Archive October 2019

Podcast: Rob Murdoch discusses his upcoming Event Tech Live talk on data effectiveness

Podcast: Rob Murdoch discusses his upcoming Event Tech Live talk on data effectiveness

On this week’s episode of the Event Industry News podcast, Exposure Analytics’ commercial director, Rob Murdoch, joined us to offer a preview of his forthcoming talk at Event Tech Live on Wednesday 6th November. Here, Rob will engage in a panel discussion on the correlation between design effectiveness and data effectiveness.

Returning to the podcast for the third time, Rob explained the role Exposure Analytics plays in live events: “We help brands and agencies determine how effective their events are through the use of data and footfall analytics.”

Data, as Rob explained, is only effective when people know how to use it. The data that is presented from experiential analytics companies can accurately demonstrate where footfall was heaviest, the number of entries, the flow of visitors and dwell time, among other things.

“What our clients are interested in is the truth. Whether it’s a good number or a bad one; they want to know because then they can act on it,” Rob stated, explaining that receiving high statistics is not as useful as receiving high-quality statistics.

In terms of using facial recognition (FR) to capture data, GDPR poses several obstacles. “[With FR], we’re picking up personal data. Your face is your personal data.” However, some of Exposure Analytics’ devices can pick up an individual’s mood, expression, facial features and gender. This allows his clients to identify any trends within their audiences: whether the majority were male or female, for example.

At Event Tech Live this year, Rob will share a panel with 2LK’s Andy Sexton, VenuIQ’s Oliver Rowe and Crystal Interactive’s Rob Curtis. You can find the full list of Event Tech Live’s educational sessions here.

If you would like to feature on an upcoming podcast, please email molly@eventindustrynews.com.

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Monday Motivation: 16 Genius Ideas for the Best Trade Show Exhibition Booths

Trade show statistics show that 67% of event attendees represent new opportunities for businesses because the majority of them work in upper management, have real buying power, and will likely buy one to two products/services that they learn about that day. To capitalize on these opportunities, you’ll need to create the best possible exhibition booth. 

How do I attract people to my exhibition booth? 

Here are some basic principles that most modern business expo ideas stem from: 

  1. Aim for a homey, welcoming vibe. Choosing wood and textured fabrics over sleek metal options. 
  2. Provide for their immediate needs. Free water bottles, charging outlets, and wifi are always in demand. 
  3. Make your booth about more than just your brand. Yes, feature your logo and products. But make sure that stopping by your booth gives an attendee more information or a better experience than if they were to just visit your website online. 

If you have these, you’ve done the majority of the work needed to pull in some crowds. But if you want to go a step further, consider making your exhibition booth truly unique. 

How can I make my exhibition booth stand out? 

In general, the most awesome trade show ideas fall into one of these categories: 

  • Insane giveaways. Things like Xboxes and $500 Amazon gift cards are always popular. But even if you don’t have the budget for something like that, just remember that the key is to provide something that is both in high demand and universally appealing. Capture emails for your raffle by scanning badges or otherwise simplifying the entry process to one quick and painless step. 
  • Stunts. Exploding Kittens’ vending machine puppet show is a great example of how creative a brand can get no matter what they’re working with. 
  • Capitalize on trends. Pick the current hottest topic in your industry and provide something at your booth – for free – that people will go out of their way for. 

Got all that? You’re well on your way to having the best booth at the trade show. Now let’s take a look at some more inspiring suggestions to help fill out your exhibition booth strategy. 

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16 Creative Booth Ideas the Best Exhibition Booths Use to Attract Visitors

These awesome tradeshow ideas will help you get the most out of your event investment. 

1. Incorporate 3D projection mapping into your exhibition booth design. 

3D mapping brings augmented reality into your booth, a cool and innovative touch to any existing design. It’s also a great quick fix for booths with dim, mood lighting, or spaces with interesting structures. Try projecting something entertaining (like folding abstract shapes or dancing gears) or something that directly links to your brand (an artistic rendering of your logo or product blueprints would be a hit). 

