5 ways to make experiential marketing sustainable

A tactic that has historically put profit over environmental impact will have to be rethought for consumers in the coming decade. Here’s how your team can adjust.

Consumer environmental awareness has never been higher.

The horrific bush fires in Australia have been linked to climate change, Greta Thunberg is creating waves in the international community, and governments and world leaders face increasing pressure to tackle the global threat.

Though consumers don’t expect perfection from brands when it comes to environmental practices, they clearly want action and increasingly expect organizations to operate in a more sustainable way.

Historically, experiential marketing has been a wasteful approach to marketing, with ROI and profits taking precedence over environmental consciousness. Travel emissions, wasted food and drinks, mass mailings and the residual waste from events all sully the environment.

So, how can organizations and agencies approach sustainability in their experiential marketing campaigns? Consider these five approaches:

1. Assess the impact of experiential marketing. Organizations and agencies should look closely at their events and activations, from strategizing through completion. Focus on things like travel emissions from client meetings and product imports, work with local vendors and suppliers that share your sustainability values, and provide environmentally friendly materials during the event.

2. Provide sustainable alternatives. If you must conduct mailings or offer samples, approach the task with sustainability in mind. Provide plentiful access to recycling bins, supply compostable or even edible cups and utensils for your product samples, and ensure the disposal of used materials in an environmentally friendly way. Also, rather than distributing the usual swag, consider offering digital rewards or charity donations.

3. Be positive in your messaging. Most humans avoid anything distressing or uncomfortable, which is why we often change the channel when an ad shows a ravaged ecosystem or abused animal. Instead of employing negativity, make your sustainability-focused message positive and empowering. Strive to make sustainable consumption fun, as Chobani did. The Greek yogurt brand engaged New Yorkers with a digital “giving tree.” Commuters at Grand Central Terminal were encouraged to plant virtual seeds correlating to their favorite flavor. For each seed planted, Chobani donated a case of yogurt to a campaign aimed at ending childhood hunger in America. This campaign addressed an upsetting topic in a palatable way.

4. Encourage engagement. If you are promoting a specific message, provide a way for consumers to take immediate action. In late 2018, the WWF highlighted the issue of animal trafficking by creating a holographic elephant roaming around London.People shared the a visual spectacle across social media, raising awareness, and it gathered nearly 125,000 signatures for a petition to end illegal wildlife trafficking.

5. Incorporate sustainable practices into your business strategy. Organizations that conduct such practices are more likely to attract the growing legion of consumers who share those values.

Dan Baker is a content writer who works with Eventeem.

 

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