Thought Leader: Are sustainable brand experiences possible in 2023?, Zaine Venter, MD, iD

Zaine Venter, managing director, iD assesses the sustainability challenges facing brand experiences and notes that good budget sense and good environmental practice can be successfully aligned. 

Within the current financial climate – rising costs of living, inflation and an increase in the price of labour and raw materials – industries are facing difficult decisions when it comes to delivering products and services to their customers. And with mounting pressure to provide better sustainability practices, it’s tempting to ask not only how industries can become more sustainable in 2023 but if it’s even possible.

Up to 63% of adults in the UK have reported that they are spending less on non-essentials in response to the cost-of-living crisis. 

Rising costs mean that delivering campaigns at the same cost every year simply isn’t possible. This adds additional pressure on agencies to justify their increased costs to clients. The question is, how can we overcome the economic issues we face whilst building upon our sustainability practices? Here are three key ways we promote sustainability here at iD whilst maximising ROI for our clients.

1. Reuse your assets.

At iD, we pride ourselves on our sustainability practices. And one of the ways we ensure our budgets are spent wisely is by building experiences that are made to last. This means developing campaign kits and experiential stands that can withstand the test of time, keeping investment and production costs to a minimum. This allows us to focus budget on reaching more customers, delivering memorable experiences and maximising ROI.

One example of reusing experiential materials is our iconic Pepsi Max Tower experience. For three years now, we’ve been enhancing customer experiences at Reading and Wireless festivals with the viewing tower, enabling festival-goers to watch their favourite bands from above the crowds. While the design remains consistent, the tower continues to enhance the experience of thousands.

2. Re-purpose your materials.

We know that, as much as we would like them not to, trends change. This means that creating an experience that will last for years isn’t always your best bet when it comes to sustainability. You may be able to squeeze a couple of years out of an asset, but once you know that customers are looking for something different, what can you do with these materials? The answer is simple: re-purpose them.

Our Pepsi Max Taste Challenge trailer, for example, was used for three years to bring great experiences to Pepsi fans around the country. This year, however, we decided to re-purpose the trailer to suit our new Rockstar campaign.

By repurposing assets, we get to reinvest our saved budget into visiting additional locations, extending the reach of our activation. What does this mean? More sustainable practices, more great experiences and more opportunities for increased ROI.

3. Create a detailed recycling plan.

At some point, materials will no longer be safe or efficient to reuse or repurpose. This is why it’s so important to create a comprehensive recycling plan for your agency. Every campaign we deliver here at iD includes a detailed plan to ensure we recycle as much of our materials as possible and reduce the amount that ends up in landfill sites.

And it’s not just about ensuring materials are recycled responsibly. It’s important to plan your entire campaign with your carbon footprint in mind. Ensuring journey plans are efficient and keeping travel times and distances to a minimum allows us to reduce costs and prioritise the environmental impacts of our campaigns.

To sum it up

As industry professionals with a long-standing history of undertaking first-class brand experiences, we have a responsibility to invest in our sustainability practices, ensuring our carbon footprint is not only considered, but prioritised in everything we do. We do this by reusing, repurposing and recycling our materials. And also by taking our carbon footprint into consideration when our teams are travelling.

Not only does this allow us to keep sustainability at the forefront of our campaigns, but it also ensures that we’re using client budgets more efficiently, maximising ROI. So, to answer the question as to whether sustainable brand experiences are possible in 2023: they most certainly are, and they might just save you money too!

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