Brands: what’s your greater purpose?

More and more people (myself included) are actively choosing brands that are doing good in the world. Brands that are giving back in some way, whether that be directly to mother nature, supporting local communities or simply creating recyclable packaging… They draw us closer, making us feel good about the brand and about ‘doing our bit’.

Recent events including the national lockdown, BLM movement and LGBTQ movement have accelerated the conscious consumer mindset. As a result, brands are being put under the spotlight more than ever to have a clear, authentic sense of purpose, beyond their growth agenda, that remains loyal to their customers.

Based on our recent brand research and a small self-funded research project conducted earlier this year, we set out to identify some broad consumer-based themes. Here’s a snapshot of what we found:

Hard evidence (vs generic promises)

Initiatives supported with facts and evidence will score well with consumers. A good example is Kenco Coffee’s gang initiative. Gang violence is a major issue in Honduras and Kenco’s commitment to setting up localised coffee bean farms to encourage young men to turn away from gangs is tackling this issue head on. Kenco’s cause gives consumers tangible evidence of how their loyalty to the brand can truly make a difference.  Link:

Link to the brand

Initiatives that have an unmistakeable link to the brand are well received and remembered. Ikea embarked upon an initiative to provide robust, waterproof ‘flat pack’ shelters for refugees across the globe. This initiative has a clear and powerful link to the brand that not only gives consumers a warm feeling towards Ikea, but also a sense that they’re contributing to a good cause when shopping there. Link:


Brand initiatives that require consumer participation do well, provided they have intrinsic values linked to the category. A good example of this is the clothing brand Lacoste’s initiative to replace their well-known ‘crocodile’ logo with a variety of endangered species on a limited-edition range of polo shirts. Consumers see this as a clever and fun way of raising awareness of the most at risk species and generates positive feelings towards Lacoste to boot. Link:


Above all else, brands need to work hard to stand out from the crowd with a unique idea, that goes beyond the generic.  BrewDog’s ‘negative carbon’ claim is a case in point. By planting trees and switching to wind powered breweries, BrewDog claims to take out twice as much carbon from the atmosphere than it generates. That’s not ‘carbon neutral’, but carbon negative. The claim clearly differentiates from others and does so in typical BrewDog style, giving consumers another reason to choose Brewdog vs an alternative beer brand.  Link:

Brands that are resonating best with their consumers in this ever-changing world, are those that have a genuine altruistic purpose that’s well differentiated, involving for the consumer, and supported by evidence.   As issues such as sustainability become more of a ‘hygiene factor’, brands will need to work even harder to stand out and win favour. This can only be a good thing for us all.

Being there…

One thing I’ve been truly thankful for during Lockdown is the continuation of Premier League football. I have to admit though, watching the games without fans in the stadium has taken some getting used to. I started off thinking it was terrible! Huge empty stadiums without fans cheering, singing or shouting at the referee just seemed wrong. Players even appeared to treat some games more like training ‘kickabouts’ losing any sense of spectacle or occasion. More Sunday League than Premier League. I, like many, started to worry about The Beautiful Game.

Thankfully things have improved a little. We’re now into the final phase of the season and it’s leading to some typical ‘seat of the pants’ drama around Champions League qualification and potential relegation. Normal(ish) service has been resumed. Phew! 

I now even find myself accepting the ‘fake fan’ noise, which has come on leaps and bounds since the comedy balls-ups at the start of the season.  

This got me thinking about fans in general and what impact the lack of fans in the stadium has had on performance. Statistically, there’s evidence that shows over the course of a normal season, clubs will win more games at home than away. With no fans therefore you’d expect this advantage to disappear, however results don’t necessarily support this view.

Liverpool FC we’re last year’s runaway PL champions, undefeated in a record-breaking run of 68 home games. During lockdown however, without their ‘12th man’ at the KOP, they have remarkably lost 9 (nine) PL home games. Teams arriving at Anfield are now feeling more confident and no longer appear to be overwhelmed and pressurised into making errors. The lack of fans looks like it’s made a difference on Merseyside!

