UL Builds Brand Platform Based on Trust
A newly revamped web presence is helping UL create a message of trust, a core value for the 125-year-old brand.
Some companies like to talk about what they do and that becomes their story, says CMO Kathy Seegebrecht. “UL is a brand of consequence—we need to communicate not only what we do but why we do it and what the world would look like if there was no UL. What we provide is an increase in trust, to [help] consumers trust that products are safe.”
One issue for UL is the fact that many people—including those at companies in its customer base—don’t have a clear idea of what exactly the product certification company does.
While safety is still a core theme for the brand, security and sustainability, as well as research on issues like indoor air quality, are a part of its offerings today. The company has a broad customer base that includes businesses, associations, government and regulatory authorities. It markets to 12 different industry verticals, including automotive, healthcare, life sciences, retail and electronics.
For marketing done at the corporate level, the c-suite and brand owner are typically the target audience, while marketing in different divisions reaches professionals down in the trenches, such as safety engineers.
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“UL is an independent third party, so trust is a primary value that we offer,” Seegebrecht says. “Because of how we are structured, when we make money, the money funnels back into the research group.”
As with many B2B companies, the sales cycle is complicated and often lengthy. UL is working on creating new dashboards with the help of a Marketo marketing automation system, and moving towards winnowing down multiple CRM systems into one solution over the next nine to 12 months. The multiple CRMs are a consequence of acquiring different companies with different solutions in place.
UL also does a lot of content marketing, and over the next year is working to create a corporate wide content calendar, to see what content can be used across divisions for more efficiency. “We want to build out strategic solutions in a meaningful way,” she says.
The company also recently revamped UL.com, which will serve as the framework for a multilevel activation that will extend into 2020 with the “World Runs on Trust” messaging. The theme will extend to live events, sponsorships such as the LPGA UL International Crown and possibly TV and out of home advertising next year.
Stein IAS worked on the campaign with UL, which rolled out the new “Empowering Trust” tagline last year. Social media is an important channel because of its cost efficiency and reach.
“We have good engagement with regulatory organizations and associations,” she says. “When we can go viral with new videos, we can get people to say ‘wow, I didn’t know UL did that.’”