The business side of Pacific Gas & Electric’s Step Up and Power Down (SUPD) campaign asks businesses in targeted areas to join a multi-faceted movement to reduce energy waste. This campaign seeks to change how businesses in downtown San Francisco and San Jose use energy now and in the future. If successful, it will serve as a launch point for a more expansive effort.
PG&E set three goals for the campaign:
1. Raise customer awareness of the utility’s current efficiency programs.
2. Transform how workers, guests and facility managers in downtown businesses use energy.
3. Increase participation in existing energy-efficiency programs.
What We Did
During the design phase, we worked closely with strategists and implementers to identify key segments, ensure evaluability of various components, create an evolving logic model with key research questions and indicators, and provide insight to support the development of SUPD behavioral interventions and outreach.
We conducted pre-launch market research, including a web-based survey of 200 small and medium businesses (SMBs) to establish awareness and participation baselines. To gauge the campaign’s appeal to SMB targets (retailers and food service owners), focus groups tested value propositions, services, website visuals, and intervention ideas. In each case, we presented topline insights and suggestions to initiative decision-makers within one week.
Our research informed sponsor choices for the materials, marketing, language and messaging needed to reach SMBs.
Now that the campaign has launched, we serve as a “Continuous Improvement” team that meets regularly with third-party implementers and utility evaluators. The evaluation plan for the next six months takes a flexible approach and depends upon pinpointing needs, quick turnaround, and collecting and integrating data from multiple sources.
Demand for our team’s services has been high, partly due to trust established during the design phase. We are documenting the campaign’s history, and tracking processes and lessons learned to date. We are also establishing key performance indicators, conducting a market experiment to test message framing in outreach materials, and establishing a baseline for large customers.