UL takes message directly to new moms

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Chicago—When Underwriter Laboratories launched a branding campaign late last year, it bypassed its manufacturing customers and spoke directly to safety-conscious new mothers. Its message was simple: “Just look for UL.”

“Our strategy was to go back to the consumer,” said Suzanne Lavin, director of global corporate communications and public relations at Northbrook, Ill.-based UL, in a presentation to the Chicago chapter of the Business Marketing Association. “We found great alignment between our business and the things those moms worry about.”

Facing increased competition and declining brand awareness, UL sought to launch a safety movement that would create demand among consumers for products bearing its mark of approval. Highly networked new moms were the perfect target, Lavin said.

“If we can make these women advocate for UL,” Lavin said, “they’re going to take our message to a lot of other stakeholders.”

Along with TV spots and print ads, UL hired actress Keri Russell, herself a new mom, to promote the UL brand and a new Web site, UL created a separate Web site to educate its employees about the campaign and drum up internal support.

According to Lavin, UL has “achieved key message penetration” and reached “hundreds of millions of consumers.” The next step? Packaging the results for UL’s b-to-b stakeholders.

—Chelsea Ely

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