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Health & Wellness Sustainability Health

Ditching the downward dog: How event marketers are redefining wellness

By Paulina Piekarska-Léveillée, Account director



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May 3, 2024 | 5 min read

Wellness and sustainability measures at events are nothing new – but marketers are working to make them more robust, says Paulina Piekarska-Léveillée of agency Mas.

A close-up of a succulent plant

/ Erol Ahmed via Unsplash

It’s time to roll up the yoga mats and donate those scented diffusers.

As experiential programs charge into 2024, event producers can design programs that prioritize attendees’ well-being and sustainability while having a lasting impact on the local community. Going beyond the basic stretch and snack, events can craft wellness experiences that nourish bodies, connect communities, and leave a positive footprint on the planet.

1. Sharper sessions and shorter screen time

Gone are the days of cramming ten informational sessions into one marathon day. B2B events should prioritize mental well-being by creating agendas that breathe. Information overload is a recipe for glazed-over eyes, exhausted brains, and attendees looking for an escape.

Shorter, more focused presentations with interactive elements keep attendees engaged. Think Ted Talk-style presentations or panel discussions that encourage audience participation.

Because, let’s face it: Staring at screens all day can be draining. ‘Digital detox’ periods, where attendees are encouraged to put away their devices to focus on real-life interactions or themselves, make us more engage. At Imex America, for example, a ‘Be Well Lounge’ offers guided meditation breaks, serving as welcome respite from the hustle and bustle for attendees.

2. Healthy, eco-conscious food & drink

With an increasing awareness of dietary choices, incorporating creative, non-boring vegan and vegetarian options is expected. Organizers can partner with eco-conscious caterers who offer locally sourced, organic options that are kind to both planet and gut, leaving attendees energized.

Forget nap-inducing, carb-heavy pastries and sugar-crash cookies. Switch it up with brain-boosting snacks like nuts, berries, and dark chocolate to keep those cognitive gears turning. Plus, hydration stations with infused water and herbal teas ensure attendees stay sharp. Place these hydration stations strategically throughout your floor plan to remind attendees to hydrate and refuel so they can stay focused on your content.

Serving vessels are also key. With single-use plastics’ negative impact on the local environment and planet, eco-friendly and compostable options such as bamboo, paper, or plant-based materials are a great option. This also offers an educational opportunity for your program, allowing organizers to highlight the minimal carbon footprint of both attendee and event.

For example, at Mas’ recent program, Braze Forge 2023, cloud-based software company Braze wanted to make Forge their greenest event ever, with zero single-use plastics and exclusively reusable serveware. Implementing color-coded stations to ensure everything was disposed of properly was also key, as was a partnership with Cup Zero, which uses infinitely recyclable thermoplastics to create cups that can withstand use at 8-10 events before being reconstituted. We also used Yeti bottles and Bombas socks as sustainable swag – freebies that we knew people would actually use (if not, then they could donate onsite, and the useful items would be taken to homeless shelters).

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3. Community-driven donations

Event organizers recognize that wellness extends beyond the actual event and individual attendees. Why not also have a positive, lasting impact on the local community?

Teaming up with an eco-caterer who can donate extra meals to a local food bank not only eliminates food waste, but helps those in need. When rental furniture is not an option, instead of sending perfectly good furniture and supplies to storage purgatory, partner with a donation organization to give these items a second life. This also serves as an education opportunity for attendees, informing them how their participation could translate into meals for those in need or organizations equipped with donated supplies.

At another recent Mas program, the Google for Education Partner Forum, we partnered with a local middle school to donate school supplies on behalf of Google as part of their sustainability initiative. From backpacks to notebooks, educational tools, math and science supplies, more than 300 items were donated, resulting in some very happy and grateful students.

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Skip the quick wellness fixes and drive more impact

By embracing a focus on health and wellness, events are creating a more invigorating experience for attendees that not only fosters those much-needed in-person connections, but leaves a lasting positive impact on the environment and the local community. Prioritizing wellness creates a ripple effect and a powerful reminder that doing good in business can, and should, mean doing good for the world.

Health & Wellness Sustainability Health

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MAS is an award-winning experience agency serving some of the most iconic, innovative brands in the world. Minority-led and founded, we’ve built our team with...

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