2. Hire dedicated booth staff. 

Yes, you should have representatives from your core staff present at the show. But for things like greeting guests, setting up displays, and running the cash register you’ll want to have a few people who specialize in customer service on your team. 

3. Play interactive booth games. 

Interactive booth games are a great way to draw people in and keep them there for a bit. Here are some ideas to get you started: 

  1. Industry or featured speaker trivia
  2. A game show wheel filled with both valuable prizes and fun mini challenges
  3. Set up an actual video game console and controller in your lounge area

4. Plan your exhibition booth activities around the main event agenda. 

For example, you wouldn’t want to host your highly anticipated giveaway during the main speaker event. Instead, use those popular seminars as a time to tidy your booth, wipe down electronics with anti-bacterial cleaners, and make sure all of your newly captured prospect data has been backed up properly. Then save the demonstrations and special guest signings for those high traffic/programming lull periods. 

5. Launch new products at the event. 

92% of trade show attendees say their main reason for attending trade shows is to see new products being featured. So why not have a special release just for guests of your exhibition booth? You can even incorporate some guerilla marketing strategies (like a flash mob, geofilters, or costumed floor reps) to make the occasion extra special. 

6. Base your booth location on where the restrooms, concession stand, main entrance, and secondary entrances are. 

It’s called the A triangle, and it’s one of the best ways to secure a great booth location at any size venue or trade show event. 

7. Make it visually stunning. 

An eye-catching stand is the most effective method for attracting attendees according to 48% of exhibitors surveyed. Examples like the ones in this article are especially effective – just look at how each one is both unique and memorable. But if you’re really stuck on how to make your exhibition booth look eye-catching and professional, contact one of these best trade show booth design companies.  

8. Strategically place your booth among other brands with similar target audiences. 

Develop a symbiotic relationship with related companies in your industry by feeding off their crowds as they gather on either side of your own trade show booth. If the venue is unable to provide details regarding what brands have booked what spaces so far, just keep in mind that most companies rent the same booths over and over again. Which means that, at the very least, you might be able to view photos of the event from last year to determine who will be presenting and where they will likely end up this year. 

19 Trends Shacking Up Events in 2019

9. Add some aromatherapy.

This trend helps marketers capitalize on more human senses beyond just seeing and hearing. Choose scents that align with your goals. For example, if you want attendees to see your brand or product as one that makes their lives easier, go with a calming vanilla or lavender fragrance. If you’re looking to invoke something more action oriented, try energizing citrus or mint. 

10. Include a branded step and repeat. 

You could even throw in a professional photographer too. If you really want to get noticed on the expo floor, collaborate with the main event organizer to emphasize event hashtags or get their help setting up and running it. 

11. Host a kickback space. 

The space inside your booth matters. Use dynamic seating that allows attendees to sit facing one another and talk in groups or provides a little bit of privacy amidst the chaos. Also, be clever with your layouts – circular seating or train station rows provide lots of options and space. Some other general rules for making this a success include not letting salespeople hover in this area and providing more than one table so it doesn’t feel awkward to join the group. 

12. Provide toys to play with. 

Interactive touch screen games, DIY 3D printers, and VR headsets? Yes please! Advanced technology should keep visitors entertained and create memories for them that last beyond the event itself. Just make sure to choose content that matches your exhibition booth theme. And always end each interaction with a simple CTA. 

13. When laying out materials or products on tables, avoid straight lines.

Straight lines look very polished and purposeful so guests won’t want to mess up your table by picking up or interacting with anything. Make everything more accessible by building small piles of pamphlets or fanning out your goodie folders to make everything look more interesting. 

14. Host your own featured speaker, special guest, or educational lecture. 

Who said you can’t have your own exciting event within the event at your exhibition booth? Most venues are fine with allowing you to add a program of your own to tradeshow. So bring in an industry influencer who isn’t already speaking or grab a special guest when they’re in between panels to do a signing of their new book at your booth. Just make sure to submit your mini event to the main exhibition listing or magazine so people actually know what you plan to do. 

