Think campaign…

Posted on Oct 17, 2011

Regular readers will know that my previous Organisation made the transition from outsourcing it’s self-paced elearning modules to bringing them ‘in house’ almost 2 years ago.

Once we had sourced the software my Head of Department insisted that we launch the system with a fanfare etc and advertise it’s existence. Now I must admit that at this stage I was a little reluctant to follow this course of action because self-paced elearning was nothing new to my Organisation, it was just that we had decided to bring the development in-house; I even quoted the old “YouTube was never launched line“, but he was having none of it….. so it was off the the PR & Comms department (which is ironically where I ended up working) to ask for some advice.

Rather than waffle on about the advice that they provided, I thought it would be far more interesting to show you….

They advised that I should ‘brand’ the elearning. Not from a screen layout, fonts etc perspective but from a ‘logo type’ angle; this is what we came up with

It plays upon the ubiquitous ‘e’ that many people associate with online activities as well as the ‘swirls’ which were a part of that organisations branding.

We then discussed how we could use the info-screens that are situated around site to enhance our campaign and settled upon what my colleague  called a ‘sting campaign‘. If you are unsure as to what this is, then think about the run-up to Big Brother every year. Channel 4 ran a ‘sting’ campaign consisting of 1-2 second pieces of footage showing the Big Brother eye, usually with a few beats of the Big Brother music.

I decided that I also wanted to take this ‘teaser’ approach too, but more importantly wanted to get people talking about the campaign whilst still maintaining an air of mystery….. very much like the British Gas “tell Sid…..” campaign from yesteryear.

This is what we came up with, as you can see we have used the elearning logo to maintain the ‘branding’ of the campaign…

and I don’t actually mention what the hell it is that is coming. This was something of a gamble, however it really got people talking about the ads and what it was and when it was coming.

Our campaign was working.

Towards the end of the campaign we started to reveal a little more about what it was via a poster & flyer campaign.

The posters were placed in all the usual places

  • stairwells
  • notice boards
  • Kitchen areas
  • Back of toilet doors
  • …………. Above the urinals

I was shameless!

I also took a leaf out of McDonalds book and placed the posters on the trays in our on-site, self-serve restaurant to…. well… ram it down people’s throats even more (pun intended)

Once we had launched the system we then followed it up with an interview to fill in the gaps that the marketing campaign had been unable to do (this was one of our first recorded interviews and we were still learning the ropes (as you’ll be able to see), but it got the message across)

So folks, that was how we launched the in-house elearning system in my previous organisation.

Would I have chosen to do it that way?


Am I glad that I did it that way?



Because it taught me a great deal about thinking about the bigger picture around a single initiative. Although this was a piece of software and subsequently multiple self-paced elearning modules I would still choose to take this ‘campaign’ approach to the implementation of almost anything.

Granted, the effort involved may vary, but certainly from the perspective of a learning resource I’ll always try to ensure that it is only ‘part’ of a much bigger picture.

So that’s what I did, but what about you?

Have you ever mounted a campaign as part of a learning initiative?

Did it work?

What did you do?

Have you tried this but found it to be a waste of time?

Why not let us all know via the comments box below……


  1. Hi Craig, unsurprisingly as a marketing bod I think this is fantastic stuff. Doing something creative and a little bit different to catch people’s attention across the organisation can only help the success of any learning programme. It’s also important from a campaign perspective to build the message consistently over time. A one off hit won’t do the trick.

    A good example I’m familiar with is Royal Mail Group, who created a campaign called ‘Connect 2010’ when they changed their IT systems over from Lotus Notes to Microsoft. The campaign had an identifiable brand and logo, and encompassed all the internal communications about the impending change, and promoted the e-learning that users could take to prepare for the upgrade. They successfully migrated 27,500 users in 10 weeks and the feedback from people within Royal Mail was overwhelmingly positive.This in an organisation where the previous consensus had been that ‘IT was something you have done to you’. By taking the time to engage their users, Royal Mail Group made a great success of their project.

    I hope others take a leaf out of your your book, and Royal Mail’s, and give this a go!

    • @kategraham23 Hi Kate, thanks for taking the time out to read, comment and share your own story too.

      I wonder whether many organisations are just sooooon keen to get the content ‘out there’ (I’m thinking compliance driven stuff that has dropped into people laps) that they overlook the importance of putting the learning content into context and showinnpg the wider perspective as to how it all fits in?

      I hope that others will add their own take on this as you have kindly done.


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