Editor’s Note: Today’s guest post is by Sharlyn Lauby, president of ITM Group Inc., a management development training firm located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. ITM Group is documenting their journey into eLearning as part of a guest series for OpenSesame. Check out her earlier posts on “How To Write the Perfect Learning Objective” and “Planning Your OpenSesame Training Course.”
After developing your elearning course strategy, it’s important to make some decisions about your training brand. Ultimately, sellers want their programs to sell. We’ve all heard that famous line from the movie, Field of Dreams – “If you build it, they will come.” Well, it really doesn’t apply anymore. We have to create a compelling seller profile and optimize it so people will want to review and ultimately purchase our content. Hopefully, repeatedly. That means giving content a distinctive look and feel so participants want to engage with it.
Creating a training brand allows companies to decide if your programs will complement their other learning offerings. Companies will not build programs in-house if they can get quality programs from outside sources that align with their existing curriculum and at a reasonable price.
Here are four things to look at when branding your training programs.
Think about shelf-life. Ask yourself “How long do I want to go between content updates?” Be cognizant of references that date the material. For example, mentioning a “recent” incident in the news that happened 6 months ago can send the message that the material is old. Participants want to feel content is current and relevant.
Consider a global audience. Years ago, I spoke at a conference in Bogota where one of the other speakers used American pop culture references in his session. Some people were aware of the references. Many were not. Write content that will appeal to a global audience. The advantage of selling via OpenSesame is that your program can be seen globally.
Decide your viewpoint on people images. This is a core philosophical decision about your brand. Two types of people images exist—actual photographs or illustrations. Both are great options. But in order to give your programs a consistent look and feel, you’ll have to decide how you will use people images within your programs.
Colors and fonts matter. I’m not saying training programs can’t have some flair. But consider the first two points. Select colors that will stand the test of time. Spend time learning how to select complimentary colors schemes. Choose fonts that won’t end up like Comic Sans and become the brunt of typography jokes. Also, learn how to balance different fonts. Too many can be distracting and too few can possibly show a lack of creativity. Read graphic design blogs for ideas.
Making a few key decisions about your training brand can make the actual design process easier and allow customers to have confidence in your training programs. Customers know exactly the quality to expect from your brand.
Key Takeaways to Share:
- Avoid references, colors and fonts that will date the material.
- Write content that will appeal to a global audience.
- Be consistent with your images and art.
Sharlyn Lauby is a HR pro turned consultant with more than 20 years of professional human resources experience. Her blog, HR Bartender, has been recognized as one of the Top 10 Business and HR Blogs to Read by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Top 50 Business Blogs by Business Pundit and SparkHire’s Top 25 Must-Read Blogs for Employers. Connect with her on Google+ or follow her on Twitter.