BritCham Case Study: Aligning Sponsorship Values & Increasing Engagement with Barclays

Barclays has been a supporter of the British Chamber for many years, both as a Member and as a Sponsor. By repositioning their sponsorship agreement, Chamber Vice President Sian Brown has transformed the Barclays sponsorship from a high cost, disengaged relationship to one of medium cost with high involvement. In this article, Sian provides her view on developing a model of how, in a time of cost rationalisation, you can extract greater value by aligning a sponsorship to your own corporate values, and in doing so take a meaningful leadership role in the local business community

By Sian Brown, Vice President, BritCham & Head of Chief Controls Office, Asia Pacific, Barclays Investment Bank


When I was first approached to be the British Chamber of Commerce Board Representative for Barclays, I was unaware that Barclays were even a member of the Chamber. As a result my first priority was to understand the structure and workings of the Chamber, and what it could offer us as an organisation.


The marketing benefits of the sponsorship agreement were clear to see, placing Barclays name and logo prominently in all BritCham communications and as a Gold Sponsor at key flagship events throughout the year. What became quickly apparent were the potential benefits to both the Chamber members and to Barclays of having volunteers from across the Bank join the relevant Business Group Committees. For example, by having a senior IT representative join the Information and Communications Technology group, we were able to identify the opportunity of an event to share the work we had been doing to enhance the customer experience and account security through the use of voice biometrics. This provided a fantastic platform for a Barclays employee to showcase the project and to build their profile, as well as allowing us to reach a broad audience of senior professionals.


Ultimately, we decided to maximise our opportunities with the Chamber by adopting a Gold sponsorship package that placed Barclays as the Chambers Diversity sponsor – a first sponsorship of this type across the BritCham ASEAN Chambers. This has allowed us to focus the promotional opportunities in events and content on our key interest of Diversity and Inclusion. We have also helped facilitate leadership development conversations, providing leadership as Chairs of both the BritCham Diversity and the Women in Business Group Committees.

Once our sponsorship priorities and committee involvement had been repositioned, I focused upon the employee engagement opportunities. As a Sterling member of the Chamber, Barclays is entitled to add all Singapore employees to the membership at no additional cost, giving them access to various Member Offers and discounted rates on events, even if they had no additional time to volunteer.


The opportunities for our employees are clear:


  • All Singapore employees are encouraged to sign up for membership at no additional cost, which entitles them to Member Offers covering various deals with other member organisations. As a result colleagues have stopped me in the office and thanked me for getting them 10% off their fridge at Courts or 10% off their flight with British Airways!
  • Opportunities to participate as a volunteer in Business Group Committees of interest providing diverse network and thought leadership in areas of expertise (e.g. Diversity, ICT, Financial Services, Property, Young British Chamber, Sustainability)
  • Access for all employees to attend Chamber events at discounted rate, something I continue to receive excellent feedback on
  • To provide networking and closed-door event opportunities which help our business / government relationships


This approach has led to many benefits, with over 350 Barclays Singapore employees signed up as members, more than any other in the Chamber’s Sterling membership group, and an Annual Business Award in 2014 for the Community Star category, recognising Andrew Colyer, Director, Legal, for his efforts in bringing the Wheels for Change cycling event to Asia from the UK and raising more than SGD$110,000 in the process.


Barclays also frequently sponsors tickets for employees to attend relevant events, which enables access to a broad spectrum of networking and knowledge sharing opportunities in a cost effective way that would not be otherwise available through Barclays itself. Our member employees self-fund the majority of the events they attend, and are appreciative of the opportunity to use the discounted member rates. More than 200 Barclays Chamber members attended almost 50 events over the course of the last 3 years, several of which were hosted by Barclays Diversity Group Leads, including the Co-Chair of the Women’s Interest Network (WiN) and Co-Chair of Reach, our disability network.


It is important for any programme such as this to continue monitoring engagement, which we achieve by holding a regular working group within Barclays to bring the Barclays Chamber representatives together with other relevant internal leads and internal communications teams to identify areas of synergy where working with the Chamber helps us to reach an internal objective for Barclays. For example, we were able to raise awareness on Sustainable Letters of Credit through the work of the Chamber’s Sustainability and Responsibility Business Group. In the second half of this year, the Chamber’s Diversity Business Group has produced a “Celebrating Diversity” photography competition for school age entrants and upwards, which Barclays has sponsored in the form of costs for printing a 2017 desktop calendar of the finalist’s images. This will allow the D&I messages to remain prominent throughout the year. This initiative is culminating in a prize-giving event in partnership with the British High Commission. We are also planning to partner with the Chamber, other prominent member companies and the British High Commission for an event around the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.


In summary, by engaging with the Chamber in ways that support our company culture and internal goals we have been able to:


  • Enjoy multiple marketing opportunities in our priority focus areas
  • Build relationships at various levels – corporate and personnel, business opportunities, professional networks and friendships
  • Allow Barclays employees to attend a broad range of events, generating positive feedback
  • Extend discounts across a broad range of suppliers to all Barclays Singapore employees
  • Allow access to visiting speakers, business leaders and dignitaries
  • Offer opportunities to engage as a volunteer in Business Group Committees


This has been achieved by:


  • Reaching out to colleagues to get volunteers interested in representing Barclays at various Business Groups
  • Holding a working group within Barclays to bring the Barclays Chambers representatives together with other relevant internal stakeholders
  • Leveraging our internal communications channels to promote Chamber membership to employees.
  • Having a champion who will be a point of contact if people have questions/want to sign up
  • Communicating Chamber events internally on our intranet and promoting the availability of the limited complimentary tickets received as part of the Sterling membership and sponsorship agreement
  • Having controls agreed with the Chamber management team to ensure that members sign up using Barclays email addresses and that this is validated on a regular basis
  • Promoting the personal development opportunities as well as the opportunity to have fun and meet a great diverse population of people through the various engagements


About the Author


Sian Brown is the Head of Chief Controls Office, Asia Pacific at Barclays Investment Bank, Vice President of the Board at the British Chamber and Chair of the Events Committee. Prior to becoming Vice President, Sian served as Chair of the Women in Business Group Committee. For more information on the Chamber’s Diversity Business Group visit, and for the Women in Business Group visit


Sian has 20 years of change management and leadership experience within Investment Banking across Asia, Europe and North America. Her banking career began in London in 1997 with Credit Suisse. She moved to Japan in 2006 with RBS to build the FI and Equities business, later transferring to Hong Kong to manage the ABN integration, before moving to Singapore in 2010 to build out a Business Change team before moving into her current role with Barclays in early 2015. Sian holds a BSc degree in Computing and Accounting and is CIMA qualified. For more information visit