Paul Mitchell – Product Knowledge
Color, bounce and style – in your hair, and now your e-learning...
John Paul Mitchell Systems specializes in hair products sold through salons, including a color line, Paul Mitchell Color Care. Their goal was to increase product sales by converting salons to Paul Mitchell Color Care. Sales at the salon level are handled by Paul Mitchell’s channel partners, Distribution Sales Consultants (DSCs). Successful DSCs apply their knowledge of the structure of hair, basic color theory and Paul Mitchell products in discussions with Salon Owners and Stylists to educate them on the unique value of Paul Mitchell Color Care and in turn to increase color product sales.
The catch is that many DSCs come to this job with little understanding of hair and color, fairly technical subjects. In comparison, Salon Owners and Stylists receive detailed training that they put into practice every day in choosing the right mix of products.
Paul Mitchell’s challenge was to come up with an education strategy that delivered product and technical knowledge, while helping DSCs apply that knowledge in conversations with Salon Owners and Stylists. With over 800 DSCs nationwide, Paul Mitchell chose e-learning and Kineo because they knew we could provide the visual and instructional design that would appeal to their creative audience. It was time for us to style like never before…
Engaging, easy to access, eye catching, comprehensive, straightforward, slick, fun – well, it had to be, given this brand. We created a learning portal using Moodle, the open source Learning Management System, that served as the launch point for four key content activities that provided information, thought provoking exercise, and contextual practice. Because it’s a Moodle, the Paul Mitchell team can easily update the portal with news articles, links and other resources.
Color Foundations covers basic terminology and information on hair structure and hair color product chemistry. In order to talk to salon owners knowledgeably about Paul Mitchell products, DSCs need to understand basic theory and how these products work. Our graphics team have rarely been so excited.
Learn About Color Products
DSCs need to be able to talk knowledgeably about product features and benefits in order to educate stylists and salon owners and increase sales. These short briefs are easy to update and replicate as products change (because we like to keep getting better at e-learning, so Paul Mitchell keeps getting better at color).
DSCs pull their knowledge together by advising a fictitious DSC as he goes on a sales call to expand the color line in this salon. Three stylists, with three typical salon guests. You’re challenged to guide Nate through his conversations with each stylist as they discuss the particular needs of each guest. Each scenario requires application of knowledge from other sections of the program, including product knowledge and foundational color theory. For these scenarios we went with illustrations drawn in Flash – we needed characters and settings that looked like real hair stylists, not iStock photos. Check out Nate’s earring!
The final piece of the solution is a game-like quiz that allows the DSCs to test their knowledge. Top scoring DSCs are eligible for prizes like iPads – nothing beats some good old prizes to get DSCs excited.
So far over 1000 users have registered for the program, with heated (probably with tongs or hotrollers) competition for the grand iPad prize!
Nic Napoli, Education Director at JPMS, said, “The format of the program has shown our organization that e-learning doesn’t just have to be ‘read ‘em and weep’ compliance courses. Instead, we’ve created something that allows people to access and practice content in a variety of ways. We’re excited to continue developing our e-learning initiatives at different levels in the company.”
In fact, this first program was so successful, that we’re just wrapping a second program geared towards salon educators.