Case study: Barclays

Barclays’ brand valuation has jumped by more than 50% from £5.24bn last year to £8.12bn, which perhaps may not be reflected in its move of just two places from eighth position last year to sixth in the Brand Finance table. The total company value has more than doubled since last year to £34.73bn. 

But Barclays chief marketing officer for global retail banking Michelle McEttrick does not want to take all the glory for increasing the bank’s brand value.

“I’d like to think that we can take all the credit for the brand increasing in value but I think the brand valuation was artificially deflated last year because of the financial crisis,” she admits.

The public has become suspicious of all banks, even those that did not have to resort to government bailouts. But McEttrick adds that Barclays’ brand strategy has helped it retain a healthy position in the table.

She explains: “The two drivers are the fact that Barclays remains independent and our strong brand strategy. Our own research reveals that Barclays is seen as secure and trustworthy and these are things that are more and more important in a bank these days.”

Brands in the banking sector have been forced to become more engaging with their customers and look at how they can adopt a friendlier tone in their communications. BrainJuicer emotional scoring indicates that contempt towards Barclays has fallen in the last year, with 66% feeling neutral towards the business, compared with 55% in 2009, indicating that the bank’s communication strategy is starting to work.

McEttrick says: “The retail banks have got back on television with messages designed to engage people in their lives rather than selling individual products to them.

“Social media and communicating with a younger audience will be a major focus for staying close to customers. As we see more and more of our customers being involved in social media, we will be there,” she adds.

While McEttrick describes Barclays’ brand strategy as consistent, she says that it’s also flexible enough to address the different customer groups that each arm addresses, such as Barclays Capital, Barclays Business, and Barclaycard.

McEttrick even goes as far as to say that the quirky tone of Barclaycard’s advertising, through the “waterslide” and “rollercoaster” campaigns, has added more likeability to Barclays’ overall brand.‘

To read the full cover story on the top British brands click here

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