NovoEd is an enterprise learning and development platform that helps customers design, build and deploy experiential learning content to accelerate business performance. Faced with a competitive landscape saturated with learning platforms boasting strong name recognition, NovoEd needed a succinct way to communicate its unique value verbally and visually to stand out in the industry. Walker Sands partnered with NovoEd to better align the company’s marketing communications to the needs of its target audience through an integrated brand, web and PR program that worked to reposition NovoEd as a tech-forward innovator.
Read the full project overview
As a learning and development provider, NovoEd’s platform enhances the knowledge and skill set of the global workforce through the power of collaboration. Uniquely suited to train “soft skills,” such as leadership, creativity and design thinking, which are difficult to measure, NovoEd struggled to communicate its unique approach to online learning to its target audience of large enterprises. To better differentiate itself in the crowded market, NovoEd needed to refine its brand messaging, and design a new visual and verbal identity system to demonstrate its value proposition of providing tangible business results for intangible skills.
At the same time, NovoEd’s website suffered from issues related to page speed, performance, on-page content, technical development and organic search traffic. To improve the user experience and increase conversions, NovoEd needed a fast, SEO-optimized website that would effectively guide users based on intent.
Additionally, NovoEd had low visibility as a learning and development thought leader in the media due to inconsistent brand and PR efforts. To build its thought leadership presence and strengthen its position in the space, NovoEd needed a strategic PR partner to help secure coverage in HR, workplace and business outlets.
Walker Sands’ branding, web and PR teams set out to reposition NovoEd as a modern learning and development innovator through a full refresh of NovoEd’s verbal and visual identity.
Walker Sands kicked off the rebrand by auditing NovoEd’s marketing assets and conducting industry and competitive research to discover the most ownable space for the NovoEd brand. In this discovery phase, Walker Sands led workshops with the NovoEd team to identify their key brand challenges and understand the company’s mission, vision and brand personality traits. Based on their findings, the Walker Sands team developed a brand strategy based on NovoEd’s market differentiator of offering proven, scalable business results through the development of intangible skills.
Next, Walker Sands designed a scalable visual and verbal brand framework under the concept of “Where Brilliance Converges.” This identity system showcased how NovoEd’s platform drives meaningful business results by enabling collaborative learning for its customers. Inspired by the brand’s logomark, Walker Sands worked with the intersections of shapes to bring the brand concept to life. The unique textures found at the intersection of two shapes blend distinct hues, suggesting the rich results NovoEd’s platform drives through collaboration.
To guide NovoEd through the implementation of the new brand, Walker Sands created a set of clear brand guidelines detailing how to maintain consistent visual and verbal expression. Walker Sands then helped bring the brand to life by creating new collateral for NovoEd including a case study template, business cards, PowerPoint/Google Slides templates, conference brochures and more. Finally, to activate the new brand, Walker Sands incorporated motion graphics to make the brand more dynamic. The animations, as seen throughout the new NovoEd.com website, emphasize the intersection of two things to create something new in the middle – furthering the concept of “Where Brilliance Converges.”
Following the rebrand initiative, Walker Sands executed a full website redesign for NovoEd.com to reflect the new brand, increase conversions and create a more seamless experience for its users. The team started by performing a comprehensive content audit to identify low-performing pages to redirect or remove.
With the audit complete, Walker Sands developed a persona-driven site architecture and design interface for the website, complete with an intuitive navigation and content structure to help users quickly find relevant information — effectively improving pathways to conversion. Next, the team expanded the UX foundation with a content strategy that created search and web-optimized content. Finally, Walker Sands built out fully custom WordPress templates that enabled high-performance, fast-loading webpages that are capable of driving strong organic traffic and lead generation. Before launching the new NovoEd.com website, Walker Sands held WordPress CMS trainings with NovoEd’s marketing team to set them up for success with future updates and site management.
Coming out of the brand project, NovoEd wanted to build its media presence as an industry thought leader. To communicate the brand’s new positioning in the learning and development space, Walker Sands worked to secure coverage in HR, workplace and business outlets.
With COVID-19 dominating the news cycle, NovoEd was uniquely positioned to advise organizations on how to manage their training and development programs remotely during this unprecedented time. Walker Sands developed a four-week media outreach program that leveraged NovoEd’s new brand messaging to inform a strong thought leadership foundation while also promoting NovoEd’s COVID-19 Resource Center — a content hub providing free access to content focused on how to quickly transition onsite training programs online.
Over the course of the month-long program, Walker Sands aimed to secure three to five interview or email commentary opportunities, and three media placements with at least one quote from a NovoEd spokesperson.
With a rebrand, website redesign and thought leadership PR program, NovoEd solidified its position in the learning and development market as a tech-forward innovator among larger enterprise audiences. The modern brand identity was immediately well received by internal stakeholders and employees, who believed the new brand was sophisticated and better aligned with the innovative company they knew and loved. NovoEd also received recognition in The Starr Conspiracy’s Brandscape 2021: Talent and Learning report for its effective brand differentiation.
Additionally, the NovoEd.com redesign resulted in a fast, high-performing website with keyword-optimized, persona-driven content designed for increased user pathways to conversion. Prior to redesign, NovoEd.com ranked second best to its competitors on Google Lighthouse, in a cluttered field where most companies hovered around similar scores. Following the launch, NovoEd rose to the highest ranking by a >20% margin and saw an 64% average improvement in Google Lighthouse scores. Early results indicate the revamped website led to a significant increase in performance and audience engagement as well:
- 532% increase in YOY contact form fills
- 208% improvement on Google Lighthouse site performance score
- 102% increase in YOY web traffic
- 75% increase in YOY organic traffic
The PR program was also successful in building a solid thought leadership foundation with HR, workplace and business media, and exceeded the team’s initial placement goals. The program resulted in seven media placements, six of which featured at least one quote from a NovoEd spokesperson, including a feature in HR Daily Advisor. Five of the seven placements were also in top-tier publications including:
- HR Dive: 3 leaders on crafting a remote L&D program
- SHRM: Lessons Learned in Moving Learning and Leadership Coaching Online
- Training Magazine: Resources and Tools for Training and HR Professionals to Cope with COVID-19
Ultimately, through the integrated brand, web and PR program, Walker Sands was able to level up and amplify NovoEd’s brand in the competitive learning and development space. Most importantly, Walker Sands built trust with NovoEd as a strategic partner, a relationship that was solidified when NovoEd signed on for a long-term PR retainer following the success of the integrated program.