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Barclays,the world’s seventh biggest bank, is on a journey, from one of a pack of heavily criticised big banking groups, to a more distinctive financial services organisation.


The journey is not yet complete, but Barclays is making a serious shift from focusing on its own interests to pursuing customers’ interests. And it has already changed from a group of semi-independent fiefdoms (Capital, Corporate, Wealth and retail) into a unified organisation, able to modulate for different customers.


Wolff Olins has helped Barclays at a couple of critical stages along this journey. In 2010 we helped Antony Jenkins, then leading the bank’s retail business, to define and share a new vision for retail banking – one focused on what the bank aims to do for customers, through the idea ‘lives made much easier’. The following year, we helped unify the whole bank, dropping the Capital, Corporate and Wealth names. We helped shape a new purpose, around outcomes for customers: ‘to help individuals, companies and economies to make progress’. And we designed a digital, animated communication style – built on an aperture that opens to show the customer’s better outcome – which can vary in style to work for each of the bank’s different customer groups.


Antony Jenkins’s vision for retail had a rapid and spectacular impact on performance – and on how customers viewed the bank. For example, customer
satisfaction scores in the bank’s call centres rose by no less than 20%. Our 2011 work has been implemented across the bank, which now has a more
contemporary, distinctive communication style – unified but not uniform. In 2012 Antony Jenkins became CEO of the whole bank, and – without our
help this time – evolved our work into a new, more strongly ethical, purpose: ‘to help people achieve their ambitions, in the right way’.