Launching a Green & Sustainable Experiential Marketing Activation
Each day, people make decisions that impact the environment. Some of those decisions help and others hurt. It’s estimated that Each person in the United States has an average carbon footprint of 16 tons while others in the world average around 4 tons. Why does it matter? The higher people’s carbon footprints climb, the warmer the global temperature increases, which can lead to dramatic shifts in weather patterns, such as freezing cold weather and snow in regions that have never experienced it before.
How is a carbon footprint measured? It looks at the amount of greenhouse gases you produce through the choices you make each day. It includes the utilities you use, the items you purchase and consume, etc. Environmentally-friendly choices make all the difference.
That’s the impact of an individual. Businesses have a larger impact. Office supplies, electricity usage, and even a marketing campaign all impact a carbon footprint. It may seem hopeless, but 10 steps can be taken to activate a brand or service while also prioritizing green and sustainable practices.
#1 – Come Up With a Sustainable Marketing Strategy
Clearly, your brand or product’s message has to be the primary consideration. You can do this while also thinking about ways to maximize reach, sustainability, and impact. Think about the best way to share your brand or company’s message. Would a virtual marketing campaign work for your consumer base? Online marketing approaches always save money while still giving you the impact you need.
In addition to a virtual approach, catch attention by putting a lot of thought into your campaign’s sustainable practices. Think about how you can partner with companies or brands with a similar approach to lowering your carbon footprint. Show don’t just tell your consumers how your business makes green, sustainable choices part of everyday life.
#2 – Consider the Geographical Location
How will your business professionals and consumer base get to the city/town where the venue you’ve chosen is located? Is the area accessible by train or are flights the only way? Airplanes are one of the leading producers of emissions that harm the environment. Trains can reduce emissions by as much as 7x. Rent hybrid or electric cars and drive to that city or town and reduce emissions by even more.
If your staff has to take a flight, direct flights reduce your carbon footprint. The more stops and layovers you have, the more impact it has on the environment. Avoid layovers even if it may cost more.
When you get there, have you considered other ways to cut your employees’ carbon footprints? Book rooms at LEED-certified hotels. Hotel chains like Marriott are both LEED-certified and some locations grow their own produce, which makes a difference. Look for hotel chains that compost food scraps, use energy-efficient fixtures, and use environmentally-friendly building supplies like bamboo flooring.
#3 – Think Carefully About the Venue
You’ve chosen the town or city for your experiential marketing event. Next, use sustainable and green practices to pick the venue. Aim for a venue that is within walking distance of a rail station so that attendees and employees can walk rather than drive. Look for a venue that’s within the hotel where your staff is staying.
When you’re researching venues, choose places that rely on renewable energy like solar or wind power. Look for facilities that have plumbing fixtures that lower water consumption. Venues that rely on natural lighting rather than artificial light are also ideal.
#4 – Make Smart Catering/Food Choices
Once the venue is set, you need to consider the food options. Partner with a caterer or even food trucks that keep an eye on sustainable practices. Reduce your company’s carbon footprint by avoiding having to have foods shipped in from the other side of the country. Make sure your menu focuses on locally harvested and produced foods for that time of year. A spring event in a cooler climate should go for items that are harvested at that time, such as asparagus, peas, radishes, and leafy greens.
Do you hold a lot of events each year? Instead of using disposable plates and cutlery, purchase plates, silverware, and tablecloths that you can reuse at every event. If you have to use disposable, aim for compostable items. Finger foods reduce the need for forks, spoons, and knives. Water coolers with compostable cups cut waste. Even better, hand out a reusable water bottle with your company’s information and have guests refill those at water fountains or coolers.
#5 – Weigh the Effects Video Production Has on the Environment
Are you hosting a video broadcast or recorded message? Keep the production local and within your staff when possible. Cut emissions by avoiding having to get trucks to haul cameras, lighting, and audio equipment across the country.
If you have multiple team members or actors reading from scripts, use a digital script that they can have sent to their phone or tablet. Don’t print out a new script for each person in the ad or video marketing campaign.
#6 – Be Sustainable When Designing Your Event
For tables, chairs, curtains, and stage decorations. Use materials with a low carbon footprint. If you have to have a tablecloth over your table, look for a recyclable material like cotton and reuse it. Don’t invest in plastic table coverings that get used once and are thrown away. Rent chairs and tables locally rather than buy them and have to haul them from your warehouse to the venue.
If you have items for your set or stage design that won’t be used again, make sure they use recyclable materials like wood or organic fabrics such as muslin or cotton. Donate anything that you can’t recycle.
#7 – Aim for Eco-Friendly Marketing Materials and Signs
Just as you use as much compostable or recyclable materials in your event production, do the same for signs and marketing materials. Use materials that can be composted and use eco-friendly vegetable-based inks. You should skip flyers when possible. Instead of a pamphlet that may end up in the trash, give consumers something they will reuse, such as a cotton tote bag or card that’s made from flower seeds that can be planted in the garden.
Instead of plastic signs, buy quality whiteboards and have an artist draw your sign before the event. Invest in digital signs that you can use for years. If you have a sign-in or sign-up sheet, invest in tablets that consumers can use to quickly sign or fill out their information and use their email address to send important information.
#8 – Select Eco-Friendly Packaging
When packaging materials are sent to the venue or consumers, use eco-friendly packaging materials. Items that can be recycled or reused are best. Clear glass, cardboard, and uncoated papers are the best packaging. Crumpled newspapers can be used instead of styrofoam peanuts. If you have to use packing peanuts, pay extra for the compostable ones.
Your spice company could offer discounted prices if consumers purchase spices in paper packaging to refill their clear glass containers. They’re happy as they save money, and you’re helping the environment but using spice packaging that is compostable while also keeping glass containers from recycling containers.
#9 – Look for Carbon Neutral Logistics and Shipping Methods
Have you ever purchased an item that comes in a box that’s way too large for the item within it? When a company saves money and purchases one box size in bulk, that’s what happens. You save money on the boxes, but you’ll spend extra on shipping and packaging materials. Buying boxes in a variety of sizes is smarter.
Partner with shipping companies that have eco-friendly programs. Many FedEx buildings are LEED-certified. EarthSmart is a program FedEx came up with to use hybrid or all-electric delivery vehicles. FedEx also strives to reduce emissions from its planes.
FedEx is not alone. UPS also uses carbon-neutral approaches to reduce emissions. Fuel-efficient trucks and planes are part of it. They also have LEED-certified buildings and eco-friendly packaging. DHL and the USPS use similar approaches to lower their carbon footprints.
#10 – Be Careful About Premiums and Upgrades
If you have to give premium items out at the event, make sure you do not have leftovers. To do this, say you’ll have a limited number and that they’re first-come, first-served items. People will make a point to get to your booth to get the freebie. It also ensures that when the event is done, you’ve handed everything out.
Premiums need to be of value. Invest in promotional swag that’s made from recycled or organic materials. Make it something that people will want to keep or can donate. If you can, choose items that are edible and in compostable packaging.
It’s going to take time for the changes people make today to help lower a carbon footprint. Your business can be a leader in green practices with your experiential marketing campaign. Let Factory 360 know what your goals are and we’ll show you how sustainable and green marketing activation fits into those plans.