Barclays – Take one small step: how communications helped Barclays to ride out the financial storm

Principal Authors: Sally Hedley – BBH; Sara Bennison, Paul Law and Neil Feakins – Barclays

Contributing Authors: Heather Alderson and Debra Stephens – BBH; Jakob Kofoed, Vishal Patel and Irina Pessin – Data2Decisions; Nicki Hare – Walker Media


The banking crisis was managed by financial institutions in various ways. Barclays took a particularly insightful approach with a new strategy designed to help customers take small steps to better money management. The business issue was clear as the bank faced a fall in savings balances and a boom in current account balances, as nervous consumers preferred to keep their money easily accessible. Communications tackled this behaviour by rebuilding customers’ trust in the brand. Barclays addressed customers’ fundamental need for control through a positive and action-led campaign designed to help them manage their money better. As a result, brand perceptions dramatically improved and the account trend was reversed. Communications also drove incremental sales, delivering £6.78 in payback for every £1 spent. In an era when banks were the real villains, Barclays found a way to talk to customers as equals and help them see Barclays as less of a faceless and greedy institution and more as a help high-street partner.