Planet Propaganda re-invents and re-designs "Trek University," the successful, self-guided, interactive training tool for Trek Bicycle Corporation and its more than 5,000 independent bicycle dealers and their sales teams. Launched at Trek World's annual sales conference in August, "Trek U 2.0" offers 24/7 access to inform and educate dealers about new products and technologies, as well as the research, engineering and people behind Trek's brands.
"We've given the site a complete overhaul with new, more robust functionality, and a cleaner, simpler design." says Rob Sax, Planet Propaganda's president / brand director.
Planet initially designed Trek U's online format to move from conference room video screens to desktop and laptop screens in 2003. Engaging dealers' staff with a fast-paced, multi-media presentation of informational and entertaining material, the online coursework used simple navigation, voiceover explanations, motion graphics, animation, illustrations, video clips and even home movies. Through the easy, interactive lessons and quizzes, users quickly learned about product updates and brands, company history, sales tips, and such complex topics as aerodynamics.
Sax explains, "Consumers in the market for a new bike priced at $2,000+ rely heavily on the expertise of their local bike shop and the people that work there. Shop employees are generally very passionate about biking. They love the sport. They're active riders. They're in front of customers every day and they take tremendous pride in knowing as much as possible about the equipment and accessories they're selling."
"The new Trek U 2.0 site was built upon the foundation of the first site, custom-created by Planet for Trek," notes Planet's interactive director, Ben Hirby. "It's a flexible platform, so it also handles changing media and data quite well. It can support more media formats, and the video quality is much better. Video quality is especially helpful for the authenticated podcast feeds that Planet's created for users who want to access or review Trek U content from their iPhones and other handhelds."
"As time goes by, technologies improve, new lessons are learned, and it becomes clear that certain things can be much better, more efficient," Sax acknowledges. "We've learned a lot. We surveyed Trek, its dealers and the sales staff. We've gathered a lot of feedback from the users' experience."
More than half of Trek U survey participants reported visiting the site at least once a week. Ease of navigation and technical/product information availability received high ranks. Among the most common requests was the desire for more in-depth topics.
Responding to this, Planet enhanced the behind-the-scenes, integrated database to drive modular content specifications customized to each dealer's preferences or to each type of user. For example, Hirby says, "New webcasts have been added with business advice directed to shop owners and sales reps such as marketing tips and online ordering suggestions. In contrast, seasonal sales staff won't see the high-level business-minded coursework, but will be presented with the newest products' technical features and benefits."
Trek U's analytics and reports also are much better, according to Hirby. "Now, individual users can track their own progress; dealers have the option of tracking the training progress for their shop as a whole, or drilling down to see which individuals have passed which courses; and Trek sales reps can monitor the shops in their territories."
"Trek U will be a constantly evolving program, with this latest iteration the result of more than five years of experimentation and experience coming together," Sax concludes.