Budget Thuis

"Reducing Energy Consumption through Nudging & Behavior Influence"

Diede Vendrig

Team Lead Behavior

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Main Question

How can Budget Thuis encourage consumers to reduce energy consumption?

What psychological principles and techniques can be employed for this purpose, and how can the campaign be designed for maximum impact?

You probably haven't missed it: turning down the heat, unplugging chargers, and taking shorter showers. Recently, energy conservation has been a hot topic due to the ongoing energy crisis. Since September 2021, we've been facing the worst energy crisis in half a century. Climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the conflict in Ukraine have all contributed to the emergence and (temporary) continuation of this crisis. The advice is clear: consume less energy to cut your own costs and contribute to the environment.

One advocate of spreading this advice is Budget Thuis. Budget Thuis is an energy and telecommunications provider with a unique offering of energy (gas and electricity), TV, internet, and sim-only subscriptions. Their mission is to make things as easy and affordable as possible for customers and provide all services under one roof.

Budget Energie, a part of Budget Thuis, places high importance on sustainability and provides 100% green energy. They value the planet and aim to convey this commitment to their customers by encouraging sustainable energy practices. But this is easier said than done.

Behavior change is challenging! As humans, we often operate on autopilot, and adopting new behaviors requires effort. Fortunately, psychology offers theories and principles that can nudge Budget Thuis customers towards greener choices.

One of the ways Budget Energie seeks to motivate its customers is through the "Put on a Sweater" campaign. Launched in 2021 and continued in 2022, this campaign allows Budget Energie customers to participate in saving energy by, for example, wearing a sweater more often.

Unravel Behavior examined this campaign and provided Budget Thuis with an advisory report on how to maximize the potential of their campaign and encourage their customers to make more sustainable choices.

Off we go How Do We Proceed?

Every case is unique, but there are successful models for implementing effective socio-psychological interventions. This is important because you want your intervention to be genuinely effective, not just arbitrary. One internationally used model, including by us, is the PATHS model, which follows five phases to achieve an effective intervention: Problem, Analysis, Test, Help, and Success.

We invest significant time in the analysis phase, delving into literature and conducting interviews with the target audience. What underlying factors currently prevent the desired behavior? What effective interventions already exist that can be applied in this case? What does the target audience think, feel, and do? What resistance might the target audience have to the desired behavior?

Each aspect of the campaign is scrutinized, looking for opportunities for improvement. This could involve copywriting or the application of psychological principles.

Encouraging Participation in the "Put on a Sweater" Campaign

A campaign can be well-structured, but if it doesn't strike the right psychological chord, the desired behavior change might not occur. Therefore, we've paid attention to the onboarding process of the campaign. This is the first and crucial touchpoint for motivating and encouraging customer participation.

One of the suggestions we provided is to tap into the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). People are highly sensitive to fear of loss, also known as loss aversion. Loss tends to weigh more heavily on people's minds than gain. The idea of missing out on something that others can have is uncomfortable and can be a strong motivator. Budget Energie can apply this by communicating that a certain number of customers are already participating in the savings challenge, but you aren't. This message conveys two things:

  1. Everyone is participating, a form of social proof. One of the most potent psychological techniques, as people naturally follow the behavior of others, especially when there's uncertainty about a choice. Setting a social norm leads to compliance.
  2. Not participating might mean missing out, and that's something you'd want to avoid.

In the end, we provided Budget Thuis with 25 concrete recommendations that will help them engage their customers in both current and future campaigns.

Do you also have a challenge in the field of behavior change?

Challenges like these make our psychological hearts beat a little faster. At Unravel Behavior, we're always eager to unlock our scientific treasure chest to make the world a bit more beautiful or safe. Do you also have a challenge in the field of behavior change? Don't hesitate to get in touch. We're here to assist you!

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Unravel Behavior is a behavioral influence agency. But just a little different. We combine creativity with neuromarketing. Art with science.

By employing proven techniques from psychology, we make your interventions more effective and help you achieve greater impact.

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