The new digital brand training at imc Learning: Understanding through experiencing
Using gamified brand training to reach and lastingly inspire a highly diverse target audience
In business it’s generally a good idea to stick with what you do best. And that’s precisely our approach to internal brand training here at imc Learning. We have taken our expertise in learning, something we normally offer other companies, and used it to help our own employees.
At imc, we’ve been working with digital learning for about 25 years. We strive to make learning better by redefining how learning happens. Experts in technology, e-learning content and strategy work hand in hand to offer holistic and tailored e-learning solutions – worldwide.
Having started out as a spin-off from Saarland University in Germany, we now work with more than 1,300 companies and public and educational institutions from all sectors and of all sizes, providing them with holistic support in the planning and implementation of digital training strategies.
Enabling employees worldwide to understand and engage with our values and purpose amid the demands of hybrid work and new onboarding methods
imc has changed a lot over the years, both in terms of our brand image and the core values on which it is built. This change in culture is reflected in all areas of our company and therefore needs to be understood and actively supported by all employees – including new hires, who need to be able to connect with and internalize our values.
Achieving this outcome requires learning in the following main areas:
- Company history: What defines us as a company? Where do we come from?
- What are imc’s goals and vision?
- What are the values that shape us, and how do we communicate those values?
- What is our business purpose, and what can each and every employee do to further that purpose?
- What does the imc brand feel like?
We needed a learning solution that could both impart this knowledge to all new hires right from day one and make it available to all existing imc employees on an ongoing basis. The obvious approach was to create an interactive, digital training course that was fun while still getting the imc brand and culture across.
The challenge in designing the course was not just to find a way of disseminating the informational aspects of the training content. The main challenge, in fact, was to give the content emotional power and authenticity, but without overdoing it, so that the very diverse target audience here at imc could identify with it.
A brand experience that invites engagement using a dedicated mascot
No sooner said than done. Kerstin Steffen, Director Brand Strategy at imc, initiated the training course and helped with its implementation. Teaming up with experts from our Content department – people who normally create digital learning content of this type for external clients – she set her sights on developing a training course that inspires all imc employees.
“It was extremely important to develop something that did more than merely disseminate information,” she recalls. “People need to be able to understand and ‘feel’ the brand. New employees should be able to instantly understand what drives us here at imc, what our values are, and what kind of cooperation and collaboration we practise and expect of others.”
Oliver Steinhilber is an instructional designer at imc and provided support for the conceptual design of the training course. “We’re currently seeing strong demand for training courses of this type among our clients,” he says. “Onboarding, change, new work and the like are a big deal at the moment, and managers in HR, marketing and internal communication are looking for ways of communicating these messages with authenticity and emotional power.”
So, it was immediately obvious what we needed to do. But we had to make a number of key decisions before we could start with the conceptual design and creation work.
Excitement and engagement among newcomers and old hands alike
The first step was to select a suitable tool for creating the training course. We chose Articulate Rise, and the team undertook two in-house workshops on how to use it.
Next, the team agreed to use storytelling as the course’s definitive stylistic device and to adopt a mascot as the narrator and companion for learners on their learning journey. Max – that’s the mascot’s name – looks a little like a ghost and emerges from the dot on the “i” of imc. He starts out very pale but gradually takes on more colour as the learner progresses through the course and learns more about the imc brand.
Max features in all elements of the training course. For example, in the history section, he reads from a book telling the story of the company’s founder, Professor August-Wilhelm Scheer. As the training course progresses, Max draws the learner deeper and deeper into the imc brand experience. The course also includes quizzes at regular intervals to gauge comprehension of the learning content.
The result is an entertaining and explorative 25-minute training course, split into four chapters, that teaches the learner everything they need to know about imc.
“We’re really pleased with the result, and the initial feedback from users is extremely positive,” says Kerstin Steffen. “The newcomers are engaging enthusiastically, plus it has sparked the interest of the old hands, who feel inspired to do the course right away. The time invested – it took about three months from initial idea to implementation – has well and truly paid off!”
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