How your Company’s Credit Card can Strengthen your Brand Identity

Branding a corporate or personal identity has no hard-and-fast rules. That is to say, you never know what slogan, logo or ditty will catch public interest. And you never really know in advance what marketing route will be the most successful. In fact, branding can be done in almost any way you imagine, as long as you keep a consistent message and get your name out there. There are probably thousands of ways to promote brand identity. But one that is quite persuasive and very popular today is gaining exposure through the use of credit cards, rewards-points cards, and pre-paid cards.

In the past, companies only had their own credit cards if they were large enterprises and had consistent numbers of customers, typically department stores who saw millions of people yearly in their stores. Then MasterCard® and VISA® created their own general cards that could be used all over. Credit Card ImageBanks jumped on this strategy and now, every bank has a MC or Visa with their name and logo all over the card. As the banks’ exposure became more powerful through their branded credit cards, companies like Capital One® and MBNA emerged. And when that happened, it became much easier for other companies to brand their own cards whether they were conglomerates or small businesses. (As a side note, MBNA is the largest supplier of credit card co-branding in the US and Canada.)

Today, department stores have merged their cards with other companies. For example, customers can opt for a plain Sears Card® to be used only at Sears stores, or a Sears® MasterCard® issued by Chase™, that can be used anywhere in the world MC is accepted. Think of the exposure that Sears now has because its card can be used almost everywhere. On top of that, customers rack-up points which are redeemable for goods at the store. So when customers purchase, they are thinking about what they can buy with their rewards. Branding with credit cards coupled with reward systems reinforces the businesses’ names to consumers. The cards are always in their wallets just waiting to promote the various brands.

Even for businesses that are not so large and may not have customers that purchase regularly like at grocery and department stores, they too, can strengthen their brands through credit cards. Credit card companies have set up a mechanism where once their brands are in the system, potential credit card customers can choose which brand they want to carry as their credit card. An excellent example of this strategy is universities. They promote their brands to their alumni and encourage them to apply for credit cards with their names and logos on the face of the cards. Smaller businesses can do the same. Customers are not necessarily shopping at the company or charitable organization represented, but they are promoting the brands, nonetheless.

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