Acqua di Parma enters a whole new world with Mobile Learning

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Last year saw the learning and development department of the Italian cosmetic brand launch its mobile revolution in partnership with Teach on Mars. The objective was simple, yet strategically critical:  take advantage of the launch of the new fragrance Colonia Pura to offer a new gamified learning tool to its worldwide network of beauty counsellors (BCs).

Logo Acqua di Parma

2017 marked a milestone for Acqua di Parma, with the brand completely rethinking the way it communicates with customers. Simple product displays were out, replaced by a marketing strategy designed to really tell the story of the brand. The launch of the brand’s latest fragrance, Colonia Pura, was the perfect occasion to share this new approach with beauty counsellors all around the world.


A new gamified tool for a new communication strategy

The digital learning transition was already well underway for Acqua di Parma, as Eleonora Carrarelli, International Trainer, explains : “We already relied on an e-learning platform to support our blended learning approach. But this time, we wanted something new.” The Acqua di Parma Education & Sell-Out Development Team team was determined to get closer to the beauty counsellors’ needs, but also to offer trainers their first real gamified tool. In order to meet the operational constraints of the launch of Colonia Pura, it was important that the chosen solution be based on tried and tested technology. “When we started our search for the gamified tool of our dreams, we discovered a whole new world. It was exciting and fascinating!  It was our first mobile project, and we needed to be reassured and guided. I first heard about Teach on Mars at a meeting of the LVMH Brand Education Committee, where L&D teams from across the LVMH group meet to exchange best practices. I was in a working group focusing on digital learning technology, and the Teach on Mars mobile learning solution came up because some of my peers were already using it. I spoke to them about their experience with the solution and the feedback was really positive.”

Application Finding Pura

A blended learning approach

The high level of learning activity customization possible was one of the particularly attractive aspects of the Teach on Mars technology. The mobile tool was built into a larger overall blended learning approach, and the team decided to make it the final step of the learning process. “The BCs got access to the mobile app after a classroom session introducing them to all the practical aspects of the new product, and after getting a certification via a test they had to complete online.” Once deployed, however, the mobile app also produced other, unexpected results and benefits. “We found we could actually reach people who could not go to classroom sessions, such as distributors or multibrand BCs.”


Telling the story of Mr. C…

In line with the strategy of the brand to “tell the story of Acqua di Parma”, the L&D team imagined a new approach to training beauty counsellors on Colonia Pura, using… storytelling, of course! “It was an opportunity for BCs to get to know not only the new fragrance, but also the new brand. Everything was woven together.” Using the various types of activities Teach on Mars provides, the team co-created “Finding Pura”, a treasure hunt-style narrative that has the learner in search of the mysterious Acqua di Parma customer, Mr. C.
Each activity offers the learner new insights into Mr. C’s habits, what he likes and what he does… Short videos are also used, as pieces of a puzzle that formed the broader advertising campaign for Colonia Pura. A completely new, original and engaging way of telling the story of the new product.

Finding Pura activities

A worldwide launch, and objectives reached in 4 months

With this new learning app being a first for Acqua di Parma, there was a lot at stake, and the launch had to be well prepared and well organized. Several official teasers were sent to the BCs, and the central team worked in close collaboration with local trainers who spread the message of the brand new learning tool. Finally the big day arrived with the official launch across 20 countries (including Travel Retail): “I was checking the deployment ratio on the Mission Center every two seconds! We sent weekly reports to the markets and in 4 months we had actually exceeded our target of reaching 250 BC.!”

This new way of learning has been widely adopted by BCs, especially by the youngest ones. “It’s quick and easy to access, plus they can follow the activities offline. That’s perfect if you need a specific item of information: in one second, you get it!” After checking the KPIs, Eleonora noticed that the BCs not only downloaded the app, but spent more time on it than expected: they return to it over and over again, creating a mobile learning habit.

Given the huge success of this first foray into mobile learning for the Italian brand, a new application project is already in preparation. “We want to enlarge the project. This time, it won’t be only one training course but a bigger platform, including a link to the Finding Pura app. When something goes well, you must aim to do even better the next time! We’re ready for the challenge!”


4 best practices when starting a Mobile Learning project, by Eleonora Carrarelli, International Trainer for Acqua di Parma

  1. Read widely on the topic : “Vocabulary is very important. Before starting a mobile learning project, learn about what gamification really means, understand the difference between a L&D platform and a native platform.. The more you know, the quicker you’ll be in a position to make your decision.”
  2. Choose the right supplier : “Word of mouth is probably the best way to choose right: by using the experience of others, you’ll be more comfortable choosing one supplier instead of another.”
  3. Learn by doing : “Immerse yourself in the digital world, and trust your supplier!”
  4. Keep the faith : “At first, things might seem blurry, and you might feel overwhelmed with all the new concepts and information. Relax, things will get easier in time!”