Sustainability leadership today means thinking differently about the way things have been done in the past. Pioneering organisations are venturing beyond traditional decision-making - for example, to give nature a seat at board tables, or make Mother Earth a sole shareholder. Businesses are also starting to centre future generations in decision-making by setting up youth boards or youth consultations.
Airfield Estate, Dublin’s only working urban farm and gardens, is on a mission to work together with young people to make Airfield a sustainable food hub, and Dublin a world-leading sustainable food city.
In 2022, THINKHOUSE was engaged to help Airfield Estate revolutionise the future of food by recruiting an engaged youth advisory board of 15-18-year-olds to work alongside the team and established board at Airfield Estate.
Airfield Estate’s 38-acre grounds showcase the cycle of food from farm to fork, connecting soil to society. It highlights the impact our food choices have, and promotes an understanding of agriculture, horticulture and the link between farming and food production. Airfield’s youth advisory board will help shape Airfield’s ambition to be at the cutting edge of food systems - and help write the recipe for the sustainable food future we all need. Airfield wants people to get to know their food, how it's produced, the impact it has on their body and the world around them, and help them understand the role they can play in creating a healthier, more sustainable food system for all.
“The estate and surroundings continue to inspire change and we’re so excited to be driving our own sustainable food revolution. With the launch of this new youth board, we’re bringing inspirational young people, with a real desire to change our food system, together from all corners of the country. We want to put community at the heart of the city's transformation, learning from and with younger generations, as we in turn invest our time and resources into them.” Claire MacEvilly, CEO, Airfield Estate
We began with qualitative research, conducting interviews with expert youth organisations/campaigners and young people in order to provide routes to relevance with our target audience. This provided us with a deep understanding of youth needs - key insights on how to optimise the youth board, and strategy for the overall campaign planning.
From here, we began working on the creative output needed to launch the campaign: key messaging, photography, new youth-oriented brand design, and a hero film shot using state-of-the-art drone technology. For this campaign, we wanted to set a tone of hope, optimism and fun. We also knew that we needed to create something that would appeal to a younger audience, who are used to seeing so much thumb-stopping content every day. With this in mind, we created a digital aesthetic using bright, optimistic colours and a fast-paced hero film.
A key aspect of the launch was PR and Advocacy. We hosted a Sustainabili-Tea event with great attendance from a diverse group of media and influencers, whose audiences aligned with our different target demographics. In addition to media/press engagement, we partnered with two key influencers, celebrity chef Adrian Martin and YouTuber Keelin Moncrief, to act as advocates for the campaign. The message? “Join Ireland’s Food Revolution! Help write the recipe for a more sustainable food future by joining Airfield Estate’s Youth Board.”
Finally, we developed a highly targeted social media campaign across Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram, to spread awareness of the youth board and drive applications. The three-phase strategy identified potential applicants before re-targeting them with relevant messaging. Targeted CTA assets drove directly to the application form page on the site, to ensure an easy user journey.
Airfield shared the materials and call to action with its schools network, in addition to reaching out to politicians and senior decision-makers around the country to help spread the word. The campaign resulted in high-quality applications from across the country, and a new younger audience and digital storytelling collaborators for the brand to engage with into the future. We received over double the number of entries required to recruit the board of 12 members, currently being managed by a brand new Youth Activism Officer.
"It was brilliant working with Thinkhouse to set up and recruit a Youth Board. We're already getting new ideas and accelerating ambition by putting future generations at the heart of our decision-making - and we now have a best practice case study. It would be brilliant to see more organisations do something like this. The campaign brought Airfield to a whole new audience and did way more beyond recruitment in terms of profiling the organisation and engaging new audiences.The next steps for us are how to evaluate the Board and to make sure we are capturing the learning of the initiative to share with others. " Claire MacEvilly, CEO, Airfield Estate
Total impressions across social: 5,694,481
Total engagements across social: 168,488
Total clicks across social: 14,065
Total pieces of media coverage: 13
Total potential reach: 1,265,414
Total pieces of social coverage: 74
Total potential reach: 169,024
Positive sentiment: 95.78%