15. Add experiential marketing to your trade show event plan. 

If you want to bring this element into your exhibition booth, aim to provide 2-3 immersive, tactile experiences any passerby can participate in. For example, you can have them create something within your software or program using demo mode on a tablet. Or you can have guests go through a mini tunnel filled with interactive screens. 

16. Use the airspace above your booth. 

Sometimes you need to think outside the box. Or in this case, the booth. One of the best trade show booth ideas for winning the hearts (or at the very least, the attention) of attendees is with a floating sign, prop, or inflatable character. Not only will it help guests find you, it will also stand out as a location marker for everyone else at the event. 

Now, you’ll attract high ROI prospects to your exhibition booth in no time! 

Looking to land some great corporate clients in the near future? Be sure to read up on some event KPI tips and these great event giveaway ideas so you’re ready when you do. Or, discover ideas for creating better event networking moments.

Bring booths to life for better events

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Origins’ Fitness Challenge Aims to Donate 72,000 Trees in 72 Hours

nat-geo_disney_teaser

Since its inception in 1990, natural skincare brand Origins has made protecting the planet a key piece of its brand ethos. So when the company relaunched its GinZing Gel Moisturizer with new hydration technology last month, incorporating a sustainability component was only, well, natural. In partnership with American Forests’ Global ReLeaf program, Origins erected an oasis in New York City’s bustling Herald Square Park from Sept. 26-28 where consumers were invited to attend workout classes and learn more about the new product. Taking a cue from the moisturizer’s energizing qualities, the idea was to give as much energy as possible back to the planet during the activation’s three-day run. For every minute of energy expended by participants, a tree would be planted in an effort to help the brand reach its goal of donating 72,000 trees in 72 hours.

The activation footprint highlighted the moisturizer’s orange color scheme and carried a lush nature theme throughout. The space included oversized replicas of the new product, an installation showcasing ingredients found in the moisturizer, like coffee beans, and a photo op that yielded physical prints.


nat-geo_disney_teaserYou Might Also Like:
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As for the fitness component, New Yorkers could participate in a variety of workout classes each day led by fitness influencers and Origins brand ambassadors Lauren Wasser, Ally Love and Julissa Bermudez. The goal of each session was to focus on the benefits of expending energy with intention, and during the workouts, the energy spent by participants was translated into a light and sound experience. At the end of each class, the collective energy was vividly added into an interactive Origins energy bank installation located on-site. In addition to workouts, attendees could engage with roaming brand ambassadors to learn more about the product, attend fireside chats and sign up for mini facials featuring the new moisturizer.

But Origins didn’t stop there. In addition to the three-day activation, the brand brought its 72-hour challenge to each of its 52 retail locations across the country, where consumers participated in the same activation engagements at a smaller scale during the same 72-hour period. Following their workouts, attendees could enter their expended energy into an Origins microsite so see how much of an impact they made on the Origins fitness challenge, overall.

Ultimately, Origins achieved its goal and will work with American Forests to determine where its 72,000 trees will be planted around the world. American Forests typically plants trees where natural disasters have taken place, meaning the Origins saplings will likely end up aiding in efforts like the California wildfire reforestation, or a similar project. When all is said and done, the Origins campaign will have helped restore nearly 360 acres across the U.S., filtered more than two billion gallons of water and offset 30,000 tons of carbon emissions, the equivalent of removing 6,500 cars from the road.

“We incorporated retail events; we got everybody involved across the country and I think that’s what made it feel very significant,” says Heather Park, vp-marketing at Origins. “Timing was also very impactful because it was the end of Climate Week and we’re coming off of that consumer conversation around climate change. So, it felt like everybody was part of something bigger.” Agency: Fake Love, New York City.

 

Take a Tour of the Origins Fitness Challenge:

The post Origins’ Fitness Challenge Aims to Donate 72,000 Trees in 72 Hours appeared first on Event Marketer.

