For much of 2016, the country has felt divided. In June, we learnt the extent to which London differs from the rest of the country, as the heartland of the Remain vote, while the rest of the country had voted out. In the aftermath, 179,000 people even supported a petition for the capital to become independent, with the feeling that us Londoners just aren’t the same as those outside the confines of the M25.
The ad industry is largely based in London, and, on top of this, social identity theory suggests we gravitate towards those most similar to ourselves. However, our work demands that we speak to those outside of our own outlook every day.
These realities drove Denise Turner to embark upon her Sample of One study. The Director of Insight at Newsworkschallenged 30 London-based media industry colleagues –from young agency planners to media agency bosses –to complete the IPA TouchPointstime diary. We were lucky enough to see her present findings at the 2016 IPA Touchpoints 6 launch this month.
The Newsworksexperiment found that London media bods watch less TV, read less print and consume less radio than the average Brit. Indeed, compared with the average 23-27 year old, media agency planners in this bracket consume on average nine fewer print titles per week, and consume 1.2 hours less of TV. The inconsistencies were not confined to traditional media; there were marked differences in terms of time spent online, with those in media recording almost twice as much time with digital channels compared to the average.
To discover how comparable our habits are with the audiences we plan and buy against every day, here at the7stars, we decided to test Newsworks’ results with our own study. We conducted an internal survey on media habits, lifestyle choices and attitudes amongst 72 of our colleagues. Results were compared to the wider nation on TGI, IPA Touchpoints and YouGovProfiles.
Our findings largely aligned with Newsworks, including lower daily radio listenership and (predictably) higher reach on social networks and YouTube. Crucially, however, by testing results against a comparable urban audience as well as the country’s population, we uncovered that the vast majority of differences were explained by our status as city-dwellers, and as Londoners, rather than our choice of industry.
Turner described her results as a “wake up call”,and as a reminder that we “shouldn’t assume everyone is like us”. What we’ve taken from our research is that it’s not just about the industry; it’s important to recognise that regional differencescan be drivers of media behaviour in the same way that age, gender, affluence or attitude can.
Londoners are 25% more likely to be heavy travellers –spending 9hrs+ per week out and about. They are 47% more likely to be heavy internet users than their regional counterparts, and 31% less likely to be heavy consumers of radio. There are key channel choice considerations to be made when planning against audiences around the country, and, often, one size does not fit all.