Conversely, and more strangely, there’s also evidence of some clubs performing better without their home support present! West Ham for example, who had a dismal home record last season, have been posting impressive home wins during lockdown. Not such great news for fans wishing to rush back to the stadium!

Clearly, results, good or bad, cannot be exclusively attributed to the lack of fans. Far from it. There are many other factors that need to be taken into consideration, such as new managers, new players, tactical changes etc. all of which are more likely to have a greater impact upon performance than the presence of fans in a stadium.

We may never be able to accurately quantify any impact of fans on performance during lockdown, but one thing is certain, a fan-less stadium looks wrong and frankly, very sad! I’ve missed seeing fans in stadiums as much as I’ve missed being a fan supporting my own team, Southampton, at St Mary’s stadium.

I can’t wait to get back to the terraces with fellow fans to start feeling the tension, drama (and frequent disappointment!) first-hand once again. Anthropologists and sociologists will tell us that fandom is a deep rooted, social and ritualistic behaviour that’s part of our human nature and indeed our very identity. Being in the stadium might not make a difference to my team, but it sure makes a difference to me!

Thinking inside the box

A friend of mine recently received a fantastic present through their letterbox. Not a free flight to New Zealand or an Invisibility cloak, but something nevertheless rather nice: a bottle of red wine. Posted. Through the letterbox.

‘Letterbox wine’ is part of a growing trend within the gifting world to create versions of products that are small/squidgy/slim enough to push through your letterbox and delight the receiver. Letterbox flowers are another good example.

Over the course of the pandemic, we’ve seen lots of different brands adapting and changing due to COVID. I’m sure you are aware (or maybe users) of the plethora of new apps that have been developed (e.g. House Party, Noom and even contact-tracing). Then we have the prolific music industry, where artists have united millions of viewers around the world through online gigs and special releases. But something I’ve found particularly innovative and somewhat amusing is how brands have become more inventive to help you send gifts directly to others … through the letterbox.

Being ‘locked’ inside has created a delightful opportunity to treat others in a way that we haven’t seen before. Sending something directly from your home to theirs opens up a whole new world of gifting. Rather than grabbing a doughnut with a friend at your favourite fairground, or sharing a brownie slice from your local café, you can simply click online and deliver one straight into someone’s house. Doughnuttime and The Dessert Box Co., for example, nail this idea with their affordable, letterbox-friendly gifts providing an extra little treat.

The drinks industry has also risen to the challenge particularly well. We’ve seen the likes of flat-pack whisky, for example Master of Malt who send miniature tasting packs, and an exciting new craze of letterbox cocktails to ‘change it up on the weekend’ by building your own cocktail night, (e.g. Mothership). Now we even have wine: look out for rectangular-shaped wine, in a recycled plastic bottle, that slips right through your letterbox. Letterboxwine.

All of these are great examples of how organisations are adapting to the pandemic, attempting to zig while others zag and displaying true characteristics of creativity, or to put it another way, ‘thinking inside the box’!

Is this the future? Miniaturised, malleable versions of our favourite brands/products designed to slip nicely through our letterboxes? There are certainly some good arguments in favour of the trend. Not only are there huge reductions on packaging, i.e. no more hefty boxes, with unnecessary, wasteful fillings (which is a huge bonus), but also, you don’t even need to be in the house to receive your lovely gift!

I am slightly hesitant, though. What if your letter box is too small? What if the carefully designed product simply doesn’t fit? Then it would be delivery as normal, dropped on your doorstep (or thrown over the side gate). All that excitement thrown away. I guess that’s a risk that every brand owner takes when designing their products. Or perhaps this opens up a new opportunity for house builders, architects and door manufacturers, to modify the size and shape of letterboxes in the future? Are we creating a doorway (literally) for new innovation?

