Marketing Game Changer 2022: Mastercard’s Beatrice Cornacchia

Senior vice-president, marketing and communications, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, Mastercard 

Years in current position: 5 

Years with current company: 31 

Size of department: 50+ 

Previous jobs
Vice-president, consumer marketing Europe, Mastercard 

Director of marketing, Italy and Greece, Mastercard 

Recent campaigns
Launch of the world’s first Touch Card 

‘Out of this world’ football game

Internal change management ­ programme to integrate 12 new markets into Mastercard’s EEMEA region

Expo 2020 Dubai sponsorship

What is your objective in your current role?

I wake up every morning to create opportunities that enable people to engage with and love the Mastercard brand. Both internally and externally – to foster mutual trust, loyalty and understanding with customers, consumers and our employees. 

Do you have a guiding principle?

Creativity is intelligence having fun. We base our content on real-world data and insights, which ensures that the creative elements relate directly to a specific need, desire or pain point. We never aim to sell; we aim to engage.

How do you make agency relationships work?

At Mastercard, we are one family, and we believe in partnership. That includes our agencies. This means mutual trust, healthy creative friction, and transparency. It is like any relationship, really – you need all these elements to make it work long-term. 

Who inspires you professionally?

Every human being. More specifically, my team. From the senior leaders to the most junior graduates, they show up every day with passion for excellence and for challenging the status quo. These are the people that have inspired me at Mastercard for the past 31 years. 

What is the biggest challenge in marketing at the moment?

It is fair to say that ever since 2020, the ways we’ve had to pivot, adjust content and address challenges have been unlike anything we have had to do before. The biggest challenge therefore is staying ahead of the pace of change. While media platforms and networks constantly tweak their ad offerings and functionality, user preferences also shift fast. Being agile and keeping up with this pace of change is what keeps us relevant. 

What can we expect to see from you and your brand in the next year?

To continue to connect everyone with Priceless possibilities. Next year, we celebrate a major milestone as we mark the 25th anniversary of Priceless. What was launched as a now iconic ad in 1997 has grown and evolved over more than two decades to become our brand DNA. It has become the manifestation of our company’s good intent and mission to promote inclusivity at scale around the world. I had the great privilege of being part of the team that created and launched Priceless, and I count it as one of the greatest highlights of my career to date.  

Recent achievements

2022 has been a significant year for Mastercard in our region on several fronts. This year, we expanded the region with the integration of 12 new markets, under new leadership and with a new global growth strategy. And we undertook this change-management programme under some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable, with the devastating invasion of Ukraine – a key part of our region. Despite these challenges, over the past year we have successfully continued to launch industry-leading campaigns and elevate the Mastercard brand among consumer as well as B2B audiences. As a result, the EEMEA region demonstrates some of the highest brand affection and media penetration scores for Mastercard globally, and we continue to grow as one team across the expanded region. 

Rapid fire

What are you working on?
Taking our dialogue with people to the next level.

Who are you following?
Simon Sinek and Samantha Cristoforetti.

What app are you glued to?
FT – from business to fashion and everything in between, it has it all.

What are you playing?
‘How to Fail’ with Elizabeth Day. 

What are you listening to?
All people who I trust and respect, but then I follow my instinct. 

What are you reading?
Invisible Woman by Caroline Criado Perez .

What are you watching?
The Morning Show on Apple TV.

Where are you travelling?
In any part of the word that has a story to tell.

Agency reference

Tarek Ali Ahmad, General manager, head of business leadership, FP7 McCann

My partnership with Bea goes back to late 2018. Although many things have happened during that period of time, a global pandemic for one, each year had its own beauty in terms of successful initiatives, brand recognition and more and more increase in brand affinity. 

On a brand level, against a backdrop of category and consumer challengers, Mastercard’s brand equity has increased with improved levels of affection across the MEA region. In Egypt, against a tough competitor with a strong legacy, Mastercard had a very good year. And Priceless is a 25-year-old brand device that Bea has made feel as fresh as it did all those years ago through the latest #PricelessToMe and Zero-Gravity campaigns.

There have been a lot of collaborations that I’m proud of. Yet if I had to be really selective, I’m most proud of Astronomical Sales, a compelling e-commerce-led idea that was done in collaboration with Noon, as well as the Zero-Gravity football stunt, in which we partnered with Luis Figo and hosted the first ever football match in zero gravity, breaking a Guinness world record.   

Bea is a driven, innovative and passionate marketer. She is extremely aware of the role the brand plays in people’s lives and is committed to ensuring that it delivers on every front. She is the perfect custodian for one of marketing’s most powerful brand assets, Priceless, because that’s her North Star for everything the brand produces: Priceless marketing, Priceless branding, Priceless communications. Bea understands the value of big ideas and always challenge her partners to deliver ideas that create big and meaningful impact. 

Every time I sit with Bea, or even exchange emails, two things stand out: her drive in making things happen and her focus on achieving greatness.