GuyKat and L’Oreal have been in collaboration since 2017 to develop a groundbreaking digital learning strategy. This has seen them implement a series of highly successful international eLearning projects. L’Oreal, a renowned multinational beauty company, added Kiehl’s, a brand steeped in heritage and history, to its portfolio in April 2000. Recognising L’Oreal as one of their most significant clients, GuyKat decided to embark on a comprehensive case study. In this interview, we sit down with Mia Kernaghan, the project lead, as she sheds light on the crucial challenges, requirements, and measurable outcomes of their ongoing successful partnership. 

1. What was Kiehl’s vision for their digital learning?

“Education has always been at the heart of what we do, dating back to our apothecary days in 1851. In fact, it was once a vision of founding family member, Aaron Morse, to create a Kiehl’s Academy to help educate in-store employees and customers alike. As part of our digital learning strategy, we needed to make the first ever eLearning platform for Skin Pros at Kiehl’s. Our platform provides a highly personalised, accessible, and academic experience where the users, Kiehl’s Skin Pros, can advance their education. 

Our LMS (Learning Management System) has the optimal balance between engaging formats and rich content from the very start of their learning experience.”

2. What were the main challenges and issues involved in the project?

“As part of our digital learning strategy, we needed to amplify and modernise over 170 years of education for Skin Pros. At Kiehl’s, we have extremely high standards in providing expert-level education. In order to empower and enable them to create superior customer experiences, we needed an LMS that reflected that.

We have a diverse team of Skin Pros around the world, about 4,700 total. They speak many different languages, have varying levels of technological expertise, and educational backgrounds. For example, some Skin Pros are brand new to Kiehl’s and work part time. Whereas other Skin Pros have been with Kiehl’s for over 20 years. The challenge with this is that we needed to create something accessible and engaging for all of them. We needed to amplify their Keihl’s education regardless of how long they’d been with the company.

We need to partner closely with the local markets to create a truly global, optimised LMS. 

By partnership, I mean actual buy-in for user fees, translation fees, and the investment of their own personal time. This all meant that we had to offer something different than our standard in-person training. This training generates a great sense of community and personal empowerment. Digitally replicating this is a big challenge for my team.

We especially needed something reliable. Kiehl’s Academy officially launched in 2019. When Covid hit in 2020, Kiehl’s Academy quickly became a vital tool to conduct virtual training for Skin Pros. This also meant that myself and my manager, JR, had to become eLearning experts very quickly. I found this daunting as I had never been in the LMS world before, however, GuyKat helped every step of the way”

3. What was the purpose of the bespoke landing page created by GuyKat?

“Through our partnership with GuyKat, we were able to transform the vision for our global digital learning strategy into a real user experience. We created customised web pages that aligned very well with our brand identity, displaying a balance of nature and science, as well as ‘star-ifying’ the Kiehl’s Skin Pro, who really is at the centre of all that we do.

Our bespoke landing page also reflected Skin Pros feedback from our Kiehl’s Academy pilot in North America in 2018. Here we learned that a user cannot be engaged in the content if the front-end development is clunky. So, we incorporated these insights into the new landing page, ensuring that users would not be deterred from completing any digital training, and would feel engaged from the very start. For example, this meant making the landing page customised and on brand. 

The GuyKat team carefully listened to our ideas, feedback, strategy and goals, and helped us to achieve a robust and immersive eLearning experience for users, that’s uniquely designed for Kiehl’s. With an advanced, yet accessible, eLearning platform, we’re able to provide users with the same high-quality, personalised, expert learning experience that they provide to customers in store and online.”

4. How did GuyKat assist Kiehl’s in maximising the capabilities of Docebo as part of their digital learning strategy?

“GuyKat helped to customise Kiehl’s Global Community, which is our internal social eLearning page, to balance the structure of our traditional learning content. A challenge for us was having to modernise our long-standing education at Kiehl’s. We also needed to replicate the same feeling of community that’s generated from connecting in person. This sense of connection is one of the main reasons why Skin Pros love and stay at Kiehl’s. 

With GuyKat’s help customising Kiehl’s Global Community, we were actually able to create our own internal, social page. Added features include a customised “CONTRIBUTE” bar at the top of the page and a fully branded platform. These improvements have engaged users and increased retention. It fosters a greater sense of confidence and community, while learning in a less-formal way. For example, this is where we activate our sustainability platform. ‘Kiehl’s Mission Renewal’ incentivises Skin Pros to share their best practices and become a part of something bigger. 

‘Kiehl’s Global Community’ has also been noted by other L’Oreal groups as a key feature that differentiates our LMS from other L’Oreal LMS’s.  

GuyKat has helped to create a more simple and efficient user experience for our Skin Pros. A specific example of this is that we have over 300 courses in 12 languages on the platform to date. At the time, all of our courses separated into three channels – a Product Courses channel, an Ingredient Glossary, and a Service channel. There was still an overwhelming amount of content to comb through to find what you needed. 

To make the content more accessible and streamlined, GuyKat did almost all of the backend work independently to create categories for each channel and then itemise our 3,000+ courses into the correct category.”

5. How did GuyKat approach the creation of a bespoke eLearning module for Kiehl’s?

“At Kiehl’s, we have over 170 years of rich history and heritage. We needed a centralised place where Skin Pros could understand our values and how we uphold them today. This is where the idea of the Kiehl’s History Storybook came into play. 

There was a lot of content and different designs that we needed to include in one course. We needed to make it engaging so that the users would complete the entire course. It also needed to be consistently on-brand so that the users could have a clear understanding of our history. 

