Benjamin Disraeli’s claim of ‘London; a nation, not a city’ feels as accurate today as it did 300 years ago. London’s size, it’s diverse population, and scale of the industries based in the capital, all suggest a difference in how the capital thinks and behaves compared to the rest of the UK. If true, this impacts how brands should behave in the city. Zenith and ESI decided to investigate.

Tired of London, tired of life.

The Londoner’s pace of life is literally faster, our study suggests 17% faster, than those who live beyond the M25. Large population sizes impact both speed of movement and the number of social interactions an individual has.But if Londoners’ speed makes them more productive and more social, it also means they are less patient and more distracted. We found that even when watching TV,Londoners are a third more likely to be second screening,citing ‘getting things done’ as their key reason for doing so. Whilst on the downside, this unfocused activity means that any advertising must work harder to capture attention, we’ve also found that multi-tasking actually creates a three-fold increase in likelihood to interact with the TV show, discuss content and more importantly, follow up on the TV advertising they see.
London’s speed and diversity also impacts its appetite for exploration and change. Londoners are more likely to try new brands, with 39% having bought something new in the last week (compared to 29% of non-Londoners),and were three times more likely to claim that the new brand ‘complimented their lifestyle’ than non-Londoners.This highlights the importance of recognising the speed of change in London’s fashions and tastes, as well as customising products or services accordingly.
Their appetite for the new means that rather than feeling bombarded by advertising, Londoners were 60% more likely to welcome advertising than non-Londoners, with half viewing ads as an art form. Advertising that offers ‘an experience’ was also welcomed, such as pop up or cultural events that can be shared with others.
Over 50% believe ads are a useful source of information about brands and feel confident that they understand the advertiser’s strategy; Londoners are able decode the ads they see and appreciate their purpose.
Their busy lifestyle, dominated by long working hours and less tightly knit community networks, impacts who influences them. They are less likely to be influenced by friends and family and more likely to be influenced by co-workers, celebrities and even product placement in TV or films. Social platforms and bloggers were twice as likely to be cited to be influential when trying new things.

And in terms of consumer confidence and spending power, Londoners continue to be positive as well.Londoners were almost twice as likely to visit a brands’website after seeing an ad for a new product, three times as likely to recommend a product, and over four times as likely to share something on social media about a product than non-Londoners.

So whilst Londoners may appear to be a demanding and distracted bunch, the rewards of engaging with them in the right way is obvious. Open to change, keen to embrace content and willing to try and buy, capitalising on London should be on every brand’s agenda.
FOOTNOTE: Zenith and ESI conducted research to explore how, where and when advertisers are best placed to talk to Londoners. The fieldwork was carried out during Autumn 2016, and surveyed 1,000 Londoners, and 500 non-Londoners. This was followed up by ethnographic and secondary research.
London: in numbers
• London has 8.6 million residents with 17.4 million foreign tourists every year
• 5,177 inhabitants per every square mile (10 times theamount of any other UK region)
• 66% of Londoners are under the age of 44
• 37% of residents are born abroad
• 30% of Londoners are online for more than six hours
per day
• Londoners average four meals out per week and account for 17% of the UK’s retail sales (more than Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland combined!)
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