PlayPass hails breakthrough summer for cashless and RFID at UK festivals

PlayPass hails breakthrough summer for cashless and RFID at UK festivals

Cashless and NFC specialist, PlayPass, enjoyed a record-breaking summer, operating at over 250 events across 22 countries in five continents. It also processed 12.82 million cashless transactions, worth €78 million Euros. Globally, 2019 has seen the company grow its event roster by 40%, May-Sept 2019. 

The UK has seen the sharp end of this growth curve, with a 400% increase in events embracing the company’s event tech solutions. This year saw PlayPass deliver more than 80% of the UK’s commercial cashless and RFID festival activations, reinforcing its position as the market leader and building on a solid four-year track record for reliability in festival fields. 

Whilst many implementations focused on going fully cashless, some events used the technology to combat accreditation fraud, while others created a more immersive visitor experience. One even used it to motivate people to climb walls! 

Black Deer was one independent festival that used PlayPass for the first time in 2019 to go fully cashless and streamline its crew accreditation. Operations director, Chris Russell-Fish reported: “I’m delighted to say that it’s worked brilliantly. We’ve had no queues, the system has been easy to use – far better and more secure than dealing with cash – and our spend per head has been significantly higher than last year. We’ve had great feedback from the audience, traders and bar managers and I’m sure we’ll look to enhance it further next year.”

Steve Jenner, PlayPass’ UK managing director, relayed his pride in the varied deployments, stating: “This summer has seen the UK festival and events sector embrace the many benefits this NFC technology can bring. 

“It’s been a momentous summer for our team, who have delivered consistently through some challenging conditions and we are very fortunate to have worked with some truly innovative organisers at the fore of introducing this fast-evolving event tech to the market. Ultimately this is all about driving our clients’ economic efficiency and improving their audience’s experience through better engagement and intelligent data use.”

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Monday Motivation: Event Planning Email Outreach Templates & Tips That Actually Work

Ready to use email to stack your event planning roster with awesome clients who have even more awesome budgets? These tips and examples for experienced event planners should give you greater insight into building relationships, winning contracts, and networking online. 

20 Event Planning Email Best Practice Tips

Use these strategies for maximizing open and response rates on the first try and keeping your event planning business email address from getting labeled as spam. 

Quick tip before we get started: notice how we said email address, not account? Even if you took your event planning business name to another provider you’d still have issues getting a message through to your normal, everyday contacts and – heaven forbid – your existing clients. But as long as you take the precautions listed here you’ll be fine. 

1. Warm up your account by creating totally unique messages for the first 10-20 emails.

If you don’t, you run the risk of getting your email account flagged for spam. However, you can still save time by using a template for each one. Just make sure each sentence you write within the template is entirely unique to the recipient and that you vary the time of day you send each one. 

2. Avoid the spam filter by slowly building up the amount of outgoing emails you send over time. 

Accounts with unusual behavior (like sending out dozens of emails every day at the same time) get shut down pretty quickly. Keep your email provider happy is to start out sending only one or two emails per day, every day. Increase it by two or three messages per day every other week until you’ve reached your goal. 

3. Always include a link to your digital calendar so prospects can book a direct appointment with you. 

If you don’t have one you already love, try any of these highly rated appointment scheduling apps. 

4. Email subject lines should always be conversational and less than 10 words. 

The quality of your subject line determines whether your email gets opened or trashed. Short, sweet, and personal ones help reassure the reader that you’re a person and not a computer program. 

5. Use email prospecting tools to avoid having too many bounce backs. 

If you send a lot of emails that bounce back (for whatever reason), it could also get your email address banned. So run each contact through an app like VoilaNorbert or Hunter.io before you hit send. They may even suggest another address that’s more up to date. 

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6. Don’t get hung up on what time of day to send email – focus on being consistent instead. 

Yes, you might have better luck reaching someone and getting a response if you email them Tuesday morning or Wednesday afternoon. But the data surrounding these claims doesn’t account for the scheduling habits of individual professions, variations by industry, or the average age range of the recipient. So just make outreach a habit, no matter when you have to do it. 

7. Plan to follow up at least once for every message you send. 

And, if you’re feeling extra ambitious, a drip campaign would be even better. 

