AXA holds agency talks for global strategy account

LONDON: French insurance giant AXA is looking for agency support to coordinate its communications around the globe.

LONDON: French insurance giant AXA is looking for agency support to coordinate its communications around the globe.

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

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

One source with knowledge of the account said AXA had “quite a decentralized business,” where the different regions and business units have their own agency relationships and PR strategies.

The source said AXA wants to create an overarching comms plan to align goals 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 about 75% of the company's revenue, but AXA has prioritized 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 AXA's prestige.

Richard Stephenson, AXA's UK corporate affairs director, confirmed the company is 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 in the next few weeks.

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

AXA in numbers
-AXA employs 160,000 staffers and serves 102 million clients.
-Asia-Pacific accounted for 11% of AXA's 2012 revenues, nearly double the UK and Ireland's 6%. France is its key market with 23%. Global revenues dropped 1% in 2012.
-In April, AXA agreed to buy a 50% stake in Shanghai-based Tianping Auto Insurance for 3.9 billion yuan.

This story originally appeared on the website of PRWeek UK, the sister publication of PRWeek at Haymarket Media.

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