Your employees are an integral part of your brand. Without employees to consistently deliver on your brand promise, your values won’t be translated to consumers and your bottom line will suffer. That’s why brand training is essential. LucidPress found that a consistent presentation of a brand can increase revenue by 33%. But, employees can’t represent your brand if they don’t understand it.
According to a recent Gallup poll, 41% of respondents don’t know what their company stands for or what makes their brand different from the competition. But the same research found that brand recognition was highest for executives, slightly lower for middle management, and lowest for “other” employees. Unfortunately, those “other” employees are in roles that are most likely to interface with customers. If your customers are going to have consistent, positive interactions with your brand, all of your employees—from the C-suite down—need to have a solid grasp of your organization’s brand.
Your brand training should align with your company’s external marketing efforts. After all, the goals for marketing and brand training aren’t that different: both communicate values, image, and shape the behaviors of consumers.
Know Your Audience
If we’ve learned anything from best practices in marketing, it’s that influencing consumer decisions is much easier if you understand their preferences, values, and behaviors. Good marketing strategies start with research into potential customers, including their demographics, technology usage, and communication channels.
When you’re designing brand training, the same principle applies. You need to understand your employees in order to create an effective learning experience. It’s likely you’ve filled out a form on a website to access a report or submitted a customer survey following an experience with an employee. Needs Analyses may serve a similar purpose when it comes to your training strategy. Capture data using focus groups, interviews, site visits, questionnaires, and surveys to gain insight into how your employees’ knowledge of their brand, as well as information to better market your training.
Keep your Content Consistent
Marketing content strives to have consistent messaging, creating a memorable and identifiable brand for customers. This should hold true for brand training, as well.
All of your custom eLearning activities or print assets should channel the same tone, iconography, imagery, color scheme, and language. For example, the handouts, signage used during an instructor-led training event align with digital training content. Moreover, those training assets should also align with the externally facing brand assets (i.e., company websites, social media pages, etc.), so that employees have an experience similar to that of consumers.
And if possible, it’s best to create a seamless online experience for digital assets. For instance, give learners the impression that their eLearning course is integrated with the rest of their technology by hosting assets in a branded learning portal, within their company websites, or within internal systems. Training shouldn’t take learners away from their familiar platforms.
Internal Brand Training Campaigns
Marketing campaigns use a few key tactics to break through the advertising clutter and stay top-of-mind. For example, marketers use several channels to reach their audience and increase engagement: television, radio, print, social media, online advertisements, and so on. So, what mediums are you using to increase the visibility of your brand training? You may want to consider using digital outreach through email, or popups on internal company systems. Physical reminders, like balloons or bouquets placed around the office with notes attached can also serve as novel reminders.
Beyond that, common marketing practices from online shopping can be effective as well. For example, empty cart reminders can significantly increase purchases (or in this case, completion rates). Research by SalesCycle found that half of empty cart emails are opened and a third of those opens lead to purchases. Perhaps, we should apply that practice to eLearning activities as well, sending reminders when employees haven’t completed sections of their brand training.
While marketing targets customers and brand training targets employees, both are essential for shaping the beliefs and behaviors that drive business. That’s why it’s important to align the two initiatives. Moreover, there are a few lessons employee training and development teams can learn from marketing that will help increase engagement and completion rates. So take a few notes, and your organization will reap the benefits.