Our take on the ever-shifting landscape of energy and the environment – and the strategies you need to market your commitment to sustainability.
I’ve written posts about the financial and brand-building power of Purpose before. (If you want to learn more, check out Simon Sinek. He’s the Purpose guru and famous for his mantra: “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”) I’ve quoted some powerful stats from books like Firms of Endearment, which compares purpose-driven companies like Southwest Airlines, Whole Foods and J&J, to Jim Collins’ “Good to Great” companies (like Kimberly-Clark and Kroger).read more
At Shelton Group, we work with brands at the forefront of energy efficiency and environmental sustainability – which means we primarily work with brands in low-interest product categories, presenting a unique marketing challenge. After all, if consumers aren’t inherently interested in or searching for a particular type of product (because they don’t realize they have an efficiency or environmental problem to solve), how are you supposed to market to them?read more
This year’s 2015 Energy Pulse study confirms several suspicions and busts a theory or two.
We learned that 27% of Americans could be categorized as Home Energy Efficiency Enthusiasts, and 13% of Americans are Home Technology Enthusiasts. We also learned that while home security has (historically) been the primary driver for smart home technology adoption, energy efficiency is now driving purchases. So there’s an interesting crossover between our two groups.read more
This week I had the absolute pleasure of participating in a unique and fascinating event put on by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) called Residential Energy+. The premise behind the event was essentially, “Look, making our existing housing stock more energy efficient not only does wonderful things for the folks inside the homes, it can dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There are many disparate players trying to move the market in the right direction … what if we get them all in a room for a day and a half and see if we can work collectively to make it happen?”read more
Over the last two days, Shelton Group has been hosting our annual Inner Circle Symposium. This is an intimate event of clients from a variety of industries (one per sector, so no competitors allowed), all trying to leverage an energy efficiency or sustainability story.read more
Several years ago, back when we were still fighting a war in Iraq and we were all very tense about that, we tested some messaging around national security as a reason to make one’s home more energy efficient. It tested pretty well; not as well as saving money and increasing comfort, but pretty well. And, as you might imagine, it tested best with Americans who weren’t bought into climate change, but were bought into America.read more
If you’ve eaten at Chipotle, you know their sustainability story. If you haven’t, take a tour of their website, and you’ll learn about how vegetables are grown in healthy soil, how they’ve removed GMOs from their menu, how they’ve taken a stand against growth hormones and antibiotics in milking cows, and how they’re allowing pigs to “root and roam” instead of being caged up.read more
If you’ve seen someone from Shelton Group speak or you’ve read some of our research, you know our overarching point of view when it comes to energy efficiency and greener homes: Americans care about efficiency (but they’re motivated by comfort, health and resale value). They want better homes – and a better home is a more comfortable and beautiful home with monthly energy costs they feel in control of.read more
According to the Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook 2015, America’s demand for energy will increase slightly over the next 35 years. According to ExxonMobil’s Outlook for Energy: A view to 2040, global energy consumption will rise by 35% from 2010 to 2040.read more
At Shelton Group, we’ve long espoused the merits of third-party certifications – the ones that lend credence to green claims made on product labels and in advertising. They provide some legitimacy, and our research shows that consumers view them favorably – in fact, they can tip the balance when it comes to product purchases for about a quarter of the population.read more
I’ve been doing a little premature pontificating that smart home technologies could be a threat to building product manufacturers. Based on some secondary data and some of our Energy Pulse 2014 data, I’ve hypothesized that if people believe they’ll save 10% on their energy bill with a smart thermostat (both Nest and Honeywell have issued white papers claiming that level of savings) and they can achieve that for $250, why would they spend $2,000 to add extra insulation or several thousand for an HVAC upgrade or new windows?read more
We’ve learned, through years of work with sustainable product manufacturers, that growing sales without good retail distribution can be a steep uphill battle. It’s always a bit of a “chicken or egg” game. Retailers want manufacturers to prove consumer demand for products before they’ll commit precious shelf space.read more
One of my coworkers here at Shelton Group lived in San Francisco during Jerry Brown’s first time around as governor. When the drought of 1976-77 struck, she and her neighbors turned water rations into a challenge, an adventure even, to find out just how little water they could use. Radio ads urged them to “shower with a friend” and let yellow mellow.read more
Which green buzzwords irk your customers – and which set expectations you can’t meet? For those of us who work all day long in the sustainability space, it’s easy to forget that consumers don’t necessarily speak our language. Manufacturers and marketers throw around green jargon like “low-VOC” or “net zero” as if consumers will automatically understand what they mean and that the meaning is good.read more