Becoming Brand to Sales™ qualified

We all know how it is when you work in an office. You sit on your own little pod, chatting to your team, cracking on with your work… and you’re never really sure what everyone else is up to. Why is Lewis always walking up and down, having loud phone calls? How come Becky always seems to host meetings with really good sandwiches? Can I go to her meetings? More importantly, are there any sandwiches left?

It’s an unfortunate side effect of working alongside different teams and departments. You end up not knowing what half the people you spend your days with actually do. But it doesn’t need to be that way – as us Octopedes have discovered over the last year, with the introduction of the Brand to Sales (B2S) Academy.

What is the Brand to Sales Academy?

Some context: we’re the Brand to Sales Agency, which means we fuse research, PR, creative, demand generation and more to deliver campaigns that help brands arrives at sales. But B2S isn’t just a jazzy slogan – and it isn’t just for our clients to benefit from, either. Learning and development is a big deal at Octopus, so last year, the powers that be introduced the B2S Academy to make sure everybody is able to… well, learn and develop. The Academy is delivered through a series of sessions over the course of a year, hosted by staff across the business (with some external sessions thrown into the mix, too).

The structure is simple: complete 10 of 14 modules, one of which needs to be a digital module, write a 400-word case study of best practice, and make 3 recommendations for how Brand to Sales can evolve. The modules cover all the key skills that Octopedes draw on to deliver Brand to Sales campaigns – and from the moment I joined OG last July, I was keen to get going. I love learning (any excuse to crack open a fresh notebook) and this sounded just like a more practically relevant university course. Except I’d actually be sober for all of the sessions.  

I (hope) I’m fairly competent on the old copywriting front, but having previously worked in-house, I knew diddly squat about a lot of stuff that goes on in a multi-service agency. I’d also never dealt with clients, so the half-day workshops on understanding customers, budgets, and expectations were particularly useful. 

Not everything is relevant for everybody – I sit in the copy team, so the content module covered a lot of my day-to-day tasks (still went for the free snacks though, obv). But I learnt something new and valuable in every session I went to, from social selling to research and beyond.

The benefits of the Brand to Sales Academy

As a result, I feel like I’m able to work more effectively with colleagues across the business – which is a pretty crucial part in keeping our well-oiled B2S machine running smoothly. I also enjoyed the upskilling element. I’m a learning geek, and one of the things that drew me to OG was the emphasis on continual training and development. After all, I’m a copywriter – but I might not always be a copywriter, so I value the opportunity to learn skills from across the business. I’m also a fundamentally nosey person, so I’ve enjoyed hearing about what everybody else gets up to. Plus, as mentioned: free snacks.

The culmination of my B2S journey was the surprise graduation ceremony at our January kick-off. My mortarboard and badge now have pride of place on my desk (next to my stack of out-of-date Time Out magazines), while the names of the first graduating class have been memorialised in spray-paint in the OG office. Rumour has it OG is working on some extension modules, so us grads can keep on learning and progressing. Cheers for the memories, B2S Academy – you may well have been more useful than my actual degree.