Barclays: When actions speak louder than words

Principal authors: Melanie Arrow and Neil Godber, BBH
Contributing authors: Terry Fibrence and Jakob Kofoed, Data2Decisions


In 2010 the small business sector was in turmoil and banks were seen to be at fault. But profitable SMEs are crucial to bank balance sheets. Everyone needed to win them over.

Barclays responded not by following the competition in offering words, but by recognising that the way to regain trust was through action. The resulting 'Barclays Business Take One Small Step Competition' got Barclays out there, on every local high street in the country, showing its support for SMEs.

The competition earned Barclays £1.70 profit for every £1.00 invested. Not mega multiples, but in the current circumstances, rather appropriate.


This is the story of how Barclays decision to do something for small businesses rather than say something to them, led it to grow three times faster than the market for small business current accounts and give them a profit ROMI of 1.7.