Power 100: Nxt Gen 2013

Rachel Eyre, Barclays

Position: senior brand manager, Barclays

Date of Birth: 14.03.1984

View Rachel's profile on LinkedIn

With a wide-ranging brief covering brand identity, brand strategy and staff engagement, Eyre is a rising star and key player in Barclays’ marketing team. A winner of the inaugural IPA and Campaign ‘Women of Tomorrow’ competition this year, Eyre has also been recognised with a ‘platinum award’ for outstanding contribution to the Barclays business. 

Describes herself as: energetic, inquisitive and principled.

Q: What are the biggest marketing challenges you face?

A: Trust. We work in an industry that has seen a decline in trust over recent years and part of my job is to ensure that we rebuild that in the right way and at the right pace.

Q: Are there any trends or new media platforms you believe are overrated?

A: I don’t think the social channel is overrated, but I do think too many brands think having a ‘tick in the box’ presence on social is all you need to transform your relationship with your consumers. In my mind, a strong social strategy, clear objectives and a coherent personality, as well as a deep understanding of who is interacting with you through new media and why, are vital if you are going to leverage the reach and interaction this channel offers. 

Q: What attracted you to marketing as a profession?

A: Two things have always obsessed me: why people think/do things and language. Marketing – particularly insight-led marketing – seemed to incorporate both of these. I get to obsess over apostrophes while developing communications or strategies that respond directly to what customers have told us. 

Q: Describe your typical day.

A: Because my team covers such a broad remit and we act as consultants to several parts of our business, no day is the same as the one before. Today I had breakfast with our European CMO to discuss sharing best practice across our markets. Then I spoke to our 500 Brand Agents about the latest plans for our brand, encouraging them to go out to all our UK colleagues and engage them. After lunch I reviewed the site designs for an exciting new brand platform and then I submitted a brand strategy proposal for a new proposition. In between, I drank lots of tea and ate lots of cake.

Q: What are the biggest trends affecting your business?

A: Customisation and personalisation are having a huge effect on consumer demands across industries and businesses, and ours is no different. It means we are paying close attention to proposition development, ensuring that our products, services and content are tailored and relevant to our customers, and show that we are listening to what they really want and need. For example, we are looking at new technology and how innovations can make banking simpler for our customers. Also the unstoppable growth of social and its scope – for us, it is fast becoming the default customer-feedback mechanism and we need to make sure we are keeping up.

Q: How are you changing the media channels you use to better reach your consumers?

A: We are increasingly looking at our channels as two-way dialogue platforms where we can facilitate a conversation and learn something from our consumers. In some channels, such as social, this is a no-brainer. But we are also looking at how we can flex the way we use more traditional channels, for example through media partnerships and press advertising, to instigate and support a two-way conversation that is relevant, targeted and meaningful. We are also really focusing on our internal customers – innovating the channels we use to engage with our colleagues and recognising the fact that they all have a tangible impact on the consumer experience. I recently launched Brand Agent, an inclusive colleague-engagement programme that recognises our most customer-centric colleagues, empowers them with important information about our brand and, crucially, gives them the opportunity to have a voice in how we bring it to life.

Q: What are your most admired brands and why?

A: I love Benefit, the international beauty brand. It changed what make-up was about, injecting personality, fun and flirtatiousness into its product range, design, packaging and marketing. This personality is present consistently through its channels and environments and in its people, too, which creates a lovely self-indulgent experience when you shop for and use the products. Plus, you have to love a brand that started as a producer of nipple-stain for exotic dancers and went on to conquer the world. Generally, I’m impressed by any brand that can reinvent or redefine its category. 

Q: What is your most admired piece of advertising or communications and why?

A: I absolutely loved the Paralympic ‘Thanks for the warm-up’ campaign. It was so smart, and incredibly real and human in its execution. I also thought it was bold and self-assured in its positioning, making no apologies for not being the able-bodied Olympic Games – in this, I thought its essence reflected beautifully the spirit of the Games and the athletes themselves.

Q: What skills do you think are most important to get ahead in marketing today?

A: So many different technical skills are required for so many different jobs. As a general rule I think you need to be a nice person, principled and bold. You’ll excel if you can identify the ‘real consumer insight’ needle in a haystack of data, opinions and assumptions.

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