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June 2013

OPower Taps Behavioral Energy at TED

Everyone that makes their living from advertising and communications knows that consumer behavior is a funny thing. What motivates the masses is often unexpected and essential for convincing someone to chagne or replace an existing behavior.

Take the example of energy consumption. As Alex Laskey, a friend and co-founder of O-Power points out in this Ted talk, behavior is the key to action. For example, guess which of these messages motivated households in to save energy:


All messages encouraged consumers to reduce air conditioning use. The "save money" message suggested that housholds turn off their air condition in favor of a fan. The other messages are self evident.

The answer is ....none of them worked.  What did work was this:


Competition with neighbors was the only message that worked. Self interest, money savings, save the planet all failed.

The lesson for marketers is clear. Until you do the hard work solving the behavioral problem...said another way, why should I care? what problem are you solving? how important is this? , there will be no behavior. To quote Gad Romann "tt is a great example of digging for deep insights and coming up from the merky world of consumer language and finding it. It's finding the truffles in the complexity of human behavior."

I'll let Alex in the Ted talk below descrobe how OPower users behavioral understanding to convince consumers to save energy.  Alex, congrats on a great talk, and the success your company is having in changing the world.

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