8. Use three sentences or less in your official introductory email. 

This is especially true if you’re trying to contact busy corporate clients who might just skim the message. If you suspect they might be in a rush, make sure you bold the title “event planner” and the CTA to help make it stand out. 

9. Add a professional email signature with your business details and portfolio link. 

Wisestamp offers a free version that looks great and can be customized. Include your picture, email address, phone number, and a link to your website. 

10. For your CTA, ask recipients to set up an exploratory meeting.

The point of your email should be to get their attention, see if they need you, and (assuming they do) get to the next step sooner than later. 

11. Mirror the tone and style of each recipient’s company website copy in your own message. 

It’s a popular sales technique that helps the person you’re speaking with relate to you because it feels like you’re literally speaking the language. 

12. Aim to create a dialogue, not a sales pitch. 

The best way to do that is to start with a single sentence intro (who you are, what you do, why you thought to connect) and follow it up with a specific question. For example, asking them if they need someone to plan their events is too general but asking if they need an experienced event planner to create a strategy for next year’s annual roadshow proves that you’re interested in more than just hustling up new business anywhere you can find it. 

13. Make sure the text sounds conversational and true to life. 

Now is not the time to be overly formal or polite. If you walked up this person in their office, what would you say to them? Use that to determine how to write the body of the message. 

14. Set up Google Alerts to keep up with the people you’ve emailed. 

Even if you don’t get a response right away, you can build relationships over time by congratulating them on promotions, new investment funds, or upcoming product launches as soon as they’re announced. 

15. If you’re going to send a link, make sure it’s embedded. 

It looks more professional and it less likely to be flagged. 

16. Skip mail merge and manually type names or details into your message. 

Messed up formatting leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouths. Don’t risk burning a potential event planning client lead just because you didn’t have time to type “Sarah”. 

17. Make sure what you’re offering is actually relevant to the company or individual. 

Take five minutes to review the company’s event calendar for the year. Or, if you’re focused on private events, check out their social media ahead of time to put a face to the name. 

Guide: How to Create an Event Planning Checklist

18. Create a personalized landing page pitch for every recipient. 

This can serve as your embedded link. The landing page makes it easy to track how effective your emails are and provide additional details that are tailored to their needs. 

19. Use email analytics software to track click through rates for subject lines and links. 

These killer email tracking tools for event planners will help you improve your strategy right away.  

20. Sprinkle in some industry specific knowledge that shows your prospect you really understand their business. 

Reference their top competitor, a popular event for their industry, a blog or social media post they recently published, or a niche influencer you both follow on LinkedIn to give your message an even more personal feel to it. 

5 Specific Email Templates and How to Use Them

Your approach should always be based on the relationship you have with the recipient. But no matter how well you know each other (if at all) there are plenty of ways to land their business. 

1. You’ve never met this person and they have no idea who you are

Hi [First Name], 

My name is [Your Name], I’m an experienced event planner who specializes in [event type or event niche most relevant to recipient]. I [looked at your website/saw your speech from this conference/some other way you peripherally know them] – do you or [Brand Name, if applicable] need any help planning [event type] soon? 

If yes, please follow this link to schedule a quick 5 minute phone call with me this week or next to continue the conversation. 

Thanks so much, 

[Your Name]

Why It Works:

It explains who you are, what you do, how you know them (even without really “knowing them”), why you’re emailing them specifically, and what next steps are needed to get the ball rolling. 

Things To Consider: 

  • If you have a personal connection to the brand (you’ve used their product, their viral video made your day, you like their style), use that as your “how you know them”. 
  • If you’re messaging a private event client, focus on who referred you and specifically why you love them (maybe they’re your neighbor you love waving hello to or a friend who bakes the best banana muffins) to bond you two together right out the gate. 

2. You’ve met in passing at a professional event 

Hey [First Name], 

Not sure if you remember me from [Event] but I’m [First Name], the owner of [Event Planning Company Name]. You mentioned [refer to conversation] – do you still need any help with this? 

If so, I’d love to connect soon. Use the link in my signature to schedule a time that works best for you. 

