In this post, we’re going to discuss how to scale your training business with animation, by taking a look at an interesting client case study.
We start by going back to the year 2015. The Apple Watch had just gone on sale. Queen Elizabeth II was about to become the UK’s longest-serving monarch, and Kermit the Frog devastated the world by announcing his breakup with Miss Piggy live on Twitter. It was also the year that two travel safety consultants approached us with a vision.
This vision would eventually result in a suite of elearning courses and animations used by thousands of business travellers around the world. To date, over thirty Fortune 500 companies have used beTravelwise’s products to keep their travelling employees safe, and to educate them on critical areas of compliance such as ethnicity awareness, workplace violence and cybersecurity.
Throughout their development, Shy Guys Studios has been responsible for the design and engineering of their animated content. In many ways, we have been an essential part of beTravelwise’s story from (almost) the very beginning. In this article, we will explain how their content utilises the power of animation, and how the processes we developed played an important part in their success.
1. Defining the goal
Before beTravelwise approached us, it’s important to note that they already had a viable and successful consultancy business. Experts in travel safety and security, they provide training and advice to companies and organisations around the UK. With over twenty years of combined experience in the travel safety industry, they had a lot of valuable knowledge and expertise to share.
However, their training was conducted through face-to-face workshops or via Skype. This meant that the number of clients they could attend to at any one time was dependent on their physical presence. Therefore they were limited by the amount of space they had in their diaries. They could only be in one place at a time.
To solve this problem, they decided to develop a suite of elearning courses that covered the essentials of travel safety for business travellers. They would offer these to companies alongside their existing training and consultancy. Crucially, this allowed them to pass on their expertise to multiple clients and users at a time.
2. Executing the vision
They found an LMS provider and approached Shy Guys Studios to design the content for the courses. As they were targeting a people-oriented industry, beTravelwise decided that the videos should include some form of character animation. This decision proved to be a wise one – for reasons that would become very clear, very quickly.
Our first task was to help them define what their character animations would look like. We had a look at their competitors and realised that much of the existing travel safety training animations out there were, to say the least, pretty dull. For example, there were lots of whiteboard videos, sub-par motion design and lifeless stick-man animations. In comparison, beTravelwise wanted to create a product that learners would engage with and enjoy watching.
We developed a set of characters and an overall style for the animations, and together we produced scripts and storyboards. We quantified their expertise to educate the viewer on travel safety, in a concise and visually engaging way. The result was a series of short animations covering a range of topics – from how to avoid being pick-pocketed, to surviving an earthquake or terror attack.
Their LMS designer structured an elearning package, incorporating our animations, with their interactivity and documentation. beTravelwise now had a durable product to sell alongside their face-to-face training and consulting. They were no longer at the mercy of their diaries. So, what next?
3. Adapting the content
The first suite of elearning and animations was a huge success, and more were to follow soon after. However, although some of their clients were interested in the content as it was, some also had additional requests. For instance, some clients had an existing brand colour scheme. Others had slightly different policies which needed tweaking.
This moment is where the decision to include animated content in their elearning modules paid off big-time. Character animation is a cost-effective solution in the long term because it allows for modification and manipulation. If beTravelwise had chosen to use live-action footage for their content, reshooting to appeal to different clients would be very costly. Furthermore, it would have been challenging to re-brand as the options would be vastly restricted.
Working closely with beTravelwise and listening to their clients’ requests, we established a workflow that enabled us to offer rebranded and customised animations. This process included tools which allowed their clients’ branding teams some creative control during the process. When it came to additional content, we were also able to add new scenes easily or adapt existing sequences based on their client’s requests. Had we gone down the live-action route, this would have been much more difficult, if not impossible without a costly reshoot.
The ability to offer rebranded content proved to be a hugely powerful selling tool. Firstly, beTravelwise were helping organisations train their staff and keep them safe. With this additional resource, they were now offering a product that was unique to each business and compliant with that individual company’s policies and branding guidelines.
4. Where is beTravelwise now?
Over the years, beTravelwise has continued to listen to their clients, and adapt their suite of elearning animations to fit their unique needs. We rebrand animations to suit businesses of all shapes and sizes, including an impressive list of Fortune 500 companies. We’re also continuously adding to their catalogue of elearning animations; they now have workplace compliance training material which sits alongside their travel safety modules. These include topics such as fire safety, ethnicity and diversity awareness, and cybersecurity to name but a few.
“The Shy Guys team are super and have become a valuable partner to our business. They were highly recommended to us and joined a project to help us meet our timelines; they got stuck in instantly, brought the design brief to life and importantly guided us through the creative process.”
Saul Shanagher, Director
beTravelwise is an ideal example of a company who have successfully harnessed the power of animation in elearning. They can now impart their knowledge in multiple places at once, and are no longer at the mercy of their diaries. They’ve grown their business by offering a unique and engaging product. The product can even be adapted to fit the profile of any customer or client wanting to keep their staff safe. You can find out more about the work they do here or watch the explainer video we produced below.
If you want to talk to us about supplementing your existing consultancy or training business with animated products, get in touch with us today!