Building a centralized web solution that enables multi-site management, brand consistency and cost savings of 50% or more

UL – a 125-year-old global safety science company – had grown exponentially over the last 15 years, and so did their digital presence. With 275 websites, 140 social channels, more than 300 sub-brands, and over 200k web pages, UL had fragmented systems and platforms which didn’t allow them to easily shift, scale or grow further as an organization. Even more so, they were offering a minimal user experience for customers, clients and employees.

They were seeking a centralized system to support their OneUL vision: to ensure brand consistency and remove end user confusion often caused by internal business divisions. The ultimate goal? For UL to demonstrate one, consistent brand look and feel. The OneUL vision should also enable marketers and content creators to manage, update and promote best practices in user experience and content – structured around user needs, not the company’s.


The Insight

For UL to succeed in delivering personalized content to target audiences and supporting emerging market growth, they needed a website development infrastructure that manages multiple websites and adheres to brand consistency. This solution would free up time for the marketers and content creators who support the more than 11,000 employees spanning 40 countries to focus on testing and learning, and diversifying the business even more – expanding into different industries and services.

The Solution

Genuine began working with UL to enable them to design, architect and develop content across their ecosystem of sites and applications. Together, we established a centralized system – leveraging Acquia and Drupal technology – providing UL marketers and content creators with the necessary tools to do their job while operationalizing and supporting the broader OneUL vision and maintaining consistent branding.

It was important to not revert back to what was previously done – which was combining back into a single website. Rather, we connected sites together, targeting user experiences to respective audiences without fragmenting the brand.

We built the platform in Drupal 8. Acquia Cloud Site Factory allowed for building, deploying and managing sites at scale from a single dashboard. Acquia Lift and Content Hub met UL’s content syndication and personalization needs, allowing sites to subscribe based on a set of rules and taxonomy.

The project required extensive analysis, planning, stakeholder alignment and internal communications at UL. Additionally, several key activities contributed to the successful outcome of this massive undertaking, which include:

  • Conducting a thorough analysis of the existing UL digital landscape to understand what was needed to support the needs of marketers and content authors, as well as the role an individual property was intended to play in the user journey for its intended audiences.
  • Creating a proof of concept content syndication model, beginning with a three-day internal hackathon that not only demonstrated viable solutions to UL, but also set the tone for the years that followed, fostering a true spirit of partnership.
  • Standardizing terminologies, taxonomies, content relationships and content types ecosystem-wide to ensure consistency and enable proper content syndication.
  • Aligning on, and continuing to revisit and optimize, an agile methodology to account for the shift in priorities throughout the project.

The Results

Two sites – lms.ul.com and BrandHub (their internal brand guidelines) – leveraging the platform codebase deployed as early as June 2018. The flagship site on the platform, UL.com, launched in May 2019, truly reflecting the full vision for the platform.

In terms of KPIs, capturing leads is a primary goal for the new platform. To that end, leads are now captured through UL’s marketing automation system and then routed to its two CRMs, and content is being syndicated across sites on the platform.

The new system also allows UL to deploy new sites on the platform in weeks instead of months, and UL is expecting savings of 50% or more per new site on the platform.