Cheers, 

[Your Name] 

Why It Works:

Referring to a specific piece of information about your last encounter will help them remember you. And even if they don’t, it’s still a good way to prove you actually did meet them and aren’t trying any sneaky tactics on them. 

Things to Consider: 

  • Make sure the photo in your email signature and account profile are up to date so that you’re recognizable. Unless you’ve majorly changed your appearance since you first met. In which case, make sure you’re using a photo that looks like the you they initially shook hands with. 
  • If your first conversation was more about personal lives than professional ones, go ahead and still follow up about their kid’s soccer game or their recent pet adoption. Then let them know you’re contacting them about event planning services. 

3. You’ve been admiring their work from afar

Hello [First Name], 

I’m a big fan of your work for [Company Name]. I love the [things you love] and how you [specific detail about their work that proves you actually know it and – if you can work it in – show off a bit of industry knowledge]. 

Are you looking for an experienced event planner to join the team soon? If so, I’d love the opportunity to collaborate! Please let me know either way. 

Thanks for your time, 

[Your First Name] 

Why It Works:

Empty flattery is socially frowned upon but a laser focused compliment backed up with a demonstration of your advanced knowledge in this specific niche is pro level cold email mastery. 

Things to Consider: 

  • This template is best for people who make the hiring decisions for the marketing or events department. 
  • Only use this approach if you really mean what you’re saying. 

4. You have someone in common 

Hey [First Name], 

I’m a [close friend/coworker/type of relationship] of [person’s name]. They mentioned you were looking for an experienced event planner for your upcoming [event type] and said we should connect. If you’re interested, please feel free to schedule a quick phone call with me here . 

Thanks either way, 

[Your First Name]

Why It Works:

Word of mouth referrals are the number one most lucrative resource for freelancers, so this simple approach has a high likelihood of succeeding. Starting off with how you two are connected sets the tone and, because it will show up in their email preview, prevent your message from being trashed if they don’t recognize the address. 

Things to Consider: 

  • You can also reference mutual connections on sites like LinkedIn or Facebook. 
  • Even if you don’t have a single person in common (in the physical or digital realms), pull from shared interests, hobbies, or hometowns – pretty much anything you might have in common will do. 

5. You’ve actually worked with them before but it’s been awhile

Hi [First Name], 

Remember me from [how you know each other]? I hope you’ve been well the past [time frame since you last spoke]. Now that I have more experience as an event planner, I’m looking to expand my portfolio and find ways to help people I like achieve their marketing/sales goals. 

If you have any upcoming events I can assist you with (or even if you just want to catch up), I’d love to meet for coffee or talk on the phone sometime this week or next! 

Chat soon, 

[First Name] 

Why It Works:

This template keeps the reader focused on the relationship by balancing personal topics with professional ones. 

Things to Consider: 

  • Approach this communication from the mindset of how you can best serve this person and you can’t go wrong. 
  • Reaching out to someone you’ve lost touch with can feel a little nerve wracking but they might be genuinely surprised and delighted to hear from you, so it’s definitely worth a try. 

You’ve mastered the art of email outreach for event planners! 

If you’re still figuring out if it’s time to diversify and grow your event planning business, make sure to keep collecting referrals as you go and maybe even dip your toes into some strategic partnership marketing tactics while you decide what to do next. 

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The post Monday Motivation: Event Planning Email Outreach Templates & Tips That Actually Work appeared first on Social Tables.

Study: How Brands are Addressing the War on Plastic

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The most discussed types of plastic items on social media from January to August 2019, according to Talkwalker.

It’s no secret that plastic waste is wreaking havoc on the planet, and the fact that the material takes more than 400 years to degrade is adding insult to injury. Indeed, a staggering 91 percent of plastic ends up as trash, and experts predict that by the middle of the century, our oceans will contain more plastic waste than fish. It’s a topic that companies can’t overlook, and many are taking action—brands from Patagonia to Lush shut down their stores in support of the recent Global Climate Strike, and Bacardi and Lonely Whale turned plastic straws into vinyl at this month’s Life is Beautiful festival, to name a few. And according to the No Plastic Report by social media analytics company Talkwalker, plastic waste has become such a critical subject that brands are fighting for mindshare in how they address it.

