Rational appeals for changing habits
While people engage with energy conservation messages on the basis of emotional appeals, the rational argument needs to be in place as well. Why are the behaviours you are targeting important, what difference do they make, how do behaviour changes translate into savings in national energy use, carbon dioxide emissions and costs for the household or organization?
Rational appeals are likely to be helpful:
- once your target group has bought into your argument and wants to learn more
- when dealing with businesses and organisations, where rational decision making is the norm
- when people need to justify their decision to change to others
- quantification of benefits can offer a tool to keep people interested throughout the process of engagement
► There is a risk that the metrics you use are not really connected to the target group’s daily concerns. For example, if the cost savings are too small to interest fuel rich people. Or if you are measuring CO2 emissions, but people feel their daily concerns are being overlooked.
► There can be benefits and reasons for changing behaviour that are not quantifiable, and these may be more important than the quantifiable. These can include reasons like 'doing the right thing', 'feeling more competent' or 'setting a good example'.
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