How to Make Energy Education Fun for Customers
- Oct 6, 2021 6:08 pm GMT
As utility marketers, we're often asked to share rather esoteric messages with residential customers: energy efficiency, electric or gas safety, storm prep, rate plan and payment options.
As important as these topics are, it can be a challenge to get customers to pay attention. The fact is, this stuff can be boring to some people. (Present company excluded, of course.)
But it doesn't have to be.
We all know that it's critical to frame these messages around customers' interests and motivations. Efficiency isn't just about saving energy, for example, it's about saving money, reducing our carbon footprint and making our homes more comfortable. The technical details behind these topics may be esoteric, but their impact should be very personal to customers.
Just as important as the message, however, is the way we deliver that message. If electric safety is a snooze to some people, a text article about electric safety will put them right to sleep. But a video about electric safety? Yeah, that would be worth watching. Or an interactive video game? Now that could be fun.
It would also be memorable. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 81% of marketers agree that interactive content grabs attention more effectively than static content. Another survey found that 93% of marketers think interactive content is effective in educating customers.
Just playing around with the smart grid
When content is entertaining as well as informative, your customers are more likely to engage with it — and more likely to understand your message. A customer who is absorbed in a game, having fun while playing along, might not realize they're learning something too.
We worked with AEP Ohio to create a video game called Protect the Line that teaches customers how Distribution Automation Circuit Reconfiguration (DACR) technology is used to detect outages and restore power. This is a pretty dry topic for a residential audience. But the game is fun! Customers click on a map of a neighborhood to avoid tree limbs and squirrels and cars crashing into utility poles, trying to restore power while learning how the smart grid works.
An entertaining throwback to educational videos
It's no secret that video is the most popular type of content — among marketers and customers. In the age of nonstop streaming television, social media and smartphones, an engaging video makes your message both memorable and shareable while being adaptable across all your digital channels.
Questline partnered with the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative (SECC) to produce The Evolving World of Energy video series. Hosted by the animated character Professor Energy, the videos are a nostalgic nod to old-fashioned classroom filmstrips — a little ironic and a lot of fun.
Professor Energy guides customers through energy’s dramatic transformation from the past into the future, providing colorful insights and real-world examples about renewables, the smart grid, electric vehicles and more. The videos were featured in a variety of communications, including SECC’s industry and consumer websites, webinars, social media and email marketing, generating thousands of views on YouTube.
Help customers learn and have fun at the same time
Utilities play an important role in educating customers about new technologies, safety and energy efficiency, among many other topics. But actually capturing customers' attention can be a challenge. With interactive and video content, we can make energy topics interesting and engaging for our customers — and help them learn something while they're having fun.
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