A new survey from marketing agency EcoAlign about green-leaning terminology increasingly being used in corporate marketing messages reveals there’s still a lot of confusion over what some of these concepts actually mean. Realistically, there’s a green gap not just in actions being taken but in understanding what actually can be done.
Take, for example, the term “demand response.”
EcoAlign’s survey of 1,000 consumers during early November (called EcoPinion) found that 41 percent of respondents didn’t know the definition of demand response. But more than half though it sounded very “authoritative,” and more than 40 percent believe it was either “annoying,” “unpopular” or “unhelpful.” (By the way, here’s EcoAlign’s definition: “Within the electricity industry, the mechanisms to manage the demand from customers in response to supply conditions, for example, having electricity customers reduce their consumption at critical times or in response to market prices.”) Note to utility companies exploring this approach: You have a lot of education to do if you want people to feel good about this.
Conversely, almost 86 percent of the respondents correctly identified the definition for “clean energy” as a term describing what is thought to be environmentally friendly sources of power and energy. Typically, this refers to renewable and non-polluting sources.
Here are some particularly interesting demographic or regional findings:
- About 25 percent of self-identified political Independents said they are buying energy-efficient appliances, compared with only 15 percent of either Democrats or Republicans. - Respondents with household incomes of less than $55,000 per year were more likely to equate the term “energy efficient” with technology that is more expensive than the norm. - Women were generally more likely to take action around conserving energy. (Definitely true in my household!)