AXA holds agency talks over global strategy task

French insurance giant AXA has created a brief for an agency to co-ordinate its comms across the globe.

International considerations: AXA’s headquarters in Paris (Credit: AXA Group)
International considerations: AXA’s headquarters in Paris (Credit: AXA Group)

The financial services group is understood to have held talks with a number of multinational corporate and financial agencies.

The pitch is being run from three international hubs in Paris, London and New York, but the work is likely to span the 57 countries in which the group currently operates.

One source with knowledge of the brief said AXA had ‘quite a decentralised business’, where the different regions and business units have their own agency relationships and comms strategies.

The source said AXA wanted to create an overarching comms plan to align strategy across these regions and businesses, in particular to help the group grow its business in Asia and emerging markets.

France, the UK, Northern and Central Europe and the US make up around 75 per cent of group revenues, but AXA has prioritised growth outside these mature markets.

It is thought that the work is worth a low six-figure budget, but is being chased by a number of large international agencies given its global scope and the prestige of the firm.

Richard Stephenson, AXA UK corporate affairs director, confirmed the group was in agency talks, but declined to provide further comment.

He is jointly overseeing the process with AXA Group head of media relations and reputation Garance Wattez-Richard in Paris and AXA Equitable head of corporate comms Lauren Day in New York.

It is understood that a number of agencies have pitched to the trio via video-link and a final pitch will take place over the next few weeks.

AXA’s current corporate work with Smithfield in the UK is not thought to be affected by the review.

AXA in numbers

-AXA employs 160,000 staff and serves 102 million clients.

-Asia-Pacific accounted for 11 per cent of AXA’s 2012 revenues, nearly double the UK & Ireland’s six per cent. France is its key market with 23 per cent. Global revenues dropped one per cent in 2012.

-In April AXA agreed to buy a 50 per cent stake in Shanghai-based Tianping Auto Insurance for 3.9 billion yuan (£411m).

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