Dale Carnegie // Case Study

Digitally Transforming the Franchise Customer Experience

Dale Carnegie’s management training programs improve the performance of professionals in 230+ franchise locations found in 47 different countries. But as a global franchisor, Dale Carnegie struggled to deliver a consistent brand experience from their parent digital property to each localized franchise site. Dale Carnegie partnered with us to unify and evolve their global digital customer experience.

The Challenge

Dale Carnegie was struggling to produce a unified brand experience across its digital properties — there was a disjointed look and feel between its parent brand assets and those controlled by each of its franchisees. To prevent franchisees from going off brand, Dale needed to create a unified digital experience that establishes brand consistency and drives business outcomes by giving its franchisees the brand messaging architecture to create their own assets.

Outcome

The first step in Dale’s digital transformation was to establish an iterative release schedule and launch a testable minimum viable product experience. This allowed us to improve their site based on actual user interactions over the following months. Once their principal digital asset was optimized, we created a scalable franchisee website architecture that allows them to communicate globally, localizing their message to audiences found in more than 47 different countries. It will soon be easier than ever for interested professionals to find the Dale Carnegie franchise closest to them and begin life-changing training.

Results

90%

Increase in Speed-to-Market Through Agile Delivery Process

30%

Decrease in User Course Abandonment

20%

Decrease in Overall Sites Visitor Exits

Two Is Better Than One

The technical complexity and sheer size of the digital experience Dale Carnegie (DCA) needed led us to develop a unique solution. We combined two content management systems, Craft and Wordpress, to create a sum greater than its parts that will give DCA the corporate governance it needs, while giving its franchisees the freedom they need to grow their businesses.

Craft’s localization capabilities and flexible modules made it a natural choice as the foundation for Dale Carnegie’s corporate site. Craft enabled us to build a performant, visually-striking homesite with the functionality to serve as a central data hub that can distribute relevant content to franchisees. Wordpress has robust multi-site network capability so it was used to build the network of individual franchisee sites. Each franchisee will be able to login and manage their own minisite, but each “minisite” pulls content from the central Craft CMS, giving Dale Carnegie corporate control over individual franchisee sites.

Localization

Since Dale Carnegie has 230+ franchise locations found in 47 different countries, this project’s biggest challenge was to design a digital experience that would respond globally and deliver an optimal experience no matter where the user is. Differences in language account for substantial differences in how content can be displayed: character counts change, some are read from left to right, others right to left.

To ensure a user is always served the right experience, we used browser-based location detection to determine where the user is located, the language they speak, what their content goals are.

Taking the Enterprise Open-Source

Before partnering for this digital transformation initiative, Dale used a legacy custom database application. While this system’s purpose was to do everything (it contained aspects of both a CRM & course database), it wasn’t ready to scale for Dale’s modern technology needs. Business data wasn’t normalized and there was a lot of accrued technical debt as the custom databases were amended and tweaked for over a decade. Meaning, the legacy system wasn’t replaced or updated, just built upon. This creates an interdependent web of different components, so making one small change can have a cascading effect that can destroy site performance.

By replacing this proprietary legacy CMS with Craft, we’ve introduced an open-source, flexible solution into modern day technology. This enabled us to solve problems that arise much faster than if we were building in a clunky, enterprise-level CMS.

Human-centered Design

As a global franchisor, Dale Carnegie’s digital experience serves two distinct sets of users: those interested in signing up for a course, and those interested in starting a franchise.

To uncover and serve the needs of each distinct user base, it was extremely important that we started our engagement with a co-creation session with stakeholders and consumers that focused on understanding Dale’s business, marketing, and organization. This enabled our team to not only uncover technical uncertainty, but to define what a successful user experience looked like so we could determine the best solution that serves site viewers, customers, and most importantly, daily content administrators.

Results

Dale Carnegie’s digital experience is no longer fragmented because there is corporate governance. Franchisees have the power to customize their site and feel in control of their business, while still maintaining brand standards. Using a component-based design system allows both Dale Carnegie Corporate and franchisees to create custom content that is on-brand and visually appealing, directly through the CMS. And best of all, our agile delivery process significantly increased the project’s speed to market.

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