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. 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. The project provided the New West End Company insight into the success of their new Christmas Lights Switch-On format, from the audience’s point of view and alongside previous years’ results, giving a quantitative view on 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 Fit

We have years of experience of helping organisations of all kinds understand their audiences – from theatre-goers to education participants, festival attenders to shoppers. 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, we were able to anticipate the response rates – i.e. how many interviews would be completed – and plan the research accordingly. We also honed the questions to make them as easy to understand as possible, especially important given the busy, international nature of the location.

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 brief included experience, awareness, motivations, spend, geographic reach, demographics and testing the awareness and popularity of a new event format for 2018. We helped the New West End Company refine their questions, created a bespoke questionnaire, carried out face to face interviews, and presented the findings of the survey. We’ve delivered similar commissions for NWEC since 2015.

The Project

From a short brief, we designed a questionnaire, 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.

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

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.