The study features analysis of more than 3.2 million plastic mentions and related hashtags (think: #PlasticPollution, #Trashtag, #ZeroWaste) published in 2019 on news sites, blogs, forums and social media that showcases the trend from a social data perspective. Here’s a breakdown of the key findings and what event marketers can learn from them.


bacardi_festival-teaserMore on This Topic:
  • How to Elevate Your Event’s Sustainability Plan from Add-on to Strategy
  • Bacardi’s Festival Sponsorship Features Cocktail Education, Cause Marketing and Caribbean Vibes

1. Don’t Half-ass it

McDonald’s heart sounded like it was in the right place in 2018 when the brand announced that it would eliminate plastic straws across its UK and Ireland-based restaurants in favor of paper ones. By spring of 2019, McDonald’s had made good on its word, but social media sentiment showed not all consumers were impressed. The initiative generated more than 53,000 social mentions, but as it turned out, many of them were negative, with users pointing out how quickly the paper straws turned into a soggy mess. Thousands of customers in the UK even signed a petition to bring the plastic straws back so they could drink their milkshakes “proper.” McDonald’s responded with a thicker version of the paper straws—but they were no longer recyclable.

INSIGHT: The initiative began as a noble concept, but the lack of sufficient research on a viable replacement for plastic straws—in two separate instances—made it feel more like a spectacle than an honest step toward eliminating plastic waste. (The good news: McDonald’s is still in search of a sustainable solution, evidenced by a 10-day experiment in Germany in which the brand ran a plastic-free restaurant. We think that sounds like an interesting activation idea, too.)

 

2. Develop a Wholistic Plan

Eliminating plastic straws or other single-use plastics is a huge step in the right direction, but many of the brands that have found success in the sustainability space are those that have a comprehensive strategy in place that covers a broader scope, backed by actionable goals. Marriott took the approach in August, announcing a wholistic sustainability initiative that aims to reduce the brand’s landfill waste by 45 percent, and responsibly source its top 10 product purchase categories by 2025. Following Holiday Inn’s lead, Marriott’s efforts include eliminating everyone’s favorite hotel perk—those tiny, perfectly fit-to-steal toiletries. Why? In a single year, Marriott’s 7,000-plus properties send 500 million of the tiny plastic bottles to the landfill.

INSIGHT: Marriott received mostly positive social sentiment regarding its strategy, much of which can be attributed to the larger context in which the brand is addressing plastic waste and sustainability (no “one and done” here). To maintain its success, Marriott will need to actively showcase its commitment to reducing plastic waste by continuing to establish clear goals that support its intentions. The hotel’s customers have recently been calling for the elimination of single-use plastic glasses, plates and cutlery—the perfect opportunity to set an objective that specifically addresses that concern.

 

3. Make it Fun

When Swedish activist Steven Reinhold realized in 2015 that his hiking trips were being trashed by, well, trash, he set out on a social media-fueled mission to encourage cleanup efforts. Reinhold launched his #Trashtag project by asking people to post photos of their wilderness cleanups on Instagram. Unfortunately, the hashtag made little headway. Then, in March of this year, the project suddenly went viral. Arizona resident Byron Roman had translated the #Trashtag messaging he had discovered from Spanish to English—and gamified it. Roman invited parents to challenge their “bored teens” by encouraging them to post before and after photos of their cleanup efforts on Facebook. It has since been shared over 340,000 times.

INSIGHT: Like the #IceBucketChallenge and many other social media contests of a similar nature, #Trashtag caught on because it was gamified and gave consumers a chance to show off their charitable efforts (does the power of the selfie know no bounds?). Addressing a topic like plastic waste, which is essential but not exactly sexy, by inciting some friendly competition is always likely to deliver a bigger impact than a passive strategy.

Featured photo courtesy: Bacardi

The post Study: How Brands are Addressing the War on Plastic appeared first on Event Marketer.