I just stumbled upon Honeywell's brand position in their Brand Management site (and as soon as they realize that anyone can visit this, I'm sure they'll password-protect it):
We are building a world that's safer and more secure …
More comfortable and energy efficient …
More innovative and productive.
We are Honeywell.
Um... so what do they stand for? Safety, security, comfort, efficiency, innovation or productivity? How do they expect anyone -- employees or customers -- to remember this mouthful of marketing-speak? Honeywell doesn't have a brand position; it has a list of adjectives that describes its various divisions.
I don't know their business well enough to make recommendations... but this is why branding is an executive team exercise, not an ad agency exercise. What is the company passionate about? No, not a laundry list of things... pick one. Yes, just one. Now, what business units are in alignment with its passion? Any? All? Some? Honeywell doesn't have a passion; it has a bunch of disconnected business units, each with their own agenda. If Honeywell really wanted to create a true brand position, it would require some serious internal reconstruction.
BTW, this doesn't have to be about WHAT YOU DO. Large companies with diverse divisions can still have a singular brand. It really should be about HOW YOU DO IT, or how you want your customers to FEEL when interacting with your company. What you do will change over time. How you do it should not. IBM has switched its focus from mainframes to services, yet its 'trusted' factor has remained the same. Nike has expanded beyond athletic shoes into apparel and even golf clubs, but its 'aspirational' factor is the glue that binds it all together.
As companies grow and add new products, a good brand position acts as a compass and a sword. A compass, by helping to prioritize new initiatives based on the brand promise. A sword, by eliminating features or products that aren't relevant to the company's passion. A brand position that lists 6 adjectives is trying to be all things to all people, and results in being nothing to anyone.