Blog: Life in the Green Lane
A white paper, "New Behavioral Approaches to Energy Conservation," is available on the DEFG Web site. The white paper examines the behavioral landscape to better understand and leverage behavioral models that go beyond what is in the market today. The paper points to significant potential for customer engagement centered on energy conservation, but also many challenges to effective implementation.
The Social Media Summit 2011 was hosted by Social Media Examiner over a recent three week period. It was no surprise to learn that business-to-consumer and business-to-business brands have jumped on the bandwagon to hire social media experts. What was interesting were the experiences those gurus shared during the summit. Boeing, Cisco, Verizon, Timex and Intel were among those represented by an in-house guru.
People refer to "electricity choice" when they mean "direct retail access to a power supplier." Others use the word "choice" in its more general sense to refer to the selection of pricing/rate offerings, the addition of new services or selection of a new solution for energy management. What choices do consumers really want?
"Skunk works" refers to a collaborative team which is given a high degree of autonomy to experiment and create. EcoAlign is using this approach to sniff out some sweet ways to engage energy consumers. We have devised a series of experimental but focused workshops to address mobile applications relating to the use, management, or purchase of electricity and natural gas, as well as other energy products and services for the home or small business.
An important transformation is happening in the residential lighting market. EcoPinion No. 10 reveals a shift in consumer preference away from traditional incandescent lighting (bulbs and lamps that have been in use since the dawn of electricity), to more energy efficient lighting options such as CFLs and LEDs. In fact, over the last year, a majority of Americans have installed some type of energy efficient lighting in their homes and been highly pleased with performance.
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Generation Y, also known as the Millennial Generation (or Millennials) has been raised in a period of fast, easy and cheap communications. Their parents recall long distance calls on a low-cost weekend for 20 cents per minute. Their grandparents wrote letters and waited two weeks for a reply. Many lived in homes without phones or on systems with multi-party lines. So much has changed that we lose sight of how our behaviors have changed along with the technology.
The U.S. economy boomed in the 20th century because its citizens were mobile. U.S. workers were productive because they were willing to relocate to match their talents with business needs. The mobility of the U.S. workforce was enabled by the automobile, and accelerated by the interstate highway system. As farms mechanized, underemployed farm workers moved to industrial jobs in the Northeast and Midwest. Later, as the Sunbelt grew, Northeasterners and Midwesterners migrated south and southwest.
Prepay has gone mainstream. The findings from EcoPinion No. 9 point to an addressable market in the short term of approximately 20 percent of utility consumers who would consider a voluntary utility prepay option. But what is necessary to bring this to fruition?
Consumer Education: Prepay may serve as the lead to an overall customer strategy enabled by smart grid, but there is a definite need for both consumer education and transparency with regard to the motives and benefits to utility.
There is practically no tech gathering where "The ROI of Social Media" does not come up in the conversation. A search for "Social Media ROI" reveals 55,900 results. But there are no easy answers, even though many corporate executives think there should be.
As the Social Media Lead at EcoAlign, I wonder, "How do we leverage social media in a B2C environment?" EcoAlign works with energy utilities to incorporate solid social media tactics into their existing marketing mix. There is always a question of how best to allocate limited resources.
The Economist had an interesting article, “Watts Up?” (print version, August 21, 2010, p.66) that posited people habitually underestimate their energy consumption. Participants in a research study conducted by Columbia University showed that participants underestimated their energy consumption by a factor of 2.8. (See: Public perceptions of energy consumption and savings, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.)