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Hello, and welcome to part 2 of our guide to launching learning in the workplace. Last time we looked at three styles of launches: passive; staggered; and campaign–based. Alongside this we also looked at how to bring your employees on board with a technological shift in your approach to learning.
Next up, we’re taking a closer look at the campaign side of things, including how to drum up excitement within your workforce, how and why campaigns are effective in boosting engagement in learning, and finally how to create a winning launch campaign for your new eLearning course, LMS, or technology shift.
Throughout this guide you will have access to:
Without further ado, let’s kick off part two of our guide to launching learning in the workplace with an introduction to launch campaigns.
In part one of this guide, an introduction to launching learning in the workplace, we looked at three different styles of launch. For part two, we’re focussing in on the type of launch we have seen to be the most successful and most highly engaged with: campaign-based launches.
Launch campaigns are a natural part of business for many organisations. Whether companies are launching a new product, galleries a new exhibition, or TV stations a new serial drama, launch campaigns are everywhere. There’s a lot we can learn from the launches around us, but before we get into the logistics of creativity behind them, let’s first take a closer look at what launch campaigns are and why they are important.
Generate interest before the launch
One of the primary benefits of running a launch campaign before introducing a new set of courses or LMS to your organisation is generating interest before it all kicks off. Working in a similar way to a typical marketing campaign (we’ll get into that a little later), publicising the upcoming changes through internal advertising (billboards, emails, videos, posters, etc.) can be a great way to get people talking about the exciting developments you have ahead. It can be tricky to get employees as excited about learning changes as we are in L&D, but this is a fantastic way to spread your enthusiasm and create intrigue across the organisation.
Prepare your employees for change
Beyond generating interest, a launch campaign also has a lot of practical implications. In organisations of any kind or size, resistance to change is completely natural and should always be expected. Running a campaign ahead of launch not only allows you to generate interest in the new learning initiatives, but also give your employees a heads up that something new is coming. If resistance to change is a primary concern of yours, do what you can to get your employees involved in the campaign.
Allow your workforce to feel more involved
Getting your employees involved in the launch can bring great benefits to learning and development as a whole in your organisation. Whether you want to push a user-generated content (UGC) campaign (where you encourage your workforce to enter competitions, pose with props etc) or invite them to be involved in a teaser campaign, active participation is shown to increase engagement.
Increase engagement in learning
Boosting learning engagement is always in the forefront of any L&D strategy and what better way to do it than before your new learning initiative is launched? As we’ve already discussed, active participation boosts engagement but so does feeling included. Feeling included doesn’t just mean featuring in a teaser campaign or winning a competition, simply using this launch campaign as a platform to communicate directly with your learners can boost engagement and make them feel more valued.
Boost morale in the workplace
In our definitive guide to boosting learning engagement, we discussed the importance of learner feedback and feeling both heard and valued. This not only helps with learning engagement but also to increased morale and workplace engagement as a whole. Running a campaign before, during, and after launching your learning initiative provides a fun way for employees to be heard and get involved.
There is no one definitive answer to this question. A launch campaign will look completely different depending on what you are launching, your organisation’s brand identity, budgetary allowances, and timeframes.
Let’s take a look at each one a little closer.
What you are launching
Here, we are essentially looking at the difference between launching a new course, an entire LMS, or a shift to mobile learning. A campaign exists to drive action, but the action you require from your employees, while always in the pursuit of learning, will be different depending on the required outcome.
If you are launching a new health & safety course for example, the goal for L&D is short term completion rates and overall compliance. When shifting to a new form of technology however, the focus is more likely to be on general uptake and learning engagement over the course of six months to a year.
“The campaign itself can also be a part of the learning experience.”
One of our favourite anecdotes from Learning Technologies 2019, was from Channel 4. They needed to revitalise their health & safety program to increase engagement. This sparked the creation of ‘Terry’, a man with a soulful voice singing about risk mitigation, helpline numbers, and legal health & safety requirements. The campaign ran primarily in the form of music videos and billboards. This tongue-in-cheek approach to compliance training is incredibly on-brand for Channel 4 – so how will your brand influence the way you distribute a launch campaign?
