Green homes and bragging rights

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Green homes and bragging rights

We’ve all bought something we were excited about but then immediately regretted after the purchase. It’s the worst feeling – like you’ve been duped. However, when the opposite happens and you make a purchase that meets or exceeds expectations, it’s a self-validating moment – you get a gold star for the day. You’re the smartest person alive!

According to a recent survey commissioned by the NAHB, it looks like an overwhelming number of green homeowners feel like they deserve that gold star.

The study reported that 95% of those who’ve lived in a National Green Building Standard certified green home for the last 1–3 years are satisfied with their purchase. Not too many products or services in the marketplace can claim such an impressive satisfaction rate.

In addition, 94% of owners are likely to recommend a green home to their friends or family. They want to tell the world about the great purchase decision they made.

This is great news, but not entirely surprising based on what we’ve learned about U.S. consumers through our Pulse reports – particularly American consumer segmentation. Most green homeowners fall into our “Actives” segment, and have the strongest pro-environmental attitudes and highest number of sustainable behaviors. Green products are an important part of an Active’s personal image. This means they like people to know they drive a hybrid car, purchase environmentally friendly products, or in this case, own a green home. They want to show it off. They like it when their personal values are evident in the things they buy.

So, how can green homebuilders leverage this to their advantage? How can they better brand their homes and activate customers/owners to become their advocates in the marketplace? Based on what we know about Actives, one thing builders can do is make it easy for the homeowner to tell the home’s story – to show it off to their friends and family.

One way to do that is to give them highly visual tools that can help them proclaim to the world, “I own a green home!” Homeowners need elegantly designed plaques (like the LEED example on the right), mounted by the front door (and somewhere inside, as well).

And it wouldn’t be a bad idea to attach something to the mail box so that homeowners can proclaim the distinction to passers-by.
NAHB offers an optional plaque that builders can order for each home that designates the home’s certification with its own unique certificate number.  This kind of specificity is fantastic (though you can tell lawyers got involved in the design).

Builders should also provide the owners with quality “beauty shot” digital photography of their newly built home that shows off the design and highlights some of the prominent green features (recycled glass countertops in the kitchen, rainwater irrigation system, solar panels on the roof, etc.). These photos could then be easily shared via Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram.

Builders could even entice their new homebuyers to host house-warming parties by offering to cater a “bragging event” for friends and family to check out their new house. And what’s the first thing someone does when people visit their new home? They take them on a tour, talk about how great the home is and show them all of the cool features – this would be especially true of an Active/green homebuyer. All of a sudden, the homeowner is a member of your sales team, but with a much more powerful sales pitch.

The NAHB customer satisfaction results are good news, not just for NAHB, but for all green homebuilders out there trying to get more people into better, more sustainable homes. Green homebuilders should realize from these findings (if they haven’t already) that there is significant potential for tapping into their existing customers and turning them into advocates in the marketplace.

Although these ideas might add a few hundred dollars to costs, the return on that investment through homebuyer social networking and word of mouth advocacy is invaluable – worth more than any other marketing investment a builder could make.

About the Author

Suzanne Shelton

Where Suzanne sees opportunity, you can bet results will follow. Drawing on her extensive knowledge of both the advertising world and the energy and environment arena, Suzanne provides unparalleled strategic insights to our clients and to audiences around North America. Suzanne is a guest columnist in multiple publications and websites, such as GreenBiz, and she speaks at around 20 conferences a year, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and Green Build.

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