HOLLYWOOD, FL: ADT, the security specialist, has shown how brands can use their purpose as a guide to adapting in the digital age – and could benefit from this kind of adaptability as it merges with Protection 1.

Jerri DeVard, SVP/CMO at ADT – which was recently acquired by Apollo Global Management for $7bn – discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2016 Brand Masters Conference.

"Go and ask anybody at our company, 'What is our mission?' or 'Why do we exist?' and they will tell you, 'We save lives'," she said. (For more, including how the brand experimented with a movie integration in the Mission Impossible franchise, read Warc's exclusive report: Market forces ADT reinvention.)

"It's a noble mission – something that we have a tremendous amount of respect in and pride for. But we needed to express that in a way that was differentiated and we needed to do that in today's landscape."

That need for change was shaped, in large part, by the rise of the connected home – an area where ADT has ramped up its product portfolio.

But this has moved the organisation into direct competition with a daunting set of rivals, from tech pioneers like Apple, Samsung and Google's Nest to retail giant Lowe's.

And while DeVard described ADT's mission as still being "to provide superior service and uncompromising security", the way it engages shoppers has necessarily mirrored the digital shift of its products.

Search and social media have become the new "front pages" for the brand, reflecting the fact that traffic levels arriving at its website from mobile devices have leapt by 60% in the last three years.

Actor Ving Rhames has also added some charismatic star power to its messages – which built on ADT's direct-marketing heritage by mixing deep engagement with generating demand.

"It's a huge step forward for us. It's the success of this campaign that shows us that we can create desire at the top of the funnel and drive it all the way through," said DeVard.

The brand's new-found flexibility should serve it well going forward, as Apollo Global Management will merge its new acquisition with Protection 1 – which itself has integrated ASG Security – with the new entity using the ADT name.

Data sourced from Warc