In February 2022, Seattle City Light hired The Vida Agency (TVA) to conduct a local transportation electrification needs assessment by engaging with at least 250 City Light customers—but not just any customers! They wanted to hear from groups with whom they had never conducted market research before, including residents of “environmental justice communities” (the Black, Indigenous, people-of-color, and low-income neighborhoods who bear the brunt of environmental hazards such as air pollution and extreme heat events), English-language learners, ride-hail drivers (taxis, Uber, Lyft, etc.), and people who either live in multi-unit dwellings or in single-family homes that lack parking.
To reach these communities, TVA launched a four-week digital marketing campaign and partnered with local community-based organizations and leaders to recruit survey respondents. We developed digital advertisements and transcreated them into Amharic, Traditional Chinese, Oromo, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
We then targeted the ads at areas with a high volume of multi-unit buildings as well as environmental justice communities. TVA also developed unique digital advertisements for professional drivers, who tend to also be from these communities and whose jobs will be directly impacted by vehicle electrification. We also leveraged our deep relationships with local community leaders and the Drivers Union, who shared the survey with their networks. In addition, to gather more nuanced insight from the community, TVA conducted 15 interviews with selected survey respondents to learn more about their unique needs and barriers to owning an electric vehicle.
The survey engaged 335 respondents, 308 of whom belonged to at least one of City Light’s prioritized customer segments. About half of the respondents found the survey through the digital campaign and the other half through community outreach.
Survey findings will be used to inform Seattle City Light’s future personal mobility electrification programs. Specifically, the community called for increased access to charging infrastructure while addressing concerns about cost, disruption to jobs and the economy, safety, and more. Due to the very high level of campaign and survey engagement, TVA recommended the City co-create solutions with community at every stage of the electrification transition.