“We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in… be what people are interested in.” – Craig Davis
Have you ever looked up the definition for “energy efficiency”? Well if you do, you’ll find no definition on Dictionary.com. At least Wikipedia offers “energy efficiency may refer to efficient energy use, energy conversion efficiency, energy conservation.” (Though, we know these things to be different.)
The point? Energy efficiency is an industry term. It’s not mainstream.
The questions customers have are pretty simple. They want simple answers with simple solutions. We heard again and again:
“It’s too overwhelming. I don’t even know where to begin.”
“It’s not about energy efficiency. It’s about improving my home.”
So, how do we re-position energy efficiency to not feel like an extra category on the to-do list? How do we embed it into what people are already doing when it comes to home repairs/upkeep?
We change the dialogue. We make the benefits of your programs or products relatable to the lives of your customers. Other brands do this all the time. Think about FitBit. No one needed or ever thought about tracking their steps until we were able to track our progress, challenge our friends and a little bracelet made us feel good about taking the stairs. The little bracelet made every step count. (Finally!)
When it comes to energy efficiency, we need to do the same thing. But to date, we’ve been talking about it all wrong.
According to Simmons, customers are interested in home improvement. On average, there are the same amount of Google searches for “home improvement” as for “apparel” every month. On top of that, Nielsen reports that HGTV is in the top 10 channels watched during Primetime.
KSV market research tells us that 60% of Americans actually enjoy taking on home improvement/D-I-Y projects. So, why did only 18% of Americans participate in E.E. utility programs last year? And why did over half report making no E.E. improvements in the last 12 months?
We need to connect the two and make it clear that energy efficiency improvements are home improvements. Maybe we should even consider nixing the term “energy efficiency” altogether and replacing it with “home efficiency” or “home improvement.”
Talk to customers about what they’re already interested in– what they see value in. How do your programs or products benefit or support the things your customer already cares about?
Utilities might take a cue from Lowe’s Home Improvement, which has done an incredible job making home improvement fun. For proof, just check out Lowe’s very entertaining and instructive home improvement videos #lowesfixinsix on Vine.
KSV has more than a decade’s experience communicating about energy efficiency programs and products. Maybe we can help you. Get in touch with Lauren Bell to talk about your current challenges and opportunities, and we’ll work on some solutions.
KSV’s consumer research has also been featured on Utility Dive, Fortnightly, Energy Central, Intelligent Utility and Energy Efficiency Markets.
Lauren Bell / Engagement Manager / 802.862.8261 / firstname.lastname@example.org