Six reputation management tips from Barclays brand chief

David Wheldon, head of brand, reputation and citizenship at Barclays Group, talks about the value of reputation management in a 24/7 world ahead of his appearance on Centre Stage at Marketing Week Live 2013.


Always in the room

Corporate reputation is extremely important and has always been, but today’s technology makes it so much more immediate. In Barclay’s case, it has been brought into sharp relief by the events of last summer. When I talk about brand, one of my favourite definitions is Jeff Bezos’ [CEO of]:  “Brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.” 

Owning up

At the moment we are on a path to re-establishing our reputation with all of our stakeholders and that is a long, slow march to recovery. The process for this is about doing more good things and eradicating bad things. If we make mistakes we have to own them immediately, learn from them and make sure they don’t happen again.

The now

We are focusing on our mission, purpose and values. In our sector, there is an overarching sector issue. If you have a sector reputation tarnished and your own reputation tarnished, that makes ‘the now’ very important. 

Aligning values

Our corporate purpose and values are the same as our brand purpose and values. We are building the brand inside out by ensuring that everybody internally understands what we are trying to do and how we are trying to do it. It is a very powerful and energising process.

Technology working for you

Technology gives you an ability to listen carefully to stakeholders and learn from the vast amount of coverage available to you. It is always on and that is a fantastic thing for you to be responsive to and aware of.

Authentic and honest 

You have to be able to constantly wave the bullshit card at yourself and make sure that people are really thoughtful, authentic and honest internally. As Mark Twain said: “always tell the truth, it’s easier to remember”.

Register for free to see David Wheldon speak at Marketing Week Live on 27 June.

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