Can the high street make shoppers stick?

Visit any British high street, and there’s a fair chance you’ll be looking at the same selection of retailers as at any other. Chains and franchises have grown in size and number over the past three decades, whereas many single-store operations have shut up shop. On the surface, it may seem the chains have homogenised high streets and forced independent retailers out of business. But can this be embraced as a simple cause-and-effect, or are shoppers more loyal to the bigger brands? And is there any point to small, independent retailers beyond satisfying our collective nostalgia?

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Driverless Cars: The Motor Cortex

We have lived with the many benefits, and pitfalls, of mass-produced motor vehicles for over a century. They have changed how we work how we shop, how we live, and even how we think. The promise of autonomous cars beckons a new era of change, both on the roads and in everyday life. But how will this technology affect our lives, and when can we expect it to happen?

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Commercial Breakdown: Can Television Withstand the Internet?

In 2009, the Internet Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers published figures indicating that the UK had become the first major economy where advertisers spent more on internet advertising than on television advertising. The statistics underpinning the report, as is often the case, are somewhat open to interpretation, but they did show that TV’s place as the dominant advertising sector, held for over 50 years, was being significantly eroded by the rise of online advertising in just a decade.

The timing of this report was significant. While online ad spend had been charging upward, the economic downturn let to a drought in TV ads. Since then, TV has begun to stumble back onto its feet, but so far it seems there’s no abating online’s growth.

What does this mean for television as a medium? What are broadcasters and media buyers doing to defend their revenue? And how will this affect us viewers?

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User Experience is Owned by Users

The line between what constitutes the provision of a product or service and what constitutes marketing is eroding, particularly online. At the same time, we can expect to see a further evolution in what is commonly labelled “user experience”. In the product or service design process, it is common to have a team dedicated to plotting out the user journey, and steering the development of that project from the users’ perspective. Of course, it is a healthy discipline to have people focussed on usability, but I believe the exact remit of this is likely to swing, if it hasn’t already.

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Fighting Fit

It was a week after I had collapsed in central London, on a wet and gloomy morning, and I was wandering around Northampton General Hospital trying to figure out where I was supposed to be for an EEG recording. The neurologist I had consulted was now confident I was having fits, and this was the latest in a series of tests intended to prove his theory. But why had I suddenly started to fit, aged 27? And was there anything I could do to manage it?

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