The activist, Barclays, a bike and the winning proposition

Last week I cycled my Boris Bike back to Sun Street as I do every night. The Sun Street station is next to the newly created Bank of Ideas which has been opened by the anti-capitalist protesters. I see the same people outside every day and always say hello.

But on this occasion a clean shaven, very tattooed and heavily pierced man approached me from their HQ smoking a roll up. He first asked if I’d like to pop in for a cup of tea. I always run the gauntlet to catch the train, so politely declined.

As I was securing the bike before heading to Liverpool Street station he asked, “how’s this bike scheme work then?” So I explained it from my perspective: I can get across London for £1, it’s a lot more convenient than a car, bus or the underground and I get good exercise too. He took a draw on his cigarette.

He was just about to walk off, unimpressed, when I mentioned the ‘new perspective’ advantage I get as well. He asked me what I meant. I explained that when you are on your bike you see London in a totally different way. You spot buildings, pathways and routes you wouldn’t otherwise. You get to see London from an alternative vista, which helps you appreciate it more. And you don’t feel hurried, like you do on the pavements or in a car. I finished by saying that I feel I am now much better in tune with the pulse of our city.

He smiled. I realised that whilst the rational benefits were irrelevant to him, the idea of a new experience resonated. “I think I’ll go for a ride tomorrow”, he concluded.

As I headed off, I realised this should not have been a surprise to me. At Lexden, we work with our clients to help them reach better outcomes by developing emotionally driven propositions which are of importance to their customers. And here was just another example of how powerful that can be when trying to engage an audience.

Although as I walked to Liverpool Street, the rationally minded Sun editor in me couldn’t help writing tomorrow’s headline: “Barclays sold to activist for £1”. 

Posted by Christopher Brooks

Lexden is a marketing strategy agency. We take customer insight and convert it into commercial advantage for our clients. To find out more about our approach and results for our clients, contact or, or call us on T: +44 (0)20 7490 9123, M: +44 (0)7968 316548. And you can follow us on Twitter @consultingchris.

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