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Electric Avenue

How the Third Place can transform your business

An Invitation to an illuminating walk down Electric Avenue

You will no longer find the British city dweller in their Castles - but in coffee shops and on their mobiles. The two of the most successful markets of the last 5 years - coffee shops and mobile telecommunications are based on an essential insight: they facilitate conversation. Now the phrase 'its good to talk' is more than a strapline - it's your business.


Executive summary
Electric Avenue is a syndicated research project designed to provide insight into the role of social capital and the Third Place in the contemporary cityscape. It is designed to enable organisations and companies to profit from the social, cultural and economic opportunities that exist in the Third Place. The project is being run by the Idea Society who seek partner organisations to participate in the study.

Introduction
The Third Place has channelled billions of pounds out of consumers' pockets and created the fastest transformation of urban retail space in the last 50 years. This is clearly just the beginning.
Electric Avenue is a ground-breaking study that goes beyond the froth to help you understand the convergence of technology and cultural trends that will make the Third Places as important to marketing as the development of soap operas in the 1950's.
It will enable researchers and decision makers to understand the dynamics of the Third Place and investigate how their brands and businesses can profit from this opportunity.

The Third Place may not be new - but it is about to evolve rapidly.

Background
An essay in the New Yorker in the early 1980s by Ray Oldenburg, which later become a book, delved into what the author referred to as 'great good places'. He described places where people hang out, at the bridge between home and work, as being informal, lively, supporting conversation, accessible and accommodating. For Oldenburg, the Third place could exist in anything from hair salons to saloons or coffee bars. Now we seek it in everything from games consoles to books.
As the initial stage of market development matures the opportunity is to be the first to understand:

- How the future Third Place spending will evolve
- How the future Third Places will challenge traditional distribution strategies
- How the role of emergent technologies such as Wi-Fi (also known as 802.11b, Wireless LAN) can be exploited
- Why the Third Place will become much more than a coffee shop and what will be the emergent sites that are likely to experience growth over the next few years
- Why social capital will become one of the most important factors for creating brand value
- Which business models will create sustainable revenues from this opportunity


The study will be relevant to marketing decision makers and key influencers/ researchers, policy makers, entrepreneurs and investors.

The research method
Electric Avenue combines quantitative and qualitative research in a new way.
We will be investigating the unexplored territories between home and work that are beyond the techniques of traditional market research. We will experience the Third Place first hand. Then we will transmit the insights and ideas directly into your business through a tailored, industry specific debrief that combines video and live action techniques.
The study will use ethnography to delve into these third places in order to explore what makes them work. The genius of ethnographic approaches is their ability to understand the habitat of these spaces. By hanging out, participating in the conversation and observing their ebb and flow through the day.

The study
The study focuses on key areas of the cityscape from market place to transport hubs. Example include:

- High street in urban 'village'
- Transportation termini
- Niche shopping street
- Market street
- Pedestrian shopping street
- Shopping centre
- Business class lounge
- Corporate Third Places


The ideas society research team will experience and record life and goings-on in these location and accompany people and groups as they enter and leave the third place. This will set the context for the following lines of enquiry:

- Definition: What are and what could be Third Places, virtually and physically, in mind and body?
- Segmentation: Who uses the Third Place, why and how?
- Stickiness: What makes people stay in Third Places?
- Conversation: What part do conversations play in the creation of Third places?
- Technology: What technologies will enable the Third places of the future?
- Time: What is the relationship between time of day and use of Third Places?
- Interactions: How does the wider environment impact on Third Places?
- Competition: How to compete in Third Places

What next?
To become a co-sponsor or just find out more details about the study and its aim please email any one of the research team personally. If you would like us to call you directly, just send an email and state a time when it is convenient for us to contact you.

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jason@ideasociety.net

 

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