• Northwestern Mutual Digital Ecosystem

    Digital creative concepts to support the user so they can reach their financial goals.



    Northwestern Mutual is a financial services company primarily known for their life insurance, but is interested in acquiring more customers for their financial planning services.


    Currently, NM acquires 90% of clients through WOM, indicating gaps in their customer journey. We partnered with NM to evaluate their digital ecosystem and create new experiences to capture new customers.


    We realized users arriving at the site are typically navigating life changes and experiencing trepidation about their finances. The current experience pressured them to commit before they felt ready. Additionally, the experience lacked purpose and had an uninspired visual design.


    Shame and anxiety around finances are significant barriers, and NM’s customer journey needed to acknowledge our target customers’ mindset and needs.

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    We approached these big feelings of shame & anxiety by visualizing the mindset and expectations of “Anxious Strivers” — users who experience the highest emotional obstacles and lowest self efficacy to navigate their financial lives — as they encounter financial planning tasks.


    We realized we needed to meet the user where they were mentally. We decided on a content strategy to help people manage difficult emotions through affirmation, mindfulness and emotional regulation.


    For instance, rather than adding more CTAs to “Contact an Advisor” (there were currently 8 on the homepage), the website needed to resonate with the user, nurture them into readiness and establish an emotional connection. In this way, the experience supports them on their journey in order to reach their goals.

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    My role on the project was Assoc. UX Director.


    My team consisted of an Experience Strategist, Visual Creative Director & Copywriting Creative Director.


    We worked directly with the client and their in-house team to hand off our creative concepts (designed wireframes) for them to implement.

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    An inspiring homepage to lead with outcomes.


    We started with the homepage, the first page the prospective user sees. The current site had a heavy focus on advisor match that missed the opportunity to help the user understand and evaluate NMs value.


    To help prospective clients envision their goals as attainable with NM, we used our homepage banner to showcase a diverse collection of dreams they helped their clients realize.


    Aspirational stories were supported by video testimonials, establishing relevancy and emotional connection through personal narratives users relate to.

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    Compassionately asking the user what they need.


    The 2 main personas NM wanted to reach were called “Practical Advice Seeker” and “Anxious Striver.” Both are Millennials but at different levels of financial readiness and anxiety.


    We created a personalized form asking branched questions to serve up a webpage and content modules that directly addressed their needs.


    We helped them feel validated throughout the process by being nonjudgmental and applying affirmation.

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    Personalized content to reach users where they are.


    Depending on how the user answers the questions from the previous form - we present different modules in the results pages.


    This establishes an emotional connection with prospects by recognizing their mindset and making them feel heard.


    We included relevant blog articles, podcast episodes and a goal setting module that would help them focus on the goal for which they most want to save.



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    Getting to readiness by setting expectations.


    We created an interactive checklist for the user to better understand what would be asked of them in the first meeting with an advisor.


    Because of the anxiety and fear the user has about their finances - we needed to demystify the financial planning process and empower prospects with confidence.


    We didn’t want to replace the one-on-one personal touch of meeting with an actual advisor - just walk them through the things they’ll be asked and what they might need for that meeting.


    The checklist helps them analyze if they’re ready, validate their concerns and counter their anxiety by helping them develop tools to prepare.

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    The client was pleased with our concepts, especially the personalization content portion.


    They realized that in today’s digital world, it is imperative to meet the user where they are and serve up the most applicable and relatable content.

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