Creating an infographic, interesting, exciting but not easy

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We are getting ever closer to the end of module 5 and our final module of the course, it’s not been easy and Squared have left their favourite task for the end.

We were given a vertical industry and asked to create an infographic around how digital has affected the industry. Our group was given automotive as a industry and at first it was great because I love cars but once we started researching it dawned on me that whils there is oodles and oodles of research out there, there is very little that is 100% right for us.

We decided in our groups to split the group into three groups of three with research having a week to gather data, analysis to mine that data and create a narrative and design to bring it all together.

On paper this seems like a sensible approach but actually I think in hindsight we should have created the story we wanted to tell first, then found the research that within the framework and then cherry picked the best types.

Our reason for saying this is simple, there is so much information out there but without some direction you can end up with a lot of surplus content and that is what we found first of all.

Having said all of that, it’s a really interesting exercise and one that makes you realise that creating an infographic is not all that difficult, it’s all about finding the right data, the sources are consistent (which they never are) and it tells a story.

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Data, data, data and the wonderful world of Google analytics

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We’ve just finished our 4th module, you’d think looking at Google analytics would be scary and let me tell you, it really really is. As with anything data led, you can manipulate data to say whatever you want and in this task we were told to analyse the Squared analytics dashboard. It’s quite tough as they are doing a lot of really great things but it was surprising to see some of their high bounce rates, exit rates but of course most companies would love the amount of traffic they get too 🙂

I would say that the course gets you thinking about how you are using your Google analytics and the data insights you use to mould your marketing strategy, it’s very very interesting indeed and a part of the course that i’ve found most useful.

Creating a business is one thing, marketing it is another….

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Our Google Squared course is getting more intense now and for this latest bit of coursework we were asked to design a marketing strategy for a hair colour product called Kleur Tonacity (a made up brand) and their brand new salon quality product. Sounds easy? Not when you have no hair 🙂

In addition, we’ve realised that by creating a strategy in a group of people with varying degrees of experience means you gets lots of really good insight but struggle to know what’s important and what’s not.

Creating a strategy for a fake brand is really tough but once you’ve run the research, created a framework of what should be included then actually creating the strategy is fairly straightforward. Interestingly, the most difficult part is condensing it down to 10 slides.

As with life though, you have to think about what you are trying to achieve, the primary, secondary and luxury objectives and then be single minded in layering on your marketing strategy and tactics to ensure you are taking your customers down a journey using multiple content types and messaging. 

In this particular project we were not asked to be creative but actually build the strategy, consistency was the tough choice, ensuring the presentation had a flow and storyline that meant everyone had a voice, job to do and thoughts were presented well.

Luckily for me, it’s something i’ve done a fair amount for our clients in the past so was very used to running this type of activity, it meant translating my knowledge from my day job into the coursework, I just hope it’s been enough to pass 🙂

Creating an on-line business, blooming ‘eck its tough!!

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Have you ever tried to create an on-line business from scratch in a week? It’s no easy task but that’s what they set us the challenge of doing for module 2 of the Google Squared course. I’ve made it sound like we had to create the entire business and get it live, it wasn’t quite that difficult but effectively by working in small groups of 9 and showcasing true collaboration we had to agree on a business idea, put together a business plan and create a presentation with narration. It doesn’t sound too difficult does it? Well it is.

First of all, throwing a bunch of people together that don’t know each other, asking them to agree on an idea then have enough structure to ensure the presentation covers all of the salient points is always going to be difficult. After that came the tough gig of combining the presentation and narration which certainly presented lots of technical problems.

However, I would say that the Google Squared course over the month certainly had elements to it to help us with this task and items like the value proposition canvas (pictured below) went a long way towards making our life easier. In addition they were able to supply us with plenty of information on how other businesses have managed to go through this process and some of the tools they might have used.

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I think it’s fair to say that the coursework was quite difficult because there were so many cooks and whilst we didn’t spoil the broth it was almost a project in itself figuring out how everyone worked, what made them tick, how they consume information and what to expect from them. If i’m being honest, that was my biggest learning curve, learning how to work with people you can’t physically meet and trying to do it in high pressure, short time frames but I think we managed quite well and learnt a lot to get us ready for module 3.

One of the books we were recommended reading was Eric Ries book called the Lean Startup and even though I am still reading it I was surprised by some of the content and so far am enjoying it quite a lot, would definitely give it a read. It doesn’t matter whether you work for an enterprise organisation or a start up the book appeals to all and if anything I wish I would have read it when I worked for a large organisation as it might have helped me.