My final thought is around taste. Wine aficionados (and correct me if I’m wrong) would probably turn their noses up at the idea of a flat-packed plastic bottle of their favourite tipple. The concept actually takes me back to college years, sat on the bus sipping wine from a water bottle on route to a party. I think I’ll simply have to try one to find out!

Anyway, back to the reason I decided to talk about letterbox wine in the first place. We all love receiving gifts from people and we especially love receiving gifts that make us think “Wow!”. Gifts that are creative. So, maybe thinking ‘inside the box’ is the future? What about groceries? Inflatable furniture? Flat pack SDA’s? Foldable footwear? I’ll let your minds wander.

This piece was written as part of the AQR In Brief series (March 2021) for AQR members.

The power of radio

‘The power of radio is magnified during a time of crisis’

The above is a direct quote from Radio 1 host Greg James and I couldn’t agree with it more. In our ‘Razor Loves’ blog post from the beginning of the pandemic, I wrote about my new-found love for Radio 2. I’ve always been a radio fan but previously, it was only really used first thing in the morning to kick start my day. Fast forward a year and it now soundtracks my entire day.  Since March 2020, Radio 2 has not been switched off. It’s the first thing my Google Chrome plays every morning and it’s probably the reason my energy bills are so high.

Radio is of course, a more traditional form of listening. It would be easy to assume that Millennials and Gen Z’s would straight up shun it in favour of on demand music they have complete control over and algorithms that are designed to meet their unique listening needs. But our own research across the media landscape has shown that many people my own age and younger share similar feelings to me when it comes to the topic of radio.

Screen fatigue quickly took its toll at the beginning of the pandemic. Moving around a series of different screens each day – from laptop, to phone to TV can feel exhausting. This fatigue has caused many of us to cut down on our screen time and take more pleasure from speech audio.

For many, radio is also providing a sense of companionship throughout the day. Homeworking means many of us have been deprived of the buzz of the office and background chit chat. In its absence, chatter from radio hosts and podcast stars are providing an alternative solution, helping to lift our spirts and fill the silence.

We’ve also had to carve out new rituals and routines that radio has played a fundamental part in. My lunch hour is marked by Jeremy Vine and end of work day signalled by the northern twang of Sarah Cox.   

At a time when the day to day has become much more routine, we’re hungry for new. In an attempt to inject a small sense of excitement into our day, ‘new’ has come in a variety of shapes and sizes – new hobbies to sink our teeth into, new series to binge watch and also new music to escape to. Radio provides new music discovery and also rediscovery – Radio 2 serves up tunes that stretch across the decades from 80’s golden oldies to more recent chart topping KPOP. Where else can you get this mash up, all expertly blended together by the voice overlay of Ken Bruce?

These are small wins that are getting us through the days and as we begin our next lockdown, I’m thankful I have Radio 2 as my soundtrack.

What’s in it for me?

I’m the type of person that would make every loyalty programme manager out there take a deep sigh.

I have lots of loyalty cards, but I rarely use them. I used to be an avid collector of my supermarket points and I got a real thrill getting my Christmas shopping (ahem, bottles of prosecco) for ‘free’ with all my points from the year. Then something as trivial as moving from a wallet to a card holder (who carries cash anymore?) meant I had to down-size and the loyalty cards just didn’t make the cut. Now, every time I’m asked if I have a card, I feel a small pang of regret, but not enough to make me remember to put them in my bag next time!

I know I’m missing out, but I just don’t have enough motivation to make more effort and anything that involves vouchers or coupon codes is just too much for me. Sounds lazy I know, but I’m not alone.

I’ve spoken lots of people about reward programmes on recent projects and in my mind there are two distinct types: 1. Savvy Savers – who want to make sure they get anything and everything they can in return for their spend and 2. Unengaged Collectors – who know it’s probably a good idea, but just aren’t consistent in doing it.  There’s clearly a sliding scale and a lot probably fall somewhere between the two, but you get my gist.

