How to gauge effective messages for electric vehicle shoppers

Most people agree climate change is the result of human activity, and that they need to reduce waste and pollution.

The author(s)

  • John Kiser Senior Vice President of Automotive & Mobility
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Most people agree climate change is the result of human activity, and that they need to reduce waste and pollution. A key contributor to that pollution is gas vehicles. An alternative is electric vehicles, but consumers don’t want to compromise when they consider new electric vehicles.

Currently, there is a very low proportion of electric vehicles in the market, so clearly something isn’t connecting for shoppers so far. But there are behavioral science principles that auto marketers can leverage to activate the rational and emotional motivations behind consumers’ vehicle-buying decision processes.

Regulatory Fit Theory (RFT) tells us that shoppers are motivated by promotion (gain) or prevention (lose) attitudes. Consumers who have a promotion mindset are driven by making the world a better place, where those with a prevention mindset are about avoiding paying more for gas. Knowing these mindsets can help marketers match the most effective messages to consumers’ motivations.

For example, research from the recent Ipsos Mobility Navigator shows underlying interest from auto shoppers to buy an electric vehicle. Reducing pollution tops the five benefits that survey participants selected as most likely to boost their interest in battery electric vehicles (BEVs).

While these are shoppers’ stated, logical benefits of buying electric, what are the motivations that trigger them into buying? In other words, what do automakers need to focus on to get consumers to even consider buying a battery electric vehicle?

The Ipsos Mobility Navigator results show that many consumers agree that electric vehicles’ key benefits are very rational, including improving the environment, saving gas and reducing overall operational cost. However, these logical reasons aren’t enough to appeal to the masses.

Appealing to shoppers’ emotional reasons in addition to the rational ones will drive further shopper consideration. This includes benefits such as the convenience of public express lanes, attractive styling, advanced technology and even the raw performance that battery electric acceleration provides.

By focusing on underlying emotional benefits, vehicle marketers can better align their messages to the most powerful motivational triggers that shift shoppers from considerers to buyers.  

For more on our special focus on Waste, please visit What the Future or join us on December 8 for our next automotive sector webinar.

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The author(s)

  • John Kiser Senior Vice President of Automotive & Mobility

Customer Experience