Information and education campaigns: how to tailor to context?

Information and education are based on information provision through different communication channels, such as the mass media and schools, but  also local events and peer-to-peer networks. Information and education campaigns are instruments that can provide a partial solution to the following problems:

  • lack of knowledge about energy and energy saving
  • need to influence values, attitudes and norms.

Campaigns can raise awareness of energy efficiency investement possibilities, but usually focus on raising awareness of everyday routines and habits in energy use.

What you need to do: 

Information and education campaigns are usually targeted at a broad target group. Nonetheless, you can take some steps to tailor them to your context:

  1. Tailor messages to your target groups’ knowledge and practices - > Get to know your target group
  2. Build on topical concerns (e.g., public concern for particular issues) -> Check your timing
  3. Do not place all the burden on individuals -> Show what others are doing
  4. Make sure people can follow-up on the information (solutions available)-> Engage stakeholders
  5. Build on participation, successful examples and peer-to-peer communications
  6. Make sure information sources are trusted by the target group 
When does it work?: 

General information and education campaigns rarely have a direct influence on behaviour or energy savings alone. However, they can raise awareness of particular topics and support other measures:

  • When the message and the behavioural change are simple, fun and easy to realise.
  • When repeated over time via different communication channels in different settings.
  • When mass media are complemented with interpersonal channels and using well known figures as spokesperson.
  • When the information source, goals, your target group's needs, the design and content of the message and  the communication channels form a mutually reinforcing programme. 
What do you need to look out for: 

► avoid sense of helplessness caused by information overload

► message should be consistent and accurate

► the tone should be positive and link to desires and aspirations

► the length of the campaign should fit the aims

► style and language should be adapted to the target group