New York City, July 1977: during a brutal heat wave, a bolt of lightning struck a substation on the Hudson River at 8:37pm. But things were about to get even worse. Circuit breakers were tripped, lightning struck a second and third time, transmission lines were overloaded and soon the city’s biggest generator failed, plunging New York into darkness. In the blackout that followed, there were riots, looting and arson as the utilities industry learned the hard way about the power of the group experience. Today, the power of social norming through group experience can be used by utilities like yours for a much more positive purpose: educating and engaging your customers about the latest energy efficiency, safety, emergency preparedness and DSM resources.
The theory of social norming states that our behavior is influenced by misperceptions of how our peers think and act. When community outreach programs provide a group experience that corrects those misperceptions, they have the ability to elicit the desired behavior from customers like yours. That social norming can be especially powerful among K-12 students, for whom the group experience is so important. By supporting K-12 education, your utility can convince an entire school full of students (and teachers) that committing to energy efficiency is a desirable, popular thing to do. And by educating your students, they bring the messages home to their parents, who are your customers.
Since 1978, that’s been NTC’s specialty: bringing creative K-12 education to schools throughout the country and delivering our sponsors’ messages through an inspiring group experience. Through live in-school events, web development, video production, print materials and more, we not only educate students – we encourage them to relate smart energy usage to their own lives. When those lessons are shared with families and communities, your utility’s customer education and community outreach programs can really take off.
We’ve created a live-action infographic to illustrate how the power of social norming through group experience can provide immediate ROI for your energy efficiency education. Over the last 40 years, we’ve been honored by the AESP and Fierce Innovation Awards for Customer Engagement, covered by The New York Times and Wall Street Journal and even performed at the White House – but most important is our ability to connect corporations like yours to the customers that could determine the success of your utility’s customer education and community outreach. Watch the video and download the printable infographic to find out how.