The ways in which people shop are changing, and that is bringing interesting challenges for brands. Commerce has become more digital and more mobile, bringing consumers higher levels of convenience, value and choice. Commerce is also becoming more integrated into other activities that people perform – you can now shop while you read the news, watch your favourite team play, and commute to work.
Digital payments are a key enabler to these new forms of buying, and we at Visa have been pioneering new ways in which to help consumers pay with in a fast, convenient and secure way. But as commerce, and consequently payments, become more integrated into digital and mobile devices, new challenges emerge from a branding perspective. Paying used to be a physical act of pulling your Visa card and dipping or tapping into the terminal, to then put the card back in your wallet. Performing those actions gave the consumer a tangible reassurance that the payment was handled with the best standards of security, privacy protection and confidence that Visa, the leader in the sector, could promise.
But what happens when the payment now happens with a tap of your phone, a wave of your wristwatch or wristband, or behind the scenes via the app of your favourite taxi service? What happens when you can now have your refrigerator order groceries directly to the supermarket (and pay for them with your stored Visa card)? How can consumers still get those reassuring signals that Visa was taking care of the payment in the secure and trusted way they expect?
At Visa we think that the answer is by adding sensory elements to our brand experience. Over the last two years, a team of experts in sensory branding have developed new sound, animation and haptic (vibration) cues that are designed to signify quick and secure transactions in digital and physical retail environments when you pay with Visa. For example the Visa sound is a less-than-a-second chime that signals speed and convenience, and was chosen over 200 alternatives as it better fit the criteria of being energetic and optimistic and not overly intrusive. Months of research across eight markets included neuro-research and helped study people’s physical reactions to the various sound options. People will hear the signature sound when they make a payment through a mobile device or at a cash register.
We will be showcasing some of these innovations at the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics, and they will be gradually rolled out globally. We believe that with these innovations, the Visa brand will remain prominent and help consumers as they navigate new digital and “internet of things” payment experiences. This is another component of our strategy to evolve how the Visa brand is presented to consumers, and one of the many ways in which we are working to ensure that the Visa brand mark is as prevalent in these new ways to pay as it has been in the old ways to pay.