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Case Study: Reviving a Faltering Program

The Challenge

A certification program was struggling in the face of increased competition and a contracting market due to the offshoring of jobs. Launched several decades ago by a professional association, the program reached its zenith in the early 1990s but new applications had declined steadily since then. In addition, many candidates were getting "stuck" in the middle of the required series of examinations and never achieving certification.

The Questions

Should the program be redesigned? Discontinued entirely? Or should an all new program be created to meet the industry’s changing needs? Lastly, how could the value of the program be enhanced?

The Solution

Our first step was to understand the reasons why candidates were not applying for, and not completing, the program. We flagged potential barriers that stood between candidates and the credential. And we assessed whether the program was even still relevant to the professional development needs of the market.

Once we had this detailed picture, we were able to recommend ways to reshape the program to better meet the needs of existing and future markets. We also identified brand assets and value creation opportunities that were not being fully leveraged by the client.

The Results

After our analysis and recommendations, the association decided to redesign the certification program to keep it relevant. The program also was repositioned in the marketplace, to focus on its unique value proposition, and was promoted to new market segments. Within three years of implementing these changes, the decline in new applications was reversed and the candidate completion rate had increased by nearly 10%.

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