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An Environmental Agency Guide to Behavioral Science Driven Communications

At Tapp Green, we understand the pivotal role government agencies play in accelerating society's shift towards renewable energy and sustainability. 
The recent passage of transformative legislation like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) has provided agencies with unprecedented resources to promote clean energy initiatives. However, inciting such profound behavioral change requires moving beyond conventional marketing tactics combining behavioral science-based messaging with marketing automation and omnichannel communications.

This is where the integration of behavioral science principles becomes game-changing. By leveraging insights into the cognitive biases, heuristics, and social influences that shape human decision-making, agencies can craft potent "nudges" that motivate widespread and lasting adoption of renewable energy solutions.

The Principles of Behavioral Science

Behavioral science examines the psychological factors underlying our behaviors and choices. It reveals how influences like social norms, emotional drivers, present bias, and hassle factors guide our actions. Applying behavioral insights allows the design of strategic nudges that activate these core human drivers in a targeted manner.

This makes behavioral science extremely powerful for driving sustainable behavior change. Rather than just informing, nudges tap into what truly motivates people at a deeper level.

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Major Behavioral Models & Their Applications

Nudge Theory (Thaler & Sunstein)

Leverages choice architecture to make sustainable choices cognitively easier defaults
Well-suited for promoting simple energy-saving habits like turning off lights can boost adoption of basic residential initiatives like LED lightbulb upgrades.

Transtheoretical Model (Prochaska & DiClemente)

  • Views behavior change as a journey through different stages of readiness
  • Matches interventions to where people currently fall on the change cycle
  • Ideal for guiding complex residential energy transitions like solar adoption

Fogg Behavior Model (B.J. Fogg)

  • Focuses on increasing motivation, ability and effectively timed prompts
  • Useful for initiatives that require new skills like home weatherization
  • Boosts motivation to act, while providing ability resources and triggered nudges

Social Practice Theory (Shove et al.)

  • Encourages sustainability to spread as interconnected community practices
  • Frames renewable energy as integrated into meanings, materials and skills
  • Supports the development of sustainability as a new societal norm


  • Synthesizes core influences like messenger, incentives, norms, defaults, salience
  • Can drive a comprehensive push for an initiative like community solar  
  • Leverages trusted voices, upfront incentives, social proof and opt-out frictions

The Power of Omnichannel Implementation

To maximize behavioral models' impact, agencies need an omnichannel approach surrounding audiences with coordinated nudges across channels:

Connected Channels for Reinforcement

  • Websites, apps, social media, digital ads
  • Emails, SMS, direct mail, print collateral
  • In-person community events
  • Channels work together for consistent reinforcement

Precise CRM Segmentation & Personalization

  • Allows hyper-targeting interventions based on demographics and behaviors
  • CRM integration enables tracking full journeys for optimally timed triggers
  • Automated workflows guide seamless progress towards goals

Continual Optimization Through Feedback

  • Analytics reveal what nudges/channels resonate for continual refinement
  • Sentiment analysis surfaces barriers to messaging approach
  • AI/machine learning optimize channel mix and cadence


In this new era of unprecedented renewable energy funding, an omnichannel approach supercharged by behavioral science can be a powerful catalyst for government agencies. By combining a deep understanding of human behavior with cutting-edge martech capabilities, they can forge an emotional connection that inspires audiences to become vested stakeholders striving for a sustainable future.

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Joe DiGiovanni

Written by Joe DiGiovanni

Joe DiGiovanni, a purpose-driven entrepreneur with a background in behavioral science and marketing technology, co-founded Tapp Network, driving digital transformation for government agencies, Fortune 100 brands, and communities seeking to scale social impact through innovation.