If global marketers are using digital platforms to boost collaboration between regions and outposts toward more efficient and better-choreographed campaigns, at least one global agency is doing the same thing. Euro RSCG Worldwide this month launched a Web-driven e-learning program intended to connect its 11,000 employees -- and creatives and account types in particular -- through something like a virtual university.
The TrendsU program is a four-module distance-learning type program on the future of trends. It began this month with “TU101: Introduction to the Art and Science of Identifying What’s Next.” The agency will follow up with three advanced-level courses on the impact of trends in the media, and trend spotting for strategic leaders. The course is led by Marian Salzman, trend spotter and CEO of Euro RSCG Worldwide PR North America.
Naomi Troni, global chief marketing officer of Euro RSCG Worldwide, explains it's basically an interactive learning experience on the agency's intranet and iPad. Kind of a distance-learning program, It features e-lectures and opportunities to respond with comments and questions to the prof and anyone else in the agency who comments via dynamic message feed.
In addition to social media, the program exploits a digital gaming effect where homework assignments completed by participants unlock badges that allow participants to move on to the next level, and others can see who's moving on to which level.
"I think ad agencies aren't that great at training and managing people. At Euro RSCG, we have 11,000 people all over the world," says Troni. "But we are about digital and social, so this is a great way to get the whole global organization together to learn from each other."
Troni tells Marketing Daily that the focus on trends within the agency helps orient clients outside. "We talk about 'future first,' and we want to get our clients thinking that way so we decided to look at trend spotting, which every local office can contribute to. That gives us global feedback from our agencies around the world that can be used in trends reports."
The feedback from agency employees is via established social channels like Twitter and Pinterest, with agency responses to the intranet series therefore essentially open to the public. "With each module we give the network a month to participate," says Troni. "When I've done organized in-person training before, 20% of people drop out for whatever reason. But this way they have a whole month to view, participate and submit homework. It takes an hour or an hour and a half and they can do it when they want."