Ruth Blakemore stares out of her floor-to-ceiling office window
overlooking the rolling green fields of Yorkshire as she talks about the
challenges facing her as commercial director of the Bradford & Bingley
She has just appointed M&C Saatchi to the plum task of relaunching the
building society’s image (Campaign, last week) alongside that of its two
sister brands, Mortgage Express and the Black Horse estate agency
It’s a long way from London and the politics of Cable & Wireless last
year, which chewed her up and spat her out as marketing director after
only four months. When Campaign last interviewed Blakemore in June, she
talked with relish of her mission to humanise the newly merged
operations that became Cable & Wireless. And she had just appointed
Rapier to create the ’yellow’ campaign.
A month later C&W’s chief executive, Graham Wallace, dispensed with the
role of marketing director. And C&W became another signpost on a CV that
includes marketing director at Bell Cablemedia and Virgin Atlantic,
managing director of Virgin Freeway, and spells at IMP and the telecoms
Having left IMP in her 20s because she ’didn’t like its working
practices’ she is clearly very happy to be in her new environment.
Unlike some of the places she has worked, Bradford & Bingley is rich in
history and tradition.
’It is steeped in integrity,’ Blakemore says. ’We almost over-deliver on
our promises. The company really cares and develops personal
relationships with its customers.’
Blakemore is anxious to capitalise on this. Relationship marketing is at
the heart of her relaunch strategy for the new year. She believes
Bradford & Bingley has hidden its light under a bushel: ’It’s smart with
specialist products that people don’t know about.’
Blakemore has bought good work, notably for Virgin Atlantic. And to
prove her longer-term commitment to her job, she is buying a home near
Harrogate. Oh, and her husband has become a convert to Leeds United.