Case in Point | Lighting up Oxford Street

Working with the New West End Company to understand the impact of their annual Christmas Lights Switch-On event.

The New West End Company commissioned The Audience Agency for the fourth year running to carry out primary research for their annual Christmas Lights Switch-On, to evaluate the success of the event and to help inform programming for future years. The project provided the New West End Company insight into the success of their new format from the audience’s perspective and alongside previous years’ results, giving a quantitative view of the benefits and drawbacks of the new format against their objectives. This evaluation, alongside feedback from their own members, will assist in planning for future events, and we look forward to helping the New West End Company make Oxford Street that little bit more festive for years to come.

The Task

Each year, Oxford Street welcomes thousands of visitors to their Christmas Lights Switch-On event. In order to make sure that the event is as successful as possible, both for the public and stakeholders in and around Oxford Street, The Audience Agency was commissioned to carry out an on-street survey. The audience information requested in the brief included:

  • Experience
  • Awareness
  • Motivations
  • Spend
  • Geographic reach
  • Demographics
  • Popularity of this new event format for 2018

The Fit

The Audience Agency has delivered similar commissions for NWEC since 2015, drawing on years of experience of helping organisations of all kinds understand their audiences – from theatre-goers to education participants, festival attenders to shoppers. We are skilled at honing questions to make them as easy to understand as possible, especially important given the busy, international nature of the location. We know the questions to ask to shed light on what clients want to understand – and how best to present them to the public. From previous research around London’s West End, The Audience Agency was able to anticipate the response rates – i.e. how many interviews would be completed – and plan the research accordingly.

The Project

We coordinated a team of ten interviewers who spoke to visitors to the event (both purposeful and incidental), delivering a quick turnaround and meaningful sample size that enabled NWEC to communicate the outcomes of the event both internally and externally. From a short brief, The Audience Agency's bespoke research team helped the New West End Company to refine their questions, created a bespoke questionnaire, carried out face to face interviews, and presented the findings of the survey.

The questionnaire

  • The questionnaire itself was designed with reference to previous research for this client, and the time-proven Audience Finder question set. This ensured that the data would be both relevant for the client and comparable with external benchmarks and population data.

The fieldwork

  • After an on-site briefing, a team of fieldworkers undertook interviews with visitors to Oxford Street. Although The Audience Agency field teams typically use iPads to deliver questionnaires, in this instance they used a more traditional paper-based method – this tends to be a little quicker in busy environments.

The anaylsis

  • Following the event, the data was compiled and analysed and two reports produced – the first being an overview in order to meet a tight deadline, and the final report presenting charts and the key findings, offering a quantitative view of the benefits and drawbacks of the new format against their objectives.