Sustainability Week 2021 at MG OMD by Emma Withington

To coincide with the COP26 Climate site, at MG OMD, we hosted a Sustainable Planning Week. We welcomed various speakers into the agency, all with the aim of arming the agency so they could better engage in conversations with our clients who were thinking about the issues raised at COP26 both personally and professionally.

With a real breadth of content shared, what struck me most was that whilst the plight of the climate is urgent, there is no simple solution, and the ways in which we can personally help are vast and varied.

It’s the same in our media planning and activations. There are so many things we can all do as media planners, buyers and strategists to incorporate more sustainable thinking into our work which can help make a difference.

As part of our toolkit for the agency, we have created a framework to get people thinking about the ways and means by which they can incorporate more sustainable thinking into their media planning.

Every client has different priorities in this space and a different degree of willingness to approach this in their media investment. It’s important to understand where a client is on the scale of action so that you can design the right solutions in the plans.

Importantly, it’s also key to do this without affecting marketing performance, meaning the KPIs we associate with sustainable activity are important to bear in mind.

The first step is the act of associating, this simple alignment to the right contexts is great for clients who are willing to be in and amongst the debate, and with the wealth of audience data now on how people feel about the environment, it is easy to find an audience for whom this will resonate most.

Next, there is the opportunity to use media to actively communicate what your brand is doing in this space. Through partnerships, content, and advertising there are many ways to get your brand’s message out there, just be ready for people to have an opinion!

Another route is to become more active and take part in some of the fantastic initiatives that the media owner community is championing. We heard this week from ITV who are doing some amazing work in this space both behind the scenes and in the public sphere. It’s an easy thing for brands to get involved with, as every media owner has an agenda and a willingness to partner to better promote more sustainable issues.

The final two areas for action require more specific commitment. Firstly an adjustment of your plans into channels and media owners who are known to have a reduced impact on the environment. As the data on environmental impact becomes clearer, we will be able to enhance what we already know at a channel level and start to plan investment into media owners who are taking more active steps such as Weare8 and GoodLoop where sustainability is at the core of their business. We also know there are choices to be made such as using different production techniques enabling our creative partners to also take steps towards more sustainable options, such as living poster sites.

Or secondly to get stuck into the issues and actively campaign alongside one of the fantastic industry initiatives like Ad Net-Zero. Many of our clients are already signed up and we’re actively working to encourage more advertisers to sign up and take part.

The overarching point here is that in the same way that there are many ways to contribute to climate change in our personal lives, so too are there things we can do in our professional lives. We shouldn’t be waiting for the brief to come along where the client wants to talk about these issues we should be thinking about more sustainable elements to every plan, the question is just how far you are willing to go.

MG OMD FWD 24th November

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