Education is a key issue in Romania in both the public and private sector, generating debate and a dozen of different opinions about how it should be done. On one hand, Romanian people are not really used to “buying” education services, while on the other hand, a lot of companies understand that their best competitive advantage lays in the education of their employees.

Moreover, statistics are not especially kind to Romania when talking about e-commerce; the latest studies of the European Commission show that only 18% (1 out of 5) Romanians buy online, compared to other European countries, where more than 80% of the people shop online.

When our client in this area, Leverage, wanted to go from offline to online selling, we knew we were in for a challenge. Founded in 2014, Leverage is the only Romanian company that offers training, shadowing and representation in business negotiation through courses, in-house programs and personal training. Even more, it is the first and only negotiation company that currently bases its model on experiential learning and licenses brought from Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation.

The following campaign ran from May 2016 until April 2017.
General Information:
Strategy: This business addresses a very mixed target whom we had to accommodate in our communication as well: B2B (organisations with teams of professional buyers/sellers all across the markets) and B2C (entrepreneurs, freelance buyers/sellers and any person who has something to negotiate).

The challenges were many.
• Leverage’s founder, Sabin Gilceava, was known in the industry for his association with another training firm he had previously worked for;
• Our research showed that negotiation was a vague concept in Romania, where people confuse it with diplomacy, sales or bargaining, areas considered sophisticated or simply avoided; also, there were not so many actors on the market that could openly state that they were offering negotiation education, thus maintaining the confusion between the terms and different services;
• The business was a start-up in a niche industry, so we had a carefully monitored budget, which meant we had to choose only the content we had the money to produce and deliver successfully;
• Leverage lacked the necessary infrastructure: a selling channel (website/online platform) or a structured database we could work with. Also, the products and services had a very different price range, reaching up to 750 euros/ticket (for complex three-day open courses such as GetLeverage in Negotiation).

We had to work around and with all that, but we still thought big in our objectives:
• Awareness of Leverage in association with Sabin Gilceava
• Positioning Leverage in the market of training & consultancy
• Creating a community true to Leverage’s original content
• At least 20% rise of the business’s turnover (the benchmark of the industry considering the fact that we are talking about a new business)

Our approach regarded a 360° view of the content marketing process. We advised using owned as well as third-party channels in order to position Sabin as Leverage’s main voice, the negotiation expert who can give you the information you need on this topic.

We opted for a leveled approach, starting with generating awareness and communicating Leverage’s positioning very clearly. Then, we attracted the target on our channels and created a community, which we kept close through content. After drawing attention and educating, we started generating leads and selling.
In the center of our content marketing strategy, there was always the king: the content made to be diverse, accesible and useful to the target, explaining what negotiation means and how it can help. We used everything from e-books, case studies, blogposts, newsletter articles to opinion materials and interviews. We distributed them on all relevant channels, continously tailoring them and also pushing the content closer to the audience with PPC, e-mail marketing, press, social media.
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