How might we create the go-to retail bank of the future?

Antony Jenkins, the CEO of Barclays Global Retail Bank, had a problem. His company had weathered the downturn well, and its share price had bounced back. But he was seeing a new breed of competitor on the horizon. Google had a banking license, Facebook and Apple had micropayment systems.

Maybe Barclays wasn’t on a burning platform, yet. But it was on a flammable one and had to act quickly before somebody struck a match. His challenge to Sense Worldwide: Define the bank of the future, and create a roadmap from Me-Too bank to building a Go-To consumer brand.

Sense Worldwide embarked on an exploration of the opportunities for new kinds of banking. We quickly concluded that we had little to learn from the category itself; the high friction involved in changing bank accounts was a disincentive for customers to switch brands, or for banks to offer them anything new. Instead, we looked to the attitudes of the coming competition:

  • Helping banking professionals think like silicon valley entrepreneurs
  • Looking at customers’ lives in the widest possible sense
  • Understanding the critical problems a business with the scale of Barclays can solve
  • Mapping current capabilities against future customers’ needs
  • Recommending short, medium and long term goals
  • Roadmapping technologies against emerging customer trends
  • M&A strategies to help Barclays build/partner buy capabilities

The next step: a floor was cleared at Barclays GRB headquarters in Canary Wharf and an army of innovators, technologists and designers were hired. Our presentation was described by Antony Jenkins as

“The best ExCo meeting ever… Sense Worldwide have given us exactly what we need’”

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