In New Delhi on May 11th, Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), in collaboration with the Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE), the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), and ITDP India, organised the Energy Efficient LiFE Charette. This unique event served as a platform to convene a diverse group of energy efficiency experts across 3 sectors – building, industry and transport, along with professionals specializing in communications and marketing, with the goal of transforming the narrative surrounding energy efficiency.
The event aimed to reframe key messages and communication strategies targeting the key emotions that drive the audiences to transition towards making energy efficient choices. The audiences identified included decision makers, businesses, and individuals. Energy efficiency communication is generally technical, without a focus on creating messages that resonate with diverse stakeholders and effectively drive behavior change. The event aimed to address this gap by emphasizing the benefits, experiences, and feelings associated with energy efficiency. Humanising the messaging can help build trust, credibility, and influence among the audience, facilitating their adoption of energy-efficient practices.
The event had two sessions: presentations from various partners, followed by a design charette—a hands-on workshop that brings people from different disciplines and backgrounds together with members of the community to explore design options for a particular topic—to develop key messages targeting certain emotions for multiple sectors and to multiple audiences.
Nudging energy efficiency in Transport and Cities
Aishwarya Soni, Deputy Manager – Communications at ITDP India presented on how different nudges can ensure energy efficiency in sustainable mobility by not solely focussing on efficiency, but leverage various other aspects—like health, cost savings, community and social impact, and climate action.
Brainstorming impactful narratives
The second session aimed to brainstorm innovative, emotion-driven energy efficiency narratives targeting different audiences across three sectors–buildings, business and industry, and transport. The participants delved into the persona of different target audience groups—individuals, policymakers, and the private sector—to understand the emotions to nudge transformation. This made way for tailored messages for each target group and also helped identify the right communications tools and approaches for effective outcomes.
From the above-mentioned sessions, key takeaways included:
- Collaboration and audience aspirations: Change does not happen in isolation – communication is a catalyst for collaboration and collective action. Communication approaches need to be tailored to meet audiences where they are: focusing on building trust, bridging information gaps, and tapping into experiences. There is a need for a deeper understanding of the audience’s aspirations to address their needs effectively.
- Changing the attitude about efficiency: Energy efficiency is about abundance—having more energy and doing more with it. Even crises can be channelled in a positive and solution-oriented manner, for instance, by shifting the communication focus from “saving to survive” to “acting to thrive.”
- Tapping into emotions: When crafting messages, there is a need to move from solutions and benefits to experiences and finally to emotions. The following emotions resonate with the various categories of audiences:
- Optimism, Pride – Business.
- Lead, Pride, Confident, Hope, Proving – Government.
- Unity, Status, Ego, Pride, Satisfaction, Desire for a better life – Individual.
- Simplifying the message and calling people for action: Good messages must be simple, personal, and beneficial. Great messages can connect to people, evoke emotion, and make them want to act. There is a need to democratise messages and let people feel that they are part of the solution to spur people to take more significant action within their context.
- Reaching the people: Using the right technology is vital in disseminating messages and enabling innovative two-way communications.