Honeywell taps dedicated IPG team as global marketing agency of record

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Interpublic Group of Cos. has credited its "open architecture" strategy for some of its recent success. Now the advertising holding company says that strategy has notched a win with Honeywell, the Fortune 100 conglomerate offering everything from aerospace products to control technologies for buildings. The company has tapped an IPG solution called "C2W" as its global marketing agency of record.

The solution — short for "connect to win" — involves a multi-year assignment and will cover brand, advertising, public relations, digital marketing, demand generation and corporate marketing across Honeywell's four strategic business groups. IPG's "open architecture" aims to maintain individual agencies' brands and their culture while giving clients access to all disciplines across its network. C2W will be led by digital and B2B marketing agency MRM//McCann, PR and communications firm Weber Shandwick and experiential agency Jack Morton Worldwide, along with other specialist agencies across IPG.

IPG Chairman-CEO Michael Roth said in a statement that the goal is to help Honeywell become "the world's leading software industrial company."

The relationship marks a new approach to integration for Honeywell, which until now operated in a much more siloed manner, says Caroline Pan, Honeywell's VP for global marketing. Each of Honeywell's strategic businesses ran independently on their own P&L, and often used different agencies across the globe.

Pan said the challenge with that decentralized approach is that it can cause fragmentation in the brand. With IPG, the brand saw an opportunity to "clean that up" and integrate many of those efforts in one agency. "That would put a lot more more power and impact into what we're doing," she says.

Honeywell said in October it would spin off its automotive turbocharger and household-systems operations businesses. That leaves its aerospace, building technologies, safety and productivity solutions and performance materials and technologies businesses. Darius Adamczyk became the company's new CEO last year, replacing Dave Cote, who had hand-chosen his successor.

Honeywell said it has had a long relationship with Weber Shandwick for public relations across its corporate operations and strategic business groups. With the new relationship, IPG will dedicate individuals to the team who will work with the agencies to coordinate work with Honeywell.

Gail Heimann, president of Weber Shandwick, says this is an opportunity to "show the power of data in a b-to-b setting."

"This is a huge client that has been so much a part of the fabric of the world in ways that we don't see or feel, or you or I might not see or feel," Heimann says. "What Honeywell does is important … it's exciting when that client is truly at an inflection point."

Pan says the company has built up its muscle in strategic planning, sales and commercial expertise, but that one piece that has been lacking is its marketing and go-to-market strategy.

"We thought it was high time that we take a closer look at how we do marketing at Honeywell, look at ways to get more efficient with our marketing spend, with our vendors that we work with, and be able to really free up productivity savings to be able to reinvest in our brand and become much more digitally savvy," she says.

Honeywell's customer base is a wide group -- "everything from aerospace to oil and gas to building management to plants and factories, so forth and so on," Pan says. That might mean reaching the C-suites at "some of the biggest companies that you can name" or a "real estate developer looking at getting out a new commercial building or facility," she says.

IPG leadership cited "open architecture" on its second-quarter earnings call last week — in which Pivotal Research senior analyst Brian Wieser said the holding company significantly outperformed the industry "to the significant degree." In recent weeks, Publicis and Omnicom shares fell on earnings that were weaker than expected.

Asked by an analyst exactly why IPG seemed to be winning when others were not, Roth cited the strategy. Other holding companies have frequently assembled bespoke agencies for major clients by pulling resources from various agencies and putting them under a new name.

"Frankly, it's working in the marketplace," Roth said. "We didn't have to restructure our entire company, and we've been doing this now for 12 or 13 years."

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