All-in-all, it’s a real challenge for brands to capture the attention of those of us on the more unengaged end of the spectrum.  Therefore, my suggestion would be to help us make loyalty into an engrained habit

Habits form when they are easy to remember to do, easy to action and repeat, and are as desirable as possible!

  • Brands should be thinking about what they can do to make loyalty programmes top of mind and as simple and convenient to collect/ redeem as possible. Apps certainly help with this and many brands are making use of them, but there’s always more that can be done!
  • In addition, brands should deliver a sense of personalisation and generosity so that rewards feel more meaningful, motivating and importantly, desirable. This may mean a multi-layered approach to rewards for some brands.

A good example that I’ve heard a lot about recently is the Tesco Clubcard – easy to use through the app, a large variety of rewards to choose from and a pricing initiative that gives Clubcard members exclusive prices with instant gratification at the till, which makes it feel more rewarding.

There’s a lot to be said for meaningful loyalty programmes and I’m excited to see what brands will do to engage even more customers in 2021.

Apples and Pears

Becoming a Research Executive during a global pandemic meant that virtual meetups, zoom sessions and stay-at-home meetings, defined the world of market research to me.

Last month I was lucky enough to take part in the 2-day AQR Moderating Theory and Practice course. Through sharing screens and breakout rooms, we learnt about the principles of moderation. Many insightful points were made and discussed, but the most useful aspect that I found from this course was on the final day, when we were able to come together, face-to-face. Although many COVID-friendly measurements had to be put in place, the day ran smoothly, and it was a fantastic learning curve and eye-opener to the world of face-to-face moderation.

Having only familiarised myself with zoom to observe groups and conduct a small handful of online interviews, I couldn’t comprehend what other colleagues and some research companies ‘missed’ from their traditional moderation days. However, after spending the day in a viewing studio, sharing ideas and having first-hand experience, it all began to make sense.

The day ran a bit like this:

In groups of 5, we individually ran a 25-minute focus group session with a given group of participants (also part of the AQR moderating course), each taking it in turn to practice some of the techniques and skills we had learnt through the previous sessions. We then watched back and evaluated our performances to reflect on how we did. Not only was the verbal feedback fantastic, but the ability to witness and observe other individuals was invaluable.

Meeting people face-to-face (nostalgic I know!), sitting next to them, observing their subtle body movements and open hand gestures was an eye-opener. I loved seeing respondents’ spontaneous interactions with each other (not something that always happens on Zoom), observing the ebb and flow of their energy levels and their palpable reactions to stimulus… so many rich layers to decode and interpret. So much to learn and so much fun.

It was a joy to see how opinions bounced around the room, sparking debate and triggering fresh ideas as the discussion gained momentum. Moderating face-to-face really opened my eyes to the power of the group dynamic and allowed me to thoroughly immerse myself in the discussion, building a strong rapport with the respondents.

There is no doubt that online platforms/ rooms are a powerful and successful platform to understand and engage with consumers. Online certainly does have additional benefits too, such as sample reach and cost. Yet, as a junior researcher starting out, I’ve been energised and enlightened by the advantages of face-to-face moderation and the exposure of non-verbal communication, body language, hand gesture and undivided attention that online simply can’t replace.

What it’s shown me beyond doubt, is that online and face-to-face are very different ways of conducting research. Both successful and fulfilling. Both have their place. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. Having only recently started my research journey, I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to take part on the AQR Moderating Theory and Practice course. I can’t wait to put it all into practice very soon (hopefully!).


“Who wants a cuppa?”
“Stick the kettle on.”

How often do we hear or say those words?

On average, Brits drink over one million cups of tea per day, amounting to a staggering 36 billion cups of tea per year. (That’s a lot of tea!)

