If you’ve heard me speak, or if you’ve read much of my blog, you’ve probably picked up on my cynicism/resignation from time-to-time about Americans’ willingness to buy products that solve their problems as opposed to actually changing behaviors. It’s a big issue in the energy efficiency arena – folks buy an energy efficient product but don’t actually change their behavior or, worse, change their behavior in the wrong direction, and they don’t see the savings they expected. Thus, they’re not motivated to do/buy additional EE things.
We heard a slightly different theme emerge from our Eco Pulse focus groups last week in LA and St. Louis. As we’ve seen in our quantitative work, we continued to hear confusion and distrust around what’s green…but we also saw a new logic argument emerge. You might call it the “It just makes sense” line of thinking. Here’s what we heard:
“It just makes sense to turn off your lights and turn down your thermostat. Why pay the utility company all that extra money?”
“I’ve resisted recycling – too much trouble – but now our city has given us blue bins to put all our recycling in and they haul it away every week. I was so surprised to see how few trash bags I had when I started putting all the plastic and aluminum in a different bin. Literally, half of my trash is now staying out of the landfill. That just makes sense.”
“You don’t have to buy the expensive green cleaners to clean naturally, you can just go to Costco and buy vinegar in bulk. It’s cheap and cleans really well – it just makes sense.”
This might be one of the best ways around consumer skepticism about green claims. In other words, worry less about “proving” that the product’s green and instead appeal to their logic. Tell them, “It just makes sense to buy this green product because…” Now, the catch, of course, is you have to have a logical argument. And the argument that prevails, still, is money savings. This can be woven into a conservation of resources argument as well, i.e. ”it just makes sense to install a rain barrel or two – it’s free water you can use any way you want” or “It just makes sense to install and actually use a programmable thermostat – why pay to heat the furniture when you’re not there?”
At the end of the day we’re emotional creatures who build brand loyalties and make product decisions based on a host of complicated emotional factors. But we also like to have a logical argument to whip out if pressed or asked about our decisions. So don’t underestimate the power of logic – put it to use in your messaging today and see what happens.