Women, uniforms and brand identity in Barclays Bank

The article focuses on the British banking sector in the late twentieth century. It explores the approach of the managers of Barclays Bank, who in contrast to their competitors, decided to use female staff at the forefront of their strategy to increase business and to improve customer perceptions of the bank within its branches. In particular, we explore the decision to place women on the ‘shop floor’, to sell financial services and to dress them in a corporate uniform. Special clothing is often seen as a symbolic representation of an organization’s identity and culture. The article examines the way in which managers used female employees and their femininity as a device to attempt to build stronger customer relationships that eventually became part of a wider branding exercise.