Douglas – Severn Valley Business Group

Author: Douglas


Professional photographer for social and commercial sectors. I provide photography and video to the commercial sector covering promotion, PR and events. Qualified member of the BIPP (governing body for professional photographers) I also have experience in marketing and sales.

Christmas Shenanigans at SVBG

by Douglas @ December 15, 2017

A few photos from events this morning at SVBG. Every year we have a Christmas party with a Christmas quiz. Prizes are big, really big.


The SVBG crowd



































Quiz time































Sing along
















Three wise Monkeys
















Answers please.




Your On line strategy

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To define an online strategy, the first thing we need to do is define what is meant by On line.
The dictionary say’s “connected to a network”. However you could specifically say you and your network and then expand that to there network and there notwork and so on. In reality it is anyone and everyone using the web.

What do we have out there that we can use to deliver our message on line. There are web sites blogs and blogging sites and social media sites such as Twitter, Linked In, Facebook and Instagram. All of these are free so all it takes is a bit of sweat equity

So how do we use them? We can write posts and blogs as these will give us an identity and keep in front of our audience. It is this audience who could potentially be our client base or lead us to our client base.

There are many platforms you can use to write your blog for instance, Blogger, WordPress, and now Linked In.
Blogs are the main source for content but you can use social media to drive your audience to your blog. This is because platforms like twitter have limited use of characters. Therefore a quick teaser and a link to the full blog can work.

The difficult part is what to write? That depends upon who you want to read it. My advice is do not use social media or blogging as a root for free advertising.
Inform, Educate, Interest.
Think like an author using headlines and and photos, if you can capture video this is great. Video is the most engaging and has the highest hit rate of all. Do whatever you can to engage your audience.

Examples of successful blog themes are helping people with problems, giving tips and updating on current news.
You may have another interest other than you business that is far more interesting and that may be the way to build your audience. Remember do not try to sell.

Finally plan what you are going to do and set out time to research and write it. If you don’t do this you will not do it. Monitor your sucess and talk it through with a colleague so that you know what works and what doesn’t.

Best of luck

Doug Anderson LBIPP


Being Cyber Aware

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I have been asked to write a blog entry and this is something that is new to me as is the subject I am writing about. I’m no expert on Cyber but I did chair the recent presentation at SVBG and produced a video on Cyber security for the Growing Cyber project at the WBC so from this I have picked up a few useful bits of information that I will attempt to share this. For more information I would recommend going to the Growing Cyber website at Worcestershire Business Central web site listed below.

The recent presentation at SVBG was given by James from Dphrisk and Cameran from The NCSC. It was on how to be more cyber aware and It was soon clear to see that this was an interesting subject that all the members were concerned about.

So to start with we need to establish, what is cyber security?

Cyber is a catch all term for anything to do with the internet, your web site, mobile phones, your social media, e-commerce, your banking, anything done using the internet. Cyber security is to do with the protection of that data.
We all need to be cognisant of the risks associated with putting data on line and we all need to take steps to protect ourselves.

So what is at risk and how can we protect ourselves?

Listening to the presentation, It was clear that any data we post is at risk and that half the battle is just being aware of this. We can’t stop buying on line, or updating our status on Facebook as this is just living in fear, however we can do simple things like make sure we lock our data away just like you would lock up your home and possessions.

It is true that if a hacker really wants your data they will get it, just as if a burglar wants to get into your home they will. However we need to be realistic and accept that we are not very often the target but more of a random victim. Therefore if we make it difficult for those hacking us they will most possibly just move on and go to someone else.

With this in mind we should all take simple steps to prevent or at least make a cyber attack difficult.
We discussed a few basic things to consider to help protect yourself online.

Make sure you are using up to date software. Software manufacturers are always issuing new updates that help prevent hackers and strengthen your fire walls making it more difficult to get in.

Passwords, need to be strong by this we mean don’t make them easy to find out. If it is the name of your cat and you talk about your cat on social media chances are it will be an easy guess. However if you use a password that contains symbols, letters and numbers that are random it will be very difficult for a hacker.

Phishing Emails are those dodgy emails you get that look like your bank may have sent. They have links that you are drawn towards and these go to sites that can embed a virus. I would recommend that you don’t click on any links unless you are 100% sure that you know where it will take you or you trust the sender.

It was pointed out that the government is having a big emphasis on teaching people how to be more cyber aware and are offering funding for businesses to learn about Cyber Security, Schemes like the Cyber Essentials Scheme. You can also go to the Growing Cyber website to see what help is available and if you can get funding.

I would highly recommend that you take them up on this and keep yourself Cyber safe. The links below will help you find out more.



Making the most of your testimonials

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We all know that recommendations are the best form of obtaining new business, that’s why we work so hard to obtain them. But how do our potential clients know we have them? What methods can we use to inform them?

Word of mouth is by far the most effective at getting results. However, you are not in control. You are at the mercy of the people recommending you and who can be sure they will remember you at the crucial time.

So, in order to to widen it’s reach, we ask them for a written testimonial as well, We can then become more targeted. These can be uploaded on the web via your web site or social networks as well as attached to literature or emails. They offer some endorsement to what you do, helping to boost confidence in both you and your business.

However, do people believe them? You may be an upstanding member of the Community, who would not dream of inventing a testimonial, unfortunately there are others who are not.

There is however another way! It is more believable and is now easier than ever to get in front of the client. It will easily sit on your web site, attach as a link to emails, and social networking sites. It’s called a video testimonial and thanks to You Tube is now accessible to everyone.

This is why at DAP we have developed a system to offer video testimonials, our experience in photography video and marketing combine to offer the perfect video testimonial, and because they are aimed at SME they are affordable too.

What makes a video testimonial work?

  • They should be short and to the point no more than 2 mins. “We don’t want people nodding off.”
  • They should contain important facts such as results, savings made or business growth. These grab attention.
  • Whilst I believe they should not be scripted they should be planned. This will keep people on track.
  • Finally, they need to be believable but look professional.

Example of a video testimonial from Video testimonial example


If you would like to find out more about video testimonials and how they could help your business grow, visit Worcestershire Video Testimonials or contact us at DAP 07803 048540 or email at



Is photography art?


On a recent photography course, we entered a brief discussion as to whether photography can be classed as art. Some argue against, saying it is not art, photographers disagree. I wanted to add my view on this, for what it counts; and because I have been studying photography for the last 3 years. For me a camera is a tool by which we capture an image, just like a pencil or a paint brush is a tool to mark to a canvas. The end result is the same an image on canvas. The dictionary describes art as “the expression or application of human skill or imagination.” Therefore it is this that we should consider and not the image it’s self. Did the photographer apply his / her skill and imagination to create the photograph?

After watching photographers work on images, manipulating the available light to find great tones in the shadows, modeling the subject and choosing the location with great care to create an image that really stands out, I can conclude that photography is a form of art if it was meant to be.

A cold winter
A cold winter
Brides pose
Brides pose

However this is only my opinion!


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