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How to use posters to really engage (using a reuse campaign as an example)


This is a very useful guide to running a poster competition within your organisation.

We are using a reuse campaign as an example but this following technique could be applied to any poster campaign. 

There's an important story behind this. Zero Waste Scotland are a very admirable organisation that are pushing the Circular Economy issue in Scotland. For many objective onlookers, Scotland has the best, biggest and most meaningful uptake of circular economy practises. The organisations there are open to Circular Economy and it goes well beyond the sustainability people; their openness goes into finance, into procurement and much further.


At an event in Scotland last year, Zero Waste Scotland launched some lovely posters designed to encourage the householder to reuse more. I cannot find the examples o their site unfortunately.

The posters described the reuse journey of an item from one householder's life to the next! This approach gives the item that's being reused a personality, and when an item has a personality, people engage with it differently.

You can download your own reuse posters at the bottom of this article.

Optimized-poster comp pic.png

After that event there was a lot of thought about how Warp It can apply this same concept to office-type equipment and furniture that our members and customers are reusing on their own systems.

We copied the waste communications poster idea. We copied the design and we copied the idea that an item has a history and, with that history, has personality. It resonates much stronger with people. If the item has a history, it has more of a value to people. People are far more likely to want to reuse the item because it has that history.

To download our template posters for inspiration, see the end of this article.

Then we thought, these posters would be great to put up around organisations to encourage reuse. But, we also know that people get poster fatigue and sometimes it has to be wondered whether they are doing any use at all. But we considered, how can we make them more engaging?

sheila 2.pngsheila.png

The answer was to create a template so people could design their own reuse story! So we can ask our members about their favourite item/s and their history in the organisation - this gives the item/s a bit of character.

We created a poster template in which our members can add their own photos and describe the journey of the item.  They can add their own comments and create their own history around the item. They are then able to create their own poster that they can print off and put around their workplace. This gives the poster a bit more engagement.

You can organise a staff compeition for the best posters. The posters and the process create alot of buzz around reuse. This approach creates a much, much larger buy-in.

1) Download the examples for inspiration.

2) Download the templates.

3) Distribute to staff and explain the competition. 

4) Run the compeition.

5) Get more buy in for reuse.

The main objective of this whole exercise is to increase reuse within your organisation.Reuse poster campaign.png

  • Improving sustainability
  • Reducing procurement
  • Reducing waste towards zero waste
  • Improve estates and facilities management

It’s really pleasant and fun, so we highly recommend you download the action plan for the poster competition and begin delivering the initiative very soon.

Action plan for developing a poster design comp!

Action point one- implementation meeting.

Call a meeting to discuss the objectives of the campaign. Invite the main players involved and you may also want to invite somebody from your communications department. Discuss the main aim, break that aim down into certain objectives, assign roles and set some deadlines. Decide what you want to get out of this and what the targets are. The targets might just be for how many entries you have into the design comp, but it’s important to set a goal for the project.

sofa reuse sofa.png

Decide how you're going to tell people about it and decide who you're going to tell. Are you going to try and hit the whole organisation? Are you going to work on specific parts? Decide what channels you're going to use. You might want to write a newsletter about it and you should definitely consider putting something on the organization's intranet. You might want to Tweet, post on Facebook or maybe even on your LinkedIn profiles or internal Yammer. Make it fun, even decide on a hashtag for your initiative.

Think about how staff will submit their entries: will they do it through email? Then you've got to get a judging panel together. The more public the judging panel is, the better. You could put the different poster entries up on your intranet site and ask staff to vote for the best ones.

reuse sofa 3.png

Action step two- dummy run

Put yourself in the shoes of the user or member. You should actually be the first to download the poster templates and design your own poster. In the group meeting, share the design of your poster. Discuss how easy it was to do, discuss what challenges there were around it and build your instructions around that. Decide on a prize. The more desirable the prize, the more entries you're going to get, the more you excite people, the more engagement you're going to have and the closer you're going to get to your objective.

Get senior support all signed up to the programme. Try and snap a picture of your Chief Executive filling in his or her own poster.

Action step three- high impact low cost comms.

You may want to consider getting the template posters made into banner stands, which are an inexpensive and visually stimulating way of publicising the programme. You can usually get banner stands printed for quote cheap and they last for years. What we like to suggest is that you roll out this programme or competition day-to-day across your estate and erect a banner stand in each building. For example, if you launch the poster campaign on a Monday, you can situate the banner stands in ‘building one’ on Monday, ‘building two’ on Tuesday, ‘building three’ on Wednesday, ‘building four’ on Thursday and so on and so forth. This allows the banner stand to visit each of your buildings to promote the competition.

Generally, banner stands are done in tandem with a newsletter that goes to all staff or is sitting on your intranet site, Twitter or Yammer campaign. This way, your staff are being hit in several different locations about the programme.

Good luck!

If you do all of this, you're going to achieve maximum exposure and participation for this waste communications campaign. You could even set the competition up so that anyone who has entered gets to judge on all the other entries. Then, at the end, when you and your organisation have voted for the best posters, you should really get these made professionally, and put onto a PDF. Then, distribute them around the organisation - this is when your posters become really engaging. They've been designed by the staff and you should make note of this on the poster with a bit of information about the winning designer.

Tell us about your competition

Make sure you tell us at Warp It about your programme and we'll make sure that your winning design can be downloaded by any other Warp-it customer. The person who designed it will then start having a global impact.

Good luck with your programme! Click the picture below to download the templates. 

reuse poster template

Here's another Warp It hack

Use our templates to save time and get ideas!

Free Download

Daniel O'Connor

Daniel O'Connor

I use my time and experience to contribute to the transition to a regenerative sustainable society for all.


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