A Communications Strategy for the Fiberglass Batt Insulation Industry. No Charge.
Private and Confidential
TO: Fiberglass Batt Insulation Manufacturers
FR: A Friend
RE: Communications Strategy & Messaging
Proper building science practices are gaining increasing traction and more and more homes are being independently analyzed for the performance of the building enclosure. This means that the performance of the insulation is increasingly measurable and known.
The Building Science and Home Performance community is a growing force, with thousands of insulation, remodeling, HVAC and other contractors getting properly trained and certified by BPI and RESNET. Few things in the building industry are growing; these certifications are skyrocketing.
This community seems to be uniquely skilled at social media communications. They frequent vibrant communities on LinkedIn and HomeEnergyPROs, are regular writers on a wide range of topics, popular presenters at national conferences, and produce a steady stream of information on Twitter and Facebook.
As all of us know, but don't always want to admit, this community of building scientists have not always been faithful friends to various forms of batt insulation. Some have called for bans, others for class action lawsuits.
In short, as the power of this community grows, so too does the potential threat to continued sales of fiberglass batt insulation.
What it Means for Our Industry
As all of us know, the Achilles Heel of our product is that it is sometimes prone to improper installation.
Fortunately, building science people, for the most part, are just that: they are scientists. They live for real data, rely on facts, and are not prone to hyperbole. Most of them will gladly admit that fiberglass batt insulation, when installed properly, is effective.
The competitive advantages of batt insulation, namely that it is inexpensive to buy and quick to install, are erased if it becomes widely known that the operating cost of a home with batts is substantially higher than one with other types of insulation.
As the insulation market increasingly shifts from new construction to retrofit, homeowners are becoming much more demanding about the comfort, energy efficiency and operating performance of their homes.
Thus, it is critical that we as an industry do everything possible to avoid the association between our product and poor installation practices. Do not take this lightly. This is critical.
Communication Do’s and Don’ts
Our mantra needs to be that fiberglass batts are not the problem. Take a lesson from the NRA: guns don’t kill people....
At all costs, do everything in your power to bury stories that highlight poor installation practices; go out of your way to highlight examples of proper installation.
Never take actions that might expose the installation problem to a broader audience. For example: don’t comment on blogs, or respond to reporters, or publicly debate.
At all costs, take extra care to manage the actions of your legal department. The worst possible scenario would be to threaten one of these people.