Employee Training: The Hidden Form of Advertising

Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Employee Training: The Hidden Form of Advertising

I imagine many would believe writing content for a client’s employee training would be drier than cotton mouth in the desert and that, as a form of advertising, they’d want to avoid it like cacti spines and rattlesnake venom. They may even wonder if it can be construed as advertising at all. The reality is that employees serve as walking advertisements for their companies, and the strength of these “human ads” is determined by how they’re trained. This indirect form of advertising is vital to a company’s success.

Clients sometimes forget that the outward message they try to communicate to their customers must first begin from within. “Advertising and branding” to employees is just as important as advertising to consumers. The company message must permeate every aspect of the work culture and employee experience before it will impact anyone else. You cannot pretend to be authentic … either you are or you aren’t. And the way employees are trained to think about their company and its products is a huge factor in generating and maintaining this authenticity. It all starts with the employee.

Training is often the beginning of an employee's experience, and unfortunately, those trainings are typically dull. It is our job then, to take these trainings, shake the dust off, and unearth their full potential. Finding flowers in the desert is difficult, but they’re still there. When you finally discover them, you can’t help but appreciate their delicate, yet resilient, floral architecture. The point is, it’s not easy to bring these dry learning devices to life, but it’s well worth it once we do. Because the potential impact it might have on employees could lead to monumental change for a company.

When you attempt to weave creative concepts throughout a training, you begin to realize how similar this content writing is to traditional advertising copywriting. Instead of selling products to customers, you’re selling company ideals to employees. You still have to walk that troublesome tightrope of carefully balancing the client’s straightforward (and often bland) content with that of your own creative acumen. But finding that sweet spot between the two is both rewarding and relieving. You make mind-numbing material more enticing and compelling, and you engineer experiences that get employees to believe in their company’s mission.

Creative writing makes for great training. Great training makes for better companies.

When more employees actually embrace what a company stands for, the quality of service goes up, a level of passion enters the picture, and ultimately, companies’ claims about services and products stop being claims: they become genuine truths. Authenticity begins to emerge as the company starts to actually identify with what they want their customers to believe. It’s can be an arduous process, but at the end of the day, you had a hand in it. The beginnings for improving an entire company started with you and that, my friends, makes all the difference.

Richard Lee

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