London bubble effect: national brands struggle to connect outside capital, says Trinity Mirror research

Brands face a "significant challenge" to connect with people living outside of London, new research by Trinity Mirror suggests.

The publisher's latest Brand Relevance Index, carried out by market researcher BDRC Continental in April, questioned 2,000 UK adults about how relevant 56 brands were to them.

Of those quizzed, 743 were from within London and 1,257 were from the rest of the UK. The sample size also included 50 people from media agencies, Trinity Mirror said.

Within the research, a brand's 'relevance score' is calculated from five questions related to how adequately brands connect with people in their local area. The score for the brand inside London is then subtracted from the score outside London, to create the brand's overall score of relevance, Trinity Mirror said.

On a brand level, the research shows that an unnamed "top three" supermarket scored -26, whereas its competitor the Co-op scored +9. Meanwhile, an unidentified high street bank scored -24, whereas the Yorkshire Building Society scored +5.

According to the research, 46 out of 56 brands recorded a negative relevance score, which implies those companies are connecting more with people inside London than in the rest of the UK.

Trinity Mirror head of group insight Andrew Tenzer said: "Although there has been much talk of a 'London bubble', by looking at a brand level this index really helps us to understand the severity of the situation."

Consumers outside London also expressed concerns that brands aren't "speaking to them", the research shows. Based on an average score across all 56 brands surveyed, people outside London were found to be 21 per cent more likely to say advertising isn't aimed at people in their local area.

This led many to question whether a brand is relevant to them. The research shows that when asked whether or not people outside London would care if a particular brand existed, 48 of the 56 brands scored 40 per cent or more for 'no'.

According to the research, this translates to 54 per cent of the overall sample size who said they did not care if a brand existed.

Tenzer said: "Now more than ever brands need to ensure they are connecting with people, especially outside London."

Brands surveyed in the research include high street banks, major supermarket chains, and fast-food restaurants, among others (see below).

Read next: 'If you only market to Londoners you're delusional': Unilever and Golin urge industry to see past M25

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