All in all, module 2 was interesting but not revolutionary in my opinion, module 3 certainly sounds like it’s going to step up and for an old Gen Z’er like me I hope I can step with it, might need to get down the gym 🙂

European Urban Experts… My valentine’s gift!

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A great article about the wide and expansive world and some experts in each region!!!

UrbanBilingual

I am profoundly grateful to live in an era in which urban travelers are finally getting together. I have been traveling all my life with a purpose (studies, work, love, family) but rarely as a tourist (what an ugly word!). I have been waiting for a long time to find people who do not necessarily like what I like or do what I do when I travel but who have goals and interests to which I can relate, maybe even adopt… why not, if they’re convincing enough?

This selection of Urban Experts is meant to help us look at famous (and less famous) cities from new perspectives: Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, Bologna, Bucharest, Dublin, Glasgow, London, Milan, Paris, Stockholm are my Valentine’s gift to you! Do not try to find any type of logic in this list. I did not choose destinations, I chose people instead… their thoughts…

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If a picture is worth a thousand words what is a video worth???

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Well apparently one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words and that is according to Dr. James McQuivey as long ago as 2009, so video marketing is certainly not a new dynamic. I was on a lecture in the Squared Online course today and video was the discussion point and it got me thinking.

Everyone is saying it’s the year of content marketing but honestly how many people think of written content first when they think about content marketing?

The video above really does well to describe the power of video and is really worth a watch. However, it then got me thinking to how do I use it in my work life?

Well take 2 parts of my work life, one is my day job. At DWA we advise clients every day on the “power of 5” as we call it but should be the minimum of “Power of 3” which is usually video, text/image and audio and as an agency our first call should be to practice what we preach.

After all, would you take driving lessons from an instructor that couldn’t drive?

We produce plenty of content but in actual video form we have some work to do. I then got thinking about my side job, my own website Inspired By Locals and I don’t even have a Youtube channel. I started to think about what I would publish and would it be interesting and that led me to a whole new level of thought.

At DWA there is plenty we could create videos about, video based infographics, how to videos on using marketing automation software, how to use PPC correctly, what does modern day SEO mean, how can you integrate marketing activities, the list is endless.

When I thought about Inspired By Locals though I started to struggle, apart from videos of trips and places (which is costly as you have to go there) and perhaps infographics but you have to have the data to make them interesting what else could I use and if i’m honest I still haven’t cracked it.

One part of our coursework is to create a video of ourselves and by doing this i’ve realised quite quickly is it is not difficult to create video and most of the time you have the content to fill it, it’s just storyboarding and creating a great voice-over.

Whilst I didn’t learn anything technical in this lesson, what it did was to resurrect the need to take video seriously, after all it is the second most used search engine after Google and that’s not even taking into account Vimeo, Metacafe and all the other video platforms.

Gen Y in Squared Online

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I recently started the Google Squared Online course and the first thing I thought about my “Gen” (Generation), the whole idea came about because when I first started Squared Online there was such a mix of ages and skills. It caused nerves initially because you are always worried about losing touch with the latest innovations and even though I believed my strategic knowledge of marketing channels is quite good i’m not sure how good my technical knowledge is.

One thing that has come across quite loud and clear is that actually everyone has different levels and different skill sets and actually I can learn from everyone (senior or junior) on the course.

Aside from learning lots of technical knowledge, a big factor for attending the course is in being truly collaborative. I honestly don’t believe collaboration means how much tech you use to share ideas such as basecamp, join.me or any other tech solution that are circling us every day. It’s not that I dislike tech, quite the contrary, I love tech but I believe tech for tech’s sake is a hindrance to our everyday life. I actually want to share ideas, information and consume that information in the easiest way possible and hopefully there is a bit of tech that can help me achieve that.

Has anyone seen “He’s just not that into you”? Even though this clip is about dating it sums up the overuse of tech sometimes and not picking your battles perfectly.

I’ve always felt I’m collaborative but more recently when working on getting my site up (Inspired By Locals) I realised that perhaps I’m not as good a listener as I thought and don’t always collaborate well, always interested in getting my view across and not listening. I’m hoping Squared Online can help me be truly collaborative because it will force me to work in groups and on-line which will hopefully make me unlock the true nature of collaboration.

In our second lecture by Anton Damianos he made a particular point when he mentioned that we shouldn’t learn to be collaborative on the course and then go back to our place of work and tell everyone we should absolutely do things the same way we learnt on Google Squared, it’s about applying the method of collaboration so everyone feels empowered.

HERE ENDETH THE RANT