Take a Second Look: Pulse Insights

by | Apr 6, 2017

We all come across great insights over the course of the day, and then, like Snapchat, they quickly disappear when we turn our attention to those 1,500 emails in our inboxes. We think every now and again those great insights are worth a second look.

And that’s what we’re dialing in on today … we’re taking a second look at some of the juiciest insights to come out of our research in the last year.

As a quick reminder: for the past 12 years, we’ve polled Americans to understand their attitudes and behaviors related to energy and the environment. These proprietary Pulse studies have formed the foundation for our understanding of consumer and business decision-maker drivers and behaviors related to energy consumption, product selection, brand loyalty and CSR. And that’s allowed us to do highly effective creative campaign work for our clients – campaigns like Wasting Water Is Weird and Avoid Energy Drama.

So here are some of our most interesting consumer insights (with the stats to back them up) from the past year that you may have seen but forgotten. Take a second look – you just might find a little gem that you can use to energize your marketing program.

1. Americans are concerned about the environment and climate change, and they want more renewable energy:
  • 64% of Americans believe in climate change, and 52% of us feel anxious about it. [Eco Pulse 2016]
  • 90% think the average person should be taking concrete steps to reduce his/her environmental impact. [Eco Pulse 2016]
  • 73% say it’s important for the government to be investing in more renewable energy. [Energy Pulse 2016]
  • 69% say it’s important/very important that utilities make an effort to generate or purchase at least some part of their power via renewable energy sources. [Energy Pulse 2016]
  • 74% of Americans say that companies should continue to prioritize reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and 81% say companies should continue investing in renewable energy, regardless of what the EPA does. [March 2017 Overnight Poll of 400 Americans]
2. Sustainable behaviors and green product purchasing is increasing, and corporate sustainability matters at shelf:
  • The average number of green activities has steadily increased (from 11 activities in 2014 to 13 in 2016). [Eco Pulse 2016]
  • Almost three-quarters (73%) say they’re searching for greener products (the highest % in 8 years). [Eco Pulse 2016]
  • 45% say buying/using eco-friendly products is an important part of their personal image. [Eco Pulse 2016]
  • 74% say a company’s environmental reputation impacts their purchase decisions. [Eco Pulse 2016]
3. We’re still seeing a disconnect between energy conservation attitudes and behaviors:
  • Americans say energy conservation is important:
    • 64% say energy conservation is important in the way it affects their daily purchase choices and activities. [Energy Pulse 2016]
    • 68% think that personal energy conservation habits can make a real difference in preventing climate change. [Energy Pulse 2016]
  • Yet, 45% admit they’ve done nothing to improve the efficiency of their homes. [Energy Pulse 2015]
  • In fact, the average number of energy-efficient home improvements is actually declining (from 3.4 in 2013, to 2.9 in 2016); trends for almost all activities are on the decline. [Energy Pulse 2016]
  • Why?
    • 47% think their homes are already efficient – they don’t realize that they have a problem. [Energy Pulse 2016]
    • 84% say they know only a little or nothing about what to do to improve home energy efficiency. [Energy Pulse 2016]
    • Even the people most concerned about the environment – the people most actively engaged in green products and behaviors – don’t know that their homes have the greatest environmental impact. Only 6% of us think that the number one man-made cause of climate change is the energy we use in our homes. [Energy Pulse 2016]
      • In 2014, 30% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions were created by generating electricity.
    • Most people much prefer to spend money on aesthetics.
    • 61% say saving money is among their top 3 reasons for doing energy-efficient improvements. [Energy Pulse 2016] But we’ve lied to them: many don’t save money.
And here’s what’s coming next: we’re working on a report about the much-maligned cohort, Millennials, and what makes them tick. Keep an eye out for more in the coming months, but for now here’s a sneak peek:
  • 83% are searching for greener products (vs. 73% overall).
  • Buying/using eco-friendly products is an important part of their personal image (51% vs. 45% overall).
  • And while 93% of Millennials think the average person should be taking concrete steps to reduce his/her environmental impact, they tend to be somewhat pessimistic about climate change in particular … and we think that’s holding them back from action.

In case you’ve missed any of our past Pulse reports or free downloads, you can find them all here. Please share away, or keep them all for yourself – we won’t judge.

About the Author

Lee Ann Head

Lee Ann Head

Lee Ann started Shelton Group's research department in 2000 and paved the way for us to become the insights-grounded creative agency we are today. After 17 years leading our research team, she recently handed down the title of Vice President of Research & Insights, but remains an integral part of that team as she continues to oversee proprietary studies.

About the Author

Lee Ann Head

Lee Ann Head

Lee Ann started Shelton Group's research department in 2000 and paved the way for us to become the insights-grounded creative agency we are today. After 17 years leading our research team, she recently handed down the title of Vice President of Research & Insights, but remains an integral part of that team as she continues to oversee proprietary studies.

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Suzanne Shelton

President and CEO

Suzanne is the voice and the vision of Shelton Group. Drawing on her extensive experience in energy and the environment – and 25+ years in the marketing and advertising industry – Suzanne provides high-level strategic insights for our clients and guidance for our research and creative departments. She regularly speaks at conferences around the country, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and the International Builders’ Show, and serves as a guest columnist for publications like Fast Company, Green Builder and GreenBiz.com.

Susannah Enkema

VP Research & Insights

Susannah directs our research team and plays a key role in extracting the nuggets of information that pave the way for recommended marketing strategies and creative approaches. Susannah has nearly two decades of market research and strategy experience, including her role as president of SE Consulting, where she led the services for the likes of DIY Network and the makers of GORE-TEX®.

Laila Waggoner

VP Client Engagement

Laila leads our client engagement process, overseeing activities from both a strategic and a tactical level to ensure our work generates desired results – and clients’ satisfaction. She brings 25+ years of marketing leadership experience to her client relationships, with particular expertise in the homebuilding and remodeling industries as well as member-driven organizations, such as the Vinyl Siding Institute and Plastics Pipe Institute. Before joining Shelton Group, she led strategic marketing teams for Owens Corning’s insulation business.

Matt Brass

VP Creative

Matt steers the creative department in concepting, designing and producing campaigns. He ensures sound strategy and deep insights inform everything his team develops, and works closely with the accounts department to ensure copy and designs will meet our clients’ goals. As a designer and filmmaker himself, he’s also a principal contributor to all of Shelton’s in-house photography and videography work.

Glen L. Vesser III

VP Finance and Administration

Glen manages Shelton Group’s finances and administration, ensuring our internal systems run smoothly so we can provide exceptional client service in a seamless and timely manner. Glen’s financial and administrative expertise has been shaped by decades of experience in a variety of industries, including public accounting, media distribution and health care.

Mike Beamer

VP Business Development

Mike joined our team to help provide strategic vision and foster our agency’s growth by overseeing new business leads and managing agency marketing and website content. He arrived in Knoxville steeped in energy efficiency and renewables – he previously led client service for an agency division in Boston dedicated to marketing communications strategy and branding for B2B and B2C clients in that space.