Global Sales Training for adidas

About adidas

adidas is one of the world’s leading brands in the field of sports and it designs and manufactures sports clothing, equipment and accessories. It is headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Germany. The adidas Group also includes brands like Reebok, TaylorMade and Rockport. adidas produces bags, shirts, watches, eyewear, and other sports related goods and clothing. It is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe and the second largest in the world.

The Challenge

Gaining domain knowledge … quickly!

The Global Wholesale team at adidas wanted an eLearning course designed and delivered on the topic of Trade Terms which adidas offers its retailers. As adidas’s eLearning partner we had to very quickly ramp-up and gain enough knowledge and understanding about trade terms and the retail business in order to be a valuable partner. We did this through the process of Learning Engineering.
For more on this take a look at our corporate video: How we work.

Bringing a “Dry Topic” to life

As Kay points out in her video above, the topic of Trade Terms or Trade Investment can be a fairly dry one. Showing how this topic ties into the company global strategic objectives or demonstrating how it is influenced by finance and logistics or explaining what impact the company’s brands have on it are topics which are not the easiest to deliver through traditional eLearning. And so adidas decided to work with Jilbee to bring this rather dry topic to life through the targeted use of films and animations in the eLearning course.

Balancing video content with non-video content

The choice to use videos – either films or animations – was based largely on whether we felt video-based learning content would add sufficient value to the learning experience. So we used animations where arcane topics needed to be explained in a simplified manner and where visually-stimulating animations had the greatest impact.
Likewise senior executives of the company shared the points of view of their business units adding not just weight to the eLearning but exposing learners to different aspects of the business. We filmed these senior executives and their videos featured across the eLearning.
Where video-based learning content did not make sense, we designed and developed interact learning content with text and images.

Global Delivery in 10 languages

The eLearning course was meant for a global audience and was localized into 10 languages. Design decisions had to be made right from the start to ensure that design limitations did not create challenges later on during the localization phase.

The Solution

Learning Engineering

Learning Engineering is the process of knowledge transfer from the client to us at Jilbee so that we can build and deliver a custom eLearning solution to the client. In this project most of the knowledge transfer took place in a 4 hour meeting between our project manager and representatives from adidas. In this critical session the overall high-level structure of the course was defined as well as key pedagogical points in each part of the eLearning were agreed upon.

The eLearning Strategy

A key aspect of the Learning Strategy was to make the experience fun and to bring a relatively dry topic to life. Consequently, we decided that we needed regular doses of visually attractive content in the form of film, animations and interactivity. We decided to explain intangible concepts using animations while input from senior executives would be captured via film-based content. We also decided to include heavy doses of interactivity to drive deeper learner engagement.

Scripting & Storyboarding

Based on the results of the Learning Engineering, we wrote a script for each video in the eLearning. The script for the animations was given to a voice artist for recording. This script was the audio explanation of the concepts which were being visually articulated by the animation.

The script written for film content was given to the senior executives whom we filmed with a film crew. These executives edited the scripts till they were satisfied with its content and then using TelePrompTers they delivered the script on camera. For some insight into how to prep speakers for eLearning videos take a look here.

The project manager, the animator and the instructional designer worked together to decide how to best bring to life in an animated form the script which was delivered to the voice artist. In this project, the project manager decided to put his thoughts down in this hand drawn storyboard parts of which are seen below.

The animators used such sketches to create animatics (an animated storyboard) which we got approved by adidas before proceeding to building the final animations.

Animations

Our animators used Adobe AfterEffects for making all the animations. They hand drew several characters which we got pre-approved from adidas. We ensured that all animations strictly followed all branding guidelines of adidas and the style of the animation fit well into the overall eLearning style used across other eLearning courses at adidas.

Filming

Over several sessions with senior executives of adidas we filmed all the film-based learning content for the eLearning course. The biggest challenge during this exercise was to ensure that the speaker stuck to the agreed script.

The script in these videos was an essential part of the instructional design and we had to make sure that no important part was dropped in a last minute revision by a speaker. Some speakers were very comfortable in front of the camera and spoke off-the-cuff and got all the points across. Others were a bit shy in the spotlight and they read a script from a Teleprompter.

eLearning Development

Once the graphic designs were approved and the learning content – mostly in the form of films and animations – was developed, our eLearning developers built the eLearning course using Articulate Storyline.

Since the planning up to the point of development had been robust, the development itself was relatively straightforward and followed well-defined, predictable processes.

The Results

The Learning is now rolled out to adidas wholesale sales teams worldwide. The use of videos with senior executives has lent high-level backing to the training. And the use of animations has helped successfully articulate complex topics in an easy-to-understand and entertaining way. The localization into 10 languages will ensure greater adoptability of the eLearning especially in countries where English as a language of business is not very common.