How Barclaycard began to build its brand in America

Stephen Whiteside

Barclaycard is a household name in the UK, but asking American consumers about the credit-card brand – at least until recently – didn't generate the same kind of recognition.

"When I mention to people that I work for Barclaycard, they say, 'What? I've never heard of it before,'" Laura DeGraff, Barclaycard's digital marketing director, told delegates at the Chief Strategy Officer Summit, organised by the Innovation Enterprise and held in New York in December 2013.

"Every time you turn on the TV, you see an ad from one of our competitors for a new card product. We don't have that type of exposure. So, how on earth do we get in the consideration set when people don't know who we are?"

It's not that the Barclay name was totally unfamiliar, but its American presence largely had been defined by its association with other brands. Its 38 partners included travel specialists US Airways and Travelocity, retailers like Apple and L.L. Bean, and institutions from Harvard University to the NFL and Ameriprise. But, apart from a small logo on the back of these cards, Barclay's engagement with customers had been minimal.