Tea is a personal experience. Whether it be the intensity of builder’s tea or the aroma of herbal tea, we each have our own preference. The sensation we get from the moment we switch on the kettle, to pouring boiling water over our desired flavour, to squeezing the tea bag and letting it brew (unless you’re a dunk-and-bin or a sit-and-stew kind of person – whatever takes your fancy, no-one’s judging here), we indulge and enjoy the whole process from start to sip.

But what actually happens to the tea bags we use? Where do they end up? What life does a tea bag live? Yes, they leave a strong imprint on our day – be it the feeling of happiness, sensation, satisfaction, or just wholesomeness. A cup of tea really does make the world go around. BUT, what imprint does a tea bag leave on the world? On the planet? Our planet.

A surprising number of tea bag brands contain a percentage of polypropylene plastic which is non-biodegradable and, therefore, can stay in the atmosphere for hundreds of thousands of years. That means, every year, there are literally billions of tea bags floating around (and that’s not in a mug of boiling water).

The good news is that there are some (though very few) biodegradable bags available to buy. You’ll need to check the dreaded small print on the back of packages and, of course, there’s the loose leaf, natural tea mechanism that some companies have started to offer. It’s 2020 and tea companies are finally looking to the future of biodegradable and environmentally friendly tea bag materials. So, watch this space and be careful when making your tea choices. In short, when you next make a brew make it a good one for you and for me.

Now go on, pop the kettle on!



What Razor Loves: April 2020

We’re an eclectic bunch at team Razor.

 Each month, we share with the world a flavour of what’s caught our attention and influenced our thinking and conversations in the office over video calls.

Part two of our special lockdown series…

Chloë B
Much like the rest of the world, I’ve been watching loads more TV and, this month, I’ve been LOVING BBC dramas. My TV default is to go straight to Netflix or Prime, so I don’t usually watch much BBC. But they’ve really outdone themselves. My personal favourites have been The Split, The Nest, and I’m currently binging Normal People. SO GOOD!

Chloë F
My mood’s shifted a bit since I last wrote about what I’m into… I’ve headed back towards drama. That said, an hour still feels kinda long. That might be why I am (have been) hooked on two BBC drama series. Trigonometry is a snappily written, beautifully casted drama about a thrupple (less kinky than it sounds) and Normal People is the TV adaptation of the novel. Genius decision to craft 12 x 30 minute episodes – I’m three in so far. For additional heft, and to prove that I do have some attention span left, I’m also reading Hilary Mantel’s latest tome, The Mirror and the Light. I’ll report back on that in two years when I’ve finished it.

In the alternate timeline, I’d still be going to the theatre at least once a week, maybe to some immersive experiences and the odd podcast recording. In reality, I’m very grateful for how many online events/talks/webinars there are to pick and choose from (thank you, Salon London, and How To Academy, to name a couple). I’m also extra grateful for the weekly opportunities we’re being given to watch theatre shows most of us wouldn’t have had a chance to see on stage (all definitely worth an (optional) online charity donation). From The Shows Must Go On! by Andrew Lloyd Webber to the National Theatre’s weekly screenings and everything else in between. As soon as lockdown began, a very clever brain (not me) created a regularly updated spreadsheet to keep track of everything, and my friends and family overseas have joined the viewing party too! Frankenstein’s premiering tonight and I’m very excited to watch it for the first time. (Note to Kate and Chloe F: I forgot to mention to you that NT will release Consent soon. And I’m fairly sure it’ll be the one with Ben Chaplin in the cast – YAY!)   

