Lincoln Financial in agency review

PHILADELPHIA: Lincoln Financial Group is in the midst of an agency review for a PR firm that will offer strategic corporate communications counsel for its core businesses, including retirement planning and life insurance.

PHILADELPHIA: Lincoln Financial Group is in the midst of an agency review for a PR firm that will offer strategic corporate communications counsel for its core businesses, including retirement planning and life insurance.

The RFP was issued in February and finalists were scheduled to make presentations this week, according to documents obtained by PRWeek.

Ayele Ajavon, media relations manager with Lincoln, confirmed the PR review, saying the company is looking for a new partnership, which could include AOR responsibilities. She said the review is in the final stages, but declined to go into further specifics.

The RFP states that firms should “take into consideration how to increase visibility and differentiation for Lincoln's four core businesses – Defined Contributions, Annuities, Group Protection, and Life Insurance; three distinct distribution platforms – Lincoln Financial Distributors (wholesale), Lincoln Financial Network (retail), and worksite-based employer sales and service.”

The documents refer to a “refreshing” of the Lincoln brand that will use the characteristics of Abraham Lincoln, the company's namesake, in both internal and external communications. The scope of work may include thought leadership platforms, reputation management, and media relations.

Steve Albertini, GM of Philadelphia-based Tierney Communications, said the agency's seven-year AOR relationship with Lincoln ended in mid-2009.

"We wish them best," he said. The firm declined to repitch the business because it works with competitor Sun Life Financial, Albertini noted.

Last year, Lincoln faced challenges on a number of fronts, including profit declines and companywide layoffs. It also received aid through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in 2009 as the company's portfolio was negatively affected by the recession. 

Recent news reports have portrayed the company more positively and Lincoln leadership said the company expects to repay the almost $1 billion in US Treasury support within the year.

Heather Dzielak, CMO since last March, was expected to take part in the review along with Laurel O'Brien, VP of strategic communications.

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