Honeywell spinoff Resideo Technologies seeks PR AOR

The company wants an agency that will push them outside their comfort zone.

L to R: Trent Perrotto, Dean Acosta, Josh Byerly
L to R: Trent Perrotto, Dean Acosta, Josh Byerly

AUSTIN, TX: Resideo Technologies is shopping for a PR AOR, after being spun off from Honeywell International in October.

The company, whose portfolio is comprised of Honeywell’s homes business and ADI Global Distribution, started trading on the New York Stock Exchange on October 29.

Since then, Resideo has had informal talks with PR agencies, but Dean Acosta, Resideo’s VP and chief comms officer, said he doesn’t expect to do a formal RFP until early to mid-2019.

"We are looking for an AOR, [and have been] interviewing agencies in Austin this week as part of some introductory conversations," said Josh Byerly, Resideo’s senior director of executive and business comms. "After seeing the options in Austin, we’re exploring the idea of an AOR since we need support across multiple parts of our communications strategy."

Acosta explained that his focus is for Resideo to first establish certain fundamentals, such as its CSR programs, processes, tools, and strategic goals, so the agency has clear deliverables.

 "As we look ahead, we have a chance to take a breath and say, ‘Where do we want to go as a company?’" Acosta said. "We’re a forward-looking home company built for the future. What does that look like? What outside help do we want [for] our in-house team?"

The ideal agency would have capabilities in graphic design, creative, high-end video, large event planning, social media, and social listening. Trent Perrotto, senior director of corporate and digital comms, said these are all areas where Resideo needs to add scale.

In terms of reach, Resideo wants an agency with presences in Latin America, where a third of its workforce is located, and in its two key Asia growth areas: China and India. It’d also need an office in Austin, the site of Resideo’s future headquarters, Acosta said.

Acosta said Resideo is building its CSR programs around the regions where it’s based, focusing on how the company can give back to its communities in areas such as sustainability, youth, and public housing. Resideo hopes to launch its CSR platform in early January.

"We’re trying to challenge ourselves," added Byerly. "We’re looking for folks that push us outside our comfort zone and allow us to think creatively and use new tactics."

Acosta reports directly to CEO Michael Nefkens. Resideo has 20 corporate comms staffers and 75 people on its marketing comms team.

Acosta’s direct reports include: Byerly; Perrotto; Bruce Anderson, director of product PR; and Susette Alexander, executive administrative assistant.

WE Communications and The Mathews Group currently support Resideo – holdovers from their days at Honeywell. WE handles external and product, while Mathews handles internal, Acosta said.

The brand, Resideo, is a combination of the words "residence" and "presideo," which is a kind of fortress the Spanish Empire used. Omnicom’s Siegel + Gale supported Resideo on branding.

Post-spinoff, Resideo has a couple comms advantages as a company with a $3.2 billion market cap and full-year revenue expected to be $4.77 - $4.83 billion. For example, its products still carry the Honeywell brand. Nearly all of its sales (95%) come from professional contractors, who are comfortable and familiar with Honeywell products.

"You don’t have to start a business with ‘What is Honeywell?’ right?" Acosta said. "People know what Honeywell is and what it stands for. Now it’s, ‘When did Honeywell become part of Resideo?’ And now we get to tell that story. That’s the fun part about this."

Byerly said he’s been going about cultivating a corporate culture for a disparate workforce, with manufacturing locations spread across Latin America, the U.S., and Europe. With the majority of its Latin American workforce lacking access to email, the company’s had to rely on old channels to reach them.

To that effect, Byerly said he’s teaching managers to serve as conduits through which employees can understand the company’s objectives.

"A lot of companies focus on external strategies and how to execute whatever over the next five years, and they tend to forget employees are the ones that deliver that," Byerly said. "Resideo isn’t one of those companies."

Notably, this manufacturing structure is unique for the homes category, sparing Resideo from President Donald Trump’s tariff war with China, per The Street.

Resideo wants to lead the charge into the connected home category with devices that can be digitally controlled. To accomplish that, it will have to rely on the science chops of its senior comms executives. Acosta, Byerly, and Perrotto are all veterans of NASA.

Acosta served as NASA headquarters’ chief spokesperson and deputy assistant administrator, Byerly as public affairs officer and spokesperson for the International Space Station, and Perrotto ran the newsroom at the Kennedy Space Center, according to Byerly. They also worked together at Honeywell before the spinoff.

"We have a relationship with homeowners that smaller startups would give anything to have," Byerly said. "This only comes with the amount of years [we’ve] been doing this. But combine that with the blank sheet we’ve been given to redefine the brand and lead the industry, that’s incredibly special."

Editor's note: This story was amended on December 18 to clarify Acosta's direct reports.

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