A high net worth brand


Barclays is one of the oldest and best known banking brands in the world. There is, though, one specialist area of retail banking in which it is a relatively small newcomer. Wealth Management for high net worth individuals is a specialist global sector that is growing fast. It has strong incumbent heritage brands and barriers to entry are high. How could Barclays, respected as a corporate bank and a high street retail brand, breakinto a sector that has more to do with luxury goods and super-yachts than derivatives and ISAs?


The MD of Global Marketing and Communications at Barclays recognised that the challenge required the mindset of a startup – not only to create a brand but to engage the organisation in a way that would make their approach to the customers in this sector both specific within Barclays and amongst their new competitors. She convened an advisory panel including luxury branding specialists, wealth management veterans, brand strategists, advertising creatives and culture change experts. Alastair Barber of The Space was invited to join and helped create three distinct options for a brand strategy and positioning. The next step was to test this thinking amongst the wealth management and other business specialistbarclayss at Barclays. The purpose was twofold: to significantly ‘stress test’ the proposals of the advisory panel; and as a means to engage the banking specialists with the change in approach and perspective that would be required to back up a service brand created for some of the most demanding and discerning people in the world. The Space devised a half day working session to achieve both of these aims. It involved a process by which banking professionals could inhabit a space protected from their deeply engrained models of ‘what is’ and ‘what works’ in banking. By enhancing the groups’ Negative Capability they were better able to get to grips with the challenges of creating a preference for Barclays amongst the rich, the very rich and the super rich. The session also included a means by which the three options for brand development could be assessed in a robust way. That is to say that multiple sessions could be facilitated by different people around the world to deliver a common experience for participants and the results of wide ranging and open group dialogues could be compared and analysed to give clear, actionable insight.


The multiple workshop sessions were facilitated at Barclays’ offices in London, New York and Hong Kong. The Space drafted an analysis report that was used both to help make the case for the final direction for brand strategy and as a key reference document for creative development. .As well as providing a clear direction for brand strategy the working sessions led to a number of new areas for service development: they were praised as being dynamic and highly creative. The opportunity cost of having the participants away from their trading and other ‘day jobs’ was significantly more than any other costs associate with the project. The ultimate judgement of the value of the sessions was that this had been an important and worthwhile investment of that time.