So the force has awoken, well almost, only another 21 days to go. The galactic countdown started first with a teaser, and then gradually week by week; soon to be day by day; we will discover a little more of Luke Skywalker’s choice of togs. Is he wearing black due to his evil transformation, or simply to cover the 30 years of excess consumption of McGalaxy Burgers? The small snippets only add to the anticipation in my wee rebel base. So why is the curiosity of a countdown not embraced more when we promote a new training programme, or to promote a new event? I’ve seen teasers done in the world of learning, however they tend to more of a one off pitch; such as the odd poster; rather than that of a Lucas like launch.


A long time ago…

As a tiny lad I was always taken by the power of curiosity. I recall walking past my local Intersport on my trips to the ‘big toon’ with my Granny. In the window week after week they would gradually peel away another piece of brown paper to reveal the sacred 1982 Liverpool home kit. First a shiny nylon red flash, then an ice white pinstripe; then a golden Liver bird; until finally the Crown Paints emblazoned masterpiece was finally revealed. Four weeks, two rolls of parcel tape and one kit – it certainly wasn’t high tech, but this was effective to an eight year old football obsessive.

A disturbance in the force

Changing the way we promote a learning event is no Jedi mind trick. Applying the basic principles of a solid marketing campaign would be a great addition to any solution.

Awareness,
Interest,
Desire, and
Action

AIDA may sound like a princess from the planet Alderaan, but it essential to generate learning publicity. Applying it will increase participation and stimulate interest in any programme, whether it be a series of internal development sessions, or a training provider offering a new service – simple, yet hugely effective.

Awareness needn’t always need to be obvious at first. Sometimes it can be even be somewhat subliminal. Remember mystery and suspense generates curiosity and in turn Interest. I’ve produced airport departure boards with course titles on for a travel company, cheesily complimented with the strapline of ‘departing soon’. I’ve produced entry tickets to a fairground themed change event, illustrating all the fun of fair in an interactive map of the programme. All done pre, to build Desire, and to ensure potential attendance numbers are always greater than the available places. Always informing of the Action of what to expect and when to expect it, at the relevant time over the course of campaign.


The power of the dark side

Creating an icon, a campaign can be as important as the event itself. Let’s face it, if you’ve never seen the trailer, or read a review; there is a high chance you’ll never watch the film. Promoting a movie in 1977 is a very different beast to that of 2015, as is the world of learning. From the moment John William’s orchestra begins you know you’re watching Star Wars. Finding a way to generate a similar desire and to link the impending lessons in learning can have both huge impact and add value.

Utilising iconography for example, makes learning simple and memorable. It can make complex strategies and theories more accessible to learners by using associations that they easily relate to. It takes learners on a conceptual learning journey in a simple yet practical manner. It provides a shortcut way to communicate a message. Over time an icon can become an easy way to describe a large idea in a very abbreviated way. Think Death Star and evil.


A lesson must there be

I have used such concepts for many of my solutions. I’ve had Bankers consider the challenges of polar exploration, and the parallel of the uncertain journey of acquisition. Commencing by posting pictures of Ernest Shackleton in canteen hot spots, to drip-feeding Sir Ranulph Fiennes mantra in company literature. I’ve asked Bakers to relate the employee life cycle to the baking of a loaf of bread. The steps in proving a loaf and growing an employee aren’t that different in reality. Both of which had not just a solution but also a campaign attached.

We do this to build not only a connection to learning, but to establish why we should bother caring in the first place. Pre learning promotion should not just be something we see at the flicks. You can invest a load of money in a quality production, but if nobody knows what your movie is about then you may end up projecting to a half empty cinema. If you believe you’ve got a blockbuster solution on your hands, then make sure you give your potential audience every possible chance to view the trailers first.

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