Big Clean Switch

If you’re reading this you’re already interested in running a renewable energy switching campaign in your workplace – says Ben Hopkins at Bennetts Associates. The purpose of this blog isn’t to further convince you, but rather to share experience of our switching campaign. But if you do need convincing, have a read of this poster and see if it’s for you:

Hopefully you’re still with us.

When we got started Big Clean Switch’s suggestion was that we would need to pester people until they started to get annoyed… and then go a little further. This wasn’t bad advice but we wanted to a) still have friends at the end of the campaign and b) have a bit of fun with it, so we explored various ways of convincing people. The quick and easy lessons learned are:

1. Emails are great, but you’ll need to find other ways to engage with people. We did two whole-office presentations and created a couple of posters. When we did resort to emails we alternated between short and simple, and super-long meme-filled essays. Aim to catch and keep people’s attention.

2. People will almost always save money. Unfortunately human brains don’t get as excited about potential future savings as they do about losses. There are plenty of fascinating behavioural science methods to reframe this but they might get you fired, so we recommend mentioning money saving with all the other benefits (or being sneakier than us).

3. The best reactions we got were following presentations on our personal footprints. Making people feel guilty on its own is a waste of time but if it’s done alongside opportunities for positive change then it can be quite powerful.

4. Your worst enemy is “I’d love to but my flat-mate does the bills”. Unless it turns out it’s only architects who are unreliable flatmates, in which case you might have more luck!

5. Set a short-term deadline. A good idea we didn’t try yet is holding a lunch and encouraging people to switch then and there. They’ll just need to bring a recent bill with them. If there’s a sense of urgency then you’ll gather more people. Those that genuinely need more time can still switch later.

6. Make sure people know they have to switch through the site. We lost half of our switches to people going direct to the supplier to check the price was the same (it was) and then switching there. That means no success tracking for you and no money for community projects for ISEP. The same goes for reminding people that it’s not just for Islington residents!

7. Try something else. We definitely didn’t exhaust all the ways of doing this. You could give people a small gift or entry to a prize draw for making a switch.

A lot of these lessons were learned along the way. We still managed to get a 5% switch rate – closer to 10% if you count the people who switched via other means. That’s a big deal for the renewable energy providers, polar bears and your colleagues financial wellbeing.

Do you want some support as you embark on your Big Clean Switch campaign? Or want to tell ISEP about what’s worked best for your workplace? Please get in touch…