Magazine article American Banker

New Brand Chief Focused on Keeping Visa a Pioneer

Magazine article American Banker

New Brand Chief Focused on Keeping Visa a Pioneer

Article excerpt

Visa International's creation of a new branding position signals its heightened priority on prized marketing partnerships and sponsorships, including the Olympic Games and Walt Disney Co.

A Visa spokesman said Malcolm Williamson, the chief executive officer and president of Visa International, is committed to paying more attention to the global brand, "which needs to be refreshed from time to time." The creation of a head of global brand and marketing reflects that, he said.

Last week the parent bank card association, which operates separately from Visa U.S.A., announced that the position had gone to John Elkins, who left his job as the chairman and CEO of the FutureBrand Worldwide consulting firm in New York.

FutureBrand is a division of McCann-Erickson WorldGroup, which is in turn owned by the Interpublic Group of Cos. Inc. (McCann-Erickson's advertising division is responsible for MasterCard International's "Priceless" campaign.) Clients of FutureBrand, which Mr. Elkins founded 14 years ago, include American Express Co., Bank of America Corp., Deutsche Bank AG, and FleetBoston Financial Corp.

In an interview Wednesday, his second day on the job, Mr. Elkins declared Visa a pioneer in cobranding and called its agreements with such entities as the Olympics, Disney, Marriott International Inc., and the Rugby World Cup enviable. Where companies in other industries are just getting started in their search for suitable cobrands, Visa has held many choice relationships for years, he said. …

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