today, if you are either one of these, you are a semi-formed marketer. The holistic marketer has a balance.”

Realistically, you’re never going to find a candidate who is perfect at everything, but there are people out there who are really awesome at a few things. The goal is to find these people, bring their strengths together on a small and scrappy team, and enable them to deliver innovative outcomes. 

“What I'm trying to do is to create an ecosystem or a whole department that functions like Leonardo da Vinci,” Raja said.

Creating a Mastercard-branded album 

Sound has been used as a marketing tool for a long time, and for good reason. When you hear the familiar jingle of “I’m lovin’ it” or “Like a good neighbor…”, you almost immediately know what brand is associated. Some companies have taken it further than a simple jingle. For example, Intel has used an auditory mnemonic at the end of their advertisements. British Airways has a complete melody that they play during every flight, and United Airlines has co-opted Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.”

As Raja delved into the science behind sound and how it impacts emotions, he came up with a brilliant idea to take Mastercard’s brand identity to the next level: creating an entire album called Priceless

“There are ten songs, and each one has the Mastercard melody clearly recognizable. But each of the ten songs are distinctly different from each other,” he said.  

Released earlier this year in collaboration with well-known music composers and producers and up-and-coming artists, the album has seen impressive success across multiple geographies. One song even topped the charts in Latin America. 

The success of Mastercard’s Priceless album demonstrates the impact music has on consumers all over the world. As audio marketing keeps growing, Raja says all enterprises should be thinking about “sonic branding” as part of their strategy.

Listen to the episode

Tune in to Inspired Execution to learn how Raja has influenced large enterprises across the globe with innovative marketing strategies, what “quantum marketing” means, how the meaning of brand loyalty is changing, and so much more. Next time, we have Sagnik Nandy (Okta CTO) on the podcast for an awesome conversation. 

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