Natural-media is the perfect communication media for municipalities

Reaching the right people at the right place at the right time increases the effectiveness of any marketing message. 

Unlike traditional outdoor media, natural-media are eco friendly and are not limited by media frame size or media frame location.

Natural-media are a portfolio of printing techniques that use natural materials such as water, natural minerals, sand, snow and living plants to produce messages that have a lower impact on the environment while having a higher impact on the audience. 

Since messages are not limited to existing media frames they can be placed where they are the most relevant. A message that warns citizens that their bicycles will be removed from a particular location is far more effective when it is placed at the location rather than in a media frame located several hundred meters away. 

Printing posters on a small scale is expensive. Natural-media prints are affordable and there are no minimum orders meaning municipalities can print just one if they so desire. This allows municipalities to conduct A/B testing to see which messages are the most effective before investing in more permanent signs or street markings. 

Natural-media provide a wide variety of printing techniques to suit every need and all prints can be completely removed after an agreed upon period of time by simply washing the messages away. No ink, no paper, no electricity for front or back lighting and generating almost no waste.

The City of Amsterdam is using natural-media for way-finding, public awareness, general information and city beautification purposes. In Amsterdam South, the city is testing a trial of symbols that will help people with dementia find their way from their day care center to a shopping street and back again as part of Amsterdam's goal to create dementia friendly neighbourhoods.

The City of Amsterdam is also researching if people will use garbage can smore often if they are made more attractive.

When it comes to managing the hundreds of thousands of bicycles in Amsterdam, the city has placed milk paint prints around Rembrandt's Plein to help people locate bicycles that have been removed from the plein.

Natural-media are ideal for municipalities. They are highly targetable, not limited to existing media frames, affordable and do not have the huge negative impact on our environment that traditional outdoor media does.

In 2014, in the EU, the outdoor media industry consumed an amount of paper that equals a one meter wide piece of paper that wraps our planet 3.9 times. These paper posters have an average life cycle of just 12 days and most of the paper in not recycled but burned. This amount does not include vinyl materials, plastic films or any of the other materials used for billboards or bus shelter posters and though the industry is claiming their new digital screens do not require printed materials, what they fail to mention is a single digital bus shelter screen consumes as much electricity as 2 average european households. 

Municipalities, like those in the Netherlands are using more and more natural-media to communicate to their citizens. Perhaps natural-media has finally found its ideal partners- cities throughout the world who want to communicate to the right people, at the right place at the right time. 

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Jim Bowes

Advertising professional specialising in Natural Media advertising techniques that have a low impact on the environment.