As with most decisions in L&D, a lot of what can be done comes down to budget. While you may not have the budget for music videos and fancy billboards, that doesn’t mean you can’t be creative. Find ways to interact with and grab the attention of your employees – chances are, they’ll engage in your campaign without even realising.
We discussed, in part one of this guide, the impact timeframes can have when deciding how to launch your new learning initiative. If you are seeking to carry out a campaign, you need more than just a couple of weeks heads up before the launch kicks off. However, what we mean by timeframes here, is how long you wish for your employees to have visibility of this campaign. You can spend months planning a campaign that will gather high engagement levels in just two weeks – it’s all about figuring out the best way to engage with your teams.
Now we’ve covered the logistics, it’s time to start planning a campaign.
You may not be aware of them, but launch campaigns are everywhere. A vital part of spreading the message and news of a new product, initiative, or brand, you can spot them in tube station billboards, on the side of buses, in TV advertising, and in your email inbox.
Advertising is par for the course in the modern world, but the best campaigns are the ones that drive engagement. The same can be said for your campaign-based learning launch.
In order to sink your teeth in, L&D teams need to work with marketing departments or start to think like a creative marketer.
So let’s kick this section off with a few insights from influential members of the marketing community.
Campaign tips from the world of marketing
“The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.” – Tom Fishburne
This one is all about creating a campaign that doesn’t feel intrusive. This can mean anything from adding teaser information about the system or training you’re launching onto branded coffee cups for your staff to creating a low-maintenance, low-commitment game for your employees to follow.
“Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with your marketing.” – Mike Volpe
Leading on from our last point, marketing campaigns are fantastic hubs for creativity. Find creative ways to pull your employees in and generate interest before your learning initiative is launched. At Learning Technologies for example, a leading L&D consultant described a detective-style interactive campaign she ran with an organisation promoting the reduction of food waste. The campaign can also be a part of the learning.
“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.” – Seth Godin
Your campaign is being created to entice and engage your learners. The new system or course you are implementing is not the only important thing here. In the internet of things and a world containing so many options, getting people’s attention is less about what you are trying to sell them (in our case ideologically rather than financially) than it is how you choose to sell it. Use your campaign to tell a story that will impact your employees. As we said earlier, the campaign itself can form part of the learning experience.
Now we’ve covered the importance of tapping into your creativity when it comes to your launch campaigns, it’s time to look at how to generate a great selection of creative ideas. Here are a few top tips to get you going.
No man is an island. Two heads are better than one. There’s no I in team. Whichever cliché floats your boat, these phrases are everywhere for a reason. When it comes to creativity, the best ideas spark from working together. Even if L&D in your organisation is headed up by just one person, involve other people in the process. Bouncing ideas off of each other encourages creativity in a way working alone simply doesn’t.
Your campaign-based launch is effectively working as advertising. Instead of marketing a product or service to the general public, you are enticing your employees to invest time in their development through your new learning initiative. For a campaign to be effective, it needs to be widespread. So, in the same way that you need to involve a range of people in the campaign generation, it’s important to focus your campaign efforts in a range of areas. Not least so you can catch the attention and interest of as many of your employees as possible.
Many marketing campaigns, especially in adverts, may rely purely on a single strapline or slogan to remain memorable. However, the brands who can afford to do this are likely already very well known. The best creative campaigns come from a consistent theme, whether in design or content (often both), that feeds throughout all aspects. For example, you can use a word or phrase (also known in the world of marketing as a copy concept) that can run throughout the messaging of your campaign, from billboards to posters to messages on your LMS.
Just as marketing a product or service to the general public requires a clear sense of brand and organisation identity, so does your internal advertising. As we discussed in Section 3, Channel 4 are a fantastic example of this, with their comedic approach to health & safety training. It is important to remember, however, that you can push the boundaries of your brand identity when it comes to advertising and marketing, especially internally. Pushing the boundaries and using your creativity can increase engagement with your initiative, which is what a launch campaign is all about.
“Running a campaign ahead of launch not only allows you to generate interest in the new learning initiatives, but also give your employees a heads up that something new is coming. “
So, there you have it. Our guide to creating effective and engaging launch campaigns for your upcoming learning initiatives. As always, we wanted to leave you with something to take away. This time, we’ve created a template to help you generate a plan for your next learning launch.