Energy efficiency programs continue to set increasingly ambitious savings targets. But the tactics taken to hit those targets are slow to evolve, and more often than not, programs are falling short. We’ve been working with clients for years to solve this problem, and we see a core underlying issue: typical efforts to promote energy efficiency focus narrowly on specific concerns — namely, saving money or receiving incentives.
Many of these programmatic efforts are based on the assumption that if people received the benefits and incentives, they would shift their attention and change behaviors. Our experience — along with emerging social science research — tells us that these approaches aren’t compelling for most people. They just don’t work.
It’s time we place energy within an emotional context, recognizing that it is something that’s personal, intimate, and often below our consciousness. We need to apply this thinking to how we engage people around energy use, behavior change, and consumption.
In short, we need to think more like brand strategists and social scientists, and less like utilities and engineers. Purveyors of energy efficiency now have the opportunity to do this by crafting rich, dimensional communications designed to appeal to the whole person — what we call a deeply human approach.
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