Customer experience plays a huge part in the consumer marketing industry and consumer brands such as Mastercard believe in the power of multisensory marketing when it comes to enriching customer experience in Asia. “People are looking for experience, we can see their desire to connect with nature and passion for culinary experience being Asian customers’ first love,” Julie Nestor, senior vice president, head of marketing and communications for APAC, Mastercard (pictured second right) told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE in an interview.
Mastercard recently partnered with homegrown culinary group LUBUDS that will see the two companies co-creating tantalising offerings for diners as Hong Kong’s economic recovery gathers pace, putting its world-class culinary reputation back on the map.
At an exclusive launch event held on the “LUBUDS ON THE SEA” boathouse overlooking Victoria Harbour, executives from the two companies explained that they’ve formed an alliance based on their shared commitment to providing unparalleled, immersive customer experiences that captivate the senses, and both companies are also equally committed to using all of the tools at their disposal to support Hong Kong’s economic and cultural recovery.
Explaining further, Nestor said Mastercard sees the potential of Hong Kong being one of the best culinary destinations, "Hong Kong got a great reputation of being a culinary destination, we want to be in the space so we could be more impactful. The first step to this is to find a great partnership, then we could expand further in the region," she said.
Upon selecting LUBUDS as its exclusive partner, Nestor praised its massive footprint in Hong Kong as well as the group’s demonstration of its willingness to do different things with Mastercard, “Everything we suggest including turning a yacht into an event space, inviting chef Ken to providing on-site cooking experience for media, and how it embraces multisensory experiences...LUBUDS is willing to make things more than just a discount, and it is willing to find more memorable experiences for people,” she added.
The Mastercard X LUBUDS partnership is the latest extension of the company’s priceless campaign which has transformed into a multisensory marketing strategy over the past 25 years, according to Nestor. For example, Mastercard introduced two custom fragrances namely Priceless Passion and Priceless Optimism back in 2021 as part of the company’s multisensory branding strategy. Last year, Mastercard also collaborated with Spotify to launch its exclusive Priceless playlist. Each song incorporates the recognisable melody of Mastercard’s brand sound.
This time, the partnership hopes to build authentic customer experience through “Taste” in Asia, “One thing that had been a bit missing in Asia is how we provide multisensory experiences through taste, rather than just sponsoring a food festival, we want to do something that is a bit more entrenched. So picking a partner is step one, then identifying some of the experiences that can be put into a restaurant is step two,” she said.
With the launch of this partnership, we look forward to actively connecting people to their passion for good food and to each other.
The first phase of the partnership starts with different discounts and promotions to offer memorable experiences for Mastercard users at LUBUDS restaurants, said Nestor. "Today is day one...we just wanna say 'hey, we are partners' and we will be keep rolling out some plans right throughout the year. Also LUBUDS is launching more restaurants too, he's always thinking what else he can do, what can be really priceless in these restaurants. I would say this is something long term and we will continue to find and bring new exciting experiences to customers," she said.
Moving on, more multisensory experiences will be introduced, said Nestor. “At this point our marketing is more about experience than just about discount or promotion, we will potentially look to see how the Mastercard multisensory strategy can be integrated into those restaurants. There will always be preferential benefits for customers for some of the restaurants, we plan to activate that throughout the year whether it’s discount, a special moment for guests, fragrance, or our playlist,” Nestor added.
The initiative was also built on Nestor’s observations on the major shift in customer behaviours when entering the post-pandemic era. "It's about how consumers went through the crazy situation, we have no choice, and the pandemic created a lot of anxiety. Coming out of that, anxiety can be turned to empowerment, we want to spend more, and we become intentional about things we want to do, much more 'me-focused'...Consumers want to connect with nature and have a more real holiday, they are willing to spend a lot of money due to excess savings that haven't been used in the pandemic," she explained.
In terms of retaining customers through its multisensory marketing strategies, Nestor said that the company will move towards implementing loyalty programmes to enhance customer loyalty given that integrating digital and loyalty is one of the biggest trends in Hong Kong marketing world.
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