this Green Gab podcast episode.
This time around we gabbed with Suzanne Shelton of the Shelton Group. The Shelton Group is one of, if not the leading marketing agency exclusively dedicated to energy and environmental arena, or sustainability arena. Suzanne started the company 25 years ago when she was 23 years old completely by accident. About 11 years in, she figured out that the company needed to be focused on being the best at something specific instead of being all things to all people. They had done a lot of work in the energy and environment space and she realized she could make a difference with this work and had true passion for it.
With the shifts in supply and demand, the international scene, and the need for energy in other countries, it was pretty obvious that “we were going to have a lot more demand and a lot more environmental problems as a result of that”. Today the Shelton Group is really well known for polling a few times a year to understand what people are thinking, their perception, and what are they doing as it relates to energy and the environment. This polling helps learn how these ways of thinking shape brands and homes, as well as how do we get people to make better choices for the environment.
While the Shelton Group is well known for their research, it is just the tip of the spear. They are known for their edgy, funny ads designed to wake people up to the fact that they have water or energy problems and can make better choices that benefit them and the world at large.
Greener more sustainable practices are becoming the way of life, yet it’s better to be proactive and not reactive. And now, “green is absolutely mainstream.” Most people want to be seen as “environmental good guys” and we are making buying decisions based on this.
Nobody wants to or should have to make the trade-offs with extra features and green. “We have figured this out, how to build greener more energy efficient homes without breaking the bank.” And they are beautiful. Builders that don’t yet get this are likely going to be out of business down the road.
Millennials are Entering the Home Buying Market
With millennials entering the home buying market, they are very aware of indoor air quality, energy and water efficiency. And even more – they expect it. Yet sometimes millennials won’t ask because they just assume it’s in there. And for the people building and selling homes, it’s easy to assume if people aren’t asking because they don’t care. Polling is showing they do care, whether or not they are asking the questions. It’s kind of like buying a car and asking, “hey does it have seat belts?”
“Nobody wants to buy a ¾ inch drill bit, they want a ¾ hole.” So many in the home industry are spending a lot of time selling the “drill bit,” features, rather than the “hole,” the drivers. We need builders to tap into the drivers, the benefits, the image and the opportunity for buyers to feel a bit smug that they got a great deal. Builders need to see the proof that green homes sell faster and for more money, in addition to being a “rock star for the planet.” Builders will come around as markets continue to develop
The Shelton Group’s Findings On Sustainable America
The Shelton Group’s findings are shared in free downloadable reports and fuel their creative campaign work to build brands and create social movements. A key finding is that concern for the environment is now a mainstream attitude as 64% believe that climate change is occurring and is primarily caused by humans. Compare this with the 72% who believe in God.
51% of us are concerned or feel anxious about climate change and the concern is really heard in the small group and 1-on-1 research. “Something is going on and we all need to come together to do something about it”. Most of us have no idea that the greatest environmental impact comes from our homes. Many people who faithfully take lots of green actions – reusable bags, hybrid car, gardening – have also done very little to improve the energy efficiency of our homes. We need to help people understand – “It’s your home – fix your home. It’s the best thing to do to be a great human being and make a difference.”
It’s time to talk about the environment. The best message is “let’s not waste resources.” Why would you get a home that leaks like a sieve and wastes energy? We also need to find ways to help people in all homes, especially existing homes, build better habits which then lead to better big decisions. While it’s still rare to learn about information and programs to upgrade and renovate their homes during the home buying process, they do exist. Financing and realtor roles are key to getting this in place. We are seeing systemic changes.
Parting thought from Suzanne: “don’t be afraid; the way forward is through sustainability. It’s through green, efficient homes and green or more efficient products across the board.”
“Let’s create a better more energy responsible, sustainable America.”
Every week on iTunes and on The Everyday Green Home Podcast, get the gab with us as we share what we’ve done, as well as tips for greening up your home, your job, your family and your life! Get in on the gab for why green matters – to you, your family and friends and your community.
Get Marla’s book Living Green Effortlessly: Simple Choices to a Better Home. For more information about the show, Marla at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tony at email@example.com. I’d love to speak at your next event – for ideas check out my speaking information. Thank you and have a blessed day.
Thank you to Jasmine Royal for contributing to this week’s podcast notes.