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Cleantech Marketing to the "Snapchat Generation"

on • 2 min. read


A recent Luntz Global poll could have implications for Cleantech Marketing to the "Snapchat Generation" (Americans aged 18-26). For instance, the polling found the following:

  • Young people are actually VERY optimistic, both about their own futures (75% think they'll do better than their parents; only 6% say they'll do worse) and about America's (61% say our "best days...still ahead").
  • The "Snapchat generation" most respects those who serve, heal and protect (e.g., nurses, doctors, teachers, soldiers, scientists, technology innovators, police officers, entrepreneurs, ministers/priests/rabbis). Least respected are business leaders, elected officials, real estate agents and bankers.
  • The "Snapchat generation" believes that America's top problems are: 1) corruption; 2) greed; 3) inequality; 4) government; 5) racism; 6) materialism.
  • By a nearly 2:1 margin, they see socialism as more "compassionate" than capitalism.
  • 66% of this generation say that corporate America "embodies everything that is wrong with America."
  • The "Snapchat Generation"'s top issues are: 1) income inequality (28%), 2) education (24%), 3) national security/terrorism (22%), 4) race relations (21%), 5) government accountability (21%), 6) jobs (20%), 7) healthcare (19%), 8) social issues (19%), 9) corporate America (19%), 10) values (18%) and 11) environment (18%). Note that energy ranks dead last, at just 9%.
  • They love opportunity and freedom, just as their parents and grandparents did.

So how do these findings relate to clean energy marketing? For starters, assuming the Luntz Global findings are correct about the "Snapchat Generation"'s optimism (and note that other recent polling finds different results on this topic), then clean energy marketers might want to consider focusing their messaging to this generation on how clean energy is all about a bright, prosperous, sustainable future.

Second, given this generation's admiration of technology innovators, cleantech marketing might benefit from stressing that solar, wind, energy storage, electric vehicles and other forms of cleantech are on the technology "bleeding edge," while fossil fuels to a large extent are a late-19th and early 20th-century fuel source. Also, given how low energy ranks in this poll of top issues, emphasizing technology innovation might help make the topic of energy seem a bit more exciting, even "hot," than it looks right now to the "Snapchat Generation."

Third, this generation's dislike of corruption and greed certainly doesn't play to the benefit of the fossil fuel industry, as there's nobody more corrupt and greedy than those guys.

Fourth, given this generation's apparent dislike of "business leaders" and "capitalism," it might be smart for cleantech marketers to stress the bottom-up nature of things like rooftop solar power, microgrids, battery storage, zero-energy homes, and much more.

Finally, regarding marketing to the "Snapchat Generation," their love of opportunity and freedom, cleantech marketers might want to emphasize that -- unlike fossil fuels, which rely on heavy taxpayer-funded subsidies from the government and preventing a true "free market" in energy - clean energy sources will win out if they are simply allowed to compete on a level playing field. One might also note that distributed energy sources like rooftop solar, particularly with battery storage, increasingly will allow homeowners and businesses to declare energy independence from the top-down utility monopolies, even to sell the power they generate to others. If that's not "opportunity and freedom," we don't know what is.