Jill (our sustainability tsar)
This month I’ve been all about minimising food waste and cooking more creatively. Before lockdown, I was guilty of takeaways and buying more when I had a fridge-full. And of throwing away sad looking bags of salad – but no more! Sad salad goes into frittata, unfortunate vegetables in the roasting tin, and leftovers into the freezer or lunches. I forgot about some mushrooms last week and was pretty cross that I’d let them go mouldy and to waste. I must keep this going once we’re allowed back outside…

This month I’ve loved doing Adriene’s 30 Days of Yoga. She does half hour sessions which are perfect for when you need a pause from work (instead of having ANOTHER tea/biscuit break). And you can find her classes on YouTube. They’re really great if you’re like me and have taken up yoga for the first time since being in lockdown – she isn’t intimidating at all. Luckily, I’ve committed to doing a class every day over Zoom with a friend which has forced me to stick to it and, 16 days in, I can genuinely say l feel stronger.

Many months ago, I deleted the Instagram app because I felt it was too distracting. However, when lockdown started I heard about all the live classes and content that influencers were uploading so thought I’d check it out. From strength training routines, to yoga classes, and even an hour-long kitchen rave with Gok Wan’s Isolation Nation, I’ve found great joy in using the app once again. While I definitely spend too much time scrolling through it, at the moment I have that time and it’s helping me feel more connected with other humans and motivated to stay active. It’s also good to know that most are asking for charity donations for following the classes; so by keeping active we can also give back. It’ll be interesting to see how my use of Instagram will change once the lockdown restrictions lift. But, for now, I am glad I re-installed it.


Like us, you probably have some extra time on your hands while under lockdown. Take a look back at our previous recommendations for ideas on how to pass the time.

March 2020 | February 2020 | January 2020 | November 2019 |
October 2019 | September 2019 | August 2019 | July 2019

What Razor Loves: March 2020

We’re an eclectic bunch at team Razor.

 Each month, we share with the world a flavour of what’s caught our attention and influenced our thinking and conversations in the office over video calls.

Part one of our special lockdown series…

Chloe B
I’ve been loving Radio 2 this month! I’m usually an avid Radio 1 listener but I’ve been converted to the other side. The songs are great (a really good mix of new and old school bangers) and the presenters have the most soothing voices; perfect for WFH background noise. I know I sound like my mum, but they’ve gained a new loyal fan during lockdown. (Editor’s note: I’m sure CB means no disrespect to her mum. Radio 2 is nothing to be ashamed of.)

Chloe F
Hmm. I’m usually the one watching endless TV, listening to countless podcasts, trying to get out and about to do impressive cultural things. But, in the age of COVID-19, I appear to have dropped off a culture consumption cliff. Perhaps in the absence of seeing people, I’m getting tired of screens. Upside? More books. I’m reading Susan Choi’s Trust Exercise, which I’m utterly in awe of, and have just finished Kiley Reid’s Such a Fun Age. Both books about adolescence and youth – but with none of the cloying yoof-speak that can mark books about young people. So, if anyone else is tired of screens, read, read, read.

My favourite things to do usually involve theatre or some kind of unusually themed activity; and most of that involves darting from one end of London (or the country) to the other. The thought of having an extended period at home – while I’m totally embracing the chance to stop and have a breather – initially filled me with anxiety because it wasn’t happening on my terms. But two weeks in, I’m teaching myself to play the ukulele (I’m both a terrible teacher and student), I’ve completed a number of jigsaws, and I’ve attended more quiz nights via video chats than I would have managed in person. Last week, I even ‘went’ to a colouring-in party hosted by a pal in Manchester. I know this kind of technology isn’t new, but I’m in awe of how quickly we’ve adapted (and adopted it in many cases) to bring us closer to others.   

I’ve gone back to basics in an attempt to rediscover my love (okay, tolerance) of running. I’ve taken part in the Great North Run for the last five years and – although I love the day itself – motivating myself to keep running through the year got to the point where running became a chore. So, I’ve gone right back to basics with Runkeeper’s ‘My First 5K’ programme, complete with chirpy motivational Erin and her chirpy motivational encouragement. Such overt chirpiness is the sort of thing I’d usually run miles away from but, turns out, it helps me literally run miles instead (GROAN). It should go without saying that I’m doing all this running at a safe, responsible distance.

