Customer Success Story Imperial Brands


Achieved Results

  • Summer learning campaign increased downloads from 300 to 3,000
  • Most-used learning format at Imperial Brands
  • Integration into Degreed mobile app facilitates learning for blue-collar and sales staff
  • Diverse content in multiple languages fosters cross-cultural understanding and inclusion
  • “Gold standard” collaboration with getAbstract Customer Success Manager

“The guidance I receive from getAbstract’s Customer Success Manager is the gold standard in customer support.”

Donna Johnson, Global Learning Manager

About Imperial Brands

Imperial Brands PLC is a global consumer organization headquartered in Bristol, UK. It is the fourth largest international tobacco company in the world, operating across 120 markets. Imperial Brands employs thousands of people worldwide.


Business challenge

Imperial Brands employs around 25 Learning Leads spread across the world. A strategic goal for L&D at Imperial Brands is to reach as many people as possible with its learning offering. These include blue-collar workers with no connectivity, who make up roughly half of the company’s workforce. Centralizing learning content and facilitating its accessibility has been another key L&D focus. Moreover, Donna Johnson, Global Learning Manager at Imperial Brands, seeks to leverage learning as an engagement tool. “We have a stable workforce with long service – which comes with its own set of challenges,” Johnson explains. She has thus been looking to use learning as a way of keeping people growing in their roles over the long term.  


How getAbstract helped

L&D at Imperial Brands has worked hard to increase the number of active learners. A great way to do so has been to give people access to getAbstract content through the Degreed app. As Johnson explains: “Blue-collar workers can access getAbstract book summaries through their mobile phones, and read or listen to summaries on their breaks.” Mobile access to learning content has also come in handy for the company’s sizable sales staff, who spend a lot of time on the road visiting customers. “The bite-sized nature of your content fits nicely into their daily rhythm,” Johnson adds.

During the COVID-19 crisis, when many staff members worked from home, Johnson sought to expand digital learning to connect people and make them feel less isolated. During the first pandemic summer, getAbstract’s Summer Reading Calendar, which sent out a daily reading recommendation to subscribers, was a great success in achieving this goal. “getAbstract came with a big silver tray with everything we needed on it, and we just plugged it in and off we went,” Johnson explains, marveling at the engagement the calendar was able to generate: “During the Summer Reading Calendar month, we increased the number of monthly downloads from between 300 and 500 to 3,000 – that’s a ten-fold increase in usage sparked by a single campaign.”    

Sketch Notes, getAbstract’s visual learning paths, are another popular tool to promote regular learning habits at Imperial Brands. The 5-step learning journeys keep people on track to complete readings in line with a monthly learning topic.

By mid of 2021, the number of active getAbstract users at Imperial Brands was over 40 percent higher than at the beginning of 2020. In terms of learning instances, getAbstract summaries are now the most consumed content format at the company.  

Johnson appreciates the diversity and breadth of getAbstract’s content, which opens people’s eyes to different ways of thinking. And although the number of book summaries in the getAbstract library may seem overwhelming, Johnson insists she never feels left to her own devices when creating relevant learning initiatives: “The guidance I receive from getAbstract’s Customer Success Manager is the gold standard in customer support.”




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