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Company profile: The Agency


After a fantastic festival this year we are extremely grateful to our gold sponsors, The Agency, who not only supported as a gold sponsor in the SPARKies but also as the sole sponsor of the Family Weekend in Queen’s Square.

The Agency is a Bath based advertising and communications business, servicing global brands in international markets. With more than 80% of revenue being driven from digital and technology based accounts, notable international clients include AA, BSM, Boots, BT, Del Monte, Tom Tom, Intercasino and QVC and most recently the James Caan Foundation. The Agency have also pioneered new targeting techniques using digital media channels and advertising platforms in partnership with The Times and Wall Street Journal. This has secured North American company Quintiles, the largest pharmaceuticals CRO and clinical trials company in the world, as a long term client.

Founded in 2008, The Agency is one of the UK’s fastest growing agencies. With a current team of 15-18, including two recent Bath graduates, they expect to expand to around 28 people by the end of the year. In 2012 the Agency were ranked 43 in the UK’s Top 100 Agencies (RAR) based on financial success, client reviews, as well as peer regard.


I spoke to Saman Mansourpour, co-founder and partner of the Agency, about running a highly successful international business from Bath and why they felt it was important to support Bath Digital Festival:

Which project are you most proud of?

I think it would be re-positioning BSM to the youth market. We helped to drive their business online and increase brand awareness of 17-24 year olds to 97%. We also got to work with celebrities such as Pixie Lott and JLS which was great. Helping to define and measure digital media will be the biggest part of the business going forward I’m sure because its all about what can brands do in that environment and how can you capture that activity and quantify it in a commercial way. This will help our clients know, first and foremost, what works and what doesn’t  and secondly, how to proportion their budgets accordingly so they know what the online channels are really delivering for them commercially both short and long term. Therefore, for that reason, we’ve also invested this year quite heavily in a digital media team. We’ve got a new planning director, digital media manager and we’ve started to buy quite a lot of media and it’s helping to close that loop for us. So now we’re all the way through from coming up with the strategy, the campaign, the creative to actually getting it pushed out into the media, monitoring and measuring what happens,and taking the learnings and optimising that process. The integration means it’s across all of those digital media channels.

As a sponsor for our festival why do you think it’s important to support Bath’s digital community?

Well, we’re based here first and foremost [laughs]. It’s our home city, we should support it and be seen to support it. We do business here and we do business from here so that in itself is a good reason to support the city as a whole. From a selfish perspective, as Bath thrives and the digital scene in Bath thrives, then we thrive. But equally, for that to work it needs to be a virtuous circle, and we need to give back to the city as well. So for us it’s not just about sponsoring the Festival to help the events take place, it’s about being part of it and helping to promote it as well. The more notoriety Bath gets, the more people come here and thrive here, the more people we’ll hopefully get to work, engage with and learn from. If we can make this a technological hub of advancement then that can only be a good thing for everybody involved. We will benefit from that and in turn our clients benefit from that as well. As an agency we have to be mindful of that- we’re only ever as good as the last thing we’ve done for our clients. We’ve always got to be offering them and delivering them something new  to keep their brands abreast of the market and that’s what we strive to do so the city will play a really big role in that . The university in particular will continue to play a part in that so as we grow we hope that the digital scene will grow as well and should be symbiotic.

Do you think there is anything Bath can do as a city to attract more digital companies?

I think that on a wishlist for the digital scene here to grow, the employment opportunities need to grow and by virtue of that it means we’re going to need more companies here doing business. So, as a city, we probably need to attract businesses, small, medium and large, not just start up operations. There’s a lot of start ups that come out of Bath, they’re important, they’re great, we need them and they can be the bedrock to a thriving culture. But, ultimately, it requires some level of scale and we need to have businesses that are bigger, businesses that have more money to invest in R&D and more money to invest in people and growth. I think Bristol does a very good job, it’s bigger, there’s more square footage, there’s more people, by definition it’s easier for them. However, I think Bath has a certain intelligence about the population and certainly the university helps to feed that and we have to make sure that we keep that here and we don’t just let it run off to London and come back when it fancies kicking it’s feet up and having an easier life because that’s not necessarily when people are at their best. The university provides some excellent digital students so we want those people all the way through, we want them to learn here, stay here, be here and hopefully retire here.

Thanks again to The Agency for their generous support. You can find further information about their services on their website www.theagencyonline.co.uk.

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Storming WordPress



The Storming WordPress event took place in the Innovation Centre and was a complete sellout! David Kelly, the festival director introduced the event and spoke about WordPress in general, its positives and negatives and why it’s so useful for a number of different reasons. He also said that ‘48% of the top 100 blogs currently use WordPress’ showing just how popular the site is and how well it can be used.


