As an enterprise, you spend enormous amounts of time, energy, and resources to brand your products, name and/or services, but what about your learning department? Does this ever-important branch of your company take center stage when it comes to having its own brand identity?
If you haven’t been working on your learning department’s brand, the truth is one still exists. But is that brand effective? Probably not.
In order to build or repair your learning brand, we are going to show you how to grow your business, get your learners excited, and increase your bottom line.
Before creating and implementing a branding strategy for your company’s learning department, here are three things we think you should consider.
Three Things to Consider Before Making a Branding Strategy
1. Give Some Branding Power to the Learning Leaders
The people who run the learning section of an organization are creative educators. They are known for thinking outside the box, for taking abstract ideas and making them concrete. They are also the ones who know the most about your learning department and its goals.
The leaders need to understand that a strong learning brand leads to the effective implementation of learning strategies ﹘ and that is ultimately the goal of the learning department! For these reasons, the learning department should team up with the marketing department to create a brand.
2. Promote Interest in Your Learning Brand
You know your learning and development department rocks. You know that once students get a real close look at the company’s learning initiatives, they will be just as enthused as you are ﹘ you just need to get them there.
This is where branding and clever promotion come in. The key is to promote the value of the learning department throughout your entire enterprise to get learners engaged and excited before they even step foot in the door.
3. Know What Your Learning Brand Really Stands For
Your learning brand is much more than what your learning experiences provide. In fact, your learning brand encompasses your company’s values as well as the value of the learning services and how it impacts the employees and the company as a whole.
Your learning brand must show why your learning strategy will increase performance and why the learning experience will increase the company’s bottom line.
Bonus tip: Look at the educational service from the learner’s point of view. Answer the learner’s question, “What will I get out of this?”
A Branding Strategy in Four Simple Steps
1. Have a Branding Workshop with the Learning Department
To start, sit down with the entire learning team and explain why you want to brand the learning department. Make sure to explain what role the learning team will take in the branding process and other reasons for branding.
At this meeting, remember to be as detailed as possible. Define who your audience is, how you are going to engage them, what your goals are, and what your learners’ goals are.
2. What Do Your Stakeholders Think?
Departments within your organization and outside stakeholders all have a perception of your learning department. Do you know what it is?
If not, you need to find out. You can do this by conducting surveys and/or interviews.
Examples of the kinds of questions you could ask include:
- What does the learning department do?
- How do the learning department’s learning strategies help you and your team meet your goals?
- How do you think learning department helps the company overall?
3. Start Building Your Brand
Think of a brand as a promise. By creating a learning brand, you are letting the learner know what to expect from the learning experience your provide.
In this way, a brand creates a perception, and this perception determines the relationship between your learning brand and the learning department as well as the company as a whole.
To start building your brand, you first need to create a mission statement that answers the following questions:
- Who is our learner?
- How can we help our learners meet their goals on a daily basis?
- What are our business values?
- What problems do we need to address?
- How can we solve these problems?
4. Market Your Learning Brand
Before putting the word out, first develop your brand’s “voice” as well as any materials associated with curriculum, style guides, etc. Take these elements and then give them a look that is recognizable across all curricula and materials.
Market across many channels, including email, employee newsletters, printed materials, social media and more. Use outside printing services, like Mimeo, to get all of your materials ready for a content distribution strategy that will really get your learning department’s brand out there quickly and efficiently.
After you have marketed and delivered your learning brand, re-interview your stakeholders to measure your branding success. Have perceptions changed? If so, how? Did you achieve your branding goals? Did you solve your learners’ problems?
From here, you can tweak your branding process if need be to make it more effective!
Download this infographic for a full list of 98 people, blogs, and events you should be following to stay up-to-date on corporate learning and development trends.