The Change-Maker: 5 Questions With Visa CMO Lynne Biggar

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Visa Future of Payments

Visa today marked the launch of the newly-incorporated Visa Foundation, which was announced in April and its latest corporate responsibility report as part of the brand’s larger social impact strategy to prioritize the growth of micro and small enterprises around the world and enabling individuals, businesses, and economies to thrive. To mark its inception, the Visa Foundation is making its first financial commitment of up to $20 million over five years to Women’s World Banking.

“As a brand and a business, Visa has always stood for making a positive and transformational impact on the world,” stated Visa CEO Al Kelly. “The Visa Foundation has been established to build on a long history of corporate giving and will accelerate the delivery of our social impact goals. Our intention is to establish a legacy of meaningful contributions by helping millions of microenterprises thrive.”

Lynne Biggar headshotLynne Biggar, Visa Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, discussed the new Visa Foundation and more in a conversation with Interbrand New York Managing Director Daniel Binns at the 2017 Interbrand Best Global Brands event in New York.

They discussed how Visa is transforming payments, philanthropy and leadership—and much more. “Visa, inherently, is a technology company,” Biggar commented about how innovative technologies and initiatives are creating value for customers and merchants alike. In addition to social impact, they discussed Visa’s revitalized mission as a purpose-driven company, the future of payments, developing new leaders and how Visa is attracting and retaining top talent in a competitive marketplace.

Watch their conversation (and read the transcript) below and click here to see more interviews from Interbrand’s 2017 Best Global Brands event, which celebrated Visa and 99 other brands comprising the world’s most valuable brands this year.

Daniel Binns: So we’re here talking about growth, and all the growth that is happening in a complex and changing world. What are you excited about in terms of the potential for growth, or the things that Visa has been doing to drive growth in the last year?

Lynne Biggar: We just feel like we are in such a fortunate position in the industry, in the space that we’re in. It’s incredibly dynamic, changing every day, and really, the opportunity for us is to migrate the multi-trillions of dollars worth of cash and check spending that is not electronic payments to electronic payments which are more secure, faster, have more record-keeping for merchants and assurers and consumers as well. That’s what we’re really focused on—nabbing all those pieces of the pie that are not yet on our network.

DB: So surfing the wave of the cashless society. There’s a lot of change in how people are having to adapt to that. Are there certain things you’re doing internally to try to make sure that you’re keeping pace with consumer needs and how they’re thinking, and anticipating what they’re going to need in the future?

LB: Visa, inherently, is a technology company. We run the largest global payments network in the world. Our mission is to, through that network, enable individuals, economies and businesses to thrive, and that’s what we are focused on doing. So all of the product development we do, all of the thinking we do around our marketing communications is really focused on enabling us to deliver on that mission.

We recently, within the last two years, have opened our network and have a bunch of open APIs so that we can have a developer platform. We do an incredible amount of co-creation with our merchant partners and other partners as well in our nine innovation centers around the world. And we are constantly thinking about the consumer value for Visa.

Visa open API developer

This is an incredibly local business. Even though Visa is a powerful global brand, the way consumers think about paying is different in France than it is in Germany. Even though they have a border in common, those are two very different places. So we have to be very global in our approach from a brand perspective, but also think incredibly locally about what the opportunities are in each market.

Visa Checkout

DB: It’s interesting that you say you’re a technology company. One of the great challenges of being a technology company is attracting and retaining great people. Are there things that you’re doing to get people excited about being in the Visa brand and what it means to live that from within the organization?

LB: I’d say several things. We’ve really elevated our game on our purpose and our mission, and the mission that I just articulated to you is new to us. We rethought it earlier this year to enable us to feel like we were more actively a purpose-driven company. We launched the Visa Foundation in the last year and are just actually in the process and will shortly be announcing some new ways we’re thinking about all of our social impact platforms.

We just launched a significant leadership effort within Visa with a set of new leadership principles and a whole bunch of tools and capabilities to enable all of the 15,000 folks at Visa to be leaders. We have a saying that at Visa, everyone is a leader. So there’s a lot that we’re doing to make it a really attractive place to be and to retain top talent, and it’s working.

DB: What are some of the technologies that you’re most excited about?

LB: The way that we are going to interact with payments in 10 years to 15 years in the developed markets is going to be incredibly different than we do today. We’ll be paying for pizza in our cars as we ride home, we’ll already have enabled payments in our car, we’ll be reordering groceries we need from the refrigerator, we will be paying with our FitBits and retina scans and lots of different things. It’s such an exciting time to be in this space and Visa is well ahead of the curve in terms of driving and being on the leading edge of some of those transformations.

DB: People are now pre-assigning the payment method in advance of a transaction. What are you doing to involve the brands to ensure that people are choosing Visa?

LB: It’s the classic consumer decision journey conundrum, where you think about where the decisions are made and the consideration set is. The decision journey in the U.S. is different than other markets. We are experimenting with our brand in lots of different ways, obviously partnering very closely with a lot of the IoT players who are enabling moving in that direction. We have a partnership with IBM Watson that is really starting to take hold.

We are also thinking about our brand in different ways. Think about vibration, sound, animation and other ways beyond a static logo that you see. You’ll also see when you see some of our marketing and communications and advertising that will start to emerge over the next many months a little bit of a different Visa.

Get more insights in our Q&A series and suggest a Q&A via editor@brandchannel.com.

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