First, GuyKat created a streamlined process for us with clear objectives. They helped us create assets to showcase in our meetings with local markets to create excitement for what we were going to deliver. This encouraged investment in Kiehl’s Academy. Then GuyKat created a very straightforward process for us to follow in order to stay on track for what we committed to deliver. 

GuyKat also had a very in-depth understanding of our brand visual codes. This proved incredibly helpful since we not only used our existing Kiehl’s assets, but they also created elements of their own saving time and money. 

Thanks to GuyKat, ‘The Kiehl’s History Storybook’ is our first fully animated and gamified module.

It is completed by all Skin Pros on Kiehl’s Academy as the very first course they take as a part of their onboarding, which is their first introduction to the brand.”

6. What type of admin training did GuyKat provide for Kiehl’s, and how did it help them manage their eLearning platform more effectively?

“Regular communication is key to keeping our digital learning strategy on track. Monthly calls with GuyKat are great for a general catch-up. 

Also, if we have any technical issues, they’re a really reliable source to come up with a quick solution and articulately explain the different platform capability options. 

We leveraged this information to create admin training courses on the LMS for local Educators managing the regional Kiehl’s Academy. A challenge for us when we originally launched the LMS was my manager and I having to become experts at the platform, almost immediately. GuyKat helped with being our partner for strategic development and problem solving. This helped us to become experts and then we built off that to help the local Educators.

This was especially useful during the pandemic in 2021. We were able to onboard over 20 countries that year because of the defined process for new markets. This helped local Educators feel equipped with the right resources to provide the best learning experience to their users.”

7. How did GuyKat address the language needs of Kiehl’s employees through translations and bespoke content creation?

“Accessibility is super important when putting together a digital learning strategy. However, there are two, often interchanged, factors that must be considered. It’s important to understand the needs of your audience, as well as any challenges they may be facing currently and in the future.” 

Inclusivity within your online material may include considering different learning styles, localisation of content and ensuring the eLearning flows in a logical manner. 

‘Accessible eLearning’ means that any learner, no matter their needs, can fully experience your courses. It can be as easy as ensuring there is audio, a transcript and captions for your learners. Some other simple tips include adding Alt Text to your visuals and checking colour contrast to ensure readability.”

8. How did GuyKat provide ongoing support to Kiehl’s after the initial eLearning implementation was complete?

“Platform clean ups:

  • GuyKat worked with us to ensure that each user had their correct courses in their correct language, fixed their badges/points/coins, etc. which is a lot of manual backend work.
  • Enrolment rules. Mistakes can happen when you have a large LMS and different people managing it in their market. GuyKat worked to re-trigger our enrolment rules so that all users had the courses that they should. We have over 3,500 users and each user has 300+ specific courses. 

Platform management: 

  • GuyKat optimised our extended enterprise (local KA domains), implemented any legal documents and translated graphics and copy into the website and app. This made the onboarding process for new markets quicker since GuyKat sets up the website and app and we can focus our efforts on training the new markets.  
  • Reward Store. Since Kiehl’s Academy has grown exponentially, we get about 200 Reward Store requests each month. These were managed by me. We now partner with GuyKat to help manage Reward Store requests which saves an incredible amount of time. This allows my time to be allocated to other Kiehl’s Academy projects and initiatives. 

Elevating content: 

  • We partner with GuyKat on all Advanced Certification content. Our certified content differs from our standard courses since it’s a way for Skin Pros to become a subject expert. The course content therefore needs to reflect this same expertise. It provides an in-depth education through gamified interactivities and knowledge reinforcements to increase retention.”

9. What are your top benefits and positive outcomes from your continued work with GuyKat? 

“Kiehl’s Academy has been a vital tool in helping the brand ensure all training is complete while saving time and cost, increasing learner retention, and providing trackable and measurable results for all users to help with performance improvement. Creating a comprehensive digital learning strategy with GuyKat has been essential to our success.

  • 100% of users completed all onboarding virtually in our “Traditions” learning plan, which includes the Kiehl’s History Storybook.
  • All Skin Care Pros successfully completed comprehensive sustainability training.
  • 100% of local Educators (Super Admins managing Kiehl’s Academy in their market) use Kiehl’s Academy to conduct training (virtual or blended learning).
  • GuyKat created beauty tech training on Kiehl’s Academy, and activated and integrated beauty tech into customer consultations worldwide, led by Skin Pros, helping to amplify the in-store and online customer experience even more.

Retention and performance has increased by Kiehl’s Academy training being self-paced. Users are empowered to learn from anywhere at anytime, on the website or via the mobile app. They are able to use the LMS as a quick reference to help answer customer questions, as well as use it as a place to enhance their ongoing education.

‘Kiehl’s Global Community’ fosters a greater sense of confidence and community while learning in a less-formal way. On Earth Day, 100% of stores in Mexico shared how they were actively working towards a better future. This included volunteering in their community, reducing plastic waste, etc. 

Kiehl’s Academy has not only changed the learning experience for Skin Pros, but has also changed the role and responsibilities of the Educator. 

Educators can track and measure the results of individual users, tailoring their learning to the individual’s needs. We have saved time, money and improved user engagement by having a personalised LMS.”

Looking for help with your digital learning strategy and implementation?

We are a multi-award-winning solutions provider with over two decades experience in the industry. We work with some of the world’s most prestigious brands, our consultants build engaging content and create intuitive learning platforms. Based in Birmingham, UK with an office in Tampa, USA, we have deployed localised solutions in more than 50 countries. Our content team thrives in ‘making complex information seem simple’, our platform team are experts in making content easy to access and our clients engage with us as a ‘partner’ rather than a ‘supplier’. We are proud partners of LMS, Docebo, and content authoring tool, FLOWSPARKS.

Contact us for help with your f=digital learning strategy