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EE is a Phenomenal Story to Tell

Last updated: June 28, 2019

business people group at meeting seminar presentation in brigt conference room

As anyone can probably guess, one of the most challenging perennial aspects of energy efficiency is branding. In “Evolving Utility EE Programs in the Energy Cloud Era,” moderated by Alliance Board Member Chris Womack, the panelists tackled this head on. Rex Briggs, of Marketing Evolution, emphasized that energy efficiency advocates have focused primarily on the utility of EE, such as its effectiveness in lowering costs and affordability. While these angles may be appropriate for some contexts, they can sometimes undermine their own attractiveness to consumers, who are increasingly motivated by the emotional and social connection with a product. As Chris Womack noted, “If you’re leading with ‘I am cheap,’ does that give you emotional engagement from the customer?” Pier LaFarge of EnergySpark put a finer point on it: “EE is not an industry or a product, it’s an outcome and a process. We’re at the wrong conference!” He went on to emphasize that we should bundle energy efficiency into broader efforts for good infrastructure design, removing the burden of energy efficiency management from the customer and celebrating its benefits instead of its elements. The speakers all agreed that a focus on outcomes – such as a cleaner, healthier, more comfortable experience – would enable a more emotional connection with customers. The speakers also concluded that we have a lot of space to grow: if we manage to deploy energy efficiency with better branding, it has enormous potential to scale up, because, as Rex Briggs concluded, energy efficiency “has a phenomenal story to tell.”

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Written by Natasha Vidangos