Thursday 21st February 2019


Why Newcastle is the best place for qual research

The media and marketing industries indulge in plenty of self-flagellation for being too London-centric, not empathizing with the rest of the country and generally ignoring life outside the M25.

As a Newcastle-based agency it’s perhaps not our place to comment, but we think there’s another side to this problem which doesn’t get enough nearly as much attention. London-based brands and agencies spend plenty of time listening to ‘rest of the UK’, but too often let Manchester (and maybe Leeds) represent everything not-London.

These are brilliant, buzzing cities and we love doing research there too. But they’re big metropolises. Mini-Londons. And there’s a lot more to be gained from looking further afield.

We would say that, considering where we’re based. But if you were designing the perfect city to do qualitative research in, it would probably have these qualities:

• It would match Britain demographically – in ethnic diversity, age, average incomes. Ideally with a half-and-half leave/remain split.
• It would give you the chance to reach urban, suburban and rural respondents quite easily.
• It would have enough research agencies to ensure high-quality recruitment and facilities, but not enough to keep ‘professional respondents’ in business
• It would be neither ahead or behind cultural curves: not at the cutting edge, but not straw-chewing yokels.

In other words, it would look exactly like Newcastle.

Combine all this with the stereotypes – entirely true – of the friendliest and most open people in the country, but who certainly aren’t afraid to speak up and speak out. Do research here and you’ll enjoy listening back to tapes of groups or depths more than you thought possible.

At a time when the need to branch out is more pressing than ever, you couldn’t ask for a better place to do qual. We think any research project should start here. Then maybe think about adding some groups Down South, if the budget allows.

Written by Harry Boulding


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