For several years, Las Vegas Sands has partnered with Cornell University by sponsoring their award winning, internationally recognized Sustainable Global Enterprise (SGE) Immersion program, designed for graduate students attending the university. Launched in 2006, the program has been training a new generation of leaders to develop competitive, profitable business opportunities grounded in innovative products and services that address social and environmental issues.
Student teams are supported by teaching assistants, as well as faculty and staff while working on projects assigned by different companies, which provides them with a real world experience while also helping companies to address a need. Participating sponsors receive both a final presentation and a full written project report.
Working in unison with the Las Vegas Sands corporate sustainability department, this year’s SGE Immersion team has been tasked with developing a proactive, forward-looking environmental sustainability branding and marketing strategy for the Sands ECO360 Global Sustainability program, the company’s strategy designed to help minimize its environmental impact. Utilizing existing best practices, including those in the gaming and hospitality sectors, students have been asked to provide recommendations on how to best design and implement a strategy that can be aligned with the overall Las Vegas Sands brand and property brands.
“Enterprise sustainability today is a strategic business imperative as consumers are increasingly demanding more environmentally-friendly products and services,” said Katarina Tesarova, vice president of global sustainability at Las Vegas Sands. “Sustainability branding and marketing can sometimes prove difficult given that such efforts require persuasive communication on an oftentimes unfamiliar subject,” Tesarova continued. “Unsubstantiated sustainability claims (i.e., greenwashing) can have a negative impact on an organization’s brand strength and desirability.”
While Las Vegas Sands actively pursues sustainability as a core component of its business operations, it faces challenges as an organization in deciphering the best way to present the vast array of ECO-based initiatives and sustainability features that exist globally across its property portfolio in a compelling manner that consumers can relate to. Sustainability branding and marketing for the company has to be assessed at two distinct levels – corporate (Las Vegas Sands) and property (The Venetian, The Palazzo and Sands Expo, Marina Bay Sands, The Venetian Macao, Sands Bethlehem, etc.) as audiences and priorities at each level differ with an expectation to have a consistent, complementary approach.
The Cornell student team of four, consisting of Di An, Fargo Balliett, Corey Gallagher and Anna Poplasky visited The Venetian and The Palazzo in Las Vegas last week to continue their research efforts by immersing themselves with the Las Vegas Sands brand, as well as interviewing executives from various departments to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the company’s culture. In addition to spending a significant amount of time with the corporate sustainability team, some of the other departments they met with included corporate communications, marketing, sales and convention services.
“We are very excited to work with this talented group. They offer a new perspective and have the ability to unbiasedly look at and examine the competitive landscape of sustainability branding and marketing to come up with suggestions that we may have not thought about,” Tesarova added.
After their visit to Las Vegas, the students returned to Ithaca, New York armed with a comprehensive understanding of Las Vegas Sands’ corporate and property brands, as well as how current marketing and communications strategies integrate the Sands ECO360 Global Sustainability strategy. The student team will continue working on their final report which will be presented to Las Vegas Sands in mid-May.
Please continue to stay tuned to the Sands Confidential blog for updates to this exciting project.