Modified Marketing and Publicity Techniques

Limited awareness about the Kill-A-Watt events and competition is seen as the biggest challenge of the program.  In order to improve awareness about the Kill-A-Watt electricity saving completion, the program should modify its marketing and publicity techniques to avoid negative marketing, provide procedural knowledge, re-evaluate the effectiveness of poster and email layout, and implement student and faculty leaders or the program in each residence hall.

  • Avoid “doom and gloom” style marketing and publicity strategies.  Research suggests that it is best to refrain from employing fear appeals to cause behavior change.  According to psychology literature, feelings of helplessness and fatality serve as a barrier to addressing environmental issues (Lorenzoni et al., 2007).  Such feelings of helplessness and fatality can stem from or be perpetuated by fear appeals used in social marketing.  Additionally, fear appeals can lead to defensive coping strategies, or the choice to tune out or ignore a posed threat, causing the viewer not to act toward desired change (Hastings et al., 2004).  Appeals to positive emotions, rather than fear, are equally if not more effective (Hastings et al., 2004).  For this reason, the Kill-A-Watt competition will be more successful in creating environmentally favorable behavior change with more upbeat and positive campaigns.

  • Provide practical procedural knowledge on how students can reduce electricity consumption.  Communication research shows that environmental campaigns are most successful at causing behavior change when they include information about who it as risk, what is at risk, and what can be done to reduce risk.  Information about who and what is at risk provide relevancy for the viewer, suggesting that the issue is worthy of their concern, while risk mitigation information provides critical procedural knowledge that increase self-efficacy, or feeling of ability to make a positive impact (Brittle & Zint, 2010).  Based on this knowledge about behavior change, the Kill-A-Watt competition should provide students with resources and procedural knowledge to aid in reducing electricity consumption.

  • Reevaluate awareness campaigns and posters to better communicate with the audience.  As demonstrated by Black et al. 2010, presentation style of campus sustainability publicity is very important, specifying that the key message should be emphasized and information should be layered (Black et al., 2010).  In order to raise awareness about the Kill-A-Watt competition and goals, emails, posters, and another other form of mass-communicated information should include the Kill-A-Watt name and logo as well as highlight the message of sustainability and reduction of electricity use in an organized and layered fashion.

  • Appoint faculty and student leaders to reduce electricity usage in residence halls.  A study about campus sustainability at the University of Michigan found that when individuals, including staff members, were given the responsibility of monitoring their building’s energy usage and promoting energy conservation, energy use in their building areas decline (Levy et al., 2012).  Therefore, staff and student leaders should be appointed to monitor each hall’s energy usage and spread information and knowledge about energy conservation and environmental sustainability.  This will result in increased awareness about the program and improved competition participation.

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The content on this page is developed by students enrolled in Environ 211 and does not represent the official position of the University of Michigan.