All I Know About Home Performance I Learned from a Happy Meal

There’s one thing that keeps me from my favorite fast-food indulgence, the Junior Whopper with Cheese.  It’s called the Happy Meal.  My kids insist on them.  And our meals are indeed happier if I forgo my trip to Burger King so we can snag Happy Meals at McDonald’s instead.

How does this relate to Home Performance?

A big focus among home performance professionals at the moment is driving demand.  To do that it’s the allure of the brand, the consistency of the product, and a little love in the form of cheap bit of tchotchke.

Brand.  My previous post talked about outcomes from DOE’s Better Buildings conference with a focus on core competencies, and the role of branding in creating strong real estate partnerships for efficiency programs.

My kids want that red box because it makes them feel like they’re getting something really special.  Believe me, my kids are no connoisseurs of fine foods.  Taste-wise and toy-wise there is absolutely no difference between a BK Kids Meal and a Happy Meal.  But my kids will hear none of that!

Consistency.  No matter how far we go from home, the kids also know that the Happy Meal they get on the road will be as fun and yummy as the one we get across the country at Grandma’s in Arizona.

Tchotchke. This might seem the silliest and the least consequential for efficiency programs but it is by far the most important.  That cheap, plastic toy inside the red box makes the kids feel special, brings them joy — and gives them something to brag about to their friends.  It keeps them coming back for more.

There are a few lessons for Home Performance programs like DOE Better Buildings grantees:

  • Tchotchke is essential.  It builds your brand and value for future work.  If you’ve done it, make sure they know about it.  Whether it’s a sticker or a plaque, make sure you provide something homeowners can collect and show off.
  • Documentation is absolutely critical.  If you don’t have the confidence to record what you’ve accomplished in the home, I can’t sell it to a prospective buyer and the appraiser will ignore it.  And the local MLS certainly isn’t going to make space for a searchable field that has no backup.
  • Consistency means you delivered what you promised, and clients will be willing to refer you to friends and neighbors.
  • It all comes together with branding.  Being able to cut through the clutter and distinguish what you deliver that makes someone’s home special, and inspires them to make the updates today!
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