Later, Liam Gladdy and Adam Pope taught the basics of source control (Storing all the code we write in a central place) to the group including the three common types HG Mercurial, GIT and Subversion (SVN). They also spoke about how difficult it can be to keep your databases in sync and that you ‘Have to commit to get started.’ After questions from the floor a lunch break was announced and an excellent buffet was put on for all of the attendees.


The afternoon session was focused less on coding and more on design and appearance of WordPress. Mike Ellis, who is a consultant for Storm and describes himself as a ‘normal human being’ and a ‘Translator between the geeks and normal people’ talked about why he loves WordPress. Describing the relationship it can have with both developers and the general user as well as how it is open source and is not owned by corporations.

After Mike Ellis’ talk, the afternoon session split into groups depending on what they wanted to learn more of, from how to add plugins to building a theme from scratch. Each expert then assigned themselves to one of the groups. Any questions or queries were answered by the experts and they gave one to one sessions when needed. There was also another question time at the end of the day where people could ask any final questions regarding WordPress.



By Declan Hughes

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Techie Brekkie: Education and Tech


On a bright but blistery morning on Monday 18thof March, a group of digital and tech entrepreneurs’ as well as local educators, met to network and discuss ideas at the Techie Brekkie: Education and Tech event. The event was held at Jika Jika in Bath at 8:15AM and saw over 30 people in attendance, all ready to showcase their products, businesses and ideas to others. The morning began with Andrew Carr, a local digital entrepreneur introducing the event and asking everyone present to introduce themselves and their interest in education and technology.


The range of people that came was amazing, from Mark Reed who was involved in One   Education in Australia to content creators such as Glynn Hayward from Complete Control who have produced content for the BBC.  Also present were the local STEM organiser Katy Glazer, the amazing technologist Luke Woodbury, who is showing what a good techie can deliver in a special needs school. As well as, Neil Stanley and his new school directory plus teachers such as Annie Lywood, who wishes to set up a FABLAB and Ian Rockey who are leading the way in terms of how teachers engage with the tech community – just to mention but a few people.

There was a massive amount of energy in the room as people furiously discussed their ideas with each other.  All fuelled by the fantastic breakfast buffet of coffee, tea, bacon sandwiches and pastries kindly put on by Jika Jika. When asked how successful he thought the event was, Andrew Carr said “I felt the event went incredibly and was amazed how many people care passionately about this subject.” He has since created a Google Interest Group for education and technology in bath where more upcoming events on this subject will be posted.

TB- twitter wuote 2TB-twitter quote

By Declan Hughes

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School Magazine Project


Led by Caroline Harris, Gavin Wilshen and Katharine Reeve the School Magazine Project saw four local schools send teams of pupils interested in setting up school magazines.

The morning started with introductions and then Katharine spoke to the class about their brand identity, how the branding should look in a magazine and discussed the relationship between the magazine and the school. The school groups when then each asked to write up a mission statement for their magazines with help from Bath Spa University publishing students.


After the groups had studied already existing online magazines, Caroline Harris spoke to the class about content, structure and design as well as writing up an editorial policy. The groups were then given worksheets to help them discuss these subjects further in regards to their own magazines.

Later, Gavin Wilshen demonstrated how to use WordPress to the class and gave them pointers on how to produce fantastic online magazines through the website. He went through different designs, introduced coding and briefly how to add pictures to a WordPress site.


Throughout the day refreshments were put on for the pupils and the team of Bath Spa University publishing students were always on hand to help, as well as the experts. A pupil from Oldfield School when asked how she though the project had gone replied “I think it’s really interesting! I did learn a lot of stuff about writing school magazines and it was enjoyable.”




By Declan Hughes

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Illuminate Bath: Digitrope


Illuminate Bath, one of the first events of Bath Digital Festival displayed Bath Spa University’s very own Anthony Head’s creation of the DigitropeWith a short clip, no more than five seconds long, the reel-like positioning of the display, allows the user to envisage something innovative and unique.

In this modern world with the ever increasing ability of smartphones to cater to a multitude of needs. As a society, we assume smartphones are capable of almost everything.  However, the Digitrope is one thing you will not be doing on your phone anytime soon.

Most of us will be familiar with the manual Zoetrope, a device often associated with children that creates the illusion of motion from a set of static pictures. The Digitrope takes this concept further, bringing it forward into the 21st Century. It requires the user to stand in front of a camera and then, using multiple projectors, shows the repeated clip in a staggered variation of  time-delay. Essentially creating a more vivid, technologically advanced version of the Zoetrope.

Even on a dark and rainy evening in central Bath, the public still ventured out to see and take part in Illuminate Bath’s Digitrope.  The poor weather did not dampen the mood whatsoever as everyone who took part, left the event with smiles on their faces.

