Spin-offs are challenging business situations with far-reaching implications for the brands involved. This was all the more so in 2011 when ITT Corporation committed to separating into three independent publicly traded companies, spinning off their water- and defense-related businesses from the industrial parent.
Adding to the complexity of the separation was a highly compressed time frame: The entire process from the strategic foundations to the development of identities for the three distinct entities had to be accomplished in less than seven months. Few creative consultancies are equipped to manage, guide and execute on the scale required by ITT. Their choice was Lippincott.
The agility and scale to handle complex spin-offs
With decades of experience in bringing spinoffs and mergers to market, Lippincott knows the demands of highly networked entities and their stakeholders — from customers and employees, to influencers and leadership. Equally important, we know the requirements for defining a corporate purpose and guiding the full process, from creating a name and designing an identity to employee engagement and the public rollout.
ITT tapped Lippincott to refocus each of the new businesses with the ultimate objective of unlocking shareholder value through brand.
A development sequence based on parallel teams
From the outset, the scale of the spinoff, coupled with the unique needs of each of the new entities, set the tactical strategy for Lippincott’s approach. To handle the corporate brand, water and defense spin-offs independently, Lippincott chose to assemble three discreet yet parallel teams — a step that proved critical to the ultimate success of the spin-off.
While initial meetings were handled together to ensure alignment and to save time, as the work streams advanced, teams separated to focus on what was needed for their respective individual business.
The compressed timeline under which the project proceeded required numerous risk contingencies. For example, Lippincott designed multiple options of complete naming programs, running them simultaneously through legal vetting to ensure that approved names would be retained for launch.
Through our central role we also maintained full oversight of strategic and creative development, ultimately fashioning three market-ready brands, two of which were built from the ground up.
An unqualified success
The highly aggressive timetable was met in less than seven months. By the second month, we had generated names and had begun legal screening. By the end of the fourth month, the new names had been made public and the logo designs finalized. And by the fifth month, we had begun training internal teams.
The comprehensive launch excited staff and energized leaders across the three companies. In 2015, Harris Corporation bought Exelis, ITT’s defense business, in the largest defense deal in almost 20 years, further fulfilling the objective of unlocking shareholder value through the power of brand.