March has been a very strange month to reflect on. Thinking about what I’ve loved has made me think about how much my day-to-day has changed. I’ve been watching hardly any TV (beyond the news) and listening to fewer podcasts. Instead I’ve found more social ways to entertain myself. So this month, I’ve loved playing Linkee and doing crosswords and quizzes, mostly on video chat with my family and friends. It’ll be interesting to see if I revert back to my old ways when all this is over…

We just finished watching the short series, Chernobyl, which chronicles the events leading up to and following the explosion. I was very young when it happened so, other than being aware that it was a place that could no longer be visited, I didn’t actually know much about the specifics. The show explores the reactions of different groups of people and the impact of their decisions and behaviour on the outcome. It’s fascinating and truly heart-breaking at the same time; but an important part of the world’s history. It is so well written and acted. I’d highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about it.

Like us, you probably have some extra time on your hands while isolating. Take a look back at our previous recommendations for ideas on how to pass the time.

February 2020 | January 2020 | November 2019 | October 2019  
September 2019 | August 2019 | July 2019

What Razor Loves: February 2020

We’re an eclectic bunch at team Razor.

 Each month, we share with the world a flavour of what’s caught our attention and influenced our thinking and conversations in the office.


Chloë B
This week, I went to an AQR Spark event about mental health in the research industry. This is such an important topic of conversation and it made me so sad to hear that 85% of researchers have struggled with their mental state in the last year alone. The evening was hosted by Helen Stephens – a coach and mental health first aider. Helen did a fantastic job of running us through some of the main triggers that can lead to stress in a research agency. She also shared with us some coping mechanisms to consider when things seem overwhelming. I’ve written more about it here.


Chloë F
Bit theme-y this month. I’m about to start work on a project about the menopause and (perhaps coincidence or perhaps not) my two favourite things have been Elizabeth Strout’s new novel, Olive, Again and series 3 of Better Things. The writer of Better Things is also its lead actress and it’s the best show I’ve seen that explicitly deals with middle age. Searingly honest and seriously funny. Meanwhile, Olive Kitteredge goes through her seventies and eighties and the novel is unflinching when it comes to depicting old age. It’s beautiful and I wept every 20 pages or so. Two truly wonderful cultural experiences and both will help me sail into my next project.


Until this week, I’d planned to tell you about some of the Oscar-nominated films I’d watched (yawn and how predictable). But then I went along to Alliance – an MRS event jointly organised by MRS Pride and &more (the young researchers network). The inspiring line-up was a selection of young researchers and role models sharing thought-provoking stories and ideas on how to give a voice to the marginalised. Everyone spoke with the kind of passion that’s hard to not get swept up in. I’m not a member of the LGBTQ+ community but I was thrilled to be invited to listen to and discuss things that would simply never have crossed my mind before. (If you’re reading this, MRS, thanks for having us!)


Obviously, I’m reading another ginormous tome (The Age of Surveillance Capitalism seeing as you asked). But what I’ve really loved this month is our flexible working policy at Razor Research. We’re hitting our stride with what it all means; video meetings are now normal and work/life balance is *chefs kiss*. Although, perhaps I’m just very fond of it today as I’ve got my own research assistant. She’s terrible at PowerPoint but an expert at purring.

I went to the inaugural Life Lessons Festival at the Barbican a few weeks ago. There, I learned a thing or two from some of the most eminent speakers, doctors, authors and experts from different fields about everything to do with being human. We watched a couple of talks and by far the most impactful for me was Marie Forleo; an American Life Coach whose motto (and title of her book) is Everything is Figureoutable. She gave a talk full of enthusiasm, entertainment and some audience participation that really helped land her point. I came out feeling inspired and empowered!

I’m loving the Louis Theroux documentaries on Netflix at the moment. The plastic surgery episode, Under the Knife is a particular favourite. His patient, laid-back journalistic style allowing subjects to find their own words is what makes this so absorbing.

Note to self…