How to use Training Programs to Build your Brand

Your customers are tuning out - they are ignoring emails, downloading and listening to music through iTunes, Spotify, Rhapsody, using DVR's to fast forward through commercials.   How do you get their attention?   How do you gain their trust to build your brand?

Innovative solutions are often created by utilizing approaches or techniques that are commonplace in one field to solve problems in another. Could your organization benefit from looking at the tactics and tools that our learning groups apply regularly, and using them in a new way?  The tools and techniques of training departments applied to marketing have been proven to drive new revenue and create new markets in companies, or further deliver on the mission statement for nonprofit or government organizations.

Customer training can be used to:

  1. Build trust in your brand, especially if you are careful to offer real, unbiased training that is not a sales pitch in disguise.  
  2. Teach your customers about complex products
  3. Teach your customers about new uses for products

Organizations like Home Depot, Whole Foods, Central Market, Michael's, and AutoZone see huge growth in product sales once their customers understand how to use their products.  Rapid growth in social DIY (do-it-yourself) sites like Pinterest, as well as the popularity of DIY television has been impactful, but a focused E-Learning campaign will be able to help more people learn skills necessary to use your products.

Training used as a marketing technique builds trust in the brand and sets you up as an authority.  Creating community and driving customer loyalty is historically the role of marketing groups, and Home Depot 's marketing team uses training very strategically.  Their in-store learning not only builds trust, but also draws customers into the store, and their online videos have the same effect for their website.  Customers feel like they are getting something of real value from the relationship, not just buying commodities. 

Whole Foods and Central Market, two of the highest performing grocery stores, educate customers on the use of products both in-store (cooking classes) and online.  Whole Foods produces an online videocast called The Secret Ingredient.  The videocast, produced by MicroAssist partner Lava Studios, teaches Whole Foods customers how to cook using high quality ingredients, all available at Whole Foods.   We aren't privy to actual sales data from Whole Foods, but I'd bet that the sales of the ingredients featured in the videos increase at Whole Foods when a new podcast is released.     

Building a good web-based training strategy will also help tremendously with SEO (Search Engine Optimization).  Training provides an artifact that people will link to, and putting training on YouTube (the second most widely used search engine) helps drive customers to your website.

Gamification is a hot trend in the mobile and training industries.  Interactive gaming techniques are being used to modify consumer behavior as well.  Nike uses it to encourage exercise at Nike Plus. Many nonprofit organizations or state and federal agencies are involved in education ad campaigns to drive behavior modification.  Touchstone Energy Kids Zone is an example of an education site built to help kids learn about energy conservation through interactive learning and games. 

How could a good public-facing E-Learning strategy impact your organization?  MicroAssist can help with strategy, courseware development, logistics and infrastructure, and production. 

Post by Sanjay Nasta

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