Brand Lowdown: Barclays' shared success

From choosing agencies to staying on brand, C&IT talks to banking giant Barclays about its events strategy.

The overarching message from Barclays is the strategy of shared growth," says Nicola Wedge, head of events at Barclays UK. "When customers and clients do well, so do we."

It is an ethos that’s supported the company’s events team through significant internal changes, including the restructure of the Personal and Corporate Banking department to become Barclays UK.  

As head of events for this department, Wedge manages a diverse team of 15 dedicated events professionals, who oversee around 300 events every year. "People have come to the events team from a variety of backgrounds, including venues, agencies, other corporate events teams and different departments within Barclays," she explains. "We’re really keen to support internal movement within the organisation, to encourage people to gain additional skills." In terms of the types of event that Barclays produces, the spectrum is as diverse as the team. In addition to conferences, exhibitions, awards dinners, thought leadership events and product launches, the team organises corporate hospitality and employee engagement events. "We just need to ensure we work closely with other departments to develop strong objectives and a clear business focus for every event," says Wedge.


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Fortunately, the rest of her team is just as relationship focused as she is. "Within the events team we have relationship managers, who are responsible for liaising with different business areas," says Emma Stoker, vice-president, relationship and events manager at Barclays UK. "As part of our event strategy, we get to know our stakeholders extremely well and evolve the planning from there."

Each brand within Barclays has its own identity, and its integral that event managers and suppliers adhere to this. "Each business has a different audience. For example, what might work for wealth management may not suit the mortgage business," points out Wedge.

Due to the changes within the business, and compliance and regulatory updates within the wider financial industry, communication has never been more important. The team now has a busy three months of events ahead, as it aims to put staff and clients together and raise awareness about the company’s business objectives.

"One event we’re running is in line with the launch of a Barclays branch for staff at our head office. We’ll be rolling out content through events across 12 different sites in the UK. The events will be about sharing ideas and videos, while people from the business will be asked to share stories on how they’re making a difference to the company," says Stoker. "Our colleagues are customers too and regularly use our products and services."

Ensuring everyone stays on brand in such a huge organisation is no easy task and constant focus on communication is the key to success. "One of the ways we do this is through brand agents. These are specialist networkers throughout the company who pass on messages to other people in their teams," she explains.

With such a busy schedule, the team also turns to production agencies for additional support. "Around three years ago we went through a huge exercise where we whittled down the number of agencies on our roster from 180 to 10," says Wedge. "We review this regularly to ensure we’re meeting the needs of the brand. We need to assess the requirements of the team and we tend to work with agencies that can manage several projects nationwide."

But with this heavy workload, how does the events team stay engaged? "We have an extremely passionate, flexible, non-hierarchical team where everyone pitches in," says Stoker. "Our team is really proud of the innovative events we deliver and we love having the opportunity to gain insight and intelligence from so many sectors of the business."

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