Communication. It’s a word that means different things to different people. For the Corporate Communications team, it stands for two things: nurturing and promoting Barclaycard’s story, and protecting its reputation. With responsibility for communications strategy, leadership communications, business partnering and all PR and media relations, what do the team think are the vital ingredients in successful communications? We look at five – informing, influencing, innovating, integrating and involving.
The most obvious aspect of
what a communications team does, and yet it’s easy to take for granted. Where do colleague communications, barclaycard.com features, media briefings and internal product campaigns come from? Who helps to
bring Barclaycard’s social media presence to life, and manages
all the press interest that comes with a high profile brand? It’s the product of hard work by Corporate Communications colleagues working hand in hand with business colleagues all around the world.
Great communication makes a difference, changing how people think and act. It can be as simple as encouraging colleagues to book up for a must-not-miss event or, as Paul Lockstone, Managing Director of Corporate Communications explains, as involved as turning huge amounts of data into a compelling story. “We’re a very data-rich organisation, but for a long time we didn’t do much with it from a communications perspective.” Turning that data into insightful, informative communications has enabled Barclaycard to establish itself as a credible commentator on spending trends. “It’s a fantastic barometer of where people are spending their money, and our reports get a lot of coverage in the mainstream press. It’s helped to change people’s perceptions of who we are,” says Paul.
On the edge
“We spend a lot of time making sure that the communications we produce are ‘Barclaycard-worthy’, really living the dynamic, creative spirit of our brand rather than just talking about it,” says Helen Lacey, Director of External Communications. Stunts like creating the first contactless donkey on Blackpool beach; Barclaycard Anything, a spoof product launched on April Fools Day 2015; and pop-up shops for our new range of bPay contactless wearables.”
The team’s innovation is valued by partners in the business, as Tami Hargreaves, Chief Strategy, Operations and Technology Officer, Digital Consumer Payments, explains: “They are always looking beyond the straightforward ideas, to be disruptive and edgy. It’s incredibly valuable for us as we look to grab people’s attention.”
Getting in deep
Communication strengthens relationships. In Corporate Communications, it works the other way too. “Partnering closely with the business allows us to bring to life new products and solutions, support our leaders and teams to story-tell and, most importantly, ensure colleagues understand the direction of the business,” says Sarah Wherritt, Head of Internal Communications, Business Partnering. “We work particularly closely with our colleagues in marketing,” says Paul. “Our aim is to amplify the marketing investment, driving even greater value for the business by running creative PR ideas and colleague campaigns in parallel.” And when you’re an active part of a big community of communicators across Barclays, it’s even easier to make sure that what Barclaycard wants to talk about fits comfortably in the bigger picture of the Barclays story.
Communication as conversation
“It’s all about creating good quality conversations and getting colleagues engaged and energised,” says Christina Haydon, Head of Leadership Communications. “We work with the leadership team and the businesses to share powerful stories and involve our colleagues in interesting conversations on a range of topics no matter where they work.” Live and virtual Q&A sessions with Barclaycard’s leadership team, innovation roadshows and engagement forums are just a few examples of the ways this is done. “We want everyone to feel they can talk about what’s important to them,” says Paul.
Bringing it all together
Barclaycard employs thousands of people. By communicating in these five ways, the Corporate Communications team makes sure that this group of like-minded yet diverse people speaks with one voice. By now you’ll have realised that the Corporate Communications team will have been behind this very story, and so that’s the voice you’re hearing right now. We can confirm that talking about ourselves for once is very strange, but otherwise we love what we do.