National Institute of Dramatic Art

Prologue by NIDA

  • Brand & Product Strategy
  • Business Development
  • R&D
  • Mobile and Web Development
  • Commercial Validation

The National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) is renowned globally for training some of the world’s best actors, including Cate Blanchett and Sarah Snook. But for over 30 years, through NIDA Corporate Training, they’ve also equipped Australia's most innovative business leaders with a unique set of tools and techniques to help them be more effective communicators.

NIDA tasked Nakatomi with expanding this education to new audiences outside of in-person workshops.

This led to the creation of a business, brand and methodology so distinctive that it has redefined the professional development genre for good.

If you want to get your hands on a course for you or your team, head to

Business problem
NIDA Corporate Training caters to a specific, mostly offline audience: industry leaders and working professionals who want to improve their performance through their communication skills. But to grow further, NIDA needed to reach a larger audience.

Bold idea
Professional development like it’s never been done — an innovative multi-platform learning system designed to maximise retention, teaching soft skills for a new generation of learners.

"Moving an education institution in a new direction that embraces both legacy values and new technology takes courage, care and talent. Nakatomi has all this in spades. We couldn’t have imagined a better partner to work with us. The heart of what we have believed and taught for over 30 years has been preserved and reimagined for a whole new generation. They pushed the boundaries of what was possible all the while still respecting ours." 

Tricia Ryan

Head of New Business at NIDA

How we got there

The strategy that made professional development, personal.

Many development courses present their lessons as practical solutions for professionals. But our research into consumer behaviour uncovered an insightful truth: that workplace problems are simply personal problems wearing a suit. So while NIDA Corporate Training already teaches interpersonal skills for life, emphasising the personal aspect of our courses allows us to broaden our market well beyond professional development.

A business model that evolved alongside the product's development.

We aimed to price our product between the more affordable self-help options and the expensive professional development programs to maximise revenue potential. We then created an interactive tool that simplified market analysis and financial forecasting. This tool helped us explore various pricing strategies and understand their impact on growth and profitability, ensuring our decisions were data-informed and strategically sound.

Prologue by NIDA is a product the category has never seen.

To truly make an impact on a discerning generation, we needed to be different in our form and offering. The result is a multi-platform experience consisting of a book, card games, app, audio guides, and short films.

Designed, written, illustrated, filmed, and developed in-house.

Act Natural, the first course from Prologue by NIDA, offers you a new toolkit so you can adapt and thrive anywhere, with anyone.

In collaboration with NIDA's Corporate Learning Design Specialists, we created a compelling and highly-effective lesson plan based on NIDA Corporate’s existing IP — which takes valuable insights from the institute's esteemed acting training program. For a generation used to rapid-fire media consumption, we ensured that our lessons were, literally, page-turning.

This is how we did it:

We wrote the book and scripts in Prologue’s unmistakable tone of voice, and crafted hands-on exercises and games to keep the momentum throughout the course. Fun illustrations brought each lesson to life and became one of the brand’s main design elements. QR codes on the pages connected readers to the app — a digital accompaniment featuring short films, audio guides, activities, games, and YouTube videos that complemented the teachings.

This carefully-designed system accommodates nearly every learning style; effortlessly transitioning between visual, verbal, social, physical, auditory, reading, and writing modalities.

We designed and developed the accompanying app, which included audio guides, videos, games, and an interactive film.

"Nakatomi proved that when minds and purposes align, the impossible becomes a landmark of innovation. Prologue isn't just a product; it's a beacon of what happens when you dare to defy the conventional, stitched together by the very essence of our collective venture."

Sujeet Jena

Chief Financial Officer at NIDA

We built a comprehensive testing program to fine-tune and de-risk the final product.

Over 150 people, including professionals from Meta, Nestlé, UNICEF, and Amazon, took part in an eight-week testing phase. Our testers gave their feedback at the end of every lesson block, which measured various quantitative and qualitative metrics, while the app tracked completion rates and provided short-form qualitative user input. We then made custom software to aggregate user data and allow for easy analysis.

Using detailed learnings from organic customers helped us iterate the product to make it even more effective for the market.

“This is the first course of its kind that is so in-depth and understanding. The interactive videos, audios, recording sessions make the course more worthwhile than any other course.”

Aishwarya, 20

Early Prologue by NIDA tester

For the home stretch — we concepted, shot, and designed the marketing creative.

We launched the product with a website and a series of digital ads, targeting our user base of young professionals, as well as corporate leaders and HR personnel who act as buyers. Our creative platform, ‘Professional development like never before’, juxtaposes the term ‘Professional development’ with playful, personal, and highly stylised lifestyle images.

Our digital campaign, 'Professional development like it's never been done'.

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