OPINION: Blakemore’s strategies may outlive her at C&W

Try this on for size: ’Cable & Wireless announced today that its marketing director, Ruth Blakemore, will be leaving the company following the decision that the marketing department will report to Greg Clarke, chief operating officer. This move will ensure the co-ordination of the brand launch activities with the customer communications carried out by the individual business units.’

Try this on for size: ’Cable & Wireless announced today that its

marketing director, Ruth Blakemore, will be leaving the company

following the decision that the marketing department will report to Greg

Clarke, chief operating officer. This move will ensure the co-ordination

of the brand launch activities with the customer communications carried

out by the individual business units.’



Compare it with Blakemore’s words in Campaign on her appointment to the

post earlier this year: ’I was very flattered that Graham (Wallace,

C&W’s chief executive) thought somebody like me, who is not technically

traditional in approach or what you would expect in a company like this,

was the best candidate. It shows they appreciate my way of working.’



News of the first statement, taken from a press release last Thursday,

spread quickly around the agencies that pitched unsuccessfully for C&W’s

pounds 25 million launch campaign. One theory is that Blakemore’s recent

appointment of Rapier Stead & Bowden to the launch campaign has been

questioned at C&W board level.



This is the contentious angle the industry loves, but it is not the

truth.



Blakemore’s hiring of Rapier, her working with Michaelides & Bednash for

strategic media advice, and her overall strategy have met with

board-level approval and the campaign is now at implementation stage. So

there must be another explanation.



The key lies in Blakemore’s maverick personal style. An ambitious

marketer who likes her own way, she questioned the business units

structure within C&W - some of the marketing budget is controlled by

them, and some by the marketing department - and proposed an

alternative. Clarke, clearly, did not concur.



Blakemore’s departure comes at a time when C&W needs a single-minded

focus for its four newly merged companies. The litmus test will be

whether its strategy and Rapier’s implementation will lead to a

successful launch campaign.



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