By Alex N. Ryan – Chief Strategist

Check out my LinkedIn Live with Powtoon: “Marketing your training initiative like a product”

How do you get and keep your organization engaged and excited about a training or change initiative?

Training, skill building, process change, or technology implementations are not things most people get “excited” about, unless… the individual can see the value, benefits and the direct positive impact it will have on their daily lives and the work that they do.

Training – if you build it and they ‘have’ to come

Gone are the days when the training team rolled out a new training initiative, told everyone that it was available (maybe in an email or an LMS enrollment notification that got buried in an already overflowing inbox) and then managers reminded everyone to complete it by an arbitrary deadline. This checked a box but did nothing to engage, educate, and inform those individuals.

Today’s modern learner is savvy and has no time to waste on training that just checks the box.

Change – make the change and they “have” to comply

Every new process, people, or technology change impacts the entire organization, but it doesn’t mean it is a positive impact. Ineffective or ill-timed process changes will quickly fail because the existing process is comfortable and familiar. Removing Technology X does not mean people will just start using Technology Y. Organizational or role changes won’t stop people from working in groups and structures that they are comfortable with and in ways they know they can get their jobs done.

If people don’t see the value and personal benefit of the change, they will actively resist and revert back to old ways of working.

So why not employ the same marketing and branding principles and tactics that companies that sell products and services use?


Why Marketing and Branding Are So Important

We know that marketing and advertising sells products, but it’s also important in promoting your training and change initiatives to the organizations and people you work with. By helping those within the organization understand why the initiative is important and the positive outcomes, internal marketing can effectively create buy-in, build excitement, and establish an emotional response to help your colleagues and stakeholders get, and stay, invested.

Effective marketing and branding will make your initiative exciting. On-going marketing and promotion will help to keep the initiative moving forward. To get and keep your stakeholders on board, keep them informed about the progress and purpose behind the initiative. This will keep them engaged and prevent them from succumbing to ‘Bright Shiny Object Syndrome.”

Your overall goal should be to convince them that the training or change Initiative is worth the effort and deserving of their attention. And that’s how you ensure your initiative doesn’t yield to Bright Shiny Object Syndrome.


The Problem with Bright Shiny Objects

Do you ever notice just when you get traction on a project, your main stakeholders are suddenly distracted by the latest new thing? That’s Bright Shiny Object Syndrome. It’s human nature to be distracted and impressed by things that seem new, different, or exciting, especially when we’re feeling complacent or frustrated with the current environment.

This can prevent an organization from making solid progress as it shifts focus to one shiny new thing after another. We’ve seen this with some of our clients as emerging technologies such as gamification, simulations, and artificial intelligence become more accessible. While these modalities can be useful as part of a blended learning strategy, there are certain Initiatives that are better suited for more traditional eLearning and performance support.


How to get and keep their attention – market and brand your initiative

To get and keep your organization or customer’s attention, you’ve got to brand the initiative, market it, and promote it, so that you get, and hopefully keep, their attention.

Find ways to make it fun and build excitement, such as:

  • getting teams involved in the branding of the initiative.
  • developing a catchy name, slogan and a logo or badge.
  • using gamification, rewards , and badges to generate healthy competition.
  • building leaderboards and contests.
  • identify change champions or early adopters to help you promote the initiative.
  • report-out on progress, accomplishments, and new developments.
  • communicate early, often, and consistently.

Quick ways to market and promote your initiative

In order to get and keep your organization or customer’s attention, use the principles and tactics from product marketing companies. Keep in mind, if you want to keep your audience’s attention, marketing and promotion needs to be early, frequent and in multiple formats.

  • Create a promo video or animation announcing your initiative.
  • Create printed materials, posters, or flyers.
  • Create banners in your learning portal or LMS announcing the initiative.
  • Send text messages (when possible/appropriate) with teaser messages.
  • Use emails, newsletters, or other communications to announce, remind, and promote.
  • Create contests and rewards for milestones and accomplishments.
  • Identify Change Champions and Early Adopters to help you promote the benefits and advantages of the initiative.
  • Brand your initiative – logos, tag lines, badges, and certificates.


In a rapidly evolving industry, the most effective training in the world might still require some shining up. Interested in learning more about how to promote your training like a product for maximum buy-in and success? Book a consult with us…