Along with the rational facts about ROI, it takes an emotional component for businesses to make energy-efficient improvements.
Shelton Group’s long-term vision is that every home and building in America is energy efficient and that green products and behaviors are ordinary. We believe this vision is achievable within a generation. Heck, we went from Kitty Hawk to the moon in just 66 years, so how hard could some caulking and sealing be?
Our primary role in turning this vision into reality is to develop inspiring communications campaigns that drive real action across the value chain. The majority of campaigns or ideas that wind up in our articles are typically consumer facing; they’re fun to talk about and easy to imagine, but they’re not the whole story. Not even close.
The less sexy, but higher impact changes are right in front of us, in the commercial market. We are actively working with several building products companies whose offerings dramatically improve the performance of homes and buildings.
And while they offer a compelling ROI, potential customers still need access to capital, and sometimes they need guidance or inspiration to make those improvements.
That’s where one of our newest clients comes in.
Shelton is working with the State of Tennessee’s Office of Energy Programs and Pathway Lending, a community bank with a charter to lend money for energy-efficient upgrades. The focus of our engagement is the development and implementation of the Tennessee Energy Education Initiative.
This program is designed to provide businesses, non-profits and municipalities with a one-stop experience to learn about energy-efficient improvements in their businesses, how to implement them and how to finance them.
It is not the first program of its kind, but it is distinctive in its combining state support, private lending and compelling storytelling.
Compelling storytelling? I’m sure you’re thinking that lighting upgrades are a real snoozer – a bedtime story if you will. And for a brand manager, they likely are.
On the other hand, if a plant manager (who has just as much leverage and influence as a brand manager) is inspired to make a change because of a story about the elimination of compressed air leaks, well, that’s Shakespeare.
We know that information alone isn’t enough to get people or businesses to change. They need inspiration, a connection to a deeper driver. The endgame may be ROI, which is clearly a rational outcome, but the vehicle to get there has to be emotional, and that’s where a good story comes in.
For the Tennessee Energy Education Initiative, the entire format of the program – a series of workshops across the state coupled with an online resource center that is currently being developed – is around storytelling.
And stories with happy endings – like making every home and business in America energy efficient – are the best kind.