brunchwork is a leading provider of modern business education and for six years ran in-person interactive workshops across the US until the pandemic pushed them online. Paulina Karpis, co-founder of brunchwork, spearheaded the initiative to move their workshops online and launch their MBA Alternative, the Business Intensive - which has received excellent feedback to date. “We were largely an in-person business and ran workshops across the country with top speakers including business and tech leaders and lots of interaction. COVID hit and 100% of our revenue was about to evaporate so we had to do something. We successfully launched our online business class and our reviews are the best in the industry, it’s doing really well.”
The business has successfully served tens of thousands of professionals seeking to build their business acumen and expand their network. “All of our experiences are interactive and very relevant and we focus on skills that people really need. Our course is flexible, it’s 8 weeks, and really focuses on practical, no-fluff nonsense, it’s cohort based and we have really amazing speakers coming through.”
The change in course structure and delivery of business education prompted brunchwork to explore feedback from their users. “After COVID was the first time we offered a longer-form course. I didn’t think people would care about credentialing but then we did the user interviews and it was overwhelmingly in demand. About 85% of people in the interviews and in the prospective customer calls were asking if the course offered a digital certificate and we knew we had to find a solution.”
brunchwork is driven by their customer base so they were keen to meet their user demand for digital certification. “Knowing what I know now about people’s value of certification and being able to show off their skills with digital badges, I would have definitely pursued credentials sooner.” The greatest challenge arose in the research and evaluation process. Paulina knew that they needed to seek out software for digital credentialing but they weren’t sure of the industry and what was available. “It was confusing and new and there wasn’t much information online about it. Before I found Accredible, I thought it was difficult to understand how to do this. [When we found Accredible] it was easy to get started, compared to everything else in the space which felt convoluted and lacked transparency. The platform is intuitive and offers a free trial which we found easy to work with.”
brunchwork began issuing their credentials through Accredible and found the social sharing not only fulfilled their users' need to share their skills but improved the visibility of their new program. “The ability to share to social media makes it much easier for us to market our product.” Social sharing has become an asset to brunchwork and a core part of the marketing strategy, providing the added benefit of producing organically shared content.
“For me as a co-founder, one of the biggest challenges of any consumer business is marketing. One of the big challenges in marketing is making sure it is authentic and this is something we teach in our class. We see our students post their badges on LinkedIn, and we love that we gave students a really transformative experience. They host their brunchwork Business Intensive Certificate alongside their Masters degrees, diplomas, and other high-stakes education accomplishments and we are really proud to be there.”
Issuing digital credentials has enabled brunchwork to increase visibility to their target audience while maintaining authenticity and without incurring additional advertising costs. Their digital certificates are shared by approximately 50% of recipients to LinkedIn, where their awards are engaged with by peers, colleagues, and other professional connections. “People don’t look to the company to see that a product is good, they look to the customers to see that a product is good. There is no better sign of validation than a past student proudly showcasing their certificate on LinkedIn. This helps to validate the quality of our product both internally and externally.”
The switch to digital credentials has driven home the value that credentials provide brunchwork users and led to a number of recipient success stories. “Two women, both at a big tech company in Silicon Valley, went through our intensive. They finished the course and within two weeks, they both had secured promotions. They attributed their promotions to what they had learned in the intensive and what the certificate supported they had gained during this time, i.e. communication skills, business frameworks, and strategy.” The benefits were extended beyond professionals to entrepreneurs as well. “One woman leveraged the knowledge gained and networking connections she made to launch a new business to almost six figures in launch monthly revenue. The skills that the Accredible certificate attest to are there in real life for people to see.” brunchwork testimonials speak to the value of their program and they regularly hear from users about how reputable their digital certificate is and how it has transformed their careers.
brunchwork saw an increase to their LinkedIn page views after successfully launching with digital credentials. From November 2020 to February 2021, LinkedIn monthly page views increased by 78%. “We attribute this spike to Accredible because that's the single biggest change to our LinkedIn strategy during this time & we have found our alumni are eager to share their credentials on LinkedIn.”
Their experience of delivering in-person events and use of the Accredible platform was vital in helping brunchwork adapt where others in their space went bankrupt as a result of the pandemic. “Pre-Covid, our core focus was providing a business-first social space that was, and is, growing. Almost everyone we once considered a competitor pre-Covid is gone.” It’s amazing how far we’ve come and we plan to continue with a hybrid model in the future. I know going forward for our in-person events, we will definitely issue credentials.”