Sustainability – the audience imperative

How re-imagining sustainable experiences sparks disruptive, creative engagement

Event organisers across the board are seeking ways to make their live experiences more sustainable. With the typical conference attendee producing 1.89kg of waste per day and 167.7kg of carbon emissions, there’s no doubt that this is an environmental imperative.

Less obvious is that it’s also an audience engagement imperative.

According to Forbes, 87% of Millennials would be more loyal to a company that helps them contribute to social and environmental issues. Event attendees are increasingly asking questions about the measures taken to make experiences more sustainable. And, they’re quick to criticise when they see obviously unstainable behaviour.

Not only does sustainable behaviour engage people in a positive way, it can spark creative, disruptive approaches that add whole new dimensions to the audience experience.

In short, sustainability and audience engagement can be two sides of the same coin.

Here we outline five ways in which sustainable event ideas drive innovative, engaging audience experiences.

Multi-location hybrid experiences

Use technology to link audiences in different venues and locations into a single experience.

Transport is responsible for 60-70% of the carbon footprint of a typical business event, a hybrid model gives you the opportunity to dramatically reduce this.

 

Audience experience benefit:

Hybrid events put the audience first; less time spent travelling to far off venues. Audiences view hybrid events, with their merging of live and digital channels, as a highly contemporary re-imagining of the traditional event model.

Useful

Check out our award winning multi-location case study which connected 1,000 employees across six regional venues into a single experience – dramatically reducing travel.

 

Screen-based event environments

Replace single-use set backdrops, branding and signage with digital solutions.

Unlike traditional bespoke set backdrops, digital screens are re-used time and time again. The modular nature of LED panels means that they can replace almost all of an event’s physical branding.

Audience experience benefit:

From a creative point-of-view screen-based environments have limitless possibilities. Where things become really interesting for the audience is the opportunity to build in additional dimensions of engagement. This might be interactive or Augmented Reality content or tailoring content to the individual.

Useful

Take a look at Screens Re-imagined our report exploring new ways to bring content to life

 

Reduce landfill

Make the lifecycle of your event assets central to your planning process.

Reduce, reuse, recycle – apply this mantra to your event planning and you’ll really change to how you design your events.

Audience experience benefit:

People want to be part of forward looking, sustainable experiences. Increasingly they ask questions about what’s happening to props or whether event assets are being used. Have an active conversation and share statistics about, for example, how many plastic bottles you’re saving by having water stations.

Useful

Take a look at this tip sheet for going plastic free at your next event

 

Green Energy

Make sure that your event is being powered by renewable energy and that you’re efficient about how you use it.

A large part of this will be down to the venue you choose, today the best venues have a great sustainability story. If you’re providing the power yourself then choose bio-diesel generators.

Audience experience benefit:

Bring to life your positive story around energy, share the steps you’ve taken to be responsible. You might also consider gamifying the experience with fun activations such as smoothie bikes or energy generating flooring.

Useful

Draw inspiration from Coachella’s Energy See-Saws that festival goers used to charge their phones

 

Catering for today’s audience

Reflect wider societal trends with the food you serve and how you source it.

From local sourcing, to offering great vegetarian and vegan options, to reducing waste, the F&B choices you make have a huge impact on the environment. Catering is a straightforward area to benchmark and demonstrate progress.

Audience experience benefit:

Eco-conscious dining is becoming more and more important within the restaurant business and events are no different. Making sustainable choices in your catering and sharing those stories with your audience will be really well received. Trialling paper water bottles or Ooho’s edible water will spark far more conversation than a bottle of Evian ever will.

Explore what some of London’s most successful restaurants are doing to be more sustainable and put pressure on your caterers to be more eco-conscious

 

Gifting in the age of peak stuff

Think carefully about what your gifts say about your brand, and how increasingly environmentally aware audiences will respond.

Whether you’re simply stopping gifting or choosing your gifts more responsibly, the sustainability benefits are obvious.

Audience experience benefit:

By choosing gifts that have a sustainability or charity story, and by giving people a choice you have the opportunity to build your overall experience. TED moved away from goody bags to a more sustainable gifting experience.

Check out virtual goody bags. We recently used this solution for a client, ensuring the audience only chose things that they actually want from a range of ethical products.

Designing more eco-conscious live experiences isn’t just a sustainability imperative it’s fundamental to engaging today’s event audience. It helps you show leadership and innovation and adds a whole new dimension to the audience experience.

Being sustainable doesn’t mean being boring, quite the opposite, it gives license to find innovative creative ways of engaging your audience.

If you’d like to discuss re-imagining your events as more sustainable experiences please do get in touch.

 

If you’re interested in having a chat about re-imagining your live experiences:

 

rachael.staples@liveunion.co.uk

 

+44 (0) 333 800 6121

liveunion.co.uk

44 Berwick street

London ,W1F 8SE

 

‘That’s interesting’ are two words you hear a lot in the Live Union office. Once a month we share the most interesting and useful event things we’ve come across.

 

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