"Together with Neurensics we've investigated which (un)conscious motives lie behind people who never switch energy suppliers. The implicit association study yielded valuable insights into the factors that make behavioural change possible. This resulted in a successful campaign by iChoosr and Vereniging Eigen Huis." Matthijs van Waveren, International Marketing Manager iChoosr
How to wake up 'sleepers' to switch energy suppliers?
iChoosr an independent organiser of group-buying schemes around Collective Energy Switching and Group-buying for solar panels which enables members to save a considerable amount of money on their energy consumption. This is achieved by purchasing energy from a supplier in bulk (large groups). At the end of the year, members can decide whether or not to switch to the selected supplier.
Did you know that switching energy suppliers every year saves you money? Did you? Many people know this, but nevertheless they stay with their current supplier (the 'sleepers'). iChoosr wondered why and what the barriers to switching are.
Research question iChoosr:
- What do switchers (un)consciously associate with switching and how does this differ from the sleepers?
- To which associations should communication focus on in order to convince sleepers to switch energy suppliers?
How it's studied
RIAT: Answering questions under time pressure
People find it difficult to predict their own behaviour, because we are often unaware what causes our behaviour. Take for example people who want to quit smoking. They really want to and they really believe that they will succeed, yet they often fail.
We're often not aware what it is that influences our behaviour. That's why it's important to measure the unconscious influence. Therefore we were specifically looking for the associations that switchers unconsciously have with switching and sleepers do not. This can be measured using RIAT (Rapid Implicit Associaition Test).
RIAT is a tool used on the laptop. Under time pressure, the respondents were shown randomised associations and they had to indicate if it fit switching or not. The time pressure is essential here, as it makes it prevents respondents to think about the answers too long. With this, you get unfiltered responses, which are strongly stored in memory and are therefore closer to the truth.
The 3 associations that predict if sleepers will switch to another energy supplier are:
Despite the fact that these associations are well established in the minds of sleepers, the target group never switches. Therefore, the associations don't strongly contribute to switching behaviour.
The most important associations that are activated among switchers are:
This is interesting. Besides saving, carefree and easy are important associations for switchers. These two associations are not yet in the minds of sleepers when they think of switching. Therefore, these associations have to be activated among sleepers to make behavioural change possible.
Advice to iChoosr
Sleepers associate switching with saving, while switchers associate switching with saving and convenience. Easy is therefore the missing association for the sleepers.
The advice to iChoosr was to focus their communication on both ease of switching and on saving, in order to wake up the sleepers and activate them to switch.
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