Your company’s brand is important. Simply put, a brand is the sum total of everything people think or feel about a company, product, or service. Shaping a brand helps align audiences to your goals and engage them in your mission. These benefits work on both sides of your HQ’s walls. For instance, having a workforce aligned to your core values and engaged in their role within them can increase performance across the board by 68%. Immerse your entire company into your corporate identity using branding for training.
Branding for training
Imbue your internal training program with your core values. Here are three ways to do it.
No matter how large or small your company is, chances are you have a set of brand guidelines that is accessible to your marketing team if not all customer-facing employees. Brand guidelines solidify your company’s priorities into a distinguishable identity. Isn’t this also useful for your internal culture? Your suite of training materials should include an expanded set of brand guidelines.
Beyond the obvious—color palettes, fonts, and tone of voice—consider the unique aspects of your training program. Would animated videos help get your content across? Consider how your illustration style, voicing, and music affect how the brand is perceived. Depending on your brand, you might find it more appropriate to use angular over rounded illustrations, a female voice over male, and soothing synth music over heavy metal. Record these choices into your expanded brand guidelines and stick with them throughout your training ecosystem.
Make sure your training delivery elements work to echo and amplify your business identity. Are there trainers involved? If so, decide who is most appropriate to convey your unique principles. This might mean employing an outside firm, the CEO or your company, the teams’ leaders, or an animated avatar as the messenger of your content. Casting aside logistics for a minute, consider your audience and message. If the goal is to teach your team how to use advanced features in Microsoft Office, an animated paperclip might be the perfect fit, but that same paperclip might not be the best option in training firefighters how to use specialized equipment in rescue situations, or high-level executive teams to become deeply in tune with the nuances of new markets.
Another way your training delivery should become brand-specific is in nomenclature. Do you call your trainers “Regional Ambassadors?” “Gurus?” “Geniuses?” “Trainers?” Think about other delivery elements. Do you call your in-person sessions “seminars,” “dives,” “meetings,” or “excursions?” Recognize that each of these words comes with. Finding the most appropriate way to talk about your training can be the difference between a jarring experience and one that serves to unite the room.
Once, your content and delivery methods speak in a branded way to your audience, keep it up with your follow-up materials. A mass-emailed survey is easy to assemble and send to your entire employee body. But if your core business value proposition is quality in-person service, extend that brand value to your employees as well. Start or follow up with an in-person conversation. In doing so, you will communicate that your values are more than promotional. On the other hand, if you work for a pollster, then that mass-survey might be the perfect way to go.
Not sure where to start? Try a little consumer research.
Employee training is also a great place to put consumer research techniques into practice. If your training is digital, it’s easy to embed quizzes or surveys into the beginning and end of your training to assess knowledge growth, identify areas of misalignment, and obtain feedback that will help improve the effectiveness of subsequent efforts. Your marketing team can help you formulate an effective survey.
Don’t be afraid to find ways to creatively apply the information you are gathering in real-time. In “Exploring the learning ecosystem,” ThoughtForm strategist Nancy Herzing suggests incorporating surveys into training as a way to engage employees. She recalls a project in which a survey was distributed to participants before the formal training began, uncovering specific pain-points and challenges for the team. Then, the training team wove the results into the sessions that followed. According to Nancy, “It illuminated their challenges and showed that we were supporting them in those challenges. The users saw their voice in [the training program] and it really engaged folks.” You can find the full interview here.
Designing your training program internally might seem like an overwhelming task at first, but you don’t have to go it alone. It’s a great opportunity to reintroduce yourself to the marketing team down the hall. Take time to consider your company’s consumer-facing brand, corporate goals, internal audience, and unique market positioning before you begin. Then, work together to come up with a training ecosystem that unites, engages, and is true to your brand.