Today we have the pleasure of introducing David Betke. He is the founder of Do Better Marketing (a division of Avatar Brand Management Inc.). He speaks internationally on campaigns that make a difference. His campaigns have helped create two parks and have been recognized with seven national marketing awards, including the first two back-to-back green marketing awards from the PPPC. His newest efforts are dedicated to reducing waste, increasing profitability, and keeping people working, sustainably in the events industry.
I'm sure you will enjoy our conversation as much as I did. To support his incredible work we care giving away 10 digital trees through our social media.
Who are Green Show, and what do you do? GreenShows™ is the world's first carbon-neutral virtual meetings and events platform that also plants trees. We purchase carbon offsets for each virtual event we host, plant trees for every virtual booth we build, and give exhibitors the option to give away trees instead of plastic swag to entice people to join their lists. GreenShows.ca Tell us a little about yourself, David, and the story of West Arm Provincial Park.
In 1990 one of the last great stands of Canada's temperate interior rainforest, outside of Nelson B.C., was slated to be clear-cut logged. It would create a few jobs for a few years. A large part of the community turned up to block the road. I decided to put my talents instead towards creating a satirical line of t-shirts and using them to raise awareness and support both a petition drive and letter-writing campaign. I traveled across Canada more than a dozen times, visiting universities, gathering signatures, and promoting a letter-writing campaign. While in a town, I went to stores and told them if they would carry my t-shirts, I would promote them to a new audience at the universities, thus bringing in a new market to their stores. All they had to do was keep the petition and letter campaigns going. After a few years, 180 stores nation-wide were carrying my merchandise. I was then able to secure funding from Aveda (the beauty products company) to produce a video on the threatened forest. That seemed to help tip the scales, and the West Arm Provincial Park was established. The forest is now protected forever. More here Do you still sell the satirical t-shirts? Which was your favorite to wear while touring the universities? We no longer sell the shirts, but we print many custom t-shirts for businesses and festivals. My favorites were probably There Goes The Neighborhood & Acid Rain.
May I ask if your environmental quest was ignited by the threat of logging at the forest outside Nelson B.C, or did it start at an earlier age?
My father grew up in the country and instilled a fascination and respect for nature at a very young age. However, I didn't really become active until my early 20's when the West Arm was being threatened. How did the seeds get sewn for GreenShows™, and where did the inspiration for the name come from? Before the pandemic, I was on a quest to reduce waste in the events industry. I was watching my clients exhibit at trade shows and wasting money, opportunities, and trees. There were two glaring problems: One was that they were giving away all sorts of disposable shiny things to attract people to their booths but attracting more freebie-seekers than people who were interested in what they offered. After the show, they would receive a list of who attended their booths but have no idea of each person's interest level. This led to a lot of work for marketing and HR in the follow-up. The second issue was catalogue and brochure waste. Often it was less expensive to leave undistributed catalogues behind than it was to ship them home. I called several venues and found that this was a huge waste issue many of them were struggling with. So, I created GreenTexts™ and GreenTaps™.
GreenTexts™ is an app that reduces exhibitor print costs by up to 100% while saving trees and delivering segmented leads at the end of each show. Once launched, it shows what would have been on the table for print, and the attendee can choose which assets they want to receive digitally. After the event, the exhibitor receives a list of exactly who took what asset. This information reduces the unnecessary workload for marketing and shortens the sales cycle for the business. GreenTaps™ makes it easy for people to download anything at your booth by simply tapping the attendee's phone on a programmable sticker attached to your display. It also saves trees and money. When COVID hit, we had to pivot and try to keep our events customers working, so we created GreenShows™ with much of the GreenTexts™ intelligence already baked in.
How many folks do you have on board, and what brought them to the business? We are a full-time group of two with several contractors we have worked with for years, including Wearth (our tree planting partner).
What are the most popular reasons for the planting of a digital tree? Is there a memorable one that stands out? The trees are already planted, and a code is allocated to each. The digital forest is a way to recover planting costs, recognize support, and dedicate trees that have been planted. It's quite heart-warming to see the dedications people attach to their trees. Many are in memory of a loved one; some support front-line health care workers, while others are tributes to their own employees.
Do you currently offer the option for an individual to plant a tree as well as corporations?
We do offer individual 10 tree packages now and then. We sold 1300 trees (in bundles of 10) over the Holiday Season. We are currently offering bundles of 10 trees here.
Where are the forests you have planted with Green Show?
The current project is planted in Northern Saskatchewan. Other projects are currently in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario. Our planting partner, Wearth, is currently also exploring options in Africa.
What is next on the cards for Green Show? I think the next thing is to plan for the return of physical and hybrid events. We are working on a few partnerships and always improving GreenShows™. Once we return to physical events, I am confident that GreenTexts™ and GreenTaps™ will return to making a difference for our planet and the pocketbooks of the exhibitors who use them. Any parting words for our readers?
I am on a mission to change how we refer to “THE" environment back to “OUR” environment because one word has the power to change everything. Let me explain: When we refer to our environment as THE environment, it is separate from us. It is something that can be commodified, exploited, and sold. However, when we say OUR environment, our minds naturally shift to responsibility, stewardship, and accountability. When we see it is OURS, we are no longer separate from it; we have to do something to protect it. Try saying it and notice the difference. Please start using OUR environment and gently explain to others why this is so important. For more on this issue, and what it can lead to, I wrote a Linked-in article about using frames to change narratives: How Frames Are Used To Control Your Decisions