It certainly raised some eyebrows when Tyco Int’l announced it was splitting its operations into three separate publicly traded companies. But the biggest surprise was that its commercial security systems installation and monitoring business would eschew the ADT name — the industry’s most recognized and dominant brand. The reorganization, which received official shareholder approval in September, has ADT aimed at the residential and small business market with ADT Commercial renamed Tyco Integrated Security (TycoIS) as a products and services business unit of Tyco.
The corporate world is littered with what turned out to be ill-advised decisions to kick household names to the curb and take on parent company appellations. What’s more, the number of security systems and services providers with the level of name recognition ADT commands in the consumer world can literally be counted on one hand with some fingers left over.
However, this is a unique situation in that the new brand incorporates another well known name widely associated with security, albeit more on the products side. To get off to a fast running start, TycoIS has been aggressively marketing the new brand with a sweeping campaign featuring Hall of Fame NFL Quarterback Steve Young.
It is important to note that the reorg was driven by more than simply appeasing stockholders or change just for change sake. On the contrary, it reflects major shifts in the security landscape that require more specialized expertise and concentration to meet customers’ demands. ADT will be better positioned to deliver a variety of new interactive services to the evolving residential market, and TycoIS will be better able to zero in on providing more sophisticated and integrated solutions to commercial clients, like cloud-based video surveillance and managed access control.
To find out how the rebranding process is going and how the company plans to take its commercial security business to the next level, SSI convened with TycoIS President Mark VanDover, who took the post in November. The former president of Tyco Security Products, COO of Tyco Safety Products, president of Tyco’s Fire Suppression business and vice president of operations for SimplexGrinnell explains the imperatives of a highly skilled workforce, strategic partnering and developing long-term customer relationships.
Where are you with the transition of the rebranding and the splitting of the business units? Has it been as complex as anticipated? Have there been any hiccups along the way?
Mark VanDover: We’re pretty well through most of the separation piece. We still have a bit of systems work to do, some cleanup around that. We’re well into our branding and I think you’ve probably seen some of our ad campaign. We’ve had Steve Young as our brand ambassador and to help build brand awareness, as we go forward. It’s moving as expected, probably getting a little more traction than we thought it would.
The capability to remotely diagnose customers’ systems helps TycoIS personnel resolve issues quickly and cost-effectively.
This has been like a merger in reverse. Not too many companies go through this type of process, so we’ve been dealing in unchartered territory. As a result of all the hard work and planning we put in, it has gone better than we expected. It doesn’t mean it’s easy but there have been no major hiccups. We separated with systems and legal entities, making sure there’s no impact to customers through the process. That was a big focus of ours and making sure it was seamless from their perspective, as well as building a new brand and new identity for the commercial security business.
Blog: TycoIS President Focuses on Delivering Long-Term Benefits to Businesses
What prompted the split-up in the first place?
VanDover: It’s really to do two major endeavors. One is to unlock shareholder value, the piece of trying to make sure if we had three separate companies the total value would be worth more. But the bigger benefit for our customers is the focus of the business. We’re much sharper, much more laser-focused on the commercial security piece, versus trying to deal with both residential and commercial security. That involves much different profiles of customers, how you deal with them, and a much different skillset from the people who have to handle the customer base. This really allows us to direct all our energy on the commercial market, not get diluted with other businesses, and bring together solutions and technologies that are very focused on that market.
How challenging is it to lose the ADT branding and move forward with the Tyco name?
VanDover: Well certainly ADT is a well-recognized brand with years of longevity, so it’s not an easy transition to rebrand a business from that. But we found in the commercial space the brand is less important than a lot of the relationships that we’ve built. Having said that, we have put a lot of energy into building our new brand and identity, and we’re well on the path to success there. Everybody I talk to in the industry recognizes the new business. They recognize the name. Many of our businesses around the world go under the Tyco umbrella so it’s a recognized brand, and we’re bringing more significance to it.
Having recently taken on your present position, what are your top priorities as you look through the rest of 2013?
VanDover: We’re focused right now on transforming our business into a very customer-focused, customer-engaging organization. So it’s all about making sure we are focused on the type of opportunities that have long-term significance to them. We try to make sure we’re looking for and servicing people who want somebody to help them migrate through technology changes, or live with them beyond the one installation. They want people who can help them chart the course over the next five, 10 years, for their security and operations needs. That’s a fundamental shift for most businesses, from doing just point solutions like going out and hanging cameras or putting an access system in or intrusion panel. Certainly, we’re good at that and will continue to do some of that, but our biggest focus is the longer term, making sure we have customer engagement over the life of the customer’s site or needs.