Guest Blog – Where Eagles Dare(s)*

It’s guest blogging season folks and today the Eagle has Landed*. Sam Eagles that is. Sam recently graduated from the Squared Online course and wondering what went on there we asked him to give us the inside scoop. Was it fairly tame or was it Barely Eagle*?

Sam graciously accepted the challenge in true Eagle Knievel* style and this is what he came up with.



Hi guys, I’m Sam and after plugging my final piece of coursework for the Squared Online course, I was invited by Neil to write this Guest Blog on my time during the course, something I was more than happy to do and in the words of Barney Stinson – “Challenge Accepted!”

For those of you who may not have heard of the Squared Online course let me give you a brief history:

  • 2012 – Google and the Institute of Practitioners Advertising (IPA) launch Squared, a six week training course held in-house at Google Tottenham Court Road teaching digital marketers the fundamentals in Digital Marketing and the “Squared” way of approaching it.
  • Jan 2013 – Google and IPA announce a partnership with the Home Learning College (HLC) to expand the Squared course online, thus Squared Online is born. The course has now been improved upon and duration extended to 6 months.
  • July 2013 – First lot of Squared Online students begin their journey
  • Sept 2013 – Second lot of students, including myself, begin our journey
  • Nov 2013 onwards – the online version of Squared has proved so popular that a 3rd cohort of students starts their studies on the course, as well as many more to start in 2014.

So why did I choose to do the Squared Online course over the countless number of course available in colleges, universities and online? I think it was mainly to do with the fact that the biggest name in digital (Google) and the biggest UK Professional body in advertising and media (IPA) where the main driving force behind the course.

Enough about me, let’s talk about my experience on the course. As previously mentioned the Squared Online course consisted of 5 modules spread over 6 months with each module focusing on a different topic, but with an underling theme of “The Internet Of Things”.

Modules covered a variety of topics and tools from:

  • Introducing ourselves to the course through a YouTube video, Blog and Google Presentation Slide (Module 1)
  • “Starting” a start-up company and pitching it via Slideshare (Module 2)
  • Developing a Brand’s online presence (Module 3)
  • Analysing Google Analytics (Module 4)
  • Reviewing our Squared Journey and our predictions for Digital Marketing in the Future (Module 5)

I won’t go into too much detail about each module because it will take up a lot of your time (believe me I know, I had to rewrite this section after I hit 3 pages on Word!). What I will do is pick out my favourite modules and give a brief description on what we had to do.

Module 2.

Module 2 was based on “Thinking Commercial”. Working in groups and given the hypothetical scenario of forming our own start-up companies we each had to come up with an idea for an online business and pitch our ideas to the rest of the group, vote on our favourite concept and then create a presentation slide to pitch the idea to investors (Dragons Den style).

Having got the personal introductions out the way, as well as figuring out how to use Google Hangouts, we dived straight into to further pitching our ideas and voting on our favourite. If I remember I had based my idea around the idea of an Artisan Food locator app, trying to tap onto the end of the rapidly expanding British Street Food scene that is encapsulating the UK at the moment.

After voting took place (I had just missed out on the winning idea) we dived head first into developing the winning concept, a paperless receipt collection and money management app/website, which we called pprlss.

Our research and development of the initial idea helped the concept grow and as we started to build the pitch we grew more and more confident in the app’s capabilities, even if we knew it was fictional.

Module 3 was all about Branding and Marketing a product. Continuing in the same groups as Module 2 our task this time was to work for a fictional high-end hair colouring product, called “Squarelle Tonacity”. The brief we were given was to research and develop a marking strategy for the brand’s online marketing strategy, having concentrated with traditional marketing (TV and Print) for years.

Our research for the pitch saw us investigate the brand’s target audience in more detail, identify key competitors, develop a key message for the social media profiles as well many other areas with in Content, PPC and Display marketing for the brand.

The last of my favourite modules and another attempt to shamelessly plug the infographic, was Module 5. Not many lessons during this module, was more about getting a better understanding of our newly learnt/refresh skills and how best to apply them in the real world. It was also a time to get more details of our graduation, taking place at Google HQ, just around the corner from Neil’s office in Tottenham Court Rd.

For the main assignment, working in new groups, we were tasked with creating an infographic based around a set topic. The topic suggested for our group was ‘Clients’.

With that topic in hand we decided to focus our attention on the Small to Medium Enterprises (or SME’s) and how digital marketing has allowed them to level the playing field against larger companies. You can see a taster of the graphic below, to see the whole graphic click on the graphic or here.

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 10.15.59 *


Well, thank you Sam! Great insight into the Squared Online course there. Doing a course is a great way to help you stand out of the crowd and give you a headstart. This one comes in at £1,738.80 for 6 months so could be a worthwhile investment. Find out all about how to apply on their website here.

If you want to feature on our blog as a cordially invited guest then drop me an email with your proposal and we will come to an accord.

* No puns were harmed in the writing of this blog piece **

** Apart from the one about Evil Knievel. Which was massacred.