Creativebrief: Can you just outline your career to date?
Lisa Wood: I took a Business Studies degree and absolutely loved all the marketing elements. I started life as a marketing graduate at Midland Bank. Ended up in a research role, then got the opportunity after a couple of years to move out to Jersey. They asked me to be the Marketing Project Manager for their new expat business, 24/7 telephone banking.
Loved the global aspect of the role because it’s interesting working with a globally diverse target audience. We had customers in over 200 countries. Marketing into different countries, it was very diverse in terms of what you could and couldn’t do. That was a great job for giving a global perspective on how different cultures think about managing money. The UK is quite risk averse whereas if you go into the Far East, they are far more dynamic about the amount of risk they’re willing to take.
I got the opportunity to come back to First Direct in the UK. I managed current accounts, savings accounts, investments, insurance, a whole range of things then ended up being the Head of Brand. I had licence to play around with [the First Direct brand], do something different and not have to tow a corporate line. It’s great fun managing the communications for that kind of brand. I ended up deputising as Head of Marketing at First Direct. Then they asked me to move back to Jersey for a couple of years managing their marketing communications, digital and product. We repositioned and relaunched that brand and then I came back to First Direct as Head of Marketing.
I’d always had a huge amount of variety in my career at HSBC so didn’t feel the need to change direction. The First Direct brand was my love. I loved that lack of corporate-ness, being able to challenge and do something different. I was getting to the point where I felt we were being constrained so I wanted to go and do something different.
Mark Mullen, the CEO of Atom and other colleagues at Atom had come from First Direct so I knew Atom and had been keeping an eye on them. I reached out to them and they said we’re looking for a Chief Marketing Officer. I was ready for something different, far more challenging and less wrapped up in the corporate politics, getting back to doing the stuff I love which is building a brand.