The CMO Interview

How to Stop a Rebrand, Only to Rebrand Again

CMO Faced Unique Challenge When ADT Acquired Broadview, Formerly Brinks

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NEW YORK ( -- In January, ADT North America inherited an interesting problem: It had to stop a massive rebrand midstream and rebrand yet again. When ADT announced plans to acquire Broadview Security in January for strategic reasons, the latter had, just six months before, committed to spending $120 million over two years to shed the Brinks Home Security name and draw attention to its new moniker. Broadview, which continued to add new subscribers leading up to the acquisition, also got a boost in brand awareness from an "SNL" skit spoofing the company's fear mongering ads earlier this year.

It was a lot to have happen in a short time on the watch of the company's first-ever chief marketing officer, Don Boerema, who joined in November 2008 from FDN, a telecommunications company in Orlando, where he was president-chief creative officer. At the time, he was tasked with identifying new market opportunities, developing new product and services, and strategic marketing.

Don Boerema
Don Boerema

But the former senior VP-business solutions at AT&T and alumnus of PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble couldn't have anticipated this unique challenge going in. ADT moved quickly once the merger was finalized in May. In the space of just 100 days, it updated everything from uniforms to vehicles, building signage to marketing collateral. "It was a herculean effort," Mr. Boerema said.

And necessary, given that ADT this month is embarking on its largest product launch. The introduction of Pulse Interactive Solutions will allow consumers to manage their home from any browser-enabled device. Customers will be able to, quite literally, turn off the lights and close the garage door from a mobile phone. A massive marketing campaign from agency of record Doner, including traditional media, social media, mobile marketing and leveraging the company's various sponsorships, will roll out this month. But don't expect to see the system marketed with screaming women and sinister-looking men, à la Broadview.

In an interview with Ad Age, Mr. Boerema, who reports to John Koch, president-ADT North America, residential and small business, talked about why you won't see ADT on "SNL" anytime soon, marketing a new type of security and how he keeps his nearly 12-year partnership with Doner on track.

Ad Age: The integration of Broadview is, essentially, complete. What has the integration meant, from a marketing standpoint?

Mr. Boerema: When you put the No. 1 and No. 2 players in the marketplace together, there are a lot of things we had to go through from an integration standpoint. The exciting thing is that the cultures are very complementary. We're both focused on the customer. It's been an exciting transition; we're seeing one plus one equals three on the integration. ADT is the dominant brand in our industry, with high brand awareness, and that's something that they didn't have in switching from Brinks to Broadview. They went from an established brand to a developing brand, and they were spending a lot of money on that.

Broadview had committed to spend upward of $120 million on marketing in the next two to three years. Are there still plans to increase spending or will ADT's marketing budget remain the same?

We're looking at the combination of both budgets. We don't have to do some of the brand things they were doing, so there are some synergies there. Overall the marketing budget will continue to increase. We're doing some things to create a new ADT, as we go into the marketplace with new products, services and new advertising. There will be a tremendous amount of activity that will be occurring in the next 60 to 90 days.

Ad Age: ADT's parent company, Tyco International, spent $131 million on marketing last year. How much of that budget will go toward this campaign?

Mr. Boerema: We wouldn't share the details. But we're spending tens of millions of dollars just on this campaign.

Ad Age: How do you market something like Pulse?

Mr. Boerema: We have to broaden how we go to market. Social media will be a much bigger piece. TV will be a much bigger piece, because what we have to do now is not only generate the normal leads but educate the marketplace.

We put an iPhone app out there, so you can download and manage the entire Pulse solution from your iPhone. We have thousands of individuals that have already downloaded the app and said, "I want to buy the solution." We haven't formally introduced Pulse in the marketplace yet. But there's already a lot of momentum going on, based on social media.

Ad Age: Are consumers sufficiently confused, having gone from Brinks to Broadview to ADT?

Mr. Boerema: No, actually they're not confused. We've done a tremendous amount of communication with our base of customers. We don't want them to get a bill from ADT and think, "Why are they billing me? I'm a Brinks customer or a Broadview customer."

Ad Age: You also plan to eliminate the Broadview genre of advertising, which was infamously spoofed by "SNL." Why?

Mr. Boerema: Everything they did and we did, we took a look at. We didn't want to be close-minded. We spent time with their agencies, reviewed their research and looked at all the different opportunities. Our research showed, and some real-life examples showed, that some of their ads had a very negative response. We actually got a lot of residual benefits from folks that would see their ads and be frustrated by them and come to us.

Ad Age: Was there resistance among the Broadview team to losing that advertising?

Mr. Boerema: Obviously they were passionate about it initially. Everyone had an equal voice, and we discussed that.

Ad Age: Maybe the "SNL" spoof was a happy coincidence, then, a good time to walk away from that advertising.

Mr. Boerema: That was a happy coincidence. It was interesting, some of the folks there were proud of it. I wasn't. It's not anything that I want to happen again.

Ad Age: You've been with Doner for almost 12 years. How do you ensure that you keep getting the best work and the best pricing?

Mr. Boerema: We do periodic reviews with them. We also have other agencies that we partner with to bring specialization in. Razorfish, for example, in the online space.

Ad Age: Especially in this economy, procurement has become a big buzz word. As CMO, how closely do you work with procurement?

Mr. Boerema: Almost minute by minute. I have responsibility not only for marketing services -- advertising, public relations, customer communications -- but also all the product management. Obviously, when you get into the product-management area, there's a tremendous amount that we work closely with procurement on. Certain things are a commodity. You have to look at the value equation. When I look at creative minds of an agency that's our partner, what I don't want to do is go on the cheap on that. I can get somebody less expensive, but I'll get what I pay for. If I'm going out to print a piece of collateral, that's very different. I can go to 15 printers and get the same piece of collateral, the same quality.

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