Here at Greener on the Inside, we are all about promoting office plants and nature-inspired design through interesting blog posts. However, our Ambius colleagues in Australia took the task of raising awareness about the benefits of plants to a whole new level. This past March and April, the Ambius team gave away 10,000 plants to Australians while educating office workers on the tenents of Biophilia (humanity’s innate need for nature). The response was remarkable with prospective plant owners lining up during their lunch breaks in Brisbane and Sydney to receive their new green friends. To gain a better perspective on the campaign, Greener on the Inside chatted with Anne Briggs, Marketing & Communications Manager for Ambius in Australia.
Greener on the Inside: Tell me about the campaign’s theme of Biophilia. What types of things did you want to make people more aware of about plants?
Anne Briggs: We all instinctively seem to understand that we are somehow innately connected with other living things – a term referred to as Biophilia (â€˜bio’ meaning earth and â€˜philia’ meaning â€˜a love of’, so a “love of the earth”). This concept was identified by biologist, Edward O. Wilson, in his 1984 book titled, Biophilia, where he details the close association of humans to nature, which includes plants, animals and weather. Wilson found that, when given a choice, people gravitate towards environments that incorporate features found in a natural environment. This includes: good natural light, clean air and optimal space to do your work effectively, ideally featuring views of outside & a connection to living things such as plants.
Our Ambius Australia team is passionate about Biophilia and about bringing nature inside with plants. It is what drives our business and it’s also a great way to tie all the benefits of plants in together…so we decided to devise a marketing campaign around the concept & to take it to the streets!
Our Biophilia campaign was, in marketing terms “an experiential campaign”…we wanted to engage and challenge office workers, to see how connected to nature they were at work, and to start to consider their own office environments and how they could be improved by simply adding a few indoor plants. Since the word “Biophilia” is relatively unknown, we thought it might also stop people by them asking….what’s that?? We also wanted to help position Ambius as leaders in this space and promote our brand to office workers who probably have never heard of us (or any other plantscaping company).
We set up a marquee in central business districts and put out the “Biophilia Challenge” to office workers to see how connected to nature they were at work. We did this over the busy lunch period between about 11am – 3pm each day.
A key part of this approach was to offer a short, two minute survey questionnaire, aimed at office workers, that took them on a journey to assess their own biophilic design at work. The survey acted as a prompt to talk about various elements of Biophilic design, and the importance of things like air quality, space, light and living things such as plants in workplaces. At the end of the challenge, office workers were given a free plant for their desk and some information on the benefits of office plants for air quality, productivity and workplace health.
Greener on the Inside: What surprised you the most about the campaign?
Anne Briggs: What surprised me most was HOW MANY office workers (by far the majority) put up with dismal work environments that they describe as “boring, grey and uninspiring” and how few offices actually have plants. Conversely, that people who work in offices with plants (who were by far the minority), described their offices (and management) in much more glowing terms, and as much more innovative, productive and inspiring spaces. I was also amazed that people would stand in the hot, baking Aussie sun, waiting in line for ages just for a free plant!!
Greener on the Inside: What were people’s reactions from the plant giveaway?
Anne Briggs: Honestly, office workers just LOVE receiving a free plant for their desk. We were overwhelmed with the responses, particularly in the central business district areas in the cities we gave away plants, where people queued for hours in their precious lunch break!
Greener on the Inside: How did people hear about the giveaway?
Anne Briggs: We worked with the industry body here to help promote the activities on the “Plant Life Balance” Facebook page, run by the Australian nursery and garden industry association. We also had a public relations program supporting the campaign, with media picking up the details and providing editorial support in newspapers and radio stations. Word of mouth really helped too, with people telling their friends who worked nearby.
Greener on the Inside: What did you learn from the campaign about plants and people?
Anne Briggs: I am continually amazed at the power that plants have on people. I will never underestimate just how powerful our need for nature…and plants are a very simple way to get a quick nature-fix! I think in a lot of workplaces, cost cutting measures have left workers feeling quite dis-empowered. Having your own plant on your desk can be a very simple, empowering thing that helps productivity and morale. I heart plants!
To learn more about Ambius Australia, visit www.ambiusindoorplants.com.au
What do you think about the campaign? Share your thoughts below!