By Dan Boyle

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Mike Johnston’s 5 Top App Recommendations for Photography

Top 5 Photography Tips from Mike:

1. Try and simplify your subject
2. Think about your background
3. Expose the subject, not the scene
4. There is a difference between a ‘snap’ and a ‘photograph’
5. Have meaning behind the photograph

Top Photography Apps from Mike:

1. Snapseed – very good for editing and can send straight to the social networks
2. Instagram – great for sharing photographs and adding filters to make pictures more interesting

Top 5 Audio Apps from Mike:

1. Sound Cloud
2. Blue Fire for Iphone
3. The Levelator – auto level edit for desktop
4. FiRe
5. Iapp

Top 5 Video Apps from Mike:

1. Filmic Pro (£2) TOP PICK!
2. Gorillacam (free)
3. Vimeo (free)
4. Social Cam (free)
5. Camera Native App (£0)

Top 3 Video Editing Apps From Mike:

1. Pinicle Studio (£8) TOP PICK!
2. iMovie (£3)
3. Vimeo (free) – Good tester

‘Spend £8, you won’t be sorry!’ – Mike Johnston

By Abby Herbert

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Katherine Reeve’s Top 5 Tips for Using the Hashtag

1. Hashtagging can be used seriously or more humorously for example:

#yummy is just something that can be put on the end of a tweet for a bit of humour

#Bathdigifest is a serious hashtag that will be used to categorise a number of tweets and may even increase followers and views


2. Always check a hashtag before you promote it at an event or for you business – make sure it isn’t already in use by someone else, and that the spelling is correct


3. If you are running an event have the hashtag on a banner at the front for everyone to see and use throughout


4. Keep it sweet and simple – people will make less mistakes and are more likely to use it if it isn’t too difficult to type out


5. Follow the hashtag to see questions and comments that may need replying to or retweeting

By Abby Herbert

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Katherine Reeve’s Top Tips from The Social Networking Workshop

1. Websites and content needs to be made with mobile users in mind

2. Design inventive and interesting content that works across as many platforms as possible

3. Make use of social networking, especially the ‘hashtag’, when you’re holding an even

4. Choose your social networks carefully and don’t try and use them all – maybe choose 2-3 to focus on

5. Don’t use auto post across every social network, tailor your posts to each one and make them mean something – they need to be
relevant topical

6. Pose questions and start interesting discussions and conversations – build relationships

7. Don’t waste characters on Twitter posts, use short URL’s for example

8. Learn how to use the ‘List’ tool on Twitter to make it easier to find relevant people and tweets

9. Manage your image and your reputation – Twitter is 2/3 professional and 1/3 personal

10. When running an event, make sure that the social media team are briefed and know the appropriate voice they should be using, the @usernames of all of the speakers and people involved and that the hashtag has been checked and is being used appropriately

By Abby Herbet

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Social Media Workshop


Have you ever wondered how social media can be used to benefit your business?

Katherine Reeve and Mike Johnston ran The Social Media Workshop on Friday, which aimed to demonstrate just how effective social media could be.

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Katherine started the session by explaining the benefits of Twitter, how to utilise Hashtags and top tips on using social media when holding an event.

Some of her Top Tips from the event can be found here

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There was time for questions and answers before Mike Johnston took centre stage. The questions were mainly focused around Twitter, using the and promoting the hashtag.

Some of Katherine Reeve’s top tips on using the Hashtag can be found here

In the second part of the session, Mike focused on Creating Visual Content. He examined a few social networks and explained how they could be used effectively to create visual content.


He then concentrated on photography and video recording, focusing specifically on capturing, editing and sharing content with a mobile phone.

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Mikes Top 5 Apps for photography can be found here and his Top 5 apps for video recording can be found here

The session was both educational and motivational, the audience asking a plethora of questions which were all answered by Katharine and Mike. The advice given was very practical and appealed to people on all levels, from beginners to those who were looking to refresh their existing knowledge.

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By Abby Herbert

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Launch Party


Antiquity and the digital age laid down their differences for an eclectic evening at the Bath Digital Festival Launch Party, held at the Roman Baths on Thursday. Guests mingled alongside the festival’s very own Jane Austen robot and the Digitrope, the newest interactive light display creation from Anthony Head of Illuminate Bath.


Festival organiser Dave Kelly gave a speech that inspired guests to think about the value of the festival. “I think now it’s more important than ever that people develop digital skills,” said Chris Kemp, co-founder of Suited and Booted Studios. “Particularly kids in schools because digital skills are the pens and paper of tomorrow.”

Kemp wasn’t the only one thinking about education; Christina Slade, Vice-Chancellor of Bath Spa University, mentioned the importance of all things digital. “It’s a really interesting age and I’m absolutely determined that students at Bath Spa will have the skills necessary to survive in this age.”


Anticipated events included Design Matters, Geek Girls and the wildly successful X Media Lab, featuring the visual effects team from Skyfall. Natalie Luckham of Wiltshire Council summed up the night: “Bath Digital Festival is brilliant. I think it’s a great initiative, getting lots of like-minded people together to share.”

By Juna Abrams

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