Lockdown Learning

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Union Connect’s Account Manager, Georgia Waters, explores the booming lockdown learning trend.

After being unexpectedly submerged into the depths of a global pandemic, online training, upskilling, and personal development have been a hot topic to both those who have been furloughed and those now working remotely. The absence of commutes and hectic office days, teamed with an unexpected abundance of time, means there has never been a better opportunity to dive into personal development, something we confess has always been lurking at the bottom of the ‘to do’ list.

With turbulent economic times looming and brands fighting to stay ahead, upskilling and staying fresh has never been so important. Thankfully, our new Zoom skills can be turned to the wealth of online learning providing ample opportunity for marketing professionals to broaden and strengthen their creative and strategic skill-sets, sharpening our competitive edge in the process.



Exploring learning trends

At the beginning of lockdown, there was an explosion of fresh webinars overnight. With brands and companies nuzzling their way in to present themselves as thought leaders and adapting their learning content for online use, this flurry was referred to as the ‘new home run in the world of marketing’. These new webinars touched on almost every marketing area, from digital and SEO, to experiential, PR and production to name only a few.

It has also become clear that due to the wide uptake and number of benefits they provide, webinars are not just for lockdown, they are here to stay. Omar Zenhom, CEO of Webinar Ninja, speaks confidently on this prediction:

“Webinars have always been the future of teaching and learning. The future just came early because of COVID-19. We’ve already seen our users move from monthly to annual plans…”

With this sudden webinar buzz, it’s not surprising that it’s forecast to stay. This is a learning model which provides benefits such as low running cost, great accessibility and ample readily available (not to mention accredited) content. It is something most businesses would be foolish not to embrace both now and post pandemic.

But it doesn’t stop there. Online learning platforms are also bursting with a plethora of podcasts, articles, courses, and certificates. These are building on the webinar foundations, providing hungry businesses (and furlough-ees) with more choice than they could ask for, and really no excuse not to engage with the online learning world.



Creative opportunity

But what does all of this online learning hype mean for the creative industry?

To begin, online learning allows marketing professionals specialising in just one corner of the marketing mix to get under the skin of another field, which will in turn provide a greater comprehension and value-add across integrated campaigns. Gaining a more holistic campaign understanding will undoubtedly bring additional value through tighter, more succinct and seamless strategies and execution. A slick campaign delivery will bring about a competitive edge for a brand, and in turn will drive results.

Secondly, understanding current trends and the ever-changing market landscape, especially at such a turbulent time, has never been more important. Quite simply, if you don’t keep up with the trends and move with the times, you’re going to get left behind. Industry expert Peter Field, argues that during times of uncertainty brands should be pushing out relevant and authentic content in-keeping with the fast-moving trends and the mood of society. This ensures brands stay front of consumers’ minds at all times. Without making the effort to keep up with trends through continuous learning, effectiveness in creativity and execution will drop and brands will no doubt be left behind.

And finally, learning and upskilling can undoubtedly bring about inspiration and get the creative juices flowing. The notion that everyone can provide ‘little c’ by contributing, enriching and inspiring new creative work means that we should all be kept on our toes, looking out for ideas and innovations which could prove invaluable. More often than not, those little golden nuggets of creativity can make the difference between a good campaign and an outstanding one. But to jumpstart both big and little c, it’s best to take yourself out of those day-in day-out tasks and allow the brain to reset. Seeking inspiration from industry specialists’ online articles, webinars, and podcasts can reignite that spark and stoke the flames of creativity.



It’s apparent that creative online learning is not just for lockdown, it’s for life. And for a great reason too – the tighter, more succinct strategies it provides alongside the new found inspiration and creativity it stimulates will undoubtedly provide a competitive advantage for marketing professionals and brand campaigns now and into the future.

To find out more about how learning in lockdown can benefit you and your brand, or to seek some learning recommendations, get in touch – georgia.waters@union.co.uk