- Mastercard is removing its name from its logo in select contexts and using its classic interlocking red and yellow circles to represent the brand, the company announced in a news release on Monday (Jan. 7).
- The Mastercard "symbol" will be used alone at physical and digital retailers and in major sponsorship opportunities. The shift is part of the brand's evolution, allowing it to expand its business beyond cards, The Wall Street Journal reports.
- The company conducted more than 20 months of global research to determine whether consumers could identify the logo without the text, according to the Journal. More than 80% of people recognized the symbol without the brand name.
The red and yellow interlocking circles have been Mastercard's trademark since it was founded in 1966, and now the financial company is banking on its logo being iconic enough to solely represent the brand in the digital age. The brand says the new logo stands out better on digital platforms.
Mastercard is also tapping into consumers' growing use of symbols, emoji and other imagery in their everyday communication. The symbol-only approach could help Mastercard connect with younger consumers, who frequently use digital platforms, emoji and GIFs to communicate with friends, family and businesses. About 36% of millennials who use "visual expressions" like emoji and GIFs say the images better communicate their feelings than words, Time reported, citing a Harris Poll and Tenor study.
Mastercard joins several other brands known for their standalone symbol, including Apple, Nike and Target. Going "logo only" is a risky move for most brands, but Mastercard's nearly two-year research on the topic revealing that a great majority of consumers recognized the symbol without the brand name suggests that the change will be less risky.
The move is part of Mastercard's efforts to downplay the "card" part of its brand name, as the company evolves its offerings beyond cards and into new payment methods and financial technology. Credit cards remain the primary payment method in the U.S., but the use of mobile payments is on the rise. About 25% of smartphone users were expected to use mobile payments for point-of-sale transactions in 2018, a 14.5% increase from 2017, according to eMarketer and Accenture research. Twenty-three percent of consumers said they would give up their mobile banking app for an all-in-one digital wallet out of convenience, signaling why Mastercard is working to grow its brand image beyond credit cards.
Dropping the name from its logo follows another rebrand by Mastercard to modernize its look. In 2016, Mastercard unveiled a simplified version of its logo, with a more modern font and the brand name placed underneath the overlapping circles. The redesign was also based